The “Illusion Workshop”

For many years I have been making due with the limited space and tools available to me for constructing various illusions or props for my performances as well as many others. For the past eight to ten years, I’ve clipped numerous articles, photos and blueprints from countless woodworking magazines of to put towards my “dream workshop.” Now that my wife and I are homeowners, it was time to make the workshop become a reality. Upon the passing of my father, I inherited many of his beloved woodworking tools and felt it was important to not only build a highly functional workshop that I can continue to construct and create in… I want to make a place that my dad would have really enjoyed as well.  I’m slowly building it up and hope to post updated photos of my progress as I continue to build my own “illusion workshop!”

Our garage is a very spacious two-car garage with lots of wall space. I dedicated one wall to be my workbench and storage space. The other walls already house storage racks to store my wife’s teaching supplies, all of my illusion show ATA cases, kayaks, yard tools, and my sons bike and go-kart.  We still plan to keep it as a fully accessible place to park our cars so I cannot consume the entire garage with all of my tools, etc.

Previously, my workbench space included a reclaimed cabinet that doesn’t have doors and a makeshift top covered in MDO. I also sanded and painted and installed a hardwood work surface on a roll-around cart my dad had in his garage. So far, this works perfect for all of my table saw and router jigs, paint and wood stain (I vented it out the back), and air tool storage. I have yet to permanently mount my bench vice as you will notice in the photos below.



This magazine cover started it all! I fell in love with the versatility and design of this small garage workshop and decided to make a few modifications to fit my needs and “wants.”


I sketched out a rough design of what I wanted my workbench area to look like and went from there. Afterall, this isnt just going to be my “tinker area!” It’s sort of my man cave!  I plan to frame pegboard with a door skin backing (so sawdust will not get in) on each door. I figured this would look sharp! Notice the plexi doors. I want to display my routers as well as have ample storage space for them. My dad cherished his routers and was like a child in a candy shop when he discovered a new use for them. I think it will be cool to sort of “highlight” them in my shop.

Shop 001I built and installed the two cupboards (one over the drill press and the other over my roll-around workbench) I’ve decided to stick with the Craftsman, Porter Cable, Husky Tools, etc color motif and paint everything red, grey, dark grey, and black. All the drawer handles are brushed aluminum.

Shop 002Here’s another view of the cabinets and my very restricting work-space.  (please ignore the clutter… lots of organizing to do!)

Shop 004The cupboard over the drill press will eventually feature two drill indexes. One for the spade bits, and the other for standard drill bits; as well as storage space for additional items I constantly use on the drill press such as the buffing/ polishing wheels, etc. For now, its a storage for all of my woodworking books.

Shop 006Next, I installed some (much needed) pegboard under the cupboards and above where I plan to build a 12′ long workbench with more storage cabinets and drawers.

Shop 008To keep with my color scheme, I painted all of the pegboard a medium grey. The electrical outlets will be extended out as diamond-plate cover plates will ride flush on the pegboard.

Shop 014In this photo, you can see the cupboard is now painted to match the pegboard below. I also installed the shelf rails and an adjustable shelf. The next cupboard is sitting on my table saw ready for assembly.

Shop 010Wow! Less clutter! – I mounted the third (of six) cupboards and picked up the workbench area. Eventually when all of the cupboards are in place, I plan to frame them in and put doors on all of them. The underside will also include a non-visible LED rope light to illuminate the pegboard and help make it easier to see the workbench top!

Shop 013Another view (this time without the temporary florescent light to help reduce the bad glare).


The fourth shelf is now up!


A view of my clustered area with the table saw, router table, and scrap lumber.


I’ve begun assembly on a corner cupboard. this will house all of my wife’s crafting supplies, etc. above a small workbench I’m building for her to do her Pinterest projects at.


The corner cupboard is now framed in and ready for primer and paint.


The main cupboards are framed in and ready for primer and paint… then doors!!!


My messy workshop… the frames are all primered and ready for the red paint. Cupboard doors will go on next then I can begin assembly of the workbench and cabinets below.

IMG_3343The corner cupboard frame is now painted.


…as well as the main workshop cupboards.


Looking much better! Now I really need to start eliminating some of this clutter!


A very cluttered workbench that will be my “electrical/wiring station.”

IMG_0478  IMG_0479

Every workshop needs a good beer & soda fridge. This is the one I built from a small refrigerator my wife was going to toss out. I gave it a few passes with some rattle-can red and trimmed it out with enough aluminum to make Doug Malloy proud- complimented it with some racing decals!



One response

  1. If you have a big enough garage you can do a lot. I have a one car that is fairly large but isn’t too fun to woodwork in. If we ever move I am making sure that my new house has a dedicated workshop, hopefully even detached.

    January 15, 2013 at 9:50 +00:00Jan

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