1928 Plymouth 1937 Plymouth Plymouth: The First Decade

The Garage

Purchase of new House

Life moves on and we often move with it. In this case to a cottage in a Southern California beach town. The house we purchased had been recently remodeled. It was a good quality remodel with things like totally upgraded electrical, new plumbing, high quality cabinetry and great workmanship throughout. . . Everywhere except the garage.

In the remodel a deck was put over the garage. All good quality, structurally sound and fully inspected. But they left most of the old garage roof intact a foot or so below the new deck structure. The garage door had been improperly installed and did not close correctly as well.
            roof structure below new deck.Old
            roof structure below new deck.

And the concrete floor had been poured many decades before with no crack control grooves cut in it so there were large random cracks throughout.

While still in escrow, my dear spouse mentioned that I’d always wanted to have the concrete garage floor in the old house coated so that the unavoidable leaks from the old car would be easier to clean up. She also pointed out that we would not be moving into the new house for a few weeks after escrow closed and that would be a good time to get the floor worked on. I took that as carte blanche to fix up the garage to my desires.
Concrete floor cracked and uneven.

Working Up From The Ground

Cutting crack control grooves.Searching the web for garage floor coatings and for local contractors led me to use SpartaFlex rather than epoxy. While the contractor said it would be better to remove the entire floor and re-pour it, he allowed as his crew could to a reliable repair that would last for years so I went that route. The first step was to cut crack control lines into the concrete so that any future cracking was properly managed.

Repairing the slab.Next step was to stitch the old cracks and fill them with epoxy. After this the entire slab was ground smooth and as flat as could be given the heaving and age of the floor.

Applying the first coat.Applying the first coat.Finally came the actual coating which was done in two coats with some texture/color added to the second coat.
All this was done prior to our move in which gave us a nice floor to stack all of our miscellaneous and sundry boxes while we figured out where they were to go in the house.

Removing The Old Roof Structure

The old roof structure seemed to be providing some diagonal bracing for the garage side walls. I was not sure about that so contacted the architect who did the remodel plans. They could not remember for sure why the old structure had been left in place but did note that removing it would cause a place where the wall would flex as the studs did not go from the ground to the deck roof structure. In the end I decided to have the old roof structure removal and wall strengthening done by licensed professionals just to be sure it was safe and up to code. So there was a time out while contractors were lined up, plans created and permits pulled.

Order of work was to cut out the old roof, fur out the wall area between the old roof structure and the newer deck roof then put in shear panels. As long as all that was happening, it seemed a good idea to pull new electrical circuits for better lighting, power to the workbench, and a separate circuit for an air compressor. And, of course, network wiring.

“In for a penny, in for a pound”. Or in the US, a dollar. Rather than leave the shear panels as the finished surface, as long as there was a contractor doing things, why not put in wall board and have it all painted.

Removing the old roof structure

Removing the old roof structure.Removing the old roof structure.

New electrical

            electrical circuits.New

Furring out, shear panels and insulating

Furring out, shear panels and insulation.Furring out, shear panels and insulation.

Drywall installation

Drywall installation.Drywall installation.Drywall installation.Drywall installation.

New garage door

Drywall installation.

On My Own

Now that the contracted work was complete and inspected it was time for me to mess up the clean slate of a garage. I knew where I wanted storage cabinets and workbench but had no clue as to the best spots on the walls for hanging everything. Deferring the decision on how and were to hang items on the walls, I started with cabinets.


They were built with ¾ inch 7 ply plywood, with dados, screws and glue. Movable shelves all have back pins and a front support piece in addition to the normal side pins. I believe that each shelf should be able to support over 100 pounds of car parts or other items without sagging or other issues.
Building storage cabinetsBuilding storage cabinets

French Cleats for hanging things on the walls

While building the cabinets, it seemed a good idea to use scraps and off cuts to make rails for “French cleats”. Having only a vague idea on where I wanted to put things it seemed that having a generic system that would allow me to move things around as it became clear what would fit and where they would be useful.
French cleatsFrench cleats

The work bench

The work bench was designed to be long enough to cover my air compressor and built up by laminating lumber for the frame. The idea was to have a decent looking edge that was also strong enough to hold a bench vise. I think will be strong enough to allow some abuse. The vise is mounted so that a vertical piece can be clamped either in front or or to the side of the bench. I also wanted the drawers to be strong and have full extension rails. Everything is assembled with pocket screws and glue. Lots of glue.
            extension drawers

Compressed Air

Water will condense in the compressed air system anyplace the air is cooled or where expansion takes place (expansion cools the air). When you are spraying paint or media blasting a huge amount of air is expanded from the line pressure to atmospheric pressure and that results in significant cooling. Any water vapor in the compressed air will condense into liquid messing up your paint or clogging your sand. The same is true of your pneumatic tools, except here the water condenses inside the tool which can wash away lubrication and lead to rusting of key parts. So water in the air is a bad thing.

You also want to assure that any water that condenses inside the distribution piping/hoses moves to a place it can be removed. So long horizontal runs should not be exactly level but should slope. Some people slope them back toward the compressor which I don’t understand: It seems like you want both gravity and air flow to assist in moving the liquid water to where you can trap and remove it.

I installed a horizontal zig-zag cooling section on the pipe as the first thing after the air compressor tank/receiver. With the back and forth path it is not possible to have each parallel leg slope downward, the best you can do using 90° joints is to have it level. Because of this, I only have the air flow to move any water that condenses but it should be enough to move it to the trap. I have about 17 feet of ½ inch copper pipe through the zig-zag to the vertical with a drain trap. Two feet of vertical pipe connects the trap to the regulator/filter. All of the pipe is on bell hangers which keeps the pipe away from the wall and allows airflow around the entire surface so the compressed air should be cooled to ambient by the time it gets to the filter/regulator for final moisture removal. I don’t do much painting or sanding nowadays: I only need compressed air dry enough to fill tires and run pneumatic wrenches and I think this setup is good enough for that.

The filter/regulator is from Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight does not have the most stellar reputation for quality so I have put unions on either side of the regulator to make swapping it out easier. The gauge on the regulator matches very closely to that of my 35+ year old American made gauge I use as a reference and the pressure drop on full flow with the highest C.F.M. tool I have is about 5 p.s.i. All that seems good enough for my modest needs.
            zag pipes to cool compressed airWater drain, filter, and regulator

Ready To Use

The garage feels complete to me, but I’ll likely be moving things around to optimize my use. Thanks to the French cleats that is really easy to do.
Water drain, filter, and regulator