I turned my first bolts on a car when I was an over zealous, pimple-faced High School kid – many eons ago. As an up-and-coming amateur mechanic, I learned by doing and trial & error. I was not blessed with state of the art equipment nor facilities. I remember making use of whatever I could from random tools lying around the house and a cheap Husky socket set. When I was tinkering with my first car, I lived in a townhouse and then later moved into an archaic rented house with a cramped garage. Less than ideal, but we all have to start somewhere.

Slowly, as I began to delve deeper and deeper into the car world, I amassed my collection of tools. I was eventually able to obtain a level of quality and cohesion in my garage set up to allow for comfortable workflow. A far cry from my humble beginnings, but nothing impressive or out of the ordinary.

Which is why I decided to step it up a notch this time around. Prior to the moving date, I filtered through my inventory of tools and threw away the junk while adding in some upgrades. With the star of the new additions being the pair of Snap-on Dual80 ratchets. The longer one with the comfort handle is a locking flex-head type. Both ratchets are 3/8″ drive, which I feel is the most useful size; it’s strong enough to handle high torque and small enough to be versatile. You shouldn’t need 1/2″ until you’re in the 20mm+ range, in my opinion. I can’t wait to put them to work, the Dual80 mechanism offers an incredible degree of ratchet arc… it makes standard ratchets seem sloppy.

Although the generic, overhauled Craftsman ratchet (left) has been my bread-and-butter tool for a few years, it will now serve as my backup. I’ll use it whenever I do not feel like abusing one of the Snap-ons and need more leverage by sleeving on a jack handle.

It took me a solid weekend just to unpack everything, after the epoxy flooring was finally done and ready. During the same time, I assembled my new Craftsman Professional 5ft workbench. Along with the pegboard attachment, the workbench is the centerpiece of the garage.

I love it, all my frequently used tools are easily accessible and having a tabletop is a great improvement. Before, whenever I needed to work on a smaller part, I usually did it on the concrete floor. I also mounted on a vice (wish I had this a long time ago).

The house came with nice, metal shelves installed in the garage, but I still needed a closable cabinet. I went with a more conservative approach here and picked up an el-cheapo Walmart special. It may be plastic, but functions more than adequately to hold all my cleaners and other liquids.

I know that my garage may be relatively modest and can’t compare to high-dollar setups with custom cabinetry and so forth, but what I have now is a world apart from what I’ve been used to. It is organized to my liking and is well stocked with the necessary essentials; these are most crucial to promote workflow. I shudder at images of dirty garages with tools strewn everywhere and parts stored haphazardly.

In true fanboy fashion, I have the Mazda banner hanging high. Ultimately, the principal motive behind my investment into this garage is all for the RX-7. In the interim, the Fiat is residing in this space under false pretenses, whereupon it will be swiftly banished once the King returns home to its rightful throne.

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