The shop you see in the layout is my current setup and has evolved over many years to accommodate most importantly the acquisition of newer equipment but also better work flow. It is a free standing two story traditional barn style with office and storage space on the second level. Lumber and supplies are moved in and out of the shop through the front overhead door. To the left of the door are the lumber and plywood storage racks. Across from the lumber rack and to the right of the overhead door is the radial arm saw, miter saw and mortise utilizing a single fence system for all operations. Below and above these are cabinets and storage for misc. power hand tools.
There’s a lot of space above the shelf in most closets. Even though it’s a little hard to reach, it’s a great place to store seldom-used items. Make use of this wasted space by adding a second shelf above the existing one. Buy enough closet shelving material to match the length of the existing shelf plus enough for two end supports and middle supports over each bracket. Twelve-inch-wide shelving is available in various lengths and finishes at home centers and lumberyards.

The space behind a door is a storage spot that’s often overlooked. Build a set of shallow shelves and mount it to the wall behind your laundry room door. The materials are inexpensive. Measure the distance between the door hinge and the wall and subtract an inch. This is the maximum depth of the shelves. We used 1x4s for the sides, top and shelves. Screw the sides to the top. Then screw three 1×2 hanging strips to the sides: one top and bottom and one centered. Nail metal shelf standards to the sides. Complete the shelves by nailing a 1×2 trim piece to the sides and top. The 1×2 dresses up the shelf unit and keeps the shelves from falling off the shelf clips.
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Working with reclaimed wood is a savvy use of resources, and the material's country appeal is undeniable. With just a saw and a small drill, you can reuse old fencing to make these simple woodworking projects: picket-inspired picture frames. Finish them off by hot-gluing clothespins or bulldog clips to hang your prints. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
In my machine shop, I store my thickness planer under the infeed table of my jointer. The feed direction of the planer is one direction and the jointer the other. This works especially well because I can joint all my boards and stack them on a cart or sawhorses; then, without reorienting them, I can feed them through the planer (after I pull it out, of course).
Moving left is my vertical tool area. Most noticeably are the Detroit sports flags on the wall. I grew up just west of Detroit in Livonia Michigan until I was about 14 or 15 when I moved to Mississippi. I absolutely love where I live in Mississippi but you can’t take the sports fan out of a kid. Growing up watching the horrible 1990’s Lions teams really makes me appreciate the current roster.
So that takes care of the center of my shop. I’ll work my way around the perimeter starting at the right wall and moving left. The first item is my rolling plywood cart. I built this a few weeks ago to replace my unsuccessful stationary plywood rack. It’s an 8′ plywood cart that stores full sheets of plywood on one side and off-cuts on the other side. Because it’s on casters I can easily push it outside next to my truck to load it up and also push the entire cart behind the table saw to reduce the distance I need to carry full sheets to be cut down. It’s the design in issue 205 of Wood Magazine.

To the left of the cabinet hangs my table saw infeed support arms, my table saw spline jig, multifunction hold down jig, and a dry erase board I made several years ago for my wife. We never put it to use in the house so I put it in my shop. Below that is a rolling mechanics tool box. I store all of my wrenches, sockets, and tools of that nature in it.

My shop is about 425 square feet, roughly the size of a two-car garage. However, there is a wall running down the middle with a sliding glass door at one end that reduces the openness. It also increases my wall space. Plus, I have all my machinery on one side of the wall, so all the dust and noise stays out of the bench room. In this article, I want to share with you some of the things that make my shop such a nice place to practice my craft and give you ideas of how to make the most of the space you have.


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Spanning 14-1/2′ of the back wall is my miter saw station. Completing this has resulted in a huge increase in storage space, organization, and convenience when using the miter saw. It features 20 drawers and a pull out tray for storing my planer out of the way. Eight upper storage bins are for commonly used items such as my cordless tools as well as other items that don’t need to be stored away from dust. There is integrated dust collection for the miter saw and a stop block to the left of the saw with roughly 106” of capacity.
This is one of those things that you never know you need unless you have one. This amazing wooden sofa sleeve works perfectly on either or both sides of a sofa set. It gives your sofa a nice look. The sleeve can also be modified to include a cup holder, mobile holder, etc. You can easily find this item on any online furniture store, but an even better idea is to build one. This way, you can make a sofa sleeve design that you actually like and make space for cup and other things.

The miter saw itself is a Ridgid 12” sliding miter saw. I spray painted the handle and motor housing black to match the rest of my tools but didn’t do anything with the insert plate. I plan on making a few down the road so I didn’t bother with painting it. The station has a passive dust collection box around the saw. There is a 4” port at the bottom of the box to create an air draft that pulls the dusty air into the box. The larger chips collect behind the saw wherever they land. My main objective here was to get rid of the dusty air. All of the larger dust can be pushed into the dust port once or twice a year after it builds up.


Below the top structure I mounted a long power outlet bar to have a convenient power location for whatever corded tool I am using at the table. Below that is the lower shelf which I built specifically to house my X-Carve CNC machine. This machine has 1000mm rails so making a dedicated cart for it would take up quite a bit of valuable floor space. The idea behind storing it on this shelf was so that I could easily slide it off and place it on the top work surface to use it. However, I haven’t actually removed it from it’s current location yet. I can use it where it is with no problems.
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