I love a good shop tour, but it’s super motivating to me to hear you say that you built it all in a few years on good old-fashioned hard work. About 8 years ago, I lost an office job and began working with my hands, first doing siding and windows, and now installing home media systems. It has completely changed my work ethic, and my motto now is, “If you ain’t sweating, you ain’t working.”
This is not a guide to shop layout. That may, in fact come later, depending on how much time I devote to this web site. These are important issues that you must consider as you design your shop. My shop is in my garage. Even as we were picking out house designs I knew it would be in my garage. That means that there isn’t a time since we decided to build that I haven’t been considering these issues, and planning and changing plans. That is the nature of it. I knew what I would settle for as a minimum, and made sure it was expendable enough to ensure I could change my mind if I needed or wanted.
Manufacturers that produce woodworking tools and materials have got into the content creation game, too, and some will share woodworking plans online. Minwax and Ryobi, for example, provides their plans free of charge, and Rockler offers their woodworking plans for a fee. Seek them out along with the other blogs and you’ll have a handy list of resources you can turn to for any project.
Woodworkers are a social bunch, and there are a few popular forums where people share thoughts on tools, discuss technique at length, and—of course—upload their plans. Some of the most active online woodworking communities include Lumberjocks, Woodworking Talk, Wood Magazine, WoodNet, Kreg, and Sawmill Creek. Search those to see if they have what you’re looking for (either with their built-in search tool or with Google’s site-specific search, e.g. site:lumberjocks.com side table).