Drawers are really useful in a wood shop – you can’t have enough. They keep out the dust and with dividers or compartments they can help organize as well. A drawer that is too deep ends up getting filled with anything that fits and becomes a junk drawer, so multiple shallow drawers are better than one deep drawer. However, drawer slides can be expensive so I make my own drawers with built-in drawer slides. In addition to saving costs, if I make multiple cabinets the same width, I can move drawers from one cabinet to another quickly and easily.
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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There’s nine more drawers that I didn’t take interior pictures of because it’s just generic stuff. But I will go through the contents for you. Top to bottom in the left column is a drawer for manuals, a drawer for every letter that I have received from all of you out there, and a drawer for my electrical tools and supplies. Top to bottom in the center column is a drawer for miscellaneous hand tools that are more general household and carpentry related such as pry bars, putty knives, and drywall tools, a drawer for hammers, mallets and squares, and a drawer for all of my hand held cutting tools like handsaws, knives, and chisels. Top to bottom in the third column is a drawer for all types of brushes, a drawer for all of my sanding tools and supplies, and a drawer for all of my router bits and attachments.
Continuing along the left wall is my conduit lumber rack and a dresser I found in the trash several years ago. The dresser stores all of my smaller off-cuts of plywood or lumber that are too small to fit in the plywood cart or the lumber rack. If a piece belongs in these drawers but the drawers are full then it gets thrown away or put in my burn pile near my back yard fire pit.
The bandsaw has a 6-3/8” resaw capacity. I find this to be enough for my needs but after recently acquiring some larger chunks of a bradford pear tree that came down in a storm I realized it would be nice to have greater resaw capacity just for getting larger chunks into usable sizes. I don’t think that has justified an upgrade to a larger bandsaw or a riser block kit for me though.
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).