Though our shops never seem to be spacious enough, how you store what’s inside can make the difference between a neat, organized work space and a disaster zone. The first priority is to have a good look at what’s in your shop and decide how often you use it. Things that you never use have no place in a tight shop. Items that you use only rarely or are overstock should be stored on a top shelf or in another room – not on the prime, easy-access shelves. I have laid claim to a few bays of shelving in our storage room. I store all my overstock hardware in full-extension pull-outs so I can find it easily when needed. In the storage room, I also store my benchtop tools that I use less frequently. All are fairly heavy, so I make sure to store them at about waist height to make it easy on my back.


Day in and day out we all deal with electricity, but it seems to be some illusive concept that few woodworkers really understand. Electricity drives our tools, and drives our everyday life. Electricity has the versatility to replace many older forms of energy. Without it we would still be using lanterns for light, fires for heat, and oxen for work.

Fast forward two and a half years since the start of shop #2. My wife finished college and my online business was at a sustainable point for me to leave my day job which lead us to house shopping. We ended up getting our first house together on July 2nd 2014. The house we found fit literally every one of our criteria including the most important for me which was a two car garage. With an empty garage to start my current shop I gave the walls a fresh coat of white paint and ran new electrical wires for the shop inside a long box along the bottom of the left and rear walls.
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.
Fast forward two and a half years since the start of shop #2. My wife finished college and my online business was at a sustainable point for me to leave my day job which lead us to house shopping. We ended up getting our first house together on July 2nd 2014. The house we found fit literally every one of our criteria including the most important for me which was a two car garage. With an empty garage to start my current shop I gave the walls a fresh coat of white paint and ran new electrical wires for the shop inside a long box along the bottom of the left and rear walls.

I think you can see from all of these choices, the best solution is the one that works for YOU and your home. Just make sure you create an environment that makes you feel creative and excited to work. And while there are amazing workshops online for inspiration, don’t go crazy thinking your work area needs to be a renovation in and of itself! Use bits and pieces of inspiration, then get going on your projects!
Can you believe that this amazing wine rack the image below has been built using old wood pallets? Perhaps you can. Isn’t it wonderful that your old wood pallets can be reused to build something so beautiful and useful? I am not a drinker but I liked the idea so much that I just couldn’t resist making myself one. Although later I gifted it to my parents, who totally loved it.

Plywood and long stock can also be a challenge to store in a shop. When I had an 8' bank of cabinets in my shop, I used to slide my sheet goods in behind it. Now that they are gone, I just stand them up against the wall and use a wedge system to keep them neat and upright. Long, narrow material goes on my lumber rack beside my table saw. I also store dry lumber standing on end in one corner of my bench room.
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.
This is another example of small woodwork projects that require good time and woodworking skills. This item is built using multiple wooden parts. Each part is shaped in a specific design and then all parts are attached together to make the final TV set. I have never tried building this one, mostly because I don’t own an iPhone, but also because making this item is not an easy task. By the way, it works fine with all kinds of phones.
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.
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).
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