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.
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.
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!
I recently met a man known among local woodworkers for having a large workshop with a lot of tools. He offered to show me his workshop, and take photographs of it. His workshop covers the entire basement of a large 1800 square foot bungalow. It's difficult to capture this workshop in just a few photos, so I figured I'd include a large number of photos.
I got this idea from a Pinterest post. The final product looks so beautiful that I just couldn’t wait to make one for myself. This was somewhat a different experience from my other regular DIY projects as it doesn’t involve making something from scratch, but turning an existing wood piece into another one. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it very much and the final product was very satisfying. The tutorial I used is linked below.
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.
It’s been a solid year since moving into this house and starting my shop. Nearly everything in my shop is on casters for mobility. In my opinion the most important tool in any woodshop is the table saw so lets start there. My table saw is a SawStop PCS with 52” rip capacity. The attention to detail on this machine is phenomenal. I have the industrial mobile base for it which makes the single heaviest item in my shop one of the easiest to move. The base lifts the entire saw, including the extension wing, several inches with ease. It is actually in the up position in the following image. I also spray painted the location of the extension wing supports on the ground so I can easily locate a familiar position when setting up the saw. Because moving it around the shop on the mobile base is effortless I find myself moving it out of the way frequently when I know I’m not going to be using it for a while. I also keep a couple trash cans near the table saw.
But, there’s nothing wrong with showing people what’s possible if they work their butts off. Too many people expect immediate success when they start an online woodworking channel or website. It truly has to be your passion in order for someone to be successful in it. If they’re only doing YouTube or online stuff expecting to get rich quick or even to earn a little bit of income, I believe they’re in it for the wrong reasons and will get burned out quickly.
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.
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.