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.
I recently came across this beautiful wooden swing set, which was made in the shape of a boat. Cool, isn’t it? The very first look was enough for me to start loving it. Although I haven’t yet tried building one myself, I am definitely going to. Later I realized that you can also build a baby cradle with the same idea. After all, what can be more calming than the tender rocking of a boat? This swing set will surely help your child get more gentle sleep.
Above my miter saw station along the entire length of the back wall minus the area needed to get into my attic are wasted space garage storage shelves. This is where I throw any household items that don’t have a place in the house and I don’t want taking up space in my shop. I also store empty boxes up there for future shipping purposes as needed. This project was a duplicate of what I made above the garage door shortly after moving into the house.
The table saw is always connected to my dust collector with a couple pieces of 4” flex hose and some 4” sewer and drain PVC pipe and a homemade blast gate. The port on the table saw is at the rear of the cabinet and this particular area of the shop sees the least amount of foot traffic so I have no problem just leaving the ducting on the floor. I also always have a few other cords on the floor here. I see this as the same principle as walking onto a porch. You know the steps are there so you pick up your feet. I know the pipe is there so I pick up my feet. Not a trip hazard in my opinion.
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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.
Who doesn’t want to have one awesome and handy wooden desk organizer that not only looks beautiful but can store all your mini office desk items properly? See the picture below. I am sure you will love this one. I have already built one myself as I just could not resist having one at my office. This thing easily stores all my office desk essentials, including pen, pencils, marker, small notebooks, etc. in the most organized way. You can see it yourself.
Have you got an old whiskey barrel at home that you haven’t used for ages? If yes, this project is for you. You can make a really beautiful coffee table from that old whiskey barrel in a few easy steps. Apart from a coffee table, whiskey barrels can also be used to build several other furniture items. But that is a talk for later. Here, we will discuss how to make a coffee table from a whiskey barrel.
Start with ¾" plywood that is twice as wide as the depth of the cabinet and as long as one side and top/bottom. I crosscut the top and bottom off of one end and set it aside. Then, using a ½" dado stack in my table saw, I cut a series of ¼" deep dadoes across the sides. Make the spacing between them uniform so that the drawers are interchangeable. Finally, rip the sides and top/bottom in half to separate them and assemble the cabinet however you please. If you want to hang it on a wall, attach a French cleat to the back at the top and a batten of equal thickness at the bottom.
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.
The source above is not exactly a tutorial, but it gives you a basic idea of how the author built a Quirky Pallet Art to enhance the look of their old house. You can also find another tutorial at the link below. It shares a step by step procedure for making a wooden pallet sign. The final product is not exactly the same as the one above, but the basic idea is the same.
Another dead simple website that offers high-quality free woodworking plans for beginners. If you have worked on wood for a long time, the free plans offered on wood gears will be your cup of tea. Their plans are one of the most detailed we have seen yet. The only caveat is, if you want more complex designs, you will have to pay a small fee. But we think it is well worth it!
The final corner of my shop houses my Grizzly G0703P mobile dust collector. I upgraded to this unit shortly after setting up this shop as my last dust collector was setup to exhaust air outside. The separator I made for it wasn’t efficient enough to modify again for a canister filter for exhausting air inside the shop. I really didn’t want to deal with modifying my dust collector again so I got this. Above the dust collector is my retractable air hose reel that I mentioned earlier. I like having this here as the only times I use compressed air is to fill up the my vehicle tires or to spray a finish which I do outside.
The lower, far left cabinet houses my planer on bottom. Every drawer slide in this miter saw station is a 24” full extension slide except these. To give just a little bit more room when removing the planer for use I opted for 26” full extension slides here. The planer is a DW735 DeWalt planer. When it was in it’s previous setup I gave more info and thoughts on it which can be found here.
An excellent introduction to woodworking is to use crates as your main material. The boxes are already formed, which means less assembly work for you—yet it looks impressive once your project is altogether. With this crate coffee table, you still get to practice your skills adding the casters and the center box. Finish with a little stain, and this table is ready to roll. You can find the full tutorial at DIY Vintage Chic.
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The beauty of this project lies in the simplicity. All you need are 3 pieces of wood of your choice (though we must admit natural hardwoods will look incredible), sanding block, clamps, wood glue and finishing product. The hardest step of the whole tutorial is measuring – as always, measure 9 times, cut once! You wouldn’t want to finish your project and then realize it doesn’t have enough space to fit your DVD player, would you?