A lot of woodworkers share their projects through their own blogs or YouTube channels. In fact, we’ve shared many of them here before, including, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, The Wood Whisperer, Matthias Wandel, April Wilkerson, Sawdust Girl, House of Wood, FixThisBuildThat, Pneumatic Addict, Build-Basic, Rogue Engineer, Her Tool Belt, and Ana White. The best YouTube woodworkers create great videos, but also provide a complete blog post with a cut list, tools, materials, and instructions. Find your favorites and save them for when you’re doing your searches.
Once you get your shop organized, you’ll fully realize just how nice it is to be able to find and access things easily as well as have room to work! You'll soon find yourself actually putting tools back where they belong when you are done with them. Whether the shop is where you spend weekdays or weekends, you’ll really appreciate an organized shop.
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.
Likewise, I keep all the tools nearby that are required to make adjustments to my machinery. In the center of my machine shop, I keep metric and imperial wrenches and hex keys, a machinist’s square, a stepped height gauge and a multi-bit screwdriver. I try to store machine-specific accessories such as blades and wrenches within a step of the machine. My table-saw blades are stored on the wall to the left of my table-saw, but I prefer how editor Rob Brown stores his blades.
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.
We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can’t hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.
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.
Cut off a 21-in.-long board for the shelves, rip it in the middle to make two shelves, and cut 45-degree bevels on the two long front edges with a router or table saw. Bevel the ends of the other board, cut dadoes, which are grooves cut into the wood with a router or a table saw with a dado blade, cross- wise (cut a dado on scrap and test-fit the shelves first!) and cut it into four narrower boards, two at 1-3/8 in. wide and two at 4 in.
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.
So that takes care of the center of my shop. I’ll work my way around the perimeter starting at the right wall and moving left. The first item is my rolling plywood cart. I built this a few weeks ago to replace my unsuccessful stationary plywood rack. It’s an 8′ plywood cart that stores full sheets of plywood on one side and off-cuts on the other side. Because it’s on casters I can easily push it outside next to my truck to load it up and also push the entire cart behind the table saw to reduce the distance I need to carry full sheets to be cut down. It’s the design in issue 205 of Wood Magazine.
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.