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.
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?
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.
French cleats are a simple way to hang things on walls while allowing easy repositioning. One bevelled cleat is fastened to the wall and the other is fastened to whatever you want to hang. One catches the other and gravity does the rest. French cleats are commonly cut at 45 degrees but I prefer to cut mine at around 30 degrees. This makes them easier to lift off the wall (especially way up high) without sacrificing security.
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.
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.
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.
To my right, I have my sharpening bench, drill press and charging station. The sharpening bench is equipped with a 6" metal vise and houses all my sharpening accessories. On the back of the bench is a fluorescent lamp with a magnifying lens that is shared with the drill press. All my drill bits are stored either in the drawer beneath the drill press table or in boxes hung on French cleats. To the right of the drill press, I have a shelf with a power bar that supplies power to my battery chargers. I leave them all plugged in and instead use the power bar’s on/off rocker switch.
Directly behind my table saw is my 4′ x 8′ modified Paulk workbench that I consider my assembly table as well as an outfeed table. Here’s a shot of the back side of it. I currently have a bunch of 2×10 material on it for an upcoming project and really didn’t want to unload it just for the picture. You can see completed pictures of the project with all of my modifications and changes here.
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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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.
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.