Tucked in the lower left corner of the miter saw station is my DeVilbiss 5hp 20 gallon air compressor. It’s an oil free compressor so it’s loud and obnoxious when running. I don’t use it enough to justify the trouble of making a sound deadening enclosure or putting it outside so for the mean time I’m quite happy with keeping it in here and out of the way. The white hose in the picture is an extra hose that I rarely use. I have the compressor hooked up to a retractable hose reel located just above my dust collector.
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.
In my machine shop, I store my thickness planer under the infeed table of my jointer. The feed direction of the planer is one direction and the jointer the other. This works especially well because I can joint all my boards and stack them on a cart or sawhorses; then, without reorienting them, I can feed them through the planer (after I pull it out, of course).
Build this handy stool in one hour and park it in your closet. You can also use it as a step to reach the high shelf. All you need is a 4 x 4-ft. sheet of 3/4-in. plywood, wood glue and a handful of 8d finish nails. Cut the plywood pieces according to the illustration. Spread wood glue on the joints, then nail them together with 8d finish nails. First nail through the sides into the back. Then nail through the top into the sides and back. Finally, mark the location of the two shelves and nail through the sides into the shelves. Don’t have floor space to spare? Build these super simple wall-mounted shoe organizers instead!
My second shop (2012) is where I started this whole YouTube and website venture. I was maintenance at an apartment complex which allowed me the opportunity to clean out a junk apartment that was previously used for storage and use it as a shop. At that time the only woodworking tool I had was a Kobalt 10” sliding miter saw from my previous shop. I used it to build my wife’s grandmother a 2×4 sitting bench and the positive feedback from friends and family fueled the fire to get back into woodworking. I took an initial $200 investment from my household income to batch out a bunch of them to sell. That investment and a lot of sweat was the beginning of a snowball that has become my shop.
And while it would be ideal to limit our workshop to work­shop stuff only, we often find things like gardening tools and general household stuff encroaching on our shop space. If it can’t be helped, it’s best to dedicate a corner for non-shop stuff and limit it to that area. In my shop, I have an area cor­doned off with a salvaged bi-fold door which quarantines the garden tools.
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This particular tray is made using reclaimed barn wood but the author of the project Beyond The Picket Fence surprised everyone with one fact: reclaimed barn wood has often some areas turned pink due to cow urine. If you check the project more closely, you’ll also notice some areas of the tray being almost bright pink. That’s something you don’t see every day!
Just wanted to show gratitude for the inspiration and knowledge you’ve given. As a former science teacher AND compositor/animator, I can really get down with your attention to detail, clear views/instructions, editing skills and work ethic. I’ve been watching your vids here and there since the sawhorses, of which I have my 2 sets. Since then I’ve been taking your lead and built the conduit rack, multi-function TS hold-down jig and a few more. I appreciate being able to mold them into a workable set up for my 12×20 shop. It’s great to see your success and I wish you the best. You’re doing good things, man, so keep it up.

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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.

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.


Right in front of my finishing supply rack is my welder and welder cabinet. It’s a Hobart Handler 140 mig or flux core wire feed welder. I learned how to weld several years ago on an old manual adjustment arc welder and I very much like the convenience of the wire feed in this one. It’s sitting on a Harbor Freight welding cabinet. I have only used it in one video so far (metal vise build) but have used it a few times since then on stuff around the house. Having a welder isn’t a necessity but it is very convenient at times.

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.
The cost of being disorganized is time. It takes me ten times as long to work on a project when I am scouring the room looking for a drill bit, the right screws, or trying to remember where I last used one of my 10 tape measures. Workshop organization is an ongoing project. As you acquire more tools, you have to rearrange your shop to work in storage for those new items. So mobile and modular storage, wherever possible will save you time down the road. Here are some amazing Workshop Organization Ideas that I hope will inspire you!
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.
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.
As your interest in woodworking grows, you’ll want to subscribe to a woodworking magazine. This will help feed your new found obsession with articles on tools, techniques, and woodworking plans. As a print magazine subscriber you’ll also gain access to their database of plans on their websites. Popular magazines include, Woodworkers Journal, Fine Woodworking, and Popular Woodworking.
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