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.
Jay, You gave some vital advise- not to go into debt over a tool. Unfortunately I do owe a little for some of my things about $300.00 worth, but I went from $60,000/year income down to $25,000/year when I retired due to bone CA I had as a teen.( I was only suppose to live 3 month and I am now 54, so guess they were wrong about that.) But with age comes arthritis in the arek9a of surgery and was force to give up my job as a mail carrier. The income drop was and is huge for me. I have paid cash for 90% of my tools, but some i have had to charge. I really only need one more tool which is a Thickness planer. I’m holding out for a sale on the Rigid Planer which has all the features I want. Enough about me. I have watched your shop grow from the first video to this video and it has come out beautifully and a model for others to follow, especially your Miter station. Anyone with that amount of space could easily make it with your plans,or just watching the build video’s. You have utilized every inch of that garage perfectly, and I love the idea of having a rolling storage rack for sheet goods that can be moved to you truck to unload and move back into place. You have come along way in a years time. Maybe I should start making bigger item and sell them out front on my lawn, instead of on Etsy. Best of luck always Jay. PS.- I’m wearing your shirt that say’s” Nothing works unless you do”. It’s my motto now.~Dolly
Mate, I started watching you after seeing a kerf cutting dado jig out of a drywall screw and a few pieces of scrape. You have gone from strength to strength. Each project bigger and better. But not unachievable to the average home woodworker. Keep up the good work. Your Scetchup tutorials are so easy to follow. I have learnt heaps watching you. Now a year after your big move your going strong. Thank you Jay
To the left of the welder is the door into my house and to the left of that is the community sticker cabinet. About six months ago I wanted to start a sticker collage and asked people on my vlog channel if any of them had sticker for their business for sale. Since then I’ve only purchased about six of the stickers on the cabinet and the rest of them have been provided by all of you out there. So basically this is a community sticker collage. It grows every week. It’s a locking metal cabinet that is about 6-1/2′ tall, 18” deep, and 36” wide.
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.
This is not a guide to shop layout. That may, in fact come later, depending on how much time I devote to this web site. These are important issues that you must consider as you design your shop. My shop is in my garage. Even as we were picking out house designs I knew it would be in my garage. That means that there isn’t a time since we decided to build that I haven’t been considering these issues, and planning and changing plans. That is the nature of it. I knew what I would settle for as a minimum, and made sure it was expendable enough to ensure I could change my mind if I needed or wanted.
Moving left is my vertical tool area. Most noticeably are the Detroit sports flags on the wall. I grew up just west of Detroit in Livonia Michigan until I was about 14 or 15 when I moved to Mississippi. I absolutely love where I live in Mississippi but you can’t take the sports fan out of a kid. Growing up watching the horrible 1990’s Lions teams really makes me appreciate the current roster.
I am sharing here a link to the detailed tutorial written by Pete at diypete.com, who shares the step by step process for making a wonderful barrel coffee table from scratch. He also tells you what items you’ll need for this project and where to find them. For example, you can buy an old whiskey barrel online or from a local whiskey store for a few bucks, if you haven’t already got one.
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 shop you see in the layout is my current setup and has evolved over many years to accommodate most importantly the acquisition of newer equipment but also better work flow. It is a free standing two story traditional barn style with office and storage space on the second level. Lumber and supplies are moved in and out of the shop through the front overhead door. To the left of the door are the lumber and plywood storage racks. Across from the lumber rack and to the right of the overhead door is the radial arm saw, miter saw and mortise utilizing a single fence system for all operations. Below and above these are cabinets and storage for misc. power hand tools.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.