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.
My first woodworking “shop” was in the living room and kitchen of a run-down house trailer (2008-ish). Nothing pretty at all but it was functional. At that time I was living on my own with a job paying just over minimum wage. The engine in my truck blew a head gasket and the only option for me to rebuild the engine without going into debt was to sell off my woodshop. I sold everything but my miter saw. It was a hard lesson learned on being prepared with an emergency fund and I’ll never put myself in that kind of situation again.
No doubt many of us would love to have a huge, 2000 square foot building devoted to woodcraft, on a wooded acreage somewhere. But there is a reality that goes with a hobby shared by numerous ordinary people: very few really have the means to set up such palatial workshops. We have our lives to lead, and engaging in such a venture is out of the reach for most, myself included. This article is dedicated to workshops for "the rest of us."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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
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.
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?