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.
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.
Get perfectly, consistently spaced and centered shelf-pin holes! Economical and practical, this jig can be used on assembled or unassembled cabinetry. Re-designed handle includes two storage compartments for self-centering bits! Ideal for adding shelves to new or existing cabinets. Drills holes either 1-7/16" or 2-1/2" from edge. Insert shelf pin in top or bottom position to extend jig for continuous drilling. Shelving Jigs measure 20" long Additional Self-Centering Bits available.
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.
The space behind a door is a storage spot that’s often overlooked. Build a set of shallow shelves and mount it to the wall behind your laundry room door. The materials are inexpensive. Measure the distance between the door hinge and the wall and subtract an inch. This is the maximum depth of the shelves. We used 1x4s for the sides, top and shelves. Screw the sides to the top. Then screw three 1×2 hanging strips to the sides: one top and bottom and one centered. Nail metal shelf standards to the sides. Complete the shelves by nailing a 1×2 trim piece to the sides and top. The 1×2 dresses up the shelf unit and keeps the shelves from falling off the shelf clips.
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 next vertical tool is my 13” benchtop drill press. It’s a cheap Harbor Freight model that isn’t perfect but isn’t a bad buy either. It has several flaws that I would consider “areas for improvement” and not problems. I would purchase this again if I had to do it over. I have a larger drill pres table with integrated storage drawers for it but find it to be a little too big for where I currently have the drill press in the shop.
Google is probably the first place where most people would start searching for woodworking plans, but often the top results can be a mix of articles and how-to pieces that just aren’t detailed enough. Sometimes they’ll link to the plans (like we try to here at Lifehacker), but other times, they’re just showing off a cool project. There are better, more precise ways of finding what you’re looking for.