Likewise, I keep all the tools nearby that are required to make adjustments to my machinery. In the center of my machine shop, I keep metric and imperial wrenches and hex keys, a machinist’s square, a stepped height gauge and a multi-bit screwdriver. I try to store machine-specific accessories such as blades and wrenches within a step of the machine. My table-saw blades are stored on the wall to the left of my table-saw, but I prefer how editor Rob Brown stores his blades.
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.
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.
We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can’t hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.
It might not be the easiest project in this list, but if you already have some experience with wood cutting and joinery, it won’t be any hassle at all. Thanks to the extremely detailed instructions it shouldn’t really be a problem even if you’re not very familiar with woodworking. This could actually be a great project for refining your woodworking skills as a beginner!
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.
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.
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.
Another dead simple website that offers high-quality free woodworking plans for beginners. If you have worked on wood for a long time, the free plans offered on wood gears will be your cup of tea. Their plans are one of the most detailed we have seen yet. The only caveat is, if you want more complex designs, you will have to pay a small fee. But we think it is well worth it!
Yes, another website with a simple design. However, they are high in content and offer great woodworking plans for a whole range of interesting and easy to do projects. iBuiltIt.ca has been around for a while, and is a well-respected online real-estate, mostly because of their quality plans. Their plans are ideal for both beginners and experts alike.
Isn’t this amazing that instead of having to throw that old furniture piece away, you can now reuse it to build something even more beautiful? If you do not like this particular idea, there are many other re-purposeful furniture items you can build from an old dresser. Just search the internet for other DIY project ideas. Here is a link to the video tutorial that explains the same procedure in a more practical manner that you can easily follow through.
Woodworkers are a social bunch, and there are a few popular forums where people share thoughts on tools, discuss technique at length, and—of course—upload their plans. Some of the most active online woodworking communities include Lumberjocks, Woodworking Talk, Wood Magazine, WoodNet, Kreg, and Sawmill Creek. Search those to see if they have what you’re looking for (either with their built-in search tool or with Google’s site-specific search, e.g. site:lumberjocks.com side table).