Learning from the ideas of other woodworkers, while avoiding their mistakes is an excellent way to design and set-up your own shop layout. Setting up a woodworking shop as a hobby place, or for a some one more serious, who even may venture off into some sort of woodworking business; is not as easy as it might sound. Knowing the correct steps to follow will save you time and money, but it will also save you a lot of stress down the road.
My dedicated shop space is about 8′ x 4′, the rest is a one car garage that needs to stay open for my wife’s car. I will sometimes set up some plywood and sawhorses in that space for assembly though. The section that is my dedicated shop has a floor made of 2″x6″ lumber stretched out over joists on top of dirt. It is an old floor filled with knot holes, cracked or broken boards (with temporary plywood screwed over them) and just generally uneven. If I cannot build a shed as my new workshop I will be looking at redoing the floor in my current space. Not sure how I would go about it though.
Do you have DVDs scattered all over the room? We offer this handsome cabinet as one solution to the clutter. As shown, the cabinet is 42 in. wide and holds about 60 DVD cases. Go ahead and expand or shrink the width to better hold your collection or to fit a particular spot on the wall. The construction techniques will be the same no matter the width.
Here’s a traditional Swedish farm accessory for gunk-laden soles. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are fairly sharp?they’re what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cut. Trim the 2x2s to length, predrill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner that has brushes, check out this clever project.
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!
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.

By posting on this site and forum, the poster grants to Canadian Woodworking Magazine/Website the unrestricted rights to use of the content of the post for any purpose, including, but not limited to, publishing the posted material, including images, in print or electronic form in a future issue or issues of Canadian Woodworking magazine or related Canadian Woodworking products, and to use the post for promotional purposes without further compensation, as well as the right to use the poster's name in a credit along with the post.


Working with reclaimed wood is a savvy use of resources, and the material's country appeal is undeniable. With just a saw and a small drill, you can reuse old fencing to make these simple woodworking projects: picket-inspired picture frames. Finish them off by hot-gluing clothespins or bulldog clips to hang your prints. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

This is one of those things that you never know you need unless you have one. This amazing wooden sofa sleeve works perfectly on either or both sides of a sofa set. It gives your sofa a nice look. The sleeve can also be modified to include a cup holder, mobile holder, etc. You can easily find this item on any online furniture store, but an even better idea is to build one. This way, you can make a sofa sleeve design that you actually like and make space for cup and other things.
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).
Below is a list of my top 12 DIY woodworking websites. This list is in no particular order and is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list. There is so much free and paid information available for DIY woodworkers at all skilled levels on the web, it would be impossible to list them all. As always, please support these sites by visiting them, leaving a comment, buying a plan, following them on social media, etc. Please let me know your favorite woodworking websites that I left of the list, enjoy!
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.
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
Hey, I want to build all of these (and I did read to the end), but my list of projects is so long that any one of these will have to wait ’til next year (and i don’t mean January). thanks for all these ideas. there is one more i read about in the Handy Family Man. It is an adaptation to your shop vac that puts the hose at your project so it sucks up the dust as it is produced. Wonderful, right? Maybe next year!

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.
Do you have DVDs scattered all over the room? We offer this handsome cabinet as one solution to the clutter. As shown, the cabinet is 42 in. wide and holds about 60 DVD cases. Go ahead and expand or shrink the width to better hold your collection or to fit a particular spot on the wall. The construction techniques will be the same no matter the width.
×