Video: Setting Up a Small Woodworking Shop
Every woodworker would like to have more workshop space. A large space is nice for many reasons, but you actually don't need a large space to set up an effective shop.
In order to demonstrate, we set up a complete woodworking shop in one corner of a typical two car garage. This workshop includes all the key tools necessary to tackle a wide variety of woodworking projects and still allows two cars to park in the garage. Take a video tour of this shop with Rob Johnstone from Woodworker’s Journal. Rob points out his favorite tools in this shop and shares several tips to consider when setting up your workshop.
Video: Setting Up a Small Woodworking Shop - Video Transcript
Rob Johnstone: Most of us would workers dream of having a larger workshop, but the truth of the matter is you can do effective woodworking in a pretty small space. Today, we're going to show you how we set up a workshop in just part of a two car garage and we even left room for the cars and some additional storage. Let me show you. As you can see, we've designated one corner here for our woodworking tools.
It's roughly 11 by 11 and it has enough tools in it that you can build almost any kind of woodworking project. Plus, there's room to park a car while you're working. The key is we keep everything we can mobile so that when we're done, we can park the second car. Now, I'm going to give you a tour of this entire shop and show you how we got so much efficiency into such a small space.
Let's start with the core of most shops, table saw. We opted for a portable jobsite saw that folds up and we can put it against the wall. It's useful and really efficient. Next, every workshop needs a router table, and this is the Rockler convertible benchtop router table. Don't let its small size fool you. It has all of the features of the full size router table, plus it folds up against the wall when we're done. I really like that.
Another key to working in a small space is flexibility. For example, by mounting this Triton spindle sander to Rocklers new face plate here, we can mount it in the table. Now, you have two tools in the footprint of one, it's perfect. Now, for table saws core to your shop, almost everybody will also want a sliding miter saw. We put ours on a rolling cart so that you can use it here in the shop or if you have longer pieces, you can roll it out into the driveway. It's very handy.
Dust collection is critical in any woodworking shop, but especially so in a small shop, but we don't need a huge dust collection system. We've used a shop vacuum. It's connected to a separator. The separator pulls out chips and other big debris that keeps your shop vacuum from filling up more quickly and keeps the filter cleaner longer. In addition to the separator, we have this hose rail which allows us to connect to almost any tool in the whole top shop.
Then when we're done, we just roll the hose right back up, and also allows us to maybe vacuum out a car if something gets dusty. Every workshop needs a workbench, but ideally in a small space, even the workbench should be mobile. That's why we use these casters from Rockler. They're workbench casters. We can move the bench to where we need it. When we set it down, it is rock solid.
This anti-fatigue mat we've placed at the bench makes that time you spent standing at your bench a lot easier on your body. Let's talk about how we utilize the wall for storage. You can't have too many clamps and hanging them on the wall is super efficient. Plus, we've got our bench cookies here and all their accessories. We've got a shelf for our glue and paper towels to clean up the glue mess when you're done.
Also, we have this wall-mounted power strip that has task lighting, USB charger, and a place to set your phone. Moving on down the line, we come to this T-Track assembly table. It's the new smaller size from Rockler, so it's perfect for a small shop, but it makes use of all of Rockler's T-Track assemblies. Of course, if you have enough space, you can always get the bigger one. Let's take a quick look behind the curtain, more about that in just a minute.
Let's talk a bit about this mechanics tool cart. These shallow drawers are commonly used for wrenches and those mechanic tools and sometimes we don't think of them for woodworking. In fact, by making use of this Lock-Align draw organizational system, these shallow drawers store all sorts of our woodworking supplies efficiently and you'll never lose sight of them. You know what the most overlooked aspect of almost any shop regardless of the size? Lighting.
Bright, even lighting makes your time in the shop safer, more efficient, and so much more pleasant. Here we've used for 5,000 lumen led lights ganged together and it makes all the difference. Finally, I want to tell you about one of my favorite fixtures in this small shop setting. I think you might have noticed some ceiling tracks when we were showing you the lights. That allows us to do a couple of things.
First, it allows me to hang that curtain that I mentioned earlier. It allows me to contain dust and debris, especially if I have a car parked on the other side. Secondly, we hung a special track right over our benches where we can make use of these hooks where we can hang hoses and cores and control them. It's especially handy for hanging parts when you're finishing.
There you have it. Handy little woodworking space that's here when you need it and out of the way when you don't. Now, I am well aware that many people might not even have this much space to work with. However, you can use the concepts that we've identified here to build your own. Use mobile tools, compact tools when it's appropriate, keep the place clean, especially with dust collection, and don't forget the lighting. I'm Rob Johnstone from Woodworker's Journal. Thank you for watching.