Last Updated on May 12, 2022 | Andrew Jason
Whether you’re a hobbyist, a DIYer, or a rookie woodworker, preparing ahead should come as second nature to everyone. That’s why setting up a woodworking shop, no matter how small, should be the first item on your to-do list ahead of you even when you begin working on anything. The method you use will be determined primarily by the amount of space you have available—whether it be a garage, a shed, or a basement—as well as your financial constraints. Whatever the extent of your business, you’ll find various recommendations below on how to make it appear larger, more organized or how to manage the workflow to make the most of the space you have available to you.
When it comes to making anything with your own hands, if you are anything like me, the prospect of doing so appeals to you for various reasons. Unfortunately, finishing a wood project without using a shop and readily available accessories always might be difficult to accomplish. To be skillful, you must understand how to set up a woodworking shop and fill it with the instruments required.
What we have covered
Step 1: Figure Out The Space You’ll Need
Setting up a woodshop is no big deal, but it requires much work and detailing. That’s like asking how many clamps you’ll need — the answer is that you’ll never have enough of anything. While having a lot of space is nice, the goal is to make the most of your productive space. When it comes to practicality, straight lines are more important than area, and where objects will go in space is more important than how much space there is. There are tons of woodworking shop ideas. Many shop processes, such as planning and jointing, entail working with long lengths of wood. For this reason, a longer space (or even an L-shaped space) may be preferable to square space.
Although square footage is crucial, how you use it is equally vital. You’ll find a plethora of shop planners available online. Many of them have configurable layouts and include standard shop equipment. Download those, cut out the tools and experiment with several layouts to see which one best utilizes the available area while keeping in mind the direction wood moves when working with it.
Planers and jointers are linear tools, which means that the breadth of their placement is less essential than the entire length of the workpiece. For instance, a benchtop planer may be less than 24 inches wide, but if you’re planning an 8-foot board, you’ll need 16 feet of linear area to complete the task. A miter saw is likewise linear; however, it is linear in width rather than front to back. A table saw can cut wood in both directions. Consider the workflow as well. Going from wood storage to milling and preparation, then cutting and assembly, and finally finishing is typical.
Organize your workspace such that everything you do flows seamlessly from one procedure to the next. Adding wheels to your equipment can essentially double the amount of work area you have available to you. That example of a planer you saw earlier. Install a wheeled stand wherever you need to achieve the length you need while using the planer, and then roll it into a corner when you’re through. Your entire shop can be on wheels, or it can be a small garage woodworking shop.
Step 2: Select the Tools
You can’t have a workshop until you have all the necessary equipment! Every one of the tools should be picked precisely. We believe that hand tools should be available to every woodworker, even after he starts to invest in power CNC tools, and that every woodworker must have a good collection of hand tools. Several different palm routers are hung on my wall in various positions. Be aware that regardless of whether you are a hand tool or power tool woodworker, you will require certain equipment for your shop. CNC Routers, router bits, router tables and lifts are basic needs. I have much more rulers and tape measures than I want to count in my collection of tools. Some are SAE units, while others are Metric units (or both).
Two-foot box levels are also among the tools in my arsenal. In addition, you will require a few marking devices. In addition to soft marking instruments such as pencils and markers, you might consider purchasing an awl. Another wise investment will be a marking gauge, or better yet, a mortising gauge if that is available in your situation. A nice pair of safe woodworking gloves might also come in handy when working with the hand-held power tools you own. If you decide on starting your business with some stationary equipment, we recommend investing in the best cnc routers and router spindles.
Go for the best router bits, cnc clamps, and router table fences. Finally, be certain that you have a sufficient supply of basic safety equipment. It is recommended that you use safety eyewear, ear protection, aprons and gloves always when working with hazardous materials. A safe business is a clean shop, so even if you have a specialized dust collection system, you’ll want to use a shop vacuum to maintain workspaces clean to ensure that everyone is safe.
Step 3: Organize Your Workshop
Wood shop organization is one of the most important steps. Creating and maintaining an orderly work environment allows for a more enjoyable and safe experience. Instead of wasting time seeking a piece of equipment, you may use your time creating something. When goods are not in use, tool chests are ideal for keeping them safe and secure. These chests are far larger than a toolbox, allowing you to store a greater number of objects more efficiently. They are also available in several designs to accommodate your specific tool requirements. You can print or even download layouts from the internet for small woodworking shop layout plans.
In addition to chests, Pegboards have shown to be extremely useful in keeping a shop well-organized. Installing hangers within arms’ reach is made possible by mounting pegboards over my bench. You can use such hangers to store a few hand tools and other items such as tapes if needed later. The use of ceiling-mounted hangers is another storage option that should be considered. The ones I have in my shop are used to house electrical cords and extra work lights to keep my workspace organized. Others utilize their ceiling hangers in conjunction with one another to store wood, air hoses, and enormous six-foot carpenter t-squares and I-beam levels, among other things. Bringing up the subject of storage containers like tool bags and buckets, you would be astonished at how many items may be kept under your workbench in these containers.
Step 4: Mechanical Consideration
Unless you intend to work entirely using hand tools, most woodworking machines will require power to operate. Meanwhile, the temperature requirements of your body (as well as the wood finishing) must be met. You are unable to escape as well. Basements and garages are common places to find outlets in a home; older construction tends to have fewer outlets, whereas newer construction tends to have more. After considering your plan from the previous part, you need to examine how you’ll provide electricity to those tools. Small shops may get by with just a few outlets and the careful use of extension cords that are adequately rated for the tools they are working with. Consider hiring an electrician to run additional lines in your shop if you have a larger space. If you do, plan the time where your wood shop tools will be placed, and new lines and outlets will be added.
Also, be mindful of the amount of voltage and amps your tools require to operate. Many modern residences are equipped with breaker boxes that supply 110-volt, 20-amp lines to electrical outlets. When it comes to older residences, the amperage may be lower, and the overall amperage may be insufficient to run household necessities and workshop tools. Your electrician will assist you here but make a list of the items you will need ahead of time.
Your heating and cooling requirements are determined by the structure that houses your shop as well as your geographic location. Basements may be a little chilly in the winter, but they’re normally warm and pleasant all year. On the other hand, Garage shops can become extremely chilly in the winter (although they are rarely below freezing) and unbearably hot in the summer. On the other hand, a freestanding structure will have the same heating and cooling requirements as a small house. Consider installing space heaters and dressing in layers during the colder months and storing temperature-sensitive glues and finishes in a warmer area during the warmer months. For basement woodwork shops, consult an HVAC professional to determine whether your home’s heating and cooling system can handle the additional square footage created by adding a few additional vents in the shop. Consider installing a window in your garage to allow for a fresh breeze, or perhaps an air conditioner. Floor fans are a great addition to any shop, whether in the summer or the winter. You can even build a woodworking shed.
Fans are vital for a variety of reasons other than merely temperature management. Shop air can soon become stale, and you certainly don’t want to be inhaling fumes from finishing products while working. Most typical garages include at least one window used for ventilation, and you can always lift the door a few inches if necessary. A well-placed floor fan or window unit can quickly exhaust the accumulated gases and dust in a small shop. Consider turning a window – such as the popular fold-down kind positioned at the top of a wall – into an effective ventilation unit for a basement business by replacing a glass pane with an exhaust fan and installing an exhaust fan above the window. When not in use, these fans typically feature retractable doors that can be closed to keep out bugs in the summer and cold weather in the winter. Many of these fans also have selectable airflow directions, allowing you to choose whether to exhaust shop air or pull fresh air in from the outside.
Step 5: Floors and Lighting
The floor that comes with your area is satisfactory. Basements and garages will almost certainly have concrete floors, whereas a separate structure might have concrete or plywood flooring as well. These are all fine, but they could be even better if painted with a coat of floor paint. Painted surfaces are easier to clean and prevent the rare spill from soaking into the surface.
Working on a concrete floor for an extended period will cause your feet, legs, and back to become tired at the end of the day. Cushioned work mats should be placed in areas where you stand and work the most – in front of heavy tools, workbenches, cabinets, and so on. Another alternative is interlocking cushioned vinyl tiles, which are like carpet tiles. A wooden floor is hard to top when providing all-day foot comfort. For those with high ceilings (and a sufficient budget), installing a new plywood floor over the existing concrete is a godsend.
It is not nearly as harsh compared to concrete, and if it is raised high enough, it allows you to install wiring, dust collecting, and HVAC ducts beneath it. It is impossible to have too much light, as it is impossible to have too many clamps or too much working space. On the other hand, hanging shop lights are relatively inexpensive and can be found at any large box store. Shop lights are simple to install on joists in a basement or garage; screw-in hooks can be used to secure them for finished ceilings.
Consider LED lighting fixtures as an alternative to fluorescent lighting. They do not flicker like fluorescent lights, are not harmed by cold weather, and appear to endure indefinitely. LEDs are initially more expensive, but they are a better investment in the long term. LEDs are also more energy-efficient than traditional types of lighting, and most of them can be linked together. That is, once the first fixture is installed, subsequent fixtures can be linked together to form a continuous path of bright, full-coverage lights, all powered by a single electrical outlet. Models differ in terms of how many will be joined together, so verify the package specifications.
Step 6: Power Your Tools
Unless you are constructing a workstation for conventional hand tools in your woodwork shop, you will want a significant amount of electrical power for your shop to function properly. Your Bit and Brace will not require an electrical outlet, but a power drill requires one. The electrical sockets in your workshop should be 110 volts and 220 volts. Many hand-held power tools will operate from a typical 110-volt home outlet. Larger tools with low-horsepower engines will also frequently use certain conventional electrical outlets. Larger power tools, typically used in stationary equipment, will have motors requiring 220-volt electrical outlets. If you intend to use equipment that requires a 220-volt power source, you should designate a separate plug for each piece of equipment. You should consider installing at least one 220-volt outlet in your shop, even if you only intend to utilize power tools that operate on 110 volts or less.
Consider where you want to put the outlets as you design the kind of outlets you’ll need. This will help you select the best location for them. In a shop, having outlets that are quickly accessible is critical, especially if you have a limited amount of space to work in. The fact that you must go on your hands and knees to connect something will put a damper on your woodworking pleasure. A large majority of the shops in my complex are built to the maximum height permitted by building regulations. It makes it simple to get to the outlet and the items plugged into it.
Step 7: Hire Some Qualified Woodworkers
Although you may want to put in all the effort necessary to get your shop up and operating, reality may have different plans for you. Allowing yourself to take on too much can transform something delightful into a source of stress, and it may even cause you to give up before you even get started. There is nothing wrong with enlisting the assistance of a professional, especially if you are constructing a standalone shop.
Start by looking online, where articles and videos will show you examples of various woodworking shops that others have built. This will make it simple for you to go to the DIY wood shop. You will soon have a functional workshop that will allow you to explore the world of woodworking fully. Following creating a layout, identify what electrical work will be required. Also, take the time to think about your HVAC and ventilation alternatives and requirements. Like mine, many shops have a sink or toilet that will require plumbing.
Another assistance with setting up your shop space, your equipment, and even the storage you will require is available if you are truly pressed for time or if you are feeling a little scared by the prospect. This could be the ideal opportunity to enlist the assistance of other family members by transforming your woodshop into a family project. Alternatively, you might like to undertake all of the work yourself as you design the ideal man-cave. There is no requirement to own a complete collection of massive and expensive saws and planers. Just make certain that you have your measurements correct before purchasing your wood.
Step 8: Put Everything Together
Putting together a workshop may be one of the most enjoyable tasks you can engage in. It is a long-term commitment. As you develop in your woodworking, you should increase the size of your workplace. You will, sooner or later, need to make changes to your workshop, regardless of what you come up with. This will be especially true if you get access to additional equipment, learn how to work without some of it, and begin taking on larger and more intricate tasks.
For this reason alone, we recommend that any store project include some additional space to allow for future growth and expansion. Also, remember that you do not have to take on all the tasks listed above at once to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Decide what you will work on and what you can afford to spend your time and money on. Keep a beginners woodworking kit in it as well.
Your new workshop should feel like a comfortable pair of old shoes that you can walk around in. Ergonomics is a term product designers use to describe how a product works. We’ll call it common sense for the time being. The height of your workbench is entirely up to you and your imagination. Adjust the height of each tool, bench, and cabinet to accommodate your height. For example, drill presses and band saws should modify their heights to provide a comfortable working environment. Determine the distance from the ground to your waist and use that measurement to set the height of each worktable to your comfort level. This is often the most comfortable work surface height for your body height and height of work.
Although your day job may already be centered on woodworking, there’s no substitute for having a personal workshop where you can experiment with projects that are close to your heart when pursuing it as a hobby. You can either set up a home woodworking shop or build a woodworking shop anywhere out. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most important considerations when setting up your woodworking shop and how to make the space function best for you. The information provided above will spark some ideas for shopping layout but note that there is no single correct way to accomplish things. Knowing how frustrating the process may be, we came up with this guide to teach you setting up a woodwork shop. Hopefully, this article will aid you in getting past this obstacle and on your way to completing your next assignment.