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How To Set Up a Woodworking Shop



Woodworking in a small space doesn't have to feel cramped. When it comes to setting up a small woodworking shop, all you need is a little planning, mobility and organization. We've outlined some tips for getting your space and tools set up so you end up with a woodshop layout that works for you.

How To Create a Woodshop Design for Your Space

When developing your woodshop design, you'll need to figure out the best way to maximize the space. You'll also need to factor in whether the space will be shared or used by others, like in the case of a garage. No matter where you choose to set up your woodshop, you'll need to create a designated space just for woodworking. Once you have that space, take a look around and consider the following:

  1. Is there sufficient lighting in this space? Most likely not. So you will need to install more or brighter lighting. You can also add task lighting to your workstations. Remember, good lighting is a woodworker’s best friend!
  2. Is there proper ventilation in this space? You'll be making a lot of dust and using chemicals that you don't want trapped in one confined area. If you are using a garage, you'll need to get a fan to encourage air circulation.
  3. Is temperature going to need to be controlled in this space? If so, it's not a bad idea to get a small air conditioner unit. Working in a hot woodshop can suck the fun right out of your project.
  4. Do you have easy access to power outlets? Woodworking requires ample power, and most likely you'll need some extra power strips to get the job done. We recommend looking for wall-mounted power strips so you don't have to constantly bend down to plug in and unplug tools.
  5. What will I need to keep the space clean? A clean, organized woodshop is a beautiful thing. Again, you'll be dealing with a lot of dust and debris, so investing in a shop vac is a great idea. Also, if you are using a shared area, try hanging a curtain to separate your space. That way you can minimize the spread of your mess beyond your woodshop.
  6. What can I do to make my woodshop more comfortable? Many woodworkers will recommend getting an anti-fatigue mat. This is a relatively cheap way to make standing on your feet for long periods of time easy. You can also look into getting floor coverings with a bit more padding that you can use throughout the woodshop.

The Best Way To Set Up Stationary Tools in a Woodshop

Now that you have your space prepped, it's time for the tools. Most likely, you'll have a nice collection of stationary and hand tools that will live in your woodshop. The best piece of advice when setting up your woodshop is to make mobility your friend. That means take those stationary tools that tend to be too heavy to move and make them mobile. You can do this by buying carts to place those tools on. That way you can easily move your bigger tools wherever you need them. You can also do this with your workbench. For stationary tools that aren't as heavy but that you still don't want to move too much, try using a foldable stand. This way you can store the tool when it's not in use. Be sure to buy any tables or carts at the right height. You want your tools to sit at a proper and comfortable height. Again, mobility is your friend, especially in a small space! Set up your tools this way now and you will be thankful down the line.

Organizing Your Woodshop

We've said it before and we'll say it again: An organized and clean woodshop is your best friend! One way to accomplish this? Set up an organization system that works for you. Here are three tips for how to get a woodshop layout that is well organized:

1. Create a System That Works for You

The first thing you need to think about is how you like a space to be organized. How do you look for things? What makes it easy for you to find something? If you like to see everything, then you may want to utilize shelving and pegboards. If you prefer everything tucked away and out of sight, then you'll love tool chests. Are you a little forgetful? Consider getting a label maker to label drawers or boxes to take the guesswork out of finding what you need. Browse the web for inspiration, and think about whether the systems you see can work for you (and your space). When you organize a space to better fit your preferences, you're more likely to keep it in order because it comes more naturally.

2. Use Wall and Ceiling Space

Your floor space is going to be taken up mostly by tools and your workbench. This means it's time to go vertical. Shelves are cheap and easy to install. You can also make tables that attach to your wall and fold out when you need to use them. One classic organization tool used by woodworkers is a pegboard. They are a great option because they are inexpensive and give you the freedom to customize to fit your needs. You can use the pegboard for smaller hand tools and other handy supplies, such as measuring tapes and levels. We recommend using a pegboard for tools you use often so that you can easily grab and go.

Adding ceiling hooks can be another great use of vertical space. You can use these hooks for extra electrical cords, lights, curtains, air hoses and whatever else you may need to hang!

3. Invest in a Tool Chest

Tool chests are great for keeping your space organized. While these will take up some floor space, opt for a mobile chest that you can move around when you need to. Another great feature of tool chests is you can find drawer organizers that will hold items like screwdrivers in place. You'll love how all your tools and supplies are kept neat and tidy instead of rolling around and turning into a mess.



Now that you have the framework for setting up a woodshop, it's time to create your design. The thing about woodshops is that the layout often isn’t stagnant. This is one reason mobility is so important. As you add tools to your collection or expand, you are going to need to move and adjust your space. Just remember that this is totally fine and just part of woodworking.