Woodworking Shop Setup – What's The Ideal Layout?

By February 14, 2018Uncategorized

I'll just say it up front, there really is not one ideal woodworking shop layout! What is ideal for you will depend on the space, tools, and storage needs you have. A well laid out woodworking shop is a pleasure to work in, and with a little foresight, you can prepare a shop that's the envy of all your woodworking friends.

Your woodworking shop will greatly benefit from organization. A great way to visualize an organized shop is to sit down with pen and paper and map out where everything should go in a scale drawing. Taking this idea a step further, do a mock layout with graph paper and first draw the dimensions of your shop including any obstructions such as doorways, pipes or furnaces. Next, make scale paper cutouts of each major tool or feature such as work benches and storage racks.

Laying Out The Woodworking Shop For Efficiency

The key to an ideal shop is to be able to use it efficiently. One task should flow into the next, with a minimum of movement and tools should be easy to access and in the right location for the job. I recommend, as much as possible, to lay out your woodworking shop either in a straight line or in a circle so the project progresses from start to finish in the following sequence:

  • Raw Stock Storage – The starting point. This is where you grab your raw material and get ready to turn it into something. Smaller stock can often be stored under work benches or tools that are on stands.
  • Stock Preparation Area – Your Table Saw, Miter Saw, Jointer and Planer fall into this area. You're simply taking larger pieces and cutting them to useable size.
  • Shaping and Joinery Area – Your Band Saw, Drill Press, Router and Belt Sander go here. This is where you make your joints and do final shaping of the stock.
  • Finishing / Assembly Area – If you have the space you can separate these, but if you can not do it in the same area. If your space allows, a central workbench will help make things go smoother when handling and assembling larger pieces. Clamp racks should be close on hand for assembly.

Keep in mind the space required for in feed and out feed, including support for large stock. In limited space (and which is not?) It's a good idea to have sold used machines on casters in case you need to rearrange a bit mid project. Building supports and cabinets so that the working surfaces are a uniform height allows work pieces to slide out of one work area and be supported on the next without muss and fuss.

With these suggestions in mind, take your paper cutouts and experiment with different floor plans, until you come up with one you think will work best. Do not be discouraged if you have to tweak it here and there, sometimes it's hard to get a good idea of ​​how things will feel until you are ripping a 4×8 sheet of plywood and it knocks the drill press over!


Source by Alvin Zaleski

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