How to Set Up a Woodworking Shop

Organize all the tools for easy access. Craig Jewell (CraigPJ)

Very few homes have large enough space to give the woodworker all the room he needs to complete his projects. In order to set up a woodworking shop in the smaller areas, he needs to be creative and flexible. However, if there is forethought and planning used, then many areas can hold much more than originally thought and some parts of the house, not thought suitable can suddenly transform into the ideal workshop.

Organize all the tools for easy access. Craig Jewell (CraigPJ)

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Ventilation
  • Electrical Outlets
  • Storage
  • Safety Gear
  • Pencil
  • Table Space
  • Heat
  • Rolling Tables For Small Area
  • Floor Mat
  • Graph Paper
  • Tools Of Your Choice

Plan the shop around large stationary tools. Since the larger tools like a table saw, shaper, drill press, radial arm saw, jointer, band saw, lathe or routing table are difficult to move with ease, its best to lay them out on a diagram first. Create a scale drawing of the area and a scale of the large pieces of equipment and furniture to start the drawing.

Select where you put them by your criteria. Sometimes the criterion is easy, particularly if you have a small space. The large pieces of equipment go where they will fit. In an ideal situation, you can lay out your shop design to follow the processes on a woodworking project so you move around the room from one machine to the next.

Consider the electrical outlets. A woodworking shop requires more outlets and the need increases as you continue to collect power tools. If you are rewiring the area, remember to add additional outlets for future growth. Any tool that needs more than six amps also needs a separate circuit in most situations.

Put the big items on wheels. An item like the table saw is probably one of the heaviest in the workshop. It requires a stationary place because of the weight, unless you have it on a wheeled base. If your table saw or other large piece of equipment doesn't have a wheeled base, have a friend that does metal work create a base with wheels for you. A set of three wheels with the one in the front pivot gives the most maneuverability and two triangular blocks shoved under the front is a great break when you need it stable.

Make sure that you have heat and ventilation. Some of the areas that you might use don't have adequate windows or air intake. You need to consider creating a method for ventilating the woodworking shop. Heat is also an important creature comfort, so plan a method to heat the area if there is none. Rubber mats in front of machines give your feet a soothing rest while you stand on concrete and keep the cold concrete floor below the mat.

Build your own workbench with storage. A workbench with a tilt out tool chest, vises with sliding dog blocks and sliding fence gives additional storage space. You also might find that a shop dolly with additional storage makes the most out of your existing space.

Use the walls for shelves with holes to hang screwdrivers, clamps and jars with a variety of different screws. If you screw the lid of a jar to the underside of the shelf, you can fill the jar with nails, screws and other small pieces, screw it onto the lid letting it hang and still have space on the shelf. Not only cupboards and shelves are candidates for the wall, a fold down workbench and tool cabinet with pegboard as the backing also gives additional room to the small workshop area.


  • Don't forget to set up an area for safety gear, fire extinguishers and earplugs.