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Optimize your woodshop for the way you work and you'll enjoy your craft on another level.

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I really enjoy creating these, and this is precisely what I do to improve my own shop, based on hundreds of hours of doing, reading, thinking, and designing out of pure passion for woodworking and creativity.  This Design Outline is what I use to make sure I’m not building before incorporating all the things I want.

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Thanks again, and here’s to Optimizing Your Woodshop!

Gotta get more clamps,

20 Responses to “Email Request Confirmed”

  1. Gene Schultz says:

    Suggestions sought for best bench dimenions for Powermatic 701M Mortiser…
    Particularly height of bench top

  2. Patricica haris says:

    Thank you I am just in the process of setting up my wood shop.

  3. Joseph Calvarino says:

    I would like some advice about setting up a woodshop in an area that is 6 feet x 14 feet … Please advise

  4. Mike Zeisset says:

    I am having a wood/laser shed built for myself, my son and his family. It will be a 30×60 wood shed with a 30×40 basement (epilog laser stuff and small bench-top “hobby shop” for the little people )and dust collectors. The walls are poured, waiting on weather to pour basement floor and 20×30 slab on the main floor. (Having to wait on others can be a issue; I am 73 and no longer can trust my body to do a big projects). I plan to put the dust collecting and power to the equipment in the floor; coming through the floor in a metal box with a lid on it so I could unhook the machinery, close the lid, move machinery and have a level floor. I seen this somewhere in a book, magazine or/ on line but can’t remember where. Have you any knowledge of this? (Looking for the answer is how I found your site – good for you!).
    Tools if interested: 5hp Ind. SawStop, 20″ PM (HH)planer, 8″ PM (HH)jointer, General shaper, 22/24 Performax drum sander, 14″ bandsaw, jet drill press 8′ panel clam system, Legacy Artisan II 48×96 w/11×96 spindle, Epilog CO2 Fusion 40 120-watt Laser, Oneida dust collectors and am looking into some super max products among other stuff (30×30 was to be my intended “dream shop”; Oh well).
    OK – My son’s life was coming apart. So I decided not to give him just money but a Fish Story. The one that goes like this: Give a person a fish, feed for a day; Teach them to fish…… So now I will have a place of enjoyment and maybe he may have a place of employment. (And his inheritance won’t evaporate in the wind). That is my whopper of a fish story and I’m sticking to it..

  5. Don says:

    I think the number and type of doors is driven by the climate where your shop is and how much ventilation and access you need. I suppose that is obvious but I am just finishing up a shop and will tell you what I did in my 60′ X 24′ space.

    One end has a 10′ X 10′ door for bringing in materials and equipment and taking projects out. I have a beam with a 1 Ton electric hoist just above the door on the inside. Since I have a garage attached to one side, I put double doors between the garage and shop to allow easy movement of anything large. One third of the way from the other end of the shop, I have double doors opening to the outside on each side of the shop. When the large barn door and these side doors are open, I get great ventilation and it is almost like working outdoors. I love that. Of course there are also windows that help with the ventilation.

    The one unique door I used was for the large barn door at the end. I didn’t think a hinged door that big would hold up well. I also wanted it to seal because the shop has heating and cooling. I went with an aircraft hangar door that splits in the middle horizontally and folds up like an awning over the door when it is fully opened. I put boards on the outside to make it look like a large barn door that opens vertically so it looks great when closed and opens to a full 10′ X 10′ when open. It is solid as the wall when closed and seals tight. Of course, a bit pricey but there aren’t a lot of inexpensive solutions that I found and a sliding door is almost impossible to seal up.

    Good luck with your project.

  6. Mike Mahavier says:

    I am planning a 30×30 workshop. I know that I want a large door (garage door, double doors, or large sliding door), but not sure how many regular doors to install. Any advice appreciated.

  7. Stuart says:

    Stumbling upon this site was very timely. I’ve got a bare slab (20×30) in the back yard that has been waiting for me to get moving and have a workshop framed on top of it. I’m in the bidding phase for framing and electric and I can’t see a better time to get serious about an efficient layout. Thanks in advance for the education I’m about to receive.

  8. Tom says:

    Looking forward to helpful tips to improve my small shop on a tight budget.

  9. arnie siverson says:

    looking forward to the help and information

  10. Narciso says:

    Yes I confirm.

  11. Don says:

    Great timing. I look forward to receiving your workshop design ideas. I am finally desinging the dream shop. I have had many as I moved over many years. Mostly in basements then in large garages. This time I am building a large barn on some beautiful property in Texas Hill Country. My equipment has been in storage for over 5 years and I am looking forward to moving crates to my shop around year end. I have several big projects to work into the design. Dust collection is going to be much more extensive because the shop is very large. Also, I have designed a space tor a finishing room but it is pretty hard to find info and resources for that.

    I will go through your document as soon as it arrives. Thanks.

    • Bobby says:

      Nice! A stand-alone shop to me is the ultimate! Make sure you design the building envelope to keep you comfortable (i.e. insulation, radiant barriers if it gets hot/ sunny, high closable vents to let out hot air, maybe radiant floor heating, etc.), then look at a way to keep humidity at bay like an AC system with dehumidification capability. Seal it up nicely to keep bugs out and unwanted infiltration/ exfiltration at bay. I found that the projects to make the shop comfortable are the hardest to retrofit into an existing space, but are easy if designed into it.

      The exciting part to me is the space-planning/ tool arranging, electrical layout/ circuiting, and of course the dust collection system.

      For the finishing room, I plan on making an outbuilding just for that since I don’t have space for a separate room. I want to have it well-insulated, etc. as well as protected from dust. This means filters on any vents for air intake, so they’ll be sized larger to accommodate. I use mostly water-based finishes when spraying but sometimes use poly/oil blends so any fan will have a sparkless (often called “explosion-proof”) motor. I’ll have cross-ventilation such that air is drawn from behind me and over the project that is being sprayed, and exhausted out. I want to make sure to minimize contaminated air reaching my nose. All of the inside walls, floors, & ceiling will be easily cleanable with both water and harsh chemicals so they’ll be metal tile or sheet metal shingles or something like that, and kept simply shaped so I don’t have nooks and crannies to accumulate finishing overspray.

      Let me know what you encounter as problems and share any of your solutions too!


      • Michael says:

        Wow, I just got an email notice of a comment on this site. I can’t believe I posted this message over 18 months ago! So a lot has happened since March 2012. My wife decided she needed to experience life that she didn’t get to when we got married. So now I have my own house that originally didn’t have a garage/work shop. Well, my house is just over 1300 sq.ft. and my garage and shop now cover over 1600 sq.ft.! I’ve recently primed and painted the OSB walls in the garage so I could empty my storage garages. New management at the old apartment complex wants me out of the garages by the end of Oct. since I am no longer a tenant in the complex. I’ve got one garage emptied now and the second is well over half emptied. After I’m free of the storage garages, I’ll be concentrating on painting the OSB walls in the work shop. After that, I’ll seriously work on arrangement and benches/tables. It’s been a long process, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

  12. Michael says:

    Wow! This is an amazing wealth of information! I was almost finished building my shop in alabama when we up and relocated to NC. That shop was my “dream shop”. 24′ x 36′ with small bathroom/office (mostly dust free). Now we’re looking for a house in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area and hoping to find a house with enough land to build another shop. I’ll definitely read though your outline so I can do even better on the next one.

    Thanks for all the great information!

  13. Smithy says:

    Found this site while researching dust collection.
    Technically I’m a remodeler,
    but inherited a woodshop from a friend’s father.
    Long story…..
    Means my current modest workshop will get a much-needed expansion,
    and Wife of Smithy may become testy.
    “EXACTLY how many saws do you need ??!!?”

    Hoping to get some tips on making a successful transition
    in a true MacGyver fashion.

    • Bobby says:

      MacGyver was awesome!

      I do some remodel work in my house and use the workshop to make doors, shelving, cabinets, and yard furniture. So it will benefit your place (maybe build your wife some stuff)…

      I’d say you need at least 2 bandsaws, a table saw, a miter saw, and a panel saw…hehe…not to mention a jigsaw, handsaws,circular saw, reciprocating saw…

  14. Todd Tober says:

    Thanks for the info!! I’ve been gradually growing out of my 2 car garage setup- especially when my wife wants to actually use it to park her car… Anyway, we are building a new house this spring and underneath the 4 car garage will be my walkout workshop space! Obviously I want to get it right so this outline will be a great start.
    Happy New Year!

    • Bobby says:

      You’re welcome! Happy 2012! Let me know if I can be of any help. The Plans & Resources page (link at the top, or click here: ) has links to my shop’s design drawings and some details. I have my electrical plan, dust collection plan, shop layout, wall construction, etc. to give you some ideas/ inspiration. If noise is an issue for you, I’ll be finishing my post on shop soundproofing (Part II) in a few days. I’ve finalized my design on that so I can avoid annoying my neighbors with late night woodworking.

  15. Bobby says:

    I know what you mean; I’m still reading my Sony Cybershot 12 mega-pixel pocket camera…

  16. Vic Hubbard says:

    I downloaded your outline. Nice touch. I’ll get to reading it later. I go my Nikon D5100 in today. Gotta go read that. ;o)

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