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Discover the Process of Designing Your Ultimate Woodshop

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

Welcome to The Art of Woodshop Design!

What is the most important asset you have, besides your brain, for your woodworking?  Your shop, of course!  This site will walk you through the design process, as well as the build process of transforming your woodshop.  You’ll learn from a community of hobbyist and business woodworkers.  You’ll discover:

  • Ways to increase your shop time
  • How to prioritize your shop projects
  • How to develop your unique shop criteria and wish list
  • How business and engineering principles can revolutionize your shop operations
  • Low vs. high value shop improvements
  • Workflow design
  • The importance of how your shop looks and how to approach the design
  • How to quickly improve your comfort while in the shop

You’ll have access to many valuable resources:

  • Flowcharts
  • Checklists
  • Spreadsheets
  • Project design drawings
  • Sample layouts

From time to time, we’ll review tools and gadgets that are either worth buying or a waste of money.  We’ll evaluate whether you should “buy it now” or wait.  Innovative ways of thinking, tips, and not-often-mentioned tricks are peppered throughout this site.   You’ll find real-life shop safety ideas you can integrate into your design, so you can sleep better knowing that your set-up helps to naturally steer you towards safe practices.

I encourage you to subscribe to this blog so you’ll be able to  read and absorb these articles and supplements as they are written.  Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for your free 11-page supplement, Woodshop Design Outline.

Why Design Your Shop?

Are you frantically bouncing around your shop to get different tools?  Do you have “blackout days” due to weather conditions?  Sick of looking at the unfinished walls with spider webs?  Embarrassed to have clients in your shop to look at their project in progress?  Your creative work is art made by you, so why can’t your woodshop be a reflection of you?

Design is the solution; do your thinking first, so when you start building you’re confident everything you need to eliminate your problems and enhance your shop time has been considered.  You’ll find yourself being far more prolific in your output of projects, more motivated than ever to be in your shop, and inspired by your surroundings.

Start Now

So, how do you go about re-vamping your shop?  Where to start?  It can seem like such a huge project with millions of possibilities that it just gets put off.  The first thing to do is get everything you have in your head on paper.

Define your Goals

I find that using a mindmap is the easiest way to get it all out and organize it at the same time.  A mindmap is simply a diagram consisting of a topic idea at the center of a page, with subtopic lines radiating from it, and branch lines as offshoots.  On each radiating line, put ideas and sub-category ideas as branches.  When you’re done, it’ll look like an ice crystal.  For some reason this method follows the natural way you think, and reminds me of fractal geometry, which is how much of the universe works.  Why fight nature?  Go with this flow of thought, and it will give you confidence you’re covering everything.  See the PDF Mindmap Example link in this post for your free download.  You can also refer to for a more in-depth article on mindmaps.

Start your Design

After mindmapping your ideas, you can outline your design criteria and start filling in the details.  Then, you can flip through woodworking magazines, float around online, read this blog, and do other research that adds to your list of what you want.  When it’s all on paper, you begin to see what things have a higher impact on your day-to-day woodworking, and what projects need to be done before others.  At that point, you’ll be ready to generate a series of sketches and refine them until you’re happy with what’s on your plans.  You can leave some small details to figure out as you’re constructing, otherwise you are in danger of being in the design phase too long without building something.

Mark up your layout several times, and physically walk through your most common processes as you move your stations around. Once you have your ideal layout, draw it and start your dust collection and electrical plan.

Polish Your Design

Review your design, thinking about the “big picture”.  Is your layout good for workflow?  Do you have sufficient room to assemble your projects?  What if you have multiple projects happening at the same time?  Does everything have a place that is convenient to access?  There are many questions that you’ll need to ask, which is largely what this blog is about.


Start building what you’ve designed after thinking about the best order of construction.  To some degree, you can start building things while some details or future projects are being designed.

Perhaps this blog will keep you motivated, and provide you with the targeted thoughts you need to complete your woodshop design.  You can follow my shop’s progress as I implement the design projects to optimize my enjoyment through a comfortable environment and tailor-made workflow.

I can tell you that by using a small percentage of your shop time dedicated to the shop itself you’ll be stunned at how much more exciting it will be to stand amongst your tools and focus on what you can create.

Leave a comment below, and let everyone know what would your ideal woodshop look like and do for you!

Click on the link below for the free supplement to this post:

PDF Mindmap Example

Connect with me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter for more ninja tips to Optimize Your Woodshop!


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Woodshop Design Outline (FREE)



Enter your name and email below to get your free copy of this organized and detailed checklist to jump-start your woodshop design today!

Also, you’ll get weekly WoodChip Tips, design ideas, free useful downloads, free mini-courses, and other cool stuff in The Other Side of Zero newsletter!


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