People often tell us they’re holding off on outfitting a shop until they can “do it right” — and their idea of doing it right is usually an almost unattainable goal that few people’s wallets could live up to. For the rest of us, making a go of it requires working with what we’ve got. Kevin Brady wrote an excellent article on setting up a small woodshop, and it might help get you off the fence and into your shop. He breaks it down like a fraction, with straight-up practical thinking.
Get a sheet of graph paper and sketch out to scale the boundaries of the space you will be using for your shop. Now take another sheet of graph paper and sketch (to the same scale) the footprint of each tool, bench, etc. Cut out the pieces with a scissors. You should now have a bunch of little paper shapes, representing all your stationary tools and fixtures.
Lay them out on top of your room sketch and see how they fit. Don’t forget to allow for infeed and outfeed spaces with your tools. You may find that these components don’t fit well in your space – or perhaps not at all. Time to get creative.
The daunting task of setting up your own shop often takes years to get right. Kevin wisely suggests right off the bat that you figure out what type of work you’re going to be doing in the shop, be it wood furniture or blacksmithing –- we couldn’t agree more.
And don’t make the common mistake of waiting till you have every tool known to man before you get down to some projects. A little planning and some creative thinking will take you a lot further than throwing money at every issue. After all, tools aren’t much fun if you can’t find ways to use them.
Tips For Designing And Setting Up A Small Woodshop [Kevin S. Brady]