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The Compact Woodworking Shop

Only a passionate woodworker will be able to fully grasp the continuing preoccupation of another devoted woodworker in seeking to enhance the efficiency of their woodworking shop. Those that can, expand their shop as they advance in ability and as additional woodworking tools and machines are acquired. It’s really best for a woodworker to establish the type and extent of woodworking to be performed from the outset to be in a position to make an accurate estimation of space required. This assists in projecting the amount of space necessary for the future, thus avoiding potentially costly expansions and design changes. The objective at all times when designing, constructing, expanding or setting up your workspace is efficiency, cost effectiveness and safety.

Avid woodworkers have likely have seen numerous shops on the internet or in books and magazines and ought to have some basic concepts and designs in mind. There is certainly little question that a terrific number of enthusiasts are dreaming about getting massive spaces dedicated to woodworking on some wooded lands along with a view of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, that’s not really feasible for the majority of hobbyists needing to hold a job in the city. As a result, they compensate by designing a more modest workshop to fit the circumstances. So, rather than waste time on dreaming an impossible dream, you should make the very best of the resources you have to establish a space for your woodworking shop.

Planning Is The Key

Old WoodshopYou will find unlimited approaches to make a smaller shop perform like any functional woodworking shop. Start off with some well-considered planning. First, it’s essential to determine what sort of woodworking you would like to pursue. Would you like to work on large or small projects? This can be crucial since the kind of tools, machinery and work surface you’ll need depends on the size of the projects you plan to tackle. Your projects additionally determine kind of woodwork machinery that you require in the process. In this connection, consider how much space you’ll need to make room for all of your intended acquisitions. If the available space in the house is small, you’ll need to develop some imaginative solutions to overcome the space issue. On the other hand, you can give some thought to renting out a vacant or unused building space in your neighborhood. At the same time, instead of acquiring large stationary machines, try to find alternative portable counterparts, particularly if they won’t be central to the intended type of woodworking being pursued.

Get Your Design Down On Paper

Moving heavy, bulky machines and fixtures around to try establishing an optimum layout is an exercise in frustration, so before you lift a finger, make a scaled layout on graph paper(or a computer program if that’s easier), then measure your bigger tools, and create scale cutouts you can shuffle around you layout drawing. Take some time to move them around to find the optimum arrangement, keeping in mind things like infeed and outfeed clearances, as well as limitations on the maximum size pieces any particular layout will accommodate. Workflow is another consideration, but in a small shop that may not be much of a consideration. Making workbenches and cabinets a height that will allow them to double as supports for feeding stock to your larger machines allows them to do double duty. Consider using the door to your shop as a possible outfeed to handle long or large stock, increasing the capacity of any particular machine you may feel needs the extra room.

Since you don’t need access to all your smaller power tools at once, alot storage space to them and bring them out on the workbench only when they are needed, freeing a great deal of work surface. Another consideration is employing a folding workbench and work supports, which take up little extra space when not in use. Of course, putting your woodworking machines on rolling bases will allow considerable flexibility in your shop layout, as long as you can lock the machines down during use. In a one-man shop, it’s likely that only one or two machines need be set up at any one time. Think twice about buying a large machine that is seldom used (But nice to have, thus the temptation!), with a more practical approach being to get a scaled down or portable version.

Well Thought Out Storage

There are many flexible storage systems available commercially, but you ARE in woodworking, so why not build your own custom storage cabinets that meet your particular needs, and your space and layout requirements. Create custom tool holders to accommodate your tools, and make use of all nooks and crannies to maximize storage and essentially expand your shop. As an added bonus, it will look pretty cool to your friends to see all the custom work, giving your reputation a boost. Remember that stationary tools with open stands are another opportunity for additional free storage space.

Some other important considerations for your woodworking shop are effective lighting, handy electrical outlets, and well-placed safety devices like vent hoods and vacuum hoses. In all your efforts to design a practical, useful shop that maximizes space, always keep an eye to safety precautions which will keep you productive for the long run.