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View copper932's profile

small shop setup

by copper932
posted 02-26-2015 09:18 PM

21 replies so far

View Sunstealer73's profile


192 posts in 3059 days

#1 posted 02-26-2015 09:30 PM

The last issue of Fine Woodworking’s Shops and Tools had that exact setup I think.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4709 days

#2 posted 02-26-2015 09:33 PM

I am in a 14X21 shop (1 car garage) and find it too small (narrow).16X20 would be better.

be sure you have decent studs, because you will want to insulate the walls and hang stuff on them.
Many premade sheds have studs at 24 inch centers, and a ‘Springy” floor for the ones on the cement pylons. Build on a slab

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View shipwright's profile


8638 posts in 3765 days

#3 posted 02-27-2015 12:08 AM

Consider a ShopSmith. I have a big shop and a small one in different locations and the ShopSmith really makes the small space “bigger”.
Just a thought but if you are interested I did a blog on my small shop setup here.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View hotbyte's profile


1016 posts in 3942 days

#4 posted 02-27-2015 12:53 AM

My shop is 12X23. I guess you make do with what you have :) My only “big” power tool is table saw. I also have a HF dust collector and 2X5 table that functions for router table/outfeed table/work table/assembly table. I have bench top models for others (drill press, band saw and thickness planer). I try to put everything on casters so I can rearrange as needed depending on project. A big dilemma is I can’t keep inventory of lumber for future projects…pretty much have to buy it as needed.

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 2358 days

#5 posted 02-27-2015 01:33 AM

Before my recent move, I was working in that same size shed. Frankly, it was too small.

One thing that did help was the fact that it had wide doors, and I was able to “move outside” for lots of things.

Even with that, I was constantly finding that things were in the way and there wasn’t room to maneuver either me or the workpiece.

I would suggest saving up for a larger building.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View firefighterontheside's profile


21320 posts in 2823 days

#6 posted 02-27-2015 01:41 AM

I think you can do ok in that space. Mine is 12×24. I have a contractor tablesaw right in the middle. My bench is also the out feed. The rail extensions basically go right up to the wall. I also have a router table, 6” jointer, floor drill press, and lots of other crap. Perhaps set it up so that one end has double doors that you can open in good weather and do your infeed on large pieces from the outside.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View jmartel's profile


9144 posts in 3117 days

#7 posted 02-27-2015 02:20 AM

I’ve got 16×18 and it’s used for more than just woodworking. So, it can be done.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View mcg1990's profile


159 posts in 2259 days

#8 posted 02-27-2015 03:04 AM

My shop is 13’ x 22’, and while I could wish for me I feel that it’s going to be sufficient for the business I plan to have.. at least for 5-odd years.

Currently I have a Craftsman hybrid saw (22124) an 8” jointer, mitre saw, benchtop planer (deWalt 734) and I’m buying the HF dust collector soon. By utilising wall space I think I’m going to easily fit everything I need, though perhaps not in the most optimal configuration.

I think if you can afford to build larger go ahead and do it, but at the very least build in mind for expansion. For example, go for 12’ x 16’ but on the 16’ wall install a long 8’ header, and doubled up studs, centred so that in the future you can expand onto the back of the shop and have a large opening with which to access the extra shop space. You’d also want to avoid running wires through that portion of the shop.

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 2562 days

#9 posted 02-27-2015 03:24 AM

If I was working in a space that small I would definitely try to do most things outside. I would have an area the width of the shed by about 12-18’ in the front where I could setup a 4×8” knock down cutting table and miter saw. I would use a track saw and miter saw as my 2 main cutting tools. Might consider a small portable table saw for ripping strips, sleds, and what not. A lot of stuff like dados and rabbits could be done with a router on the knock down cutting table. I would have a drill press, planer, and bandsaw on portable stands. The track saw can do jointing operations. I would make a small 2’x4-6’ workbench inside.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4314 posts in 4076 days

#10 posted 03-01-2015 02:31 AM

Most of my “shop” is taken up by storage. It is rightfully the garage, but here in California, few people park their cars in them. My actual usable workspace in there is about 12 square feet. I do most of my wood working outside, and haven’t done a turning project in 3 years. I retired last October and am slogging through the rental home upgrades and repairs, plus neglected projects at home when I worked almost every day for the last few years. At least I have “carved out” enough time to get some wood carving classes, locally. I just hope I live long enough to get to some serious wood working. Good luck with your shop.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View ADHDan's profile


802 posts in 3075 days

#11 posted 03-06-2015 09:21 PM

I wish I had something as big as 12×24; I’m in an 11×17 shop with 8’ ceilings (in the lower level of a split-entry house). I have a somewhat outdated project in my gallery that highlights the key efficiencies/space-savers I utilize to pack a full set of tools into a small space – such as:

-Grizzly 1023RL table saw with folding outfeed and router table wing (with Triton 3.25 hp router)
-Grizzly 6” jointer
-DW 734 planer
-12” Craftsman band saw
-DeWalt miter saw
-Ridgid Oscillating Spindle/Belt Sander
-Porter-Cable pancake air compressor
-Generic benchtop drill press
-Generic benchtop bench grinder
-2 hp Harbor Freight dust collector with separator (running three drops)
-Medium size wet/dry vac in enclosed cabinet, with separator
-Rolling plywood storage rack
-Rolling offcut storage cart
-Wall-mounted lumber storage racks
-Rolling workbench with storage
-Rolling assembly table/storage cart with Rockler T-Track tabletop
-Wall-mounted cabinets, clamp racks, pegboard storage, tool cubbies, etc.
-Ceiling hooks for jigs, sleds, etc.

I haven’t updated my shop pics in a while, but if you think it would be helpful I can clean up and take some shots over the weekend to update. Really, I’m not sure how much more I could tighten up my use of space; the only major “to-dos” on my list are to incorporate more/better drawers into everything that can have drawers, and make better use of the space between the joists.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View ADHDan's profile


802 posts in 3075 days

#12 posted 03-06-2015 09:25 PM

Just realized those projects pics are WAY outdated, since I got rid of my R4512 and my standalone router table. I’ll take some new pics and update.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View smallerstick's profile


31 posts in 2144 days

#13 posted 03-06-2015 10:25 PM

First post here; I’m a newbie!
I just moved up from an 8×12 shed to a 16×20 garage, insulated, 40A service and well lit. this is about the smallest I could work comfortably in, I think. I have seen much smaller and some of the quality work that comes out of them. I’m sure that 12×16 will be enough for you to begin accumulating tools and finding out how to arrange them and work with them.
As others have said; go with a solid floor of some sort. Depending on your location, consider frost and heating requirements. Concrete is solid, but cold in the winter. Wood is comfortable year round, but costly.
Allow for at least 1 220v outlet if you can.

I could go on but so much depends on what you intend to build.

good luck!


-- Peter

View TravisH's profile


752 posts in 2902 days

#14 posted 03-06-2015 11:22 PM

My shop is the same size you are looking at. I did end up buying a smaller out building to put lawn stuff in and other stuff I didn’t want in my shop. Most everything in my shop is on rollers but I can set it up to get to most stuff with out having to move anything for much of the stuff I do.

One one short wall I have a drill press, workbench, and flip top cart with planer and miter saw. Then along the long wall (no doors) is a midi lathe, and wood storage (horizontal above lathe) and vertical next to the lathe, and a catch all shelving unit in the corner. Going down the next wall is the jointer, bandsaw, and another shelving unit with light weight stuff (Ridgid sander, a small delta table top band saw, circular saw, jig saw, scroll saw, router jigs, etc… I have horizontal storage above the the double wide doors and the table saw/router table sit mainly in the center of the shop. I also have cathedral ceilings so have storage in that area for junk wood (2×4 and treated stuff, ladder, and other stuff I don’t get to as often). I have a shop vac/cyclone set up on rollers that moves to where ever it fits best when working scenario.

My big knock on my shop is lack of power. Don’t skimp on this. Need to be able to run a shop vac or dust collector and name another tool at any given time.

View Nighthawk's profile


557 posts in 3323 days

#15 posted 03-06-2015 11:23 PM

Ummmm cars belong outside?

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View GFN's profile


4 posts in 2191 days

#16 posted 03-22-2015 03:32 PM

I have finally rebuilt my house and now my garage looks like this. (See photo’s) It is 21 square metres (68 sq feet). Where do I start to transform it into my dream workshop? The car sleeps OUTSIDE.

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 2146 days

#17 posted 03-22-2015 04:34 PM


I think you may find that 16’ in length could be your biggest issue. You won’t really have the ability to easily run an 8’ board thru a table saw or jointer. An 8’ sheet of plywood can be broken down easily with a circular saw, or a track saw in a small shop.

I have a 13’X23’ shop, and I still would love to have about 30’ of length, and at least a few more feet of width.Check out “My Workshop” for an idea of what I did. I bought a Festool track saw to use for breaking down sheet goods. I have a small contractor-style table saw, and built my own large version of the Festool MFT workbench. It also doubles as my table saw outfeed table. Just a few weeks ago I was faced with a really tough challenge—I had to rip a 112”’ piece of poplar. It fit with my move of the workbench and table saw so that U had room at the infeed and outfeed ends. But jointing was an issue, requiring me to slide my jointer along its wall to make room.

-- Lee

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4198 days

#18 posted 03-22-2015 06:48 PM

I see lots of good ideas. Here’s my two cents. I have a 10×12 storage shed in my back yard. It is full of stuff. I built it in 2002, 120 sqft was the max the HOA will allow. Better check on that before you buy or build.

If it is 100 deg outside, it is 100 inside the shed. Just another thought for you to think about. Insulate it and put in an AC or heat if you plan to work in it. There is really not much room to work in that small of an area, unless you do it outside in the 100 deg heat! :-)

It can get frustrating having to drag out your tools and get set up to work, only to have rain clouds move in.

Been there, done that more than once.

I also have a one car garage but it is dedicated to woodworking. I use all of the available space not taken up by the upright freezer, washer, dryer and hot water heater! I put in a split system air conditioner with heat pump. The ceiling has R38 insulation and an energy efficient overhead door. No more 100 deg heat. More like 77 inside.

But I do have a dedicated miter saw station with storage rack above it, a big azz rolling tool box and cabinets hanging on the wall. A Grizzly 3hp cabinet saw, 14 inch bad saw, 18 inch drum sander, a 12 inch planer and a drill press. And a dust collector! And I still have a little room to stand and build stuff, like our kitchen cabinets, cabinets for sister in law, and my mom and a wet bar for a friend, toy boxes and a lot of other stuff. I have the top layer of concrete wore off the floor where I spend most of the time working! :-)

Good luck with your shed. I have a lot of projects that might inspire you in setting up your shop. Check ‘em out.

And a blog called My Garage/Workshop Makeover

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 2387 days

#19 posted 03-22-2015 07:58 PM

Well, my first set up, & until nearly two years ago now, my shop was in our basement. The room was 8’ x 12’. With a window.

-- Sawdust703

View bandit571's profile


27481 posts in 3650 days

#20 posted 03-22-2015 08:07 PM

Small workshop?

You should come and see the Dungeon Shop, sometime.

Mainly hand tools, but does have a few powertools.

Lathe bench, mitresaw bench, Tool Chest #2, and the workbench

And tool chest #1, and a few power tools. Kind of cozy…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Robert's profile


4289 posts in 2447 days

#21 posted 03-23-2015 11:22 AM

I started out in a 12X16 shed.
Its a challenge if you’re a power tool guy.

But I did manage to fit a contractor TS, small bandsaw and radial arm in there.
Ended up doing a lot of assembly outside.

Small shops like this are really best used for guys doing a lot of hand tool work.

By the time you get a decent workbench in there, you won’t have much room.
If you get into a project like building cabinets, you will definitely be challenged.

I had one word in my mind every time I went out there: EXPANSION.

I went from that shed to stealing a couple stalls in the horse barn from my wife (14X24) and now I’m at 1400SF.

Bottom line it depends on what you’re doing and how many power tools you want to use.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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