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Shop layout...

2411 Views 22 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  MrRon
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So what you see above is a rough drawing of my shop. It is essentially a 2-car garage with the truck parked on the right hand side. As I am sure some of you do as well, I pull the truck out whenever I want to make some sawdust.

My bench is 8'x4' and is situated longways, like the truck, roughly 4 feet from the left wall. I did this so I could access all 4 sides of the bench if need be, have access to all the power along the left wall, and to make it easier to clean underneath (lame reason, I know).

My jointer, when not used, rests along the left wall and my TS, when not used, rests at the base of the bench. My dust collector is on wheels and usually resides along the bottom left corner.

Here are my issues, or at least the ones I know I have right now:

1) 220V power is set in its location, so I am limited to using my jointer and TS only as far away from that plug that the chords allow. With the way the bench is currently set up, it is hard to utilize both machines without moving one out of the way to use the other.
2) Dust collection… I'm not sure whether to keep wheeling the DC around and connecting it to the machines I use, or keep it in a permanent place, running ducting along the left wall, and have everything in a dedicated spot?
3) I'm not totally happy with the location of the bench… debating if I should rotate it 90* and put one end against the left wall or what?
4) The stupid raised slab area (roughly 3'x8') is a pain in my butt, but I use the adjoining wall for tool storage, so it works.

Bottom line is everything has to fit in a certain spot when the truck is parked in the garage, yet when I am working, I want freedom to move around and use different machines.

Just thinking out loud here, but if anyone has any helpful suggestions, I would love to hear them. I know setting up your shop, especially is a shared space, is an evolving endeavor, so I figured I could learn from some of you folks that are a lot wiser than I am.

Thanks in advance!!


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Is your workbench (table) used as an outfeed table for the table saw?
If it is, then your bench is in the proper place.
If it isn't, I'd turn it 90 degrees and move it to the back of the shop.; against the raised slab if it's not raised more than 4 or 5 inches.
I don't like my bench against a wall. Some people do, but I don't.
I like my jointer to the right of my table saw and they both have outfeeds pointed in the same direction.
Working with just half of a garage makes it imperative that all your tools be mobile though. I would not try to setup anything stationary except my bench.
Putting the bench on double locking swivel casters will allow you to move it easily when the truck is out and you're working in the shop. It can go back into its storage place when you're working and cleaning underneathe a movable bench is easy.

The dust collector is probably not powerful enough to act as a central collector.

Can't you run a length of conduit to add a second 220 outlet? You should also be able to make an extension cord so long as it's made from the right gauge cord.
Extension cords can be made for whatever size. If you ever choose to do it this way.

Just get the proper cord ends, proper # of conductors required, and size the conductors of the cord as follows

#14 for equip that draws up to 12A
#12 for up to 16A
#10 for up to 24A

Typically it's better to make cords out of type SJOO cable cut to however long you need it. Type SO cord if you want something for heavier duty. #12 is the min size I'd use but you can use #14 for most things if it isn't too long.
That bench/assembly table is huge for the space.
I found the problem. Theres a truck in there, get that truck out and there's lots of room.
12/3 AWG is plenty good for a ext cord at 25' with 20amp twistlock plugs and recip
I helped my BIL install the sub panel and all the outlets, so I have always thought about putting in another 220v plug on the far right wall. I might also make a couple of extension chords as suggested… bet that would help.

I agree the table is too big for the space, but curious to it I put casters on it, will it truly roll around? It weighs a ton and I have thought about finishing it out to add drawers and shelves, which will obviously make it heavier. Are the casters really a good idea?

Why is the 2hp Harbor Freight DC not good enough to be a small shop centralized DC? I couldn't run duct work along the left wall and have 2 or 3 ports to connect machines into and still have enough CFM to gather all the dust??
  • +1 on the extension cord. Makes life easier to move it than the equip.
  • Your bench is way too big for that space.
  • 60×24 , 60×30 is all you need. Also set it to the same height as the tablesaw and its a win win.
  • When using your shop, the vehicle should be removed to give you more space and avoid dusting it.
  • Look on craigslist/ebay for a used DC. You can get better units for less money.
  • If that slab is tall enough, it can be used for a grinder, bench top drill press, other benchtop tools. If it is not tall enough, you could build it up with a wood platform, also put a shelf underneath the platform for small tools, like sanders, circ saw… Run an extension cord there (heavy) then a power strip.
How high is the raised slab? If it's a pain, how about raising the rest of the floor (or even just the tool side) to the same level?
Pretty much what woodchucker said. I'd opt for a 48×48 assembly bench instead of a work bench. Make thinks that wood will overhang the same height. TS and bench, miter saw wings, etc. That way large boards will always have support someplace.
As rob suggested, when I had one stall of a three car garage to work in, I raised the floor to make it all flat. 2×3's and plywood screwed to it. I put wall mounted benches on three sides of that space and the table saw on wheels in the center. All other equipment was not movable. Just another approach.
If you use casters, you have to use good quality ones with ball bearings. We have a 48"x96" bench in our shop with a Masonite torsion box top and 2"x4" base. It's probably about 400 pounds total and it does move on 4" casters.

Dust collectors have two important ratings which are inversely related: static pressure and cfm. Longer pipe runs generate higher static pressure which causes a drop in cfm. Portable collectors are usually barely able to pull enough cfm when using a short run of hose. You can put it on a longer run but you'll likely see more dust escaping the dust collector as you work.

One thing no one asked is what kind of work you are doing? Your bench may be too big for the space but if the work you do really needs a larger bench, then I'd suggest keeping it and using casters to make it moveable. It takes less time to shove a bench around than it does to try assembling something that requires 72" of flat surface and you've only got a 48" long surface.
I'm working in a space somewhat similar to yours but without the luxury of pulling out a car for more space. My shop is in an 11×17 room. I posted my layout - and a bunch of tips for maximizing small-shop space - in this project:

There's already lots of good advice in this thread, but perhaps you can find some useful ideas from my layout. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to maximize small space while keeping a number of space-hogging tools at the ready. The only thing I really want to do - which is something people have pointed out for your space - is downsize my workbench - from a monster built from a base cabinet and a conference room table, to a modest sized real woodworking bench.

One specific note: I'm using the HF 2HP dust collector, and I run it across my ceiling with a dedicated table saw drop, and a second drop with expandable hose and a quick-connect for use with all of my benchtop tools that line the back wall. To keep the back hose out of the way, I put big hooks all over the ceiling so that I can hang the hose anywhere with just enough reach to get to the tool I'm using.

So far, it's worked well as a compromise between a series of dedicated drops (that don't allow much flexibility) and a single hose for everything (which is a PITA to move and is often underfoot).
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The more I think about it, the more I want to put casters on the bench so I can roll it around and put it on the right side of the garage when the truck is backed out. Any suggestions on what qualifies as a "good" caster? I usually use the rubber ones from HF because they roll well and usually have a good weight rating.

Moving the bench will allow me to use all my tools along the left wall where the power is and will also allow me to run some duct work along that wall for DC. At this point I am thinking 3 ports… the furtherest away will be for my jointer & planer, the middle for the TS, and the closest to the DC… some flexible hose for all other smaller saws and handhelds.

The raised "lip" in the slab is precisely that… a lip. It runs along the back side of the wall, is roughly 4' deep and 3" high. While reading Tom Clark's cabinet book, I am thinking of putting some rollaway cabinets up there to best utilize the space.

This being my first real shop, and still being somewhat new to woodworking, just answer me this… will I ever stop playing around with the design and layout of my shop?
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I never commented on the HF 2HP DC. I have one and it works fine with ducts attached. In fact you can have a 4" and a 2 1/2" connected and open at the same time. Those two ducts exactly equal the size of the fan inlet so that is a balanced system. I usually keep the 4" attached to my table saw and the 2 1/2" I swap between my 10" band saw or the belt of disk sanders. When I'm prepping rough wood I switch the 4" over to the jointer or the planer.
LOL… NOPE… I haven't stopped moving my stuff around, but all kidding aside, I'm finally getting it to where I want it to be given the space I have. If you run fixed duct work, that'll discourage you from moving stuff around too much. Always consider infeeds and outfeeds and try to make all your surfaces the same height if possible.

You can make 220 extension cords with 12/2 romax and ends from a box store or electrical store. That's what I have at the moment as my TS is in the middle of my 2 car garage/shop.
Cheap casters have a pin for the wheel to rotate around. Good casters have ball bearings. You'll have to examine them closely to find out how they're made.

Double locking is also good to have. Both the swivel and the rolling will lock.
Agree with JAAune on the swivel and locking casters. a table that larger would be unwieldy w/out 4 swivel casters. I made an out feed/assembly table that's roughly 4'x5'. Originally I had two swivel casters and quickly switched them out to 4 swivel casters.
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