You’re new to woodworking and have completed a few projects. You know that you want to continue to practice your craft, but there’s no room. So it’s time to set up a workshop where you can plan out and complete more complex pieces.
Your garage is the perfect place to do it. But where to begin? In this article, we’ll take a look at some helpful suggestions for how and where to create a workshop that won’t overwhelm you, but that you also won’t outgrow within a few projects.
Have a Space to Work
Your garage is a great space for this, but you probably want to complete this transformation without ruining a perfectly good place to park a car or two. A dedicated workbench is the best way to define clearly that “this is where projects happen, not where we park.” That’s going to become important if you want to continue using your space efficiently — you don’t want to expand into all your space and waste the garage.
You can build a simple workbench along an open wall in your garage quite easily. If you’re a little handy, we recommend adding some cabinets and a pegboard to hold your favorite tools.
Group Your Tools
Once you’ve got the basics of organizing your garage out of the way, it’s time to begin placing your woodworking tools close-at-hand. The pegboard you may have chosen to mount in step one is a great place to hang frequently-used tools like chisels and hammers. You can put measurement tools like rulers and triangles into drawers or create a dedicated space for them on your bench.
In more developed configurations where you’ve got larger equipment like a table saw and lathe, you’ll want to place these large items strategically so they can either move out of the way of your cars or are never in the way to begin with. Wood Magazine demonstrates in some of their sample floorplans how this can be achieved.
Floor-standing tools can sometimes be placed in a corner or, if they’re not intended to stand on their own, you could use a simple storage container like a bin.
Have a dedicated area where you keep safety goggles and gloves for use when you work on projects, and remember to put your safety equipment back there every time. This will help you avoid misplacing it and potentially going without it after you’ve had to spend the same $15 six times on a replacement pair of safety glasses. This stuff is important, so don’t write it off.
Lighting and Ventilation
Finally, consider how you will light your space for working when it’s dark outside and how to pipe fresh air in. If you have a garage door, that’s a good start. A set of freestanding LED lights combined with a few powerful cord-suspended drop lights should get you what you need in terms of lumens. Some floor-standing fans are a good idea, too, to keep the air moving. And if you’re going whole-hog on very large projects, you may even want to invest in a small hood to protect your lungs from wood dust.
You’re Ready to Begin
Everyone’s dream workshop looks a little different. Your first attempt might be more spartan and practical, and it may not match up to your vision right away. But that’s okay! It’s a work-in-progress and you should take pride in what you have.
Do you have experience setting up your own shop? Give us your best tips in the comments section below!
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington