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Thread: Small Shop Tour

  1. #1

    Small Shop Tour

    I have spent the last few years upgrading my large tools and figuring out the best way to fit everything into a small shop while still allowing a decent amount of working room. I found out early on that my style of work was not condusive to rolling machines into and out of the work area everytime I needed to use them. Guess I'm not that organized in my projects and my time in the shop is so limited having young kids that I'd rather have things out and ready to use. So here is a quick shop tour, as I thought everyone might enjoy to see how someone else has addressed the limited space issues.

    This first shot is of the outside of the garage/shop. It is officially a 2 car garage, but because of how it is laid out with the house is actually 2 1/2 times wider and 1 1/2 times deeper than a normal garage. My wife's car remains parked in the left bay of the garage, which is fine with me as it allows me to pull it out and use the space for other things.

    My workflow is as follows:

    Sheet goods are broken down on the homemade panel saw on the back of the sheet goods cart and then move to the tablesaw etc.

    Lumber is stored and acclimated on the rack at the back of the right bay. From there it is intially cut to length at the miter station under the lumber rack. It is then moved to the front of the bay for dimensioning on the jointer and planer (and possibly bandsaw). It then is moved back to the tablesaw and router table or workbench. The worksurface of the tablesaw and outfeed/router table makes a nice surface for moving the lumber back and forth.

    This shot is from the right bay opening where most of the floor tools live. The jointer and planer are in the front. This configuration gives me the most room to dimension long stock. The bandsaw is on the left, and by putting it in the middle allows a lot of infeed and outfeed room. On the right is the mobile sheetgoods cart.

    If I pull out the sheetgood cart you can see my hokey homemade panel saw, which has proven to be very functional. I simply loosen the screws at the top and bottom, slide the stock in, tighten the screws and cut away. The adjustable sled also acts as a zero clearance insert, and with the Freud blade on my circular saw gives a very clean cut. Not as nice as a festool system, but it works for me and saves me a lot of room.

    Moving past the jointer and planer is my outfeed/router/assembly table and tablesaw

    Turning around is the view looking out the front

    This is looking into the left bay

    Moving down the line on the left side

    Good shot of dust collection trunk. I allowed 4 feet before the first branch and can shut off each branch to maximize flow. The collector has been retrofitted AFF bags, this system has worked very well, and makes it easy to empty when full. One day I'll move to a cyclone, but for now this has worked well. This also shows the drum sander which I am able to pull out a foot and have lots of infeed and outfeed room.

    The Drill Press is positioned on the right hand side of the TS, This ended up here kind of by default but I have found I like the placement as it is close to the bench which works out well. I added a laser sight which I really like (for us old guys with failing eyes it's a nice luxury).

    This is the bench area which is at the end of the left bay. I have 360 degree access, although I have to keep the excess sheet goods organized to keep it that way. I have my hand tools I use the most stored on the shelves behind it and the routers, and D4 stored underneath, and cutoff storage in the bottom tray and to the left. I am constantly having to mull through these bins and throw stuff out as I tend to be a packrat.
    The clamp rack is also situated to the right rear so I can easily access them from the bench. I store the marking and measuring tools elsewhere as there isnt room with the rest of the handtools, and I find myself needing them all over the shop.
    The hanging hose can be hooked up to my shopvac on one end and to a handtool on the other. With the hose hanging from above it is easier to manuever the tool (I used to sling it over my shoulder which was probably not the safest arrangement).

    Closer view of the clamp rack (I know it needs more clamps)

    Moving right from the bench is the area I call the pit, and makes a very functional work area.

    Looking from the center of the pit to the left is another view of the bench area with more clamp storage, and the corner of the compressor stored under the miter stand.

    Moving clockwise is the miter station with more storage below. Nail guns and various tools I keep in cases, as their not used as often.

    and lumber rack above (I know it needs more lumber)

    and moving clockwise again is my sanding station (mobile so I can get to the XMAS decorations), storage cabinet and finishing products stored above.

    and moving clockwise again is the TS with storage under the table

    This is a shot looking out the bay from the TS to give a better perspective of the space. This also shows the mortiser bench, soon to be replaced with an FMT I ordered before the Leigh price increases on the 1st.

    Finally is a shot of actual work (some QSWO I am milling up for our entertainment center)

    The one thing I sacraficed with this layout was the inablity to have 360 degree access around the TS and router table which would have been nice. But there's got to be some sacrafices in a shop this small.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    John, very impressive layout and well equipped! Thanks for taking the time to post. I think I've seen your mobile disk/spindle sander set up before? Maybe just one similar. Wish I had that much room and the ability to keep it organized!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Wow John, lots of great ideas in there! And great equipment too! I'll be stealing some of those ideas as I look to improve my space. Thanks!!
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    nice shop john, thanks for sharing!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    John, you certainly put the space you have to work

    Boy, I can sure see a lot of nice tools there too

    Thanks for taking the time to show us around
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    Excellent utilization of your space. Thanks for giving us the tour!


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Looks like a nice place to play, John. As has been said, you've got some nice tools there, too. Thanks much for the tour.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Buse Township MN
    I see an impressive array of turning blank storage area's but no lathe????

    Great garage shop!! Thanks for the tour.
    Every child deserves a family. Adopt. Foster. Get involved.

  9. #9
    rob durfos Guest


    very nice. you think like an engineer. i hope you have some copper inside your pvc. rob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Quote Originally Posted by rob durfos View Post
    very nice. you think like an engineer. i hope you have some copper inside your pvc. rob
    Grounding PVC and Other Dust Collection Myths

    By Rod Cole
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

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