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How to Set Up a Small Woodworking Shop

Updated February 21, 2017

Many hobbyists dream of having a workshop of their own. Look around your home and evaluate potential spaces for a workshop. A shed or garage is an ideal space for a small shop. Even a space as small as 8-by-8 feet can be set up as a functional workshop. Once you have a space in mind, no matter how small, you can begin the planning process to create an efficient workshop and make your dream a reality.

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  1. Draw a layout of your shop space. Create a work flow for the space. The basic woodworking process includes rough cutting, milling, assembly, glue-up, sanding, clean-up, and application of the finish. Group your tools accordingly so that you can go from one station to the next throughout your shop.

  2. Group your rough cutting tools such as a table saw, mitre saw and hand saws all in one area. Place your wood storage rack in this area so that you can take your wood from the rack and begin cutting it to size.

  3. Group the milling tools such as router table, drill press, mallet and chisels nearby the rough cutting area.

  4. Stock your workbench with assembly and glue-up tools such as screwdrivers, screws, hammer, nails, wood glue, cloth rags and clamps. You will assemble and glue most projects at your work bench.

  5. Place your disc sander, orbital sander and extra sandpaper on one side of your work bench. Sanding may occur prior to assembly or after assembly depending on the circumstances.

  6. Position your shop vacuum near the work bench. You will want to vacuum any dust in the shop prior to applying a wood finish on your projects.

  7. Place your wood finish supplies on a shelf at your work bench. You will apply most of your finishes on your bench, so place the finishes, brushes and stirrers in an accessible place on at your bench.

  8. Tip

    Plan your shop layout carefully so that you have a logical and efficient work space.


    Take the location and number of electrical sockets into account when planning and setting up your workshop. If necessary, have an electrician install extra outlets or run a power supply to your building if it is an outbuilding. Be sure that you can lock your woodworking shop at the end of the day.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shop space
  • Work bench
  • Screwdrivers
  • Chisels
  • Hand saws
  • Mallet
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Drill press
  • Table Saw
  • Router table
  • Clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Disc sander
  • Orbital sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Shop vacuum
  • Wood storage rack

About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.

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