woodworking shop

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tonight I’m going to show you five key principles to be able to lay out a productive and efficient small shop if you’re trying to set up a new shop reorganize your current shop or just make things a bit more efficient I can help I’m going to explain a simple process that I went through and you can too to be able to get your shop in the best shape and make it totally functional for all the stuff you’re building I have set up two different single-car garage shops and I’ve learned a few things in the process I’m gonna give you five things that you need to know to set up your shop but before we get to that I need you to go get a piece of graph paper because we need to lay it all out first thing you need to do is measure the size of your space get the full dimensions make sure you know where the windows are the doors are any other obstacles you have to work around in my shop I have my breaker panel I have to work around I’ve got my water heater and furnace back there that I also have to work around and I’ve got access that I need to get to the rest of the garage so that it has to be open as well whatever the obstacles are in your shop draw it out on a piece of graph paper to scale it’s gotta be to scale the scale I like to use is 1/4 inch square on the graph paper equals one square foot in my shop draw out the walls of your shop and everything in it you need to get windows doors garage doors posts any other obstacle that could affect where you position things in your shop the next thing you need to do is list out all of the large tools in your shop this would be anything that takes up floor space make sure to also include work benches miter stations outfeed tables toolboxes anything else that will take out floor space that needs a designated location in your shop don’t include any of your handheld power tools now take the list that you’ve created and go out and measure each of those tools so that you know the exact floor space that it will take up using another piece of graph paper now with the same scale draw out the footprint of each of those tools to the exact dimensions that you listed out before make sure you’re drawing all your tool footprints to scale because you’re gonna take that and put it on top of your floor plan now it’s time to get out your arts and crafts supplies and go get a glue stick and a piece of cardboard and that sheet that you just drew all of the tools on and the work benches and glue it down on to the cardboard with scissors or a knife cut out each of those pieces and label them with the tool or the workbench that it represents you now have all of the pieces of your puzzle so you can start laying these out sliding them around and moving them testing different configurations in your shop until you get something that you like this is now your starting point this is where your ideas are gonna form and where you’re gonna start getting creative with how you lay things out now I promise you the beginning of the video that I would give you the five principles it takes to set up a good small shop and I will even give you a bonus one at the end if you stick around number one design around your material flow what this means is that you need to think about what sorts of things you build in your shop are you building large tables and bookcases or are you doing more small projects turnings on the lathe you need to think about all those different things you do and if you do a variety of projects then try to think about the variety of different materials you would use do you normally buy stuff in eight-foot lengths do you buy stuff in 10-foot or twelve foot lengths if you buy a lot of plywood and everybody shop is different depending on what sorts of things they’re building then you have to imagine your material going through the shop what would be the flow try to imagine yourself coming into your shop with a new load of lumber from the store where would you store it what would be the first cutting operation you would do what would be the next one after that where are you gonna do your finishing how much space do you need for finishing in my shop I have it laid out so I store most of my lumber above my miter station then I bring it down and rough cut it to length on the miter saw right below it after that I turn around on the joiners right there so I can square up a face and aside before ripping it down to the right width on the table saw once I get a size accurately I bring it back to my workbench where I do the joinery I do the sanding and I do the edge work on this side of my shop I have my bandsaw belt sander my mortiser my router I have all of my hand tools this is also where I keep my drills and fasteners now in my shop I have a long aisle that goes from the very front of the shop in the very back of the shop and this is the main turi where everything goes in and out of my shop I can bring long pieces of lumber into this area I don’t have to weave around different tools to get it in and out again number to keep things mobile now there are some things that won’t be mobile but as much as possible and especially the things in the middle of your shop those should all have wheels on them they should all be mobile depending on if you need to squeeze a car in your garage – you may need to put everything on wheels in my case I have a lot of the things along the wall are stationary but everything in the center is on wheels it can be moved to one side or the other it can be moved out of the way this makes it really useful when I have big projects I’m working on like when I have a 9 foot long farm table that I’m building in my shop if you have a smaller shop you may be trying to figure out how can I rip a sheet of plywood in here or how can I joint one edge of an 8 foot long board all of this can be done by maneuvering these tools around to get the right location for the operation you’re doing now in terms of the mobile bases there’s a lot of them out there you can buy some nice ones that are pretty expensive or you can make your own I’ve done both I have a very nice one that I got from my table saw and I have one that I made myself for my bandsaw the important thing on these is that as much as possible the tools should be resting on the ground when it’s not moving around you don’t want it to sit on the four wheels if it’s something that you’re going to be pushing on or moving a lot number three plan for future growth every shop is a constantly evolving workspace you’ll be getting new tools you’ll be getting rid of old tools you’ll be building storage you’ll be building all kinds of things and so you need to be able to have it be versatile and flexible think about anything in the future you may want to add are you planning on adding some dust collection are you gonna add air hose lines are you gonna want a power drop in the middle of your shop are you gonna connect all of your lights to one switch or one circuit are you planning on adding a tool that needs maybe a new voltage I recently had to add a 220 circuit to my shop because I got a new table saw are there odd shaped projects that you’re gonna need space to work on in the future all these things are things you should try to think about heist a lot of plans for things I want to do in my shop above my storage workbench there’s a big white wall with nothing on it right now I would like to build a big hand tool cabinet that I can put up there that I can open have access to everything and then close it when I’m gonna start standing and I’m trying to reduce the dust that’s part of my future growth that I’m planning for I would also like to build a more traditional roubo workbench another project on my list is to take my current cheap Harbor Freight dust collector and turn it into a two-stage system these are all things that I am planning for in the future and I’m planning for that future growth I am therefore locating those tools and building things with that in mind number 4 utilize dead space once you have the rough layout of your shop figure it out look around and try to figure out where is there dead space this may be along the walls it may be in corners it may be between tools all of these areas could be used for something you could store jigs somewhere you could put clamps in a certain spot you can build things to fit in these areas so that you can maximize your storage I found in my shop that I had some dead space behind the door in the back of my shop I used to just have wood kind of pile up in that corner now that area is my small part storage bins I built a rack for that underneath that I keep my temporary work benches both of these have made a huge difference in how I use my shop and how efficient it is number five store hand tools where they will be used in each zone or area in your shop you’re going to be doing specific things you want to put the hand tools that are associated with that activity in that location so if I’m at the miter station I’m going to use a tape measure and use a pencil I’m going to use safety glasses all those things should be close within arm’s reach of the miter saw where I’m cutting is there an area where I’m gonna be doing most of my sandy then I’m gonna have my Sanders there I’ll have my sandpaper I’ll have probably a dust mask in that area make sure the drill bits and the drills are stored as closely together as possible you’re never going to use a drill without putting something in it if you keep your tools close to where you’re working on it it’s so much more efficient you won’t be walking all over your shop trying to find things and it’ll make it more likely for you to use the right tool for a job instead of something else that might not be the best for it because it’s closer or it’s more convenient now if you’ve stuck around through all five of those tips you’ve now earned your bonus tip this is something that has helped me a lot in my shop and that is if you are working in a garage on a concrete floor you need to get some anti-fatigue mats I have some interlocking ones that go down my main aisle and then they go in front of my table saw this makes it so much nicer working out in the shop walking on concrete all day can be very tiring for your body more tiring than you would imagine these don’t have to be fancy or expensive but they make a huge difference once you have your location figured out for all of your tools and all of your toolboxes and work benches and everything now you start drawing in your lines for power for air hoses for ducting for anything else that you’re trying to run throughout your shop alright so as you’re laying out your shop now and moving around the pieces to get it in your ideal location remember these five things design around your material flow keep things mobile especially in the middle of your shop plan for future growth utilize dead space and store hand tools where they will be used if you can design around these things you’ll have much less adjustment and changes you have to do later now as I said before your shop is always in a state of flux in a state of change there’s things coming in things going out but if you have a good foundation and a good base it makes it much easier don’t get frustrated if the shop isn’t exactly how you want it today or tomorrow or in five years the important thing is that you’re using it that is where the fun is you know shops are kind of like people we’re all work in progress we’re all constantly changing nobody’s perfect but if you can try to improve a little bit each day eventually you’ll be able to turn around and look back and say wow I’m a much better person than I used to be there is your woodworking wisdom for the day I hope this helps you in your shop layout keep building stuff and if I’ve missed anything that you think is a critical principle of laying out a good shop let me know in the comments below and who knows maybe I’ll make another video see you next time you

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