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How to use your workshop space effectively?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. I'm in a bit of a quandarry. I have a double garage, but I'm finding it very hard to fit everything in in such a way that I can use the bench regularly and get to things. My wife seems to have given up on the idea that the wagon will go in, but even still, with me chucking everything I can out, I'm still feeling cluttered.

    What do you guys do to make the most of a small amount of space?
  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    my recommendation: know exactly what tools you must have, finding the smallest practical footprint for each piece, and then every tool that can be pushed out the the way loaded onto a roller base for easier repositioning

    in my 1-car sized shop I have a dedicated 8' long x 40" wide fixed bench secured to the short wall. I also have a 7' x 30" bench mounted mid-way on one of the side walls that holds the CNC and Inca 10" benchtop jointer/planer. the bandsaw, oscillating spindle sander, jointer, dust collector, and thickness sander are all on roller bases. the router table is stationary, but easily slid if/when needed. I have metal shelving for my BM tops and computer, and racks mounted above head height for large timbers. the mini lathe (wooden knobs) is stationary, but easily moved. I have found no need for a tablesaw, so that eliminated a huge waste of space found in most general woodworkins shops. all of the other tools are benchtop models that can easily be secured to one of the workbenches or the spindle sander stand.

    the last tool I have is a ShopSmith multi purpose machine, and it serves duty as a drill press and horizontal drill. I no longer use the other attachments, but there was a day back when I lived in a small condo with even smaller garage when I was using its bandsaw and jointer as my steadies

    its a luxury to have a full car garage, and only with a couple additional CNC machines could I imagine needing to spread into a 2-car sized workspace

    I also save some dediated space by outsourcing all of my sprayed finishes. by doing this I can focus on doing what I like most while ensuring that every finish job exceeds what is produced by the big name mass assembly companies

    all the best,

  3. ddtkills


    Mar 7, 2009
    I work in Half of a one car garage. Its difficult and I'm always moving equipment around for the job i want to do. mobile tool stands help a lot. I have a band saw, 12" table saw, oscillating spindle sander,drill press, 16" wide surface sander, chop saw, air compressor, shop vac, 8' long 28" wide bench, etc. all crammed into that small space. If you put your machines on mobile basses you will be able to quickly rearrange you tools for the optimal setup as well as easily change your setup for whatever project arises.
  4. I already have my bandsaw and thicknesser on castors. My sawtable is also a collapsable homemade thing. I think I might need to rearrange the draws and get my tools and such better organized.

    The other issue I have is that the garage is half full of bikes and crap, if you get my meaning.
  5. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    Rod has pretty much given out the key points on doing this well, I'll add a few things to help out. If your problem is clutter consider getting a small shed for that, I built a 10 ft by 10 ft shed in the back where all the bikes and gardening stuff is that leaves the two car garage for the workshop. The wife insists on always having a car in the garage though so all my gear in on casters. I thought I'd put up pics of the garage to give an idea of what it looks like.

    Here's an overal view of the garage, pretty easy to see where the car fits :)


    on the left side wall i've got cnc and computer, storage space under cnc bench, wood racks overhead, thickness sander and dust collector on castors and hidden in the corner the drill press


    At the back wall there's the workbench, bandsaw on castors and router table behind it


    right side wall is the jointer, compressor (hidden) pin router and belt sander


    Whenever I need to use the workshop I drive the car out on the driveway and pull all the machinery I need off the wall and put in the centre of the room. The only gear that's stationary is the CNC and pin router. I save space by not having a table saw and planer, although I do get to use a friend's planer once in a while, the resaw on the bandsaw coupled with the jointer and thickness sander means I very rarely need a planer. I also have a spare bedroom I use as a setup room where I keep all my resawn wood/tops/fingerboards and all hardware. If you're going to do this professionally or semi-professionally you really need to get organised to get in and out quick whenever you've got time to work
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Clever storage is a must and wheels make everything easy!




    And if that's not enough, you can start a second shop!



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