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Let's see your shop layouts!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dwizum, Dec 2, 2019 at 6:18 AM.

  1. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Hi all,

    Right now my shop is a 7' x 7' nook in the corner of an unfinished basement that's also used for storage. This is a problem because a) it's tiny, and b) even with me being careful with tools and dust collection, everything in storage gets a slow buildup of dust on it. So, I'm going to flip flop the basement: move my shop to the other end, and build a wall to create a separate room. This will give me a spot that's roughly 7' x 16'. This may sound claustrophobic for some of you but it will be a giant cavern compared to what I'm used to!

    With this in mind, I'm hoping to gather ideas you've all found useful for shop layout specifically for building instruments. Much of the reading material I can find about shop layout is aimed at more traditional woodworking (cabinets and furniture) which I don't think applies well for us.

    I'm thinking about putting my current work bench at one narrow end, and using that for hand tools, assembly, etc. Then, building a new workbench in the other narrow end, and using it for power tools, with storage under the bench for the tools (routers, tabletop drill press, sanders). I'll put a dust collector next to this bench. Finally, long narrow shelves along the long wall(s) for wood and project storage. I'd love to have the table saw inside but it's not clear to me if it would fit in the space I'll have available.

    I'd love to see how you all have your shops laid out, or hear any thoughts on the subject!
  2. I have my shop in walled off 7x24' area in my basement. I have always had a shop in my basement, but after we had a fire in our house we got to re-design the area. I made it bigger than it was, but it retrospect I wish I made it even bigger. I make instruments and my wife makes cutting boards and spoons.

    We each have our own workbenches. We store the majority of our wood up in an attic, but both my wife and I have very disorganized wood storage areas. She keeps the cutoffs from my projects for use in cutting boards and I keep neck wood and various scraps for smaller parts. That's the bane of our workshop. I need to figure out a better system (the word "better" implies there is a system now, there is not).

    I have the bandsaw, sanding planer and table saw on wheels. For some smaller cuts I don't have to move the saws, but for cutting longer pieces of wood we roll them into the aisle. We also have an oscillating drum sander, cutoff saw and drill press. My router table is attached to the table saw.

    Dust is a continual problem. We started out using a shop vac and a vortex dust collector, but that didn't do a very good job and the filter in the shop vac was continually getting clogged. We invested in a stand up dust collector from Jet and the situation got much better. A side benefit of the Jet is that it is much quieter than the shop vac. I need to add some more tubes to the dust collector to get it over to my bench, right now I manually connect when I want to use a hood or connect up the bandsaw, which means I don't use it for smaller jobs. We also have an overhead air filter that works really well, I bought a cheap WEN - really it's just a fan and two filters, no need to spend a lot of money on that. I vacuum off the filters once a week or so.

    Power is something to consider. I have three circuits for the shop, one for the regular outlets, one that is specifically for the sump pump (I added a 3 outlet extender to that one) and one 20A specifically for the sanding planer and table saw. The circuit with the outlets trips occasionally, we have to be careful about what machines are running at the same time. It seems that the motors on the machines don't jibe well with the newer circuit breakers, I forget the name of the new ones, but they trip easily. I do not think is a current thing, I think it's inductance, but I don't know. (edit - the new type of circuit breaker (that are mandated by code) are "Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, they seem to be way more sensitive to motors and induced energy, but again I could be wrong there and maybe I just have a bad one)

    I'll take some pics later today, I would say our shop functions, but it's very tight. My wife and I have spent many hours in the shop together, which has been a really nice to have a shared hobby like this. If we can get wood storage under control it would be a lot better. You can refer back to my comments on wood hoarding which is really the root of our problem, we keep too much wood that is clearly too small to be used. I just starting turning bowls on a lathe and that has just made it worse, now I also have huge bowl blanks laying around.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:09 AM
  3. Here are two pics, both taken from the entrance door.

    Looking down toward our workbenches, mine is on the right, my wife's further down on the left. The dust collector occupies a lot of space, I wish I could get it out of the shop, but there's not really space for it anywhere else.
    And turning 180 degrees, my wood storage and the table saw.
    I keep thinking some day I'll rearrange the whole thing, but I don't seem to ever prioritize it.
    teh-slb, washjayb, dwizum and 5 others like this.
  4. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    I have 11 x 28' but a lot of shelving. Mostly car parts and I am presently working on two seats for 1929 Chevrolets. I have my table saw, jointer and planer in the garage. Wood everywhere. IMG_6007.JPG IMG_6008.JPG
    teh-slb, dwizum, Scoops and 4 others like this.
  5. That makes me feel a lot better, you're using the same organizational system I am.

    I have two friends who are into woodworking and their shops are both huge and immaculate. It causes stress after I return from visits to their shops.
    Beej and TerribleTim68 like this.
  6. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    You know great things come from chaos? Right?
    laughing house, Low84, wraub and 2 others like this.
  7. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    My shop was covered pretty extensively on the Highland Woodworking site. I won't re-post all that, so anyone looking for a shop tailored more toward musical instrument work can check it out there.

    Woodworking Workshop | Randy Cordle

  8. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I have about 7' X 15', not counting storage

    Here's a thread on my workshop build out
    Workshop buildout

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
    teh-slb, Low84, Beej and 4 others like this.
  9. postalflunkie

    postalflunkie Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Westerville, Ohio
    My humble little corner of the garage...
  10. I'm sensing two types of shops here. Organized and chaos.

    Anyone have a shop that is in between?
  11. cholyoke

    cholyoke Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2016
    Rubber City
    Cool work areas! I dig the bricks, Scoops.

    I have a 12x18' area in the basement shared with the laundry machines and a huge concrete sink (which needs to be taken out). The band saw, dust collector (shopvac/cyclone) and one bench are mobile so they can move into the center of the room when I need them. Wood is mostly stored in a small closet next to this room. I'm working on another mobile bench for an old Dunlap lathe. The lathe and band saw were my grandfather's. The cats like to help, but run away whenever tools are turned on.

    IMG_2199.JPG IMG_2200.JPG
  12. postalflunkie

    postalflunkie Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Westerville, Ohio
    You may call it chaos, but there's a system buried in there....
    nbsipics likes this.
  13. oh there's a system to my chaos, but it's interesting to see the "other side".
    postalflunkie likes this.
  14. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Currently, my "shop space" is a garage that's being organized, so junk is all over the benches... But, I have 2 big benches and a Workmate plus a rolling "guitar bench" I use for quick set-up work.

    I'll show a pic when it looks less like the aftermath of a war-zone frat party. ;)
    dwizum and postalflunkie like this.
  15. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Not to rip on you guys, but you make me feel better about my chaotic shop. :)
    lbridenstine and dwizum like this.
  16. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Mine is piled with lumber I bought today. Once I get things so I can actually work I'll post a pic.
    I tend to keep things clean and organized but this goes out the window as a project progresses. :D
  17. This is Univox UB250 World Headquarters. It looks a little unorganized, but I just finished up a project. I will get it straightened up and begin another. Yes, from chaos comes beauty. my shop.jpg
    Scoops and teh-slb like this.
  18. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    Mine has both organization and chaos, and the shades in between. My pic only shows it in an organized state

    Maybe my shop has a name of Cybil
    lbridenstine and Jisch like this.
  19. I should say my shop is due for a cleaning, it looks much better after I do that. If I'm being honest it's never perfectly organized, but it's definitely at its most chaotic right now.
    laughing house likes this.
  20. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY

    Wow. Laughing House’s workshop has a window. So jealous of his above grade level space.

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