Setting up your very own workshop at home can be a difficult task – most of the time you’ve got limited space and a tight budget and as such you’ve really gotta ace the setup from the ground up. As someone who has done this several times, each time with a higher degree of success, I know just what to do in order to create the perfect home shop and today I’ll be sharing the top 5 tips you can follow yourself to achieve the same. All of them are easy to implement, affordable and quickly alter the quality of your shop so let’s get started!
1 – Get Organized
First thing’s first – organization. While this is an essential aspect of all shops, it’s especially important for smaller shops. Since your space is limited and cabinets can take up a lot of space, the walls are your best friend. You can turn practically every wall into a place to store your tools by simply setting up some wall hooks, shelves or the popular pegboard, making your use of space super efficient and handy as well. This leaves your ground space free to setup your bigger machines and work pieces, as well as giving you more room to walk around safely
without tripping up – a common issue of small home shops. A special little trick is to get a couple of thin wood beams, drill holes that match your tools’ girth in them and then mount them on a wall, allowing you to simply slip your tools in them which is a super-efficient, space-saving way to store your tools.
2 – Get Mobile
Versatility is key when you’ve got limited space and mobility is the answer. In practical terms, you need to make all of your bigger machines portable by putting them on bases that have casters. While some machines already come with these included such as most dust collectors, drum sanders and other large units, sometimes you’ve gotta do it yourself but thankfully it’s super easy and affordable – you can even make one yourself. Get a big piece of steel or cast iron and mount a set of heavy-duty casters on them and just like that you’ve got yourself the holy grail of successful home shops!
3 – Get Clean
Extremely important and often overlooked, maintaining a clean working environment is absolutely essential if you want to work with comfort and get quality results, especially in small, enclosed spaces. There’s one simple solution to this – dust collectors. They’re inexpensive, don’t take up much space and deliver excellent results. By attaching your power tools to them with a vacuum hose, you’ll not only prevent any debris from falling on your work pieces (leading to smoother, higher quality results) but you’ll also keep your shop’s air clean and perfectly breathable, letting you work without a mask if preferred and considerably improving your health by filtering all the harmful dust. This made such a huge difference for me that I now consider it to be one of the most essential parts of any worthwhile workshop, and you will too after you try it!
4 – Go For a Combo
When you’re short on space, nothing beast combination machines. They mix two or more functions in one, giving you all the usefulness while only taking up a half or even a third of the room. A great example is the famous belt/disc combination sander but every other combo that combines two big, stationary machines in a single one is a fantastic choice to save space. As a bonus, they’re also nearly half the price of the separate tools.
5 – Get Folding
This might just be the most secret trick on the book – getting a fold-away bench. Just like those classic fold-away ironing or dining tables, a fold-away bench can be stored neatly on the wall when not being used, saving you some major space, and simply pulled down when needed, giving you the best of both worlds and making a huge difference in a small shop. You can build one yourself or simply buy one, either way you’ll be on the winning side.
By following these 5 simple tips, you’re setting yourself on the right track to achieve the perfect home workshop. While they’re easier to apply if you’re creating one from scratch, they are just as effective for pre-existing shops and absolutely worth doing. No matter how small the room is, you can turn it into a heck of a workshop by just following these tips so roll up your sleeves and get to work!
About the author
James Draper is a professional woodworker that got his passion for sanding passed down from his father. He loves to bring a new life to old, dusty furniture. You can find him on sanderscore.com where he shares his knowledge on sanding and craftsmanship with other people as best as he can