Shop Tour // Small Shop Layout Tips

I have been receiving lots of request for a shop tour. I’m always hesitant to do so because I never really feel like my shop is finished! A wood shop really seems to be a fluid space that’s ever evolving. I know for sure that I am no where near where I want my shop to be in the long run of things. I did realize that I could possibly help some folks with different ideas for their shops and maybe some general tips from things I’ve learned along my journey.

My shop is a small, one car garage, and there are definitely pros and cons to having a shop this size. The downside is obviously space for tools, although I’m not sure if there is ever gonna be enough space in our shops, right? Most of the time no matter how big your shop is, you’re probably going to find stuff to fill it with. I can definitely say that this is a problem I would like to have.  On the plus side, small shops can be quite cozy, especially in the winter time. My shop is very well insulated, so it is very easy to keep heated and cooled. It’s also nice to have the shop attached to the house, it gives very easy access to getting out in the shop at anytime.


When it comes to shop layout in a small work space, you definitely need to think about all your tools and how you can make them work together to conserve as much floor space as possible. I would recommend doing a sketch and figuring out where you might want things, but some things have to be figured out on the fly. A lot of times a layout might work on paper, but it doesn’t actually work for you when you go out in the shop. The goal here is to have most of your tools where you can use them without having to move a lot of stuff around. I have found that when you have to move stuff to use a tool, you’ll be less likely to actually use it.  Another great idea is to get a lot of your work surfaces on one level so the each tool can sort of act like a “out feed” for the adjacent tool. I haven’t done this much in my shop, but it might be something I implement more going forward.

Wall space is another area you can gain a lot of room in a small shop. Your floor space is the most important and scarce part of a small shop, so anything you can out on the wall and keep off your floor the better off you’ll be. One way of achieving this is to implement the french cleat system, this a hanging system that uses opposing 45 degree angles to hang things off the wall. This system is great because it allows for a lot of flexibility by giving you the option to move stuff around as you see fit!


This is my grizzly G0690 table saw. It’s without a doubt my favorite tool!!


Here is shot beside the table saw, you can see a nice pile of Alder stacked in the floor as well as some 2×4’s from the old miter saw station I had. The pile of scraps in the floor are ready for the burn pile, while the ones in the bucket are savable pieces.


Here is  shot of the french cleat wall beside my table saw, You will notice the Jay Bates finish storage rack along with a bevy of other projects which I have videos available for on my channel!


Here is a shot of my drill press with the garbage can underneath, this is a super handy feature!!


This is a small cabinet that will probably get trashed in the future, but for now holds a few odds and ends.


This is Jay Bates drill charging station that I built prior to YouTube, it comes in quite handy!


This is my harbor freight cart that houses my welder below as well as a bunch of junk on the upper shelf that has accumulated over the years.


This is my 15″ Grizzly planer, it’s a beast and a lot of fun to use.


This is my new Rikon band saw, I haven’t used it a ton, but I definitely look forward to future projects working with it.


This is my little oil filled shop heater, it works quite well for a small well insulated space.


This is my out feed/assembly table. It works great for both purposes and the shelf underneath is great for storing different tools. Below you will see my Ridgid oscillating spindle sander, the case for my Bosch router, and my Porter Cable pancake compressor.


This is the side of the table that is pushed against the table saw, lesser used things are on this side. The casters on the table make it fairly easy to move the table to be able to access these things if need be.


The mft table is a fairly recent purchase and is really more of a luxury item. It sure is awesome to use when it comes to the breaking down and cross cutting of sheet goods though.


Underneath the mft is a stalled project from years ago. One day I’ll actually finish these things.


The one drawer in this cabinet that actually has a bottom in it houses random odds and ends.


Who needs a clamp rack right?


This spot behind the planer is a good place for these systainers that my domino came in.


I can not say enough great things about John Heisz’s tool wall. It not only looks cool, but it functions very well. The power tool storage above is an awesome added bonus. You’ll see in one of the spaces is the festool track saw, this is a highly recommended tool for a small space, it’s super versatile and one of the most used tools in my shop.


Such a great space for storing the tracks for the saw!!


This is the incra ls super system. I love all of incra’s products, expensive, but the amount of finite adjustments make them worth every penny in my book. I have an incra router lift and a porter cable 3 1/4 horse router in the table.


This was going to be a throw away cabinet, but after I started putting stickers on it, I decided I may as well keep it. 🙂


Inside is a lot of random junk, which is usually what happens with cabinets.


What’s on top? You guessed it, more junk haha!


My grizzly dust collector, it sucks 😉


The sheet goods rack is nice to have in any shop. This one is built to hold full sheets and off cuts.


Hiding behind my dust collector is my shop vac, it sucks also. 😉


The side of the sheet goods rack doubles as small clamp storage.


On top of the sheet goods rack is some more random stuff and some pallet wood. The container is full of different drawer slides.


My 6″ jointer, I constantly wish it was bigger! I guess it’s better than no jointer at all though.


Finally, here is the lumber rack, it obviously houses most of the longer lumber I own, as well as some random trim pieces. A nice thing about this rack is that it’s high on the wall and allows for working space underneath.

One thing that sorta goes without saying is to have everything possible on mobile bases. The tools in my shop have either had a mobile base attached or came with a built in mobile unit which is really handy in small space. You can see that working in a small space is totally doable, there are compromises, but the goal is to get out there and wood work right? With a little planning and some lessons surely to be learned along the way, you’ll have your small shop running efficiently in no time!