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Considerations For Creating Or Improving Your Workshop. By Les Waganer and Larian Johnson. General Considerations. Purpose of workshop Full wood shop (furniture, deck, basement finishing) Small wood projects (picture frames, toys, birdhouses)

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Considerations For Creating Or Improving Your Workshop

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general considerations
General Considerations
  • Purpose of workshop
    • Full wood shop (furniture, deck, basement finishing)
    • Small wood projects (picture frames, toys, birdhouses)
    • Handyman repairs (fix what breaks, add shelves)
  • Location (basement, garage, patio, kitchen table?)
    • Considerations include: temperature, humidity, dirt, noise, space, power, lighting
  • Budget
    • Based on purpose and quality
  • Timeliness and quantity of results
    • More quantity requires more specialized tools and jigs
  • Quality of results
    • Better tools = potential better quality
  • Cleanliness, noise control
essential woodworking tools
Essential Woodworking Tools
  • Good portable vacuum (keeps the wife happy)
  • Work surface, workbench
  • Hearing and vision protection
  • Vise (metal, wood)
  • Table saw (10” minimum with carbide blades)
  • Drill press (table or floor model)
  • Bench Grinder
  • Hand tools
    • Miter box & saw
    • Hammers (claw, tack, rubber, dead blow)
    • Cordless drill (3/8”, 14.4 V minimum)
    • Circular saw (corded or cordless)
    • Jig saw
    • Hand saws
    • Portable orbital sander
    • Portable belt sander
essential woodworking tools4
Essential Woodworking Tools
  • Small Tools
    • Tape measure
    • Straight edge
    • Drill bits (metal, spade, Forstner)
    • Sanding disks and drums (for drill press)
    • Hole saws for portable drill or drill press
    • Countersink drill bits
    • Clamps (C, pipe, parallel)
    • Digital calipers
    • Squares (framing, machinists, combination)
    • Level (new digital ones have 0.1 deg accuracy)
    • Nail sets / punches
    • Scraper
    • Chisels
    • Files / Rasps
    • Bandaids
essential woodworking tools5
Essential Woodworking Tools
  • Small Tools (cont.)
    • Pliers (slip joint, vise grip, parallel jaw, needlenose)
    • Knives (X-acto, utility, putty)
    • Bench brush
    • Hacksaw
    • Coping saw
    • Dado blade set for table saw
    • Featherboards
    • Roller outfeed supports
application specific tools
Application Specific Tools
  • Router (preferably ½” shank) + stand for inverted use
  • Miter saw or radial arm saw
  • Band saw
  • Scroll saw (18” deep throat, minimum)
  • Stationary surface planer
  • Stationary orbital and/or belt sander
  • Jointer
  • Dust collection system and/or air purification system
  • Air compressor + nail gun
  • Portable power planer
  • Biscuit cutter
example workbench

From Plans Now

  • Easy-to-build workbench plan can be finished in one weekend using 2 x 4s and a solid-core door for the top.Solid-core doors make excellent benchtops, and are available at home centers and builders' supply stores in the damaged inventory section. Bottom shelf and the optional drawers add useful storage. Pefect for basement, garage, or woodworking shop. Overall Dimensions: 34¼"(H) x 30"(W) x 80"(L).Suggested power tools: Table saw or circular hand saw.Bench Plan - Build a Workbench in One WeekendDN3001 $5.95
other resources
Other Resources
  • Kevin Brady woodworking advice

  • Popular Woodworking Tool Selection Guide, attached

Workshop Inventory , Christopher Schwarz, October 2007 Page 1

Critical Machinery:

1. 14" band saw, 1/2hp motor, cast‑iron frame, no riser block

2. 8" jointer, 2 hp motor

3. 15" planer, 3 hp motor

4. 10" table saw, 3 0" rails, aftermarket sliding crosscut table

5. Hollow‑chisel mortiser

6. Two portable dust collection units, one shop vacuum

7. Floor‑model drill press

Critical hand‑held power tools:

1. 12‑volt cordless drill, 3/8" chuck, two speeds

2. 1‑1/2 hp fixed‑base router, used hand‑held and mounted in portable router table

3. DeWalt 621 plunge router

4. 18‑gauge brad nailer and small 5‑gallon compressor

5. 23‑gauge pinner

6. HVLP turbine and spray gun

7. Circular saw with quality carbide blades for cutting plywood

8. Variable‑speed jigsaw

9. 10" sliding compound miter saw

Router bits:

1. Beading bit

2. Roundover (three sizes)

3. Pattern bits, a wide variety of diameters

4. Straight bits, spiral bits

5. Chamfer bits (three sizes)

6. Cope‑and‑stick bits (chamfer‑edge profile)

7. Ogee bits (two sizes)


Workshop Inventory , Christopher Schwarz, October 2007 Page 2

Hand planes:

1. No. 8 jointer plane

2. No. 4 smoothing plane

3. No. 5 jack plane

4. Low‑angle block plane

5. 1‑1/4" shoulder plane

6. Large router plane

7. Small router plane

8. Record 044 plow plane

9. Moulding planes: 1 pair hollow and rounds

10. Moulding plane, 5/16" beading plane

11. Moving fillister plane

12. Small scraping plane, Stanley 212 size

13. Bevel‑up jack plane for shooting

14. Card scrapers, about 10

15. Spokeshaves, flat sole and round; large and small


1. Dovetail saw, 15 ppi, filed rip

2. Carcase saw, 14 ppi, flled crosscut

3. Tenon saw, 10 ppi, filed fip

4. Handsaw, 7 ppi, filed crosscut

5. Ripsaw, 4 ppi, filed rip

6 Lee Valley Japanese flush‑cut saw

7. Modelmaker's saw

8. Coping saw

9. Jeweler's saw, equipped with scrollsaw blades

10. Hacksaw

11. Fine Japanese saw, filed crosscut, for detail cuts

12. Two sawbenches

13. 8" dado stack

14. 24‑tooth rip blade

15. 40‑tooth combination blade


1. Bevel‑edge chisels: 1/8" to I" in 1/811 increments

2. Mortise chisels, 1/4", 5/16", 3/8"

3. Mallet

3. Paring chisel, 2" wide

4. Skew chisels, left and right

5. Set of small‑scale carving chisels

6. Comer chisel, 3/8“

Layout tools

1. 6" 4R rule

2. 6" and 12" combination squares

3. 8" try square

4. Miter square

5. Sliding T‑bevel

6. 12' tape

7. Saddle square

8. Dovetail square

9. Tite‑Mark marking gauge

10. Blue Spruce marking knife

11. Awls, scratch and bird‑cage

12. Two dividers

13. Set of three French curves

14. Compass

15. Protractor and center‑finder for combination square

16. 24" aluminum straightedge and 32" wooden straightedge

17. Levels, 18" and 48"

18. 5mm‑lead mechanical pencil

19. Dial caliper


Workshop Inventory , Christopher Schwarz, October 2007 Page 3

Percussive tools

1. 22 oz. wooden mallet

2.16 oz. hammer

3. Plane‑iron hammer

4. Warrington‑style hammer

5. Nail pullers, Japanese and Western style

6. Dead‑blow mallet


1. Brace, 8", 10" and 12"

2. Augers, full set of 13

3. Auger bit file

4. Forstners, 1/4" to 1"

5. Brad‑points, complete set by 1/64s up to 1/2"

6. Instybits, pilot and countersink bits, set from No. 6 to No. 10 screws

7. Countersink

8. Set of spade bits


1. Two 12" F‑style

2. Six 4" F‑style

3. Eight 12" parallel jaw

4. Fourteen 26" parallel jaw

5. Four 40" parallel jaw

6. Four handscrews, large size

7. Four quick‑release plastic clamps

8. Eight spring clamps


1. Cabinet rasps and files

2. Floats, 1/4" mortising float, bed float

3. File card


1. Complete set of screwdrivers, Phillips, straight, Robertson

2. Set of index bit and driver for drill/driver


1. Eclipse honing guide

2. Duo‑Sharp Diamond stone (x‑coarse and coarse)

3. Sharpening stones, waterstones, 1,000, 4,000 and 8,000

4. Plant mister

5. Hand blocks (medium and fine)

6. Oil and oil‑soaked rag

7. Mill file

8. Burnisher

9. Cheap 6" stainless ruler

10. Kell honing guide

11. 6" grinder


1. Detail carving knives, used for a wide variety of tasks

2. Sloyd shop knife

3. Sanding disk for table saw

4. Paraffin

5. Bench brush

6. Needlenose pliers, locking pliers

7. Putty knife

8. First aid kit

9. Two drawbore pins

10. Spray gun cleaning kit

11. Wide and varied collection of screws, nails, bolts, nuts, hardware

12. Hemp string, for measuring diagonals

ideas on shop area
Ideas on Shop Area
  • Space – Accommodate project tools & materials with some assembly space. Simple bench-top for small jobs, bigger areas for cabinets, maybe some floor area for tables
  • Electrical - Separate 120 V/20A circuits or 240 V/30A circuits for shop area. Consider startup amp draw with another tool running (e.g., vacuum). If overloaded, add another circuit. Duplex outlets every 4 feet just above workbench and continue around shop.
ideas on shop area13
Ideas on Shop Area
  • Lighting - Plenty of overhead fluorescent lighting, consider nearly continuous twin 40W fixtures over work areas.
  • Environment – Provide extra heating or cooling if not comfortable. Attach shop vacuum (or dust collector) to tool if possible. If not, collect in vicinity. Keep shop clean and reasonably tidy (prevents accidents, minimizes dust inhalation and keeps spouse happier). If walls not up yet, hang plastic sheets to contain dust. Rubber floor mats may help fatigue. Foam pads on desk surfaces helpprevent project marring and movement when sanding, etc.
considerations on shop layout
Considerations on Shop Layout
  • Tool location – Large tools tend to be stationary, but roller bases allow flexibility in work flow and tool access.
  • Laydown space – As the size of the projects grow, larger or multiple flat areas (at the same height) are needed. Several roller stands are good for outfeed and support (for table saw, miter saw, drill press, surface planer). Can use workbench as outfeed or laydown space.
  • Finishing – Volatile and/or aromatic odors mandate a well-ventilated area. Strongly consider moving outside for finishing, if possible. If not, use exhaust fans.
ideas on shop layout
Ideas on Shop Layout

Small shop,


Table saw

Band saw

Miter saw under TS

Dust Collector

2 workbenches

ideas on shop layout16
Ideas on Shop Layout

Small Garage shop,



Table saw

Band saw

Miter Saw/Planer


Osc Spindle Sander

Drill Press

Shop vacuum


Moves cars

Out for projects

ideas on shop layout17
Ideas on Shop Layout

Around 20’

Medium shop,

20’ x 20’

Table saw/Router table

Belt sander



Band saw

Drill press

Miter saw

Dust Collector

Workbench/Outfeed Table

Around 21’

ideas on shop layout18
Ideas on Shop Layout

Around 20’

Medium shop,

24’ x 24’

Table saw




Band saw

Miter saw

Drill press


Dust Collector in

separate room

Around 21’

ideas on shop layout19
Ideas on Shop Layout

Large shop,

24’ x 32’

Table saw




Band saw

Radial Arm saw

Router Table


Dust collector

Air Compressor


Drill press

No sander?

ideas on shop layout20
Ideas on Shop Layout

Large shop,

30’ x 42’

Table saw


Spindle sander

Belt sander




Band saw

Miter saw

Cutoff saw

Dust collector

Air Compressor

No drill press?

No router table?

ideas on shop layout21
Ideas on Shop Layout

Les’ shop,

11.5’ x 23’

Not Optimal!

2 Workbenchs

Drill press

Table saw

Miter saw


Radial Arm saw

Band saw


Air purification


Air compressor

Shop Vac

Tool Cabinet

Mini workbench

essential safety rules
Essential Safety Rules
  • Read the safety tips in the Tool Manual
  • Wear safety glasses and maybe hearing protection or dust mask, if required
  • No loose clothing, keep everything secured
  • Have better than adequate lighting. You need to see what you are cutting
  • A good rule of "Thumb" is to always know where your body parts are and will be in relation to the tool
  • After finishing cut, allow tool to stop motion before moving hands
essential safety rules23
Essential Safety Rules
  • Use hold-downs or feather boards on table saw, jointer and router table to push wood to fence and stop kickback
  • Secure stock with clamps on drill press or free-hand router
  • On a table saw, use push sticks or push block system for narrow cuts
  • If you insist on pushing with hands, hook fingers over table saw fence so they cannot reach blade
essential safety rules24
Essential Safety Rules
  • On miter saw, do not move free hand at any time
  • On router, make light cuts and always feed your router into the workpiece, AGAINST the rotation of the cutter. In those instances when this is not possible and you must make a climb-cut (with the rotation of the cutter), it is more important than ever that you take multiple light passes instead of a single heavy one
  • Make sure all keys and adjusting wrenches are removed, especially on drill press
essential safety rules25
Essential Safety Rules
  • Disconnect power when not using a tool, especially when changing blades or leaving shop
  • Inspect stock for nails, loose knots, etc. and remove them
  • On all portable and miter saws, beware of tool movement when motor starts (inertia effect)
  • Use EXTREME caution with molding head on table saw – NEVER stand in front of table saw, only beside, out of direction of motion
  • Do not try to free a stalled blade before turning the power OFF