For those with very limited shop space – or just want to save space in their building, it can be difficult. Many woodworkers work in tiny buildings, and some even under carports or even outside. There is nothing wrong with that – circumstance, income, and other factors will play a part in where you can take on your woodworking projects.
But space saving is essential to any shop really right? Why not save as much space as you can in the shop. Unless you are working in a 50×150 space like in a buddy of mine’s cabinet shop (and he says he needs a bigger one), then you would do well to maximize the area you have. Below is a video on creating a flipping cabinet for a lathe (By Izzy Swan again), but you can use the step by step instructions he gives and modify them to any size machine that you may have. It could be a planer, a miter saw, a router – anything that is bench top in size.
Let’s go over a few space saving tips first for any small shop.
TABLES THAT BREAK DOWN
Especially if your shop is considered tiny, or you work outside,under a carport, or in a garage – you would do well to create tables that break down. This way once you are done you can take it apart and stack it away neatly.
Many will use two sawhorses (can be made free with pallet material if you need to go cheap) and a sheet good on top. This will work, but you are better off creating a frame – even if small – underneath the sheet and attaching it. This will make the table 10 times sturdier, so when you are beating on it you won’t crack the plywood.
CHEAP STORAGE TIPS
There are so many items to store when woodworking from biscuits to screws. So organization is key to keeping these things in order. 2 liter bottles with a hole cut in them and a huge lag bolt or screw that fastens it to the wall will save you from having shelving.
Even have an open container full of nuts and bolts and drop it? It’s a mess to clean up. Cutting the hole about the size of a coke can diameter and putting it close to the top of the bottle will help. This prevents the hardware inside from spilling out that much (if any) if you drop the bottle.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING ROLLS
For more permanent structures like cabinets that can’t be knocked down to save space, be sure that they can roll around. Just add casters to them, and you can even push them outside and out of the way if it’s not bad weather outside.
If you do have cabinets build drawers into them. This will hold a lot of little items and tools. They need not be fancy or even have drawer slides. Just use a little ingenuity and you can create nice drawers at a very low cost.
Like the video shows below, most bench top tools, even larger ones like the lathe Izzy Swan displays in the video – can be housed in a cabinet that flips out of the way when not using it.
There are a ton of other methods to getting the most from your work space. With a little forethought and some planning, you can maximize the room even in a tiny shop.