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Getting Started Woodworking With A Small Shop

garage shop photoIf you want to get your own woodworking shop going, it doesn’t have to be a giant 50×100 building with the most recent and high tech toolage that is available. If you love to work with wood, there are some tools necessary to do so, but it may not be as far out of your reach as you think.

It is going to take a little bit of room, but I have seen shops that are tiny. When I first started building outdoor furniture to sell, I did so in a small shop that wasn’t even mine. It was my father in laws little shop. It was 16×20, or a little over 300 square feet. I had a full blown woodworking business in that little shop – it wasn’t a side job mind you, that is what I did. I eventually did move into a bigger shop because, yes, it isn’t as easy working in a small space. But it can be done. Here are a few tips:

Many opt to use their garage. If you set everything up carefully, you can still pull the vehicles into the garage if it is large enough. You have to figure out how to use the space that is available. Some, such as Steve Ramsey from Woodworking For Mere Mortals, a very popular woodworking prodigy online uses just his garage and has a full blown business from it. How does he do it?

He ends up pulling a lot of the tools and projects out of the garage and works in the driveway. This in itself takes a little extra time, but it still works for him. It can work for you as well.

Even without a garage, a small building to hold the tools and work bench/tables will be enough. You will just have to work outside of the building on a lot of things. With limited space, it would be good to use a lot of benchtop tools that can be put away.

There is pretty much a benchtop tool for any shop tool. You can get a benchtop:

table saw

drill press





router table


tablesaw photorouter table photoplaner photobandsaw photo

In addition to being portable, these items are usually cheaper than the standard equipment. And when I first started out, even with my business, that is about all I had was benchtop tools.

One thing that you just about can’t do without is a workbench. Even a small workbench can house the benchtop tools underneath it if it is build correctly. Some have even built a flipping mechanism for their tools so that they will be able to flip right onto the table when needed, and fold back under when finished. Of course, it is just as simple to me to just reach under and put it on top of the work surface, but that will be totally up to you in how you work this.

Another area to look into is make any work tables or cabinets to have locking casters. This way you can roll everything out and back into the small workshop. There are many other ways to tweak a small workshop, whether it is just a separate, small building, or a garage workshop.locking casters photo

Even with the smallest of buildings to store everything, and pulling the tools out to work, you can turn out beautiful projects that will make you appreciate this hobby.


DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.

Ted Leger –


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Updated: December 11, 2014 — 10:24 pm
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