Setting up a workshop

There is no single way to create your own workshop. Because every craftsman has individual interests, needs and resources, the trick to develop an appropriate workshop is to understand your needs and to maximize your resources.

Start with the empty space

Most of us have a room in the basement or part of the garage. Draw a sketch of your workshop floor area as it is. Create dimensions and add important tools and work or storage positions. Often the simple use of a sketch shows the inefficiency of the layout or suggests better arrangements.

Make sure the design contains power sources, windows and doors, light sources and all built-in fixtures such as shelves and wall units.

Sketching your existing work area allows you to create a wish list with tools, accessories and systems that you want to add in future, including dust collection, storage and drying areas. 

Compare this list with the current workshop area. Is this all possible? Otherwise, you may want to change your wish list or look for ways to replace single-purpose tools with space-saving multifunction workstations.

For example, replace the old radial saw with a compound sliding mitre saw or replace one or two larger fixed tools with smaller tabletop versions.

Make sure the planned space around the tools is enough to use each tool effectively. Regularly check your plan and update it according to your needs and circumstances.

Choose your location

The best workshop is without a doubt a large separate building with water supply and heating. It should be divided into a storage area that has a large outside door, a central work area and a ventilated finishing room separated from the rest of the workshop.

Obviously, creating and maintaining such a workshop requires money and space that is not available to most of us. Look for alternative spaces. Two of the most common areas are the basement, garage, attic and even in a closed porch. Consider the following factors when evaluating a potential workshop space or planning to upgrade the current workshop:

Space requirements.

You want enough space to handle goods and boards at least two meters long. Ideally, it means an area large enough to feed a large amount of supplies on the supply and outlet side of a table saw.

Workshop access.

A suitable access / exit point is needed to move material in the workshop and remove the completed projects from the workshop.

Power.

Do not use more than one tool at a time (except the vacuum cleaner or dust collector). However, several easily accessible power sockets are required.

Light

Sufficient light is essential for careful, comfortable, accurate and safe operation of power tools. Good general lighting (preferably combination of natural and artificial light sources) and moving work lights are required.

Ventilation / air conditioning

To extract dust and vapor, you need a source of fresh air and a dust collection system. Depending on where you live, climate control might also be necessary to control moisture. 

Insulation

Insulation will reduce the penetration of noise and dust into the rest of the home.

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