Creating a home woodworking shop is not a simple undertaking.
The sheer cost of woodworking supplies, not to mention the time and energy it takes to set up a woodshop, makes thorough planning essential.
However, having a well-built and equipped shop is well worth the time.
The following are things you may want to consider as you begin to establish your own fine woodworking shop, whether it be in a garage, basement, or dedicated building.
Essential tools for the home woodworking shop
- Circular saw – This versatile saw should be top on your list of major purchases. Circular saws are both powerful and portable. Look for higher horsepower models, which are less likely to bind.
- Compound miter saw – The compound miter allows for more precise beveling and angling in comparison to the circular saw. It’s advisable to build or purchase a miter saw stand in conjunction with your saw.
- Drill press – The drill press allows for deeper and more precise holes than are created with a power drill. A drill press vise is one can’t-miss accessory. The drill press vise allows you to secure relatively small items for drilling and can also be used in cutting offset holes.
- Jigsaw – Cutting curves and circles is easy with the right jigsaw. Orbital-action models, in which the blades are angled slightly upwards, often make smoother cuts for fine woodworking.
- Power drill – Cordless drills are handy for small spaces (no tangled cords) and don’t take up precious wall sockets, but corded versions often have variable speeds, a feature that is generally not available in cordless models.
- Random orbital sander – Although this tool doesn’t work with plain sandpaper like palm models, its random sanding pattern reduces sanding marks.
- Router – Routers are available in stationary and plunge versions. Look for a model with a motor speed of at least two horsepower and variable speed settings.
- Table saw – Because the table saw is so versatile, it makes sense to splurge on this item. Look for a model that allows fine tuning of the table saw fence to insure high quality work. A removable table saw fence can also increase the versatility of your bench, allowing you to work with larger pieces if necessary.
Other woodworking supplies you can’t do without
- Clamps – You can never have enough clamps.
- Safety equipment – Whatever you buy; whatever you do; make sure it’s done safely. At absolute minimum, wear safety glasses.
- Saw horses – Saw horses can be made or purchased for a relatively low price, and they’re incredibly versatile.
- Shop vac – Because woodworking equals a lot of dust.
- Woodworking bench – Make sure to select a bench with a vise to hold projects steady.
Layout and organization tips for the home woodworking shop
- Storage is the key to having an organized wood shop. Make use of old furniture, hunt down some garage sale bargains, or build some cabinetry yourself. Old dressers or bookcases can be used to organize and store your woodworking tools without shelling out a bundle for fancy storage equipment. Hang some pegboard and use hooks to hang hand tools you use most often. Pot hooks are a relatively cheap and sturdy option. Magnetic knife racks can also be used to hang smaller items.
- Develop designated work areas for larger equipment or tools you use frequently, such as a miter saw stand. Arrange equipment so that it is easy to move from one station to another. Consider creating a floor plan to plot out what should go where, and always plan for future purchases. Make sure that the floor plan allows for easy manipulation of materials around the shop.
- Make sure that all work surfaces have adequate lighting, which will not be blocked when you’re working on a project. A portable magnetic light can help provide focused lighting throughout the shop.
- Electric receptacles must be grounded, and sufficient electrical service should be available at each workstation.
If the ventilation in the shop isn’t sufficient, consider placing a household fan in one of the shop windows.
- As your shop grows, you may want to consider investing in a dust collector that gathers the dust right at the machine.
- If your woodworking shop is located in your home or attached garage, consider whether noise and dust will be problems.