My workshop

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Mrs C

Established Member
3 Jan 2016
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United kingdom
Apologies for the lengthy post and also if it has been done before. I have now been in my new workshop for 18 months, it’s not very big, but I have lots of small suggestions that have made a big difference to my working environment. A friend suggested that I write them down for other people’s benefit. It would be interesting to see what other people can add.

Interlocking recycled plastic tile floor - possibly the greatest extravagance but worth every penny.

Power, power power, light, light light

Good solid workbench in the middle of the room with maximum light

Tools placed so there is 2m clearance for infeed and out feed so you know max stock length you can work with.

Table saw max sheet size is 1m square which is the biggest piece I can safely handle, anything bigger gets broken down with a tracksaw first

Don’t feel guilty about buying good quality tools - my tool budget, as the shoe budget is undeclared. However, the majority of my tools are now worth more second hand than I paid for them

Don’t feel guilty about selling tools that turned out to be a mistake - we all do it!

When laying out your workshop, stand next to your bench and pretend to reach for your most used tools - this is where they should live and be returned to when you have finished. You may feel a complete noob while you are doing it, but there is nothing worse the repeatedly walking round your bench to get something used every day.

Old machinery is much, much, better than new - I would part with the husband before my Old Startrite saw

Keep it tidy and clean, have a cleanup between each job

Try not to let God into your workshop- he hides things for the fun of it

Clamps, clamps, clamps -appropriately stored

Make sure your vacuum hose reaches all round your shop - mine is a bit short and it irritates me intensely

My vacuum and compressor hoses are suspended over the ceiling in guttering clamps - cheap but works really well

Sharpening station within easy reach otherwise it will be an excuse to have blunt tools - I have snook in an extra pull out shelf within easy reach of the bench which is strong enough to sharpen on.

Radio - essential, clock -essential

Rolling small workbench the same height as main workbench - instant table extension

Visitor chair - placed strategically in a corner where they can talk to you but not get under foot

Drill bits live under the drill, router bits under the router- simples

Whiteboard with list of jobs - mine is magic, each time I cross one off the top two more mysteriously appear on the bottom

Disc sander - used far more than I imagined but is permanently set up connected to vacuum and also acts as one half of my mitre saw station. Cheap on/off magnetic block on the sander table acts as stop block for the saw.

Mitre saw - bench one side and sander the other same height as the saw bed acts as mitre saw station.

Ply Box - 300x400x500mm supporting a 600x800mm board stretching across to brackets on workbench legs. Often, if working on a piece on top of your bench it is too high, this provides a number of different working heights. The box and board get stored against the wall when not in use.

Rag tube - elasticated fabric tube, a bit like one for storing plastic bags. Stuffed with rags so they can be just pulled out of the bottom

Several offcuts bins e.g one under chop saw and one under bandsaw - instant clear up

Don’t be frightened to change something that doesn’t work - you can always change it back again

It takes time to work out the best layout - you won’t get it right first time

Machinery on wheels should it need to be moved, but allowing 2m around everything means that I have not needed to yet.
Visitor chair - placed strategically in a corner where they can talk to you but not get under foot
If you ditched that option there would be more tool space, there is no chance of anyone getting comfy in my shop.
I think most workshops have several iterations before your happy with layout , i know mine has
Excellent list !

In my case,
"Radio - essential, clock - essential", clock radio - smaller :)

I loved the interlocked foam floor tiles too. Warm and comfortable but I found them not really durable enough long term. Costco from time to time sell a thinner (6mm ?) and harder rubber mat in about 2x1m rolls. It's pitched at people who set up a home weights area in their garage.
This isn't as nice underfoot but is very much tougher.

Thanks for sharing some well learnt lessons :)
I know this thread is a few months old now, but it’s a very useful carefully thought out list, @ Mrs C
I like the hung up tube bag for rags, much better than my old carrier bag that clutters up space.
My addition to the list is a few lengths of 6”cardboard tube fastened together either in a frame or using tape for all the thin lengths of offcut can be dropped in for when needed again.
Carpet sales places happily give them away btw