Here's My Workshop!
By Matthew Miller
I started woodworking in 2013 as an exclusively power-tool-only hobbyist in south Texas.
Working out of our two-car garage, I primarily used a table saw, jointer and planer, mostly building
things out of home center lumber and sheet goods with the occasional pallet wood project here and
In the spring of 2018, we packed all of our belongings (including the tools) and moved to Asheville,
NC. We quickly discovered garages were quite the luxury here and I knew my current tools would not be
able to be used efficiently and safely in the new home we purchased. I slowly began selling them and
replacing them with hand tools or a power tool that would be more mobile and efficient at performing
My shop is located in the lower level of our house. It's essentially a large utility room that I work
in. You access it by going through our living room.
The room itself is about 13 feet long and 11 feet wide. It's not a perfect rectangle though as
you'll see. The hot water heater and furnace take up a lot of floor space.
Starting behind the door, I store all of my clamps in this area. The walls are pegboard all the way around.
Beside the clamps is the lumber rack. I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of it. It's always collecting
odds and ends other than wood. I'm thinking when I use up all the wood that is currently there, I'll turn this wall into shelves
for better storage and add an area to hang tools on the wall.
Next to the furnace is my latest experiment in lumber storage. I mostly work with white pine,
sycamore and poplar. Standing the boards up vertically takes up a lot less space. I've been checking
them to see if they warp or twist any more then stacking them up and stickering them. So far it seems to
I built a Dutch tool chest that was made famous by Megan Fitzpatrick and Christopher Schwarz. The top
portion holds my bench planes and marking tools. Underneath, it's full of joinery planes, picture frame
tools and others.
My workbench is directly across from my tool chest. It's the bench from Mike Siemsen's The
Naked Woodworker DVD. Above it is a small shelf of finishing supplies and waxes. On the bench is a recent
pyrography art piece I made for my parents for Christmas with a few spoons I recently carved. One of
my kids' Pokemon toys seems to have snuck in as well.
The previous homeowners installed this storage area, which is above my workbench. It's two brackets
that hold a full sheet of plywood. I use it to store power tools and other supplies like paint that you
don't want little hands getting a hold of. If you noticed the bottle of grain alcohol, I use it to make my
own shellac. Seriously.
Using a power tool in this space creates a LOT of dust. Even though I have a decent dust
separator with my shop vac, it's not 100 percent effective. So I use this outdoor concrete pad that's outside
below our deck. I use my Skilsaw to break boards down and do rough rip and cross cuts. I clean the edges
up with hand planes later. I use a pair of Japanese-style saw horses to support the work.
If I have one or two boards to flatten, I'll just use hand planes. Any more than that and I'll
set up this router jig and use a surfacing bit to flatten the two faces then bring it down to final thickness
with a jointer plane. It's slower than using a planer but a lot more mobile and takes the place of both
jointer and planer.
I hope you enjoyed my shop tour. Hopefully it gave you some ideas on setting up your
shop if you're restricted on space.
You can email Matthew at email@example.com.
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