Thought I'd share a few pics of my happy place. I received significant inspiration from seeing all the other shop tours in this monthly column, so I hope these pictures give you some ideas for your own space. My wife and I recently finished a significant renovation on our forever home, and thankfully I got a nice, dedicated woodshop out of the deal. I was fortunate to be able to design this new shop from the ground up, albeit with a few boundary conditions on width and length.
My shop is a 600 square foot L-shaped space, added onto the far end of our 3-car attached garage. The long side of the L, which is the outside wall, is 32' long. The short side, which faces the backyard, is 24' long. Each corridor is 14-15' wide. I took the rear half of the 3rd car space for the short side of the L, and this is where 8'x6' double steel entrance doors to the shop are located. The doors are right in front of the table saw, so I can open them to process long stock on the saw when necessary. There is a garage door on the other side of the shop to bring in lumber and provide ventilation.
The floor is concrete, and epoxy coated, which really helps the overall light level by reflecting the overhead lights. The ridge beam is 14' high to match the existing structure, so the shop feels really spacious with such a high ceiling. I find as my eyes age I need more light, so I aimed at 100 lumens/sf using a combination of 14 ceiling cans, 6 Big Ass LED garage lights (which are very, very bright and 5K color temp), and a few task lights from my old shop. I painted the walls a semi-gloss bright white to help reflect all the light and keep the illumination distributed. This lighting approach worked out great, and I love how bright it is. The space stays cool and ventilated using four skylights that open, a 60" ceiling fan, and two large sliding windows on the wall facing our wooded backyard. The space is heated with a 75,000 BTU enclosed combustion heater hanging from the ceiling.
My 3HP Oneida dust collector and a 20 gallon air compressor are located outside the shop in a garage storage nook, which saves precious floor space and keeps things quiet inside the workspace. All tools have their own dust collection blast gate, connected via metal ducting to a 6" main duct, and all runs are located either in the attic or along the walls to avoid overhead interference. A Delta air cleaner hangs about 10' off the floor to keep things clean when I'm being particularly messy. Compressed air is distributed around the shop walls using the Rapid Air products, with multiple drops, each with a regulator and quick connect.
Multiple slab and wood storage areas are located up high wherever I could fit a rack. If there is one thing I wish I had more of, it is wood storage space. Can you ever have too much wood? I think not. I will soon be moving the wood storage rack you see in the pictures out to a large yard shed we are building, so I will have some assembly room. All the walls are covered in 3/4" plywood to make mounting things on the wall quick and easy. The shop has its own 100A panel, and all wiring is located within the walls. I have running water and a sink as well, which is very helpful for sharpening and cleanup. For finishing, I plan to use the garage space and try my hand at spraying once in a while.
I spent many hours drawing layouts to maximize overall workflow efficiency. I paid extra attention to working with large pieces, since I really enjoy breaking down big ole' slabs and milling my own stock. The 16" Meber bandsaw and 12" Hammer A3-31 are stout, precise, and a joy to use. Almost everything is on wheels to provide versatility. These pictures don't show it, but I now have an outfeed table on my SawStop Table Saw that is a slightly modified version of the Down To Earth Woodworker's nice design. Believe it or not, I previously did not own a tablesaw (small shop), but I managed to build a lot of great things using my Festool TS55 and some decent router skills. The empty wall space located next to the clamp rack will ultimately hold a wall-mounted tool cabinet for my large collection of hand tools.
My recently completed Split-Top Roubo Workbench sits right in the center of the space. All my Festool gear is in pull-out drawers just behind the bench for easy access. I have a Norm-inspired workbench hutch that is my general purpose space, and a 6' assembly bench below the clamps, as well as an MFT I can move around. I like having a lot of fastener options, so I filled a 5' wall section with bins so I can find what I need quickly and keep organized. The one tool I am currently missing is a lathe, which I will find a space for in time. I'm making a whole list of items I want to build for the new house, now that this shop space is complete and everything is operational.
I really enjoyed placing memories and art that mean something to me around the shop walls. They all give the place great energy and I smile even wider every time I walk in and soak in the creative juices this space gives me. One serious highlight for me is the 40 year old stereo I had in college, installed in the corner, along with my record player and all of my records I've been hauling around for decades. Just turning this stuff on and hearing the needle drop gives me joy. This is my happy place. I crank tunes and ruin perfectly good lumber. Life is good. Build on!
You can email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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