I have spent an insane amount of time contemplating the most efficient way to setup my small shop. My main goals were:
- Giving each benchtop tool its own dedicated home. I waste so much time pulling them out and setting them up whenever I have to switch modes.
- Maintain the working area around my table saw to allow easy breakdown of large sheet goods.
- Give my mitre saw, jointer and planer appropriate infeed and outfeed space.
- Set the tools at a comfortable working height to reduce fatigue.
After a lot of planning and contemplating different approaches I realized one thing that became the key to determining my new shop setup. I rarely need to get behind or beside most of these tools. Once I realized that, it became obvious that they should be arranged with their backs together in an island formation in the center of the shop.The island contains:
- Router table
- Drill Press (still have to build a cabinet for this)
The mitre saw is set up about 8” from the garage door, parallel with it. I’m going to mount swing-arm style 4’ wings on it for infeed/outfeed/fence support. (same with the planer)
The first step was building very basic cabinets with 3/4” BB plywood. The cabinets are glued and pocket screwed in on the ends and each has a single temporary brace to keep them square while I decide the sizes of their individual shelves and drawers. They’re a bit wobbly right now but once the dust frames are all installed they should stiffen up.
I had planned to put casters on all of the cabinets but seeing how amazingly uneven my concrete floor is I think I’m going to end up using levelers instead.
In the second photo you can see some 10’ long 4” PVC sections that will be used for dust collection. I’m going to run a drop down the center of the island and connect it to a custom (read: not yet designed or built) distribution system with built in blast gates.