Help needed - Organization of a small shop: 380x280 cm room (12.5'x9')

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Forum topic by Cornelius posted 11-06-2015 01:03 PM 1031 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 1067 days

11-06-2015 01:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: small shop organization mobile bench tools

Dear LJ,

This is my first post on this forum after years reading through it.
I apologize for my poor english and messy pictures (quicker than sketch up)

I need help from fellow members to organize my tiny space.

I am currently living in a tiny country, I could only afford a tiny house.

The workshop will be placed in a 380×280 cm room (12.5’x9’) with a house heating system eating up 20% of this space. Fortunately the ceiling his at 290 cm (9.5’).
The concrete floor has got a funnel shape to make things even more tricky! I cannot change that.

I am a manual tool lover and these will be hosted right behind my workbench.

I am extremely unsure about the hosting of my table saw and bench tool machines though.

My first question would be to ask you what you think about 3 options I thought about:

Plan A:

Bench top machines are hosted on a mobile column between the tail vise and the wall.
The widest machine is 42 cm (16 in), the avilable slot space is 48 (cm 19 in).
machines are easy access
the whole column can be moved to have full access to the tail vise
the floor is not leveled, so it will be tricky to fit the column vertical next to the wall
the column would be kind of a 46×60x200 cm (18×23.5×78 in), which does not sound too sturdy
the column needs to be moved in order to use the tail vise

Plan B:

The circular saw slides just under my elevated workbench.
I have got higher shelves for some of the bench tools.

table saw is completely out of the way, huge gain of space

fixed shelves are less convenient for the heaviest bench tools due to height and position

Plan C:

I am completely wrong with the 2 previous plans and you have definitely a much better option for me

I want to plane well from scratch as I still have a small jointer and router table to fit, and I might in the near future buy a drill press and a (small) band saw.

Many thanks for your help in advance and have a great week end!

-- Black and White Pictures Portfolio:

8 replies so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1143 days

#1 posted 11-06-2015 01:53 PM

When I started woodworking I was in a small space. What I did was get a mobile cart and a set of metal shelves to hold the tools. I would roll the cart to the shelf and set the tool on it. I could then position each tool where ever I needed it. In your case instead of a cart you could place the tool on your workbench.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View HokieKen's profile


4739 posts in 1105 days

#2 posted 11-06-2015 06:08 PM

You might want to think about something like HokieMojo did here. I made a similar table that I have my bandsaw, drill press, grinder and a machinist vise mounted on and I have full use a of all the tools. It provides me a ton of storage underneath too. I also skinned the ends of mine with pegboard and have a lot of smaller tools hanging there too. I have double locking casters on mine so it’s very solid but also very easy to roll out of the way whenever I need to.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Cornelius's profile


33 posts in 1067 days

#3 posted 12-19-2015 10:36 PM

Hi both of you , thanks for the input.

I perfectly agree that storing some tools on mobile base is the only way to go with the such a small space. Unfortunately if I make a furniture as big as the one mentioned by HokieKen, I just cannot enter my shop anymore. But thanks anyway that is inspiring.

I have a project of a flip top mobile base for my router and jointer, but I cannot afford to store all the little bench tools on a big common mobile base of this kind.

After rethinking things, I will likely go for plan B. Sliding the table saw under the work bench would save tons of space, an allow for the flip top jointer mentioned earlier. Making a mobile shelve column for the bench tools makes little sense as this would be parked right against the bench anyway.

Thanks again, as your posts made me re think my plans!

-- Black and White Pictures Portfolio:

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2889 days

#4 posted 12-20-2015 01:00 AM

I had a shop the size and shape of yours with a step in the sloped floor. Using pine 2”x4”s and plywood I leveled the floor. I then mounted benches to three walls and set my equipment on top of them. The only thing I had on rolling base was my table saw. As my needs changed, like when I bought a new floor standing band saw, I just cut into the wall mounted bench to accommodate it.

-- Website is

View Cornelius's profile


33 posts in 1067 days

#5 posted 12-20-2015 10:07 PM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for sharing your experience.
I thought several times about leveling the floor, but for the moment I could do without. I forgot to mention that 3 doors are eating up space as well!!!
There is only 1 wall free of anything, that’s where the bench and most of the storage is/will be.

As for when you bought your band saw I know that I will anyway have to reshuffle things as tools/needs changes.

-- Black and White Pictures Portfolio:

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4346 posts in 2376 days

#6 posted 12-21-2015 01:44 AM

To save space and have a place to put your tools when suing them you could make a drawer with two sets of 100lb drawer slides that pulls out and has a box opening in it: See below

Tools that will fit and are not excessively heavy can be mounted to a base. Gravity will do the work for you in keeping it in place or you could add pins if you want to be more sure it will not move. Would look like this when being used:

I have been using mine for years and have another set-up like it across the shop for other tools.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2042 days

#7 posted 12-21-2015 02:01 AM

Some variation of this might be useful. Welcome to Lumberjacks

It’s one cart and one column. The column shelves holds different table tops that go on the cart.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Cornelius's profile


33 posts in 1067 days

#8 posted 12-21-2015 06:53 PM

Many thanks for your imput both woodbutcherbynight and Sandra.

In fact my plan A was originally the mobile column you are mentionning Sandra. But this would have been awkward, because the available space is 46cm wide by 2m tall…not so sturdy I think. (if you are imperial system that would be 18” wide by 78” tall)

You were still both spot on with your ideas because I think I’ll will go for shelves instead, but keeping the idea of having a base attached to each tool. All the bases will be the same to have a common way to clamp them to the bench.

The idea of a strong drawer hosting the tool is excellent but I feel I could just use my bench for this. For the moment I still don’t know how I will use (wisely hopefully) the space under the bench.

Thanks to you I think I will then built strong shelves, find a common clamping system for the bases and build mobile wheels under the table saw to slide it both under the tail vise and the benchtop shelves.

Many thanks for your help

-- Black and White Pictures Portfolio:

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