Feedback wanted on shop layout of newly completed detached workshop

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Forum topic by seenial09 posted 12-24-2015 01:12 PM 1145 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 302 days

12-24-2015 01:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop dust collection shop layout new workshop tool layout

Hey Guys/Gals,
My first post on LJ! I recently completed construction on my new workshop! It’s a standalone building in the back yard and is roughly 560 sf (20’ x 28’). The walls are 8’ tall, and I currently do not plan to hang any kind of ceilings from the exposed roof trusses. I am a hobby woodworker, but am considering part-time/freelance woodworking with the new shop. I have previously only worked out of a one car garage, so would very much appreciate any advice/feedback on how to improve my initial shop layout. Pictures shown, and also since I believe many woodworkers are using sketchup these days, the Dropbox link at the end of this post has a sketchup file that is representative of my current shop layout. Most of the machines are representative in size, the building dimensions are accurate. I have not built either the miter saw station or assembly table yet, but the two shown are roughly the sizes I have in mind. I currently have a 1.5hp Delta dust collector with 4” PVC ducted to all tools except for the drill press (which i currently have connected to my FEIN shopvac). The Delta dust collector does a really good job of collecting all the chips and large dust, but is terrible at collecting and filtering any of the fine stuff, so I am really considering upgrading to a +3HP cyclone (probably vented outside) as well as 6” duct-work. I also have a ambient air cleaner hanging above the drill press. Due to the cost of 6” pipe and fittings, I am trying to keep the duct runs as short and simple as possible. The distance to the proposed miter saw station seems like it would be a long run, but that wall seems like the only one I can put the station on and keep enough length for cutting long boards. The electrical panel and light switches are located on the short wall in between the shop door and garage door. Again, any thoughts will be most appreciated.
Dropbox link to Sketchup filehttp://

-- Sean, Charleston

17 replies so far

View FancyShoes's profile


504 posts in 781 days

#1 posted 12-24-2015 06:00 PM

You may want to post a pic, many people here may not have the drop box app, I do not have it, so I cant help answer the questions.

View seenial09's profile


5 posts in 302 days

#2 posted 12-24-2015 07:18 PM

Thanks FancyShoes, my first post. I added a couple pics taken from the sketchup file. Also, If anyone has a suggestion on a better way to share the sketchup file please let me know.

-- Sean, Charleston

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1098 days

#3 posted 12-24-2015 07:29 PM

I don’t see anything obviously wrong with that design myself and it seems like a good starting point to get into the shop and see how it fits into your work flow. I would put the assembly table on wheels if it was me so I could roll it out of the way and use that space for staging large projects and I would probably swap the workbench and jointer but that’s because I spend more time at the workbench than any other station in my shop. You could also push the miter station a few feet closer to the big door since most of the time you only need one long bed and one shorter one for the cut offs. If you needed more cut off space you could always just open the door.

Whatever you end up with plan on it not being the final location for the tools. You might spend a few months working in the shop and find that how you have it setup doesn’t work for you as well as you first thought it would.

Congrats on the new space, I bet you are really excited to get set up in it.

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1734 days

#4 posted 12-24-2015 07:43 PM

One suggestion would be to see if it’s possible to get the bandsaw and jointer together. They are complementary machines. I’d also recommend putting the lumber storage close to those two machines. A jigsaw, jointer and bandsaw can rapidly prep rough lumber for planing.

While installing the duct. put in some extra wyes and cap them off. Then put some of the smaller tools on double-locking casters so they can be moved around. The extra dust collection ports can be used to run flexible duct if you suddenly need to alter the shop arrangement.

If you intend to use the table saw to process sheet goods there’s not much you can do about its positioning. Otherwise, it could be useful to push it closer to a wall and leave more open space on the left-hand side. My tablesaw is as close to the wall as I can get it and still be able to feed 8’ long boards.

If possible, the assembly table should be in the middle of the shop and the tablesaw shifted away. The idea is you create parts at your machines around the perimeter and immediately set them by the assembly area. While small shops make the table saw the center by necessity, it’s not the center of importance in a workshop.

-- See my work at and

View MadMark's profile


965 posts in 870 days

#5 posted 12-24-2015 08:02 PM

Sequence your machines & work stations in the order you woulld naturally use them. Start at the door with your stock storage, then the chop saw. Bench along back wall with saw facing the front doors (no startles by someone walking in with the tools running.)

Put everything else on wheels and move as needed.



-- Madmark -

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2284 days

#6 posted 12-24-2015 08:05 PM

I think that it’s hard to answer that question for someone else. If I were you I would take a piece of 1/4 inch plywood and draw the shop rectangle showing the wall around the perimeter along with your doors and windows. Make it to scale (maybe 1/2 inch squares for each square foot or even bigger) and then put a grid on the floor. I would then use more 1/4 inch plywood and cut out a fairly accurate footprint of the various pieces of equipment and main shop furniture. Then do your layout putting the pieces in place. I did this for my shop and it was well worth the time. I spent a few hours moving the pieces of the puzzle around until I had it the way that I wanted it. You can do some thinking about your shop flow etc. I could have used my CAD program or one of my graphics programs but I found that having something I could physically play with gave me a better feel for the process. I actually did this, however, before my shop was ever built and it was how I determined where my outlets, doors and lights needed to be along with getting my shop arranged for optimal flow. My electrician and I figured out the wiring cost with this set up and after the shop was dried in he marked every thing on the studs before he went to work. I haven’t had to make any major changes so it worked out quite well. I hope that yours goes well for you as well. This is just my 2 cents worth. Everybody is going to have there own way of doing things.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View AZWoody's profile


678 posts in 641 days

#7 posted 12-24-2015 08:20 PM

There are so many ways to do it and as many reason.
Like one person said, you can put thing in order of sequence but I did mine kind of scattered but based on how much dust is produced and the ones that produce more, closer to the dust collector.

You may also want an enclosure for the dust collector. They can get very loud, especially if you have a 3hp or higher unit.

One thing I do see that you may want to do is move the chop saw a little more towards center if you think you’ll be cutting long stock. If not, you might have lumber running into the wall. Depends on how big your tables really are that you’ll have.

It’s just difficult to come up with something perfect. I have a 20×40 shop and I run out of room. There’s never enough room…

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1734 days

#8 posted 12-24-2015 08:30 PM

The problem with doing things in order of sequence is that it doesn’t really work in a custom furniture setting. Things change too much from one project to the next. That’s why my recommendation is work centers surrounding the assembly station and keeping tools mobile. The jointer will be used to process rough boards but chances are, it’ll be used even more to clean up saw marks, create laminates, build tapered legs, etc. Boards end up traveling everywhere and in reverse directions before a project is completed.

Large shops (like mine) will get around this by using multiple machines but hobby shops seldom have more than one of each tool.

The chop saw can be used for cutting rough boards to length but it’s overkill. A sharp, coarse blade on a cheap jigsaw does the same job and if the boards are heavy, it’s much faster. Since my miter saw (only have one for now but plan to get more) is setup for finished cuts, it’s at elbow height and lifting 8/4 oak up to that level is cumbersome. Putting the saw on a lower table would help but that makes fine work a literal pain in the back.

-- See my work at and

View MadMark's profile


965 posts in 870 days

#9 posted 12-24-2015 08:36 PM

If you purchase rough lumber the prep is ALWAYS first no matter what you make. Jigsaw? You cutting on your knee? Stored lumber gets chopped to rough length, then sawn / planed to become project lumber. These tools get used on every project. Putting everything else on wheels allow your shop to change for every project.


-- Madmark -

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1734 days

#10 posted 12-24-2015 08:50 PM

Jigsaw? You cutting on your knee?


- MadMark

Usually rolling carts that get deposited by the lumber rack when wood is needed then they become the carts for holding parts in process.

1. Position two carts by lumber rack
2. Select a board from storage and lay it on the carts.
3. Layout parts on boards
4. Grab jigsaw from nearby shelf and cross cut.
5. Return unused lumber to rack and toss shorts on lower shelf of cart.
6. Rough rip on nearby bandsaw
7. Joint face
8. Plane to thickness
9. Joint one edge

Lumber prep is the first step but it’s also the shortest procedure in the furniture-making process. I don’t recommend arranging machines based upon it because the joinery aspect will require far more trips to the machines than initial stock prep.

My shop is larger so the bandsaw and jigsaw are dedicated to this work and the primary bandsaw is near the workbenches.

-- See my work at and

View AZWoody's profile


678 posts in 641 days

#11 posted 12-24-2015 08:54 PM

I actually use my jigsaw a lot to do quick cuts on my rough lumber. I have a chopsaw too, but I have wood that’s fresh from air drying so sometimes have a little cupping, or other bends and I’ve had some jumping with the chop saw.

The jigsaw is a pretty safe way to cut lumber that’s not flat or perfect.

View CharleyL's profile


190 posts in 2781 days

#12 posted 12-24-2015 09:29 PM

I would swap the lumber rack and the miter saw station. Better yet, move the miter saw station back toward the dust collector and put the lumber rack where the miter saw station is presently. Your work flow will likely be in the garage door and into storage in the lumber rack. Then out of the lumber rack to either the miter saw, the table saw, or to the band saw. I would also move the table saw slightly to the right toward the personnel door so it would be easier to load and unload through the door or a larger project could be assembled there. I keep my joiner on the left side of my table saw and this has worked well for me.


View Sarit's profile


514 posts in 2557 days

#13 posted 12-24-2015 09:50 PM

I would convert the freestanding lumber rack to a wall mounted one and place it above the miter station. Rule of thumb, is to use all the vertical space you can instead of floor space. The first step in most projects is to rough cut to manageable lengths. Long cutoffs can then go back on the lumber rack without walking across the shop.

You will then have room to put your jointer up against the back wall (instead of in the middle of the room).

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 992 days

#14 posted 12-24-2015 10:16 PM

I would arrange as: You back to the big door to unload the lumber,maybe upfront between the two doors lumber storage,The next process is cut to length,miter station could stay where it is,then working clockwise along the wall,then Jointer,planer,bandsaw,sanding station,workbench.with the TS in the middle.
Place your piping overhead to the center of the shop,then one pipe to each wall with flex hose drops over each station.

View Redoak49's profile


1816 posts in 1406 days

#15 posted 12-24-2015 10:18 PM

It looks pretty good but…. my experience is that planning is great but you will likely end up changing things after you start using it. One key to a shop is to be able to reconfigure it later. Lots of outlets and things on wheels.

I routinely need to change mine around….good luck

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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