Woodworker in the Garage... would you help me out?

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Forum topic by Angela posted 01-25-2011 09:08 AM 4795 views 3 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2919 days

01-25-2011 09:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: garage workshop ideas projects work space

Please take the time to help me out. My workshop is in my garage which is approximately, 20 X 18. For some reason it seems like I don’t have any room in the garage but then I look at photos of other shops and they have all the same tools I have but it’s organized in a smaller space. So I must not have the ability to place the tools in the right place. I’ve tried to move them around but it didn’t help. Everything I have is on wheels so it’s easy to move stuff.

So I’ve been trying to locate photos of different garage workshops to see how they are laid out. I looked on LJ’s shop section but was surprise how many didn’t post any photos of their shop. If they did have photos it’s because it’s a huge and beautiful shop.

I located a very good website that has different lay outs of different shops. If someone knows of other sites like this I would love to have them.

Or if you know of a site that has photos of how their garage set up is, please let me know. Here’s a great site where he post his garage shop. I’m looking for more sites like this.

Also I’ve viewed LJ member ND2ELK’s workshop. Photos like this are perfect.

I’ve been searching for these type of sites but I still thought I’d post here because I’ve gotten such great assistance in the past. Also I’m not looking for someone to tell me where to put the tools because that’s too hard without knowing the space, the tools and what type of woodworking I do. I’m just looking for photos to learn from others.


-- - Helping other woodworker's

23 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 01-25-2011 01:54 PM

Angela, Grizzly has a shop layout tool that lets you draw out your shop and drop tools into it. Of course, the tools are all from Grizzly’s line but they will work for optimizing shop layout.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Alongiron's profile


647 posts in 2716 days

#2 posted 01-25-2011 02:10 PM

Scott I have a workshop about the same size; 24×16. It is a detached standalone workshop and I did use the Grizzly setup for mine and I love the way mine is laid out. I did not see in your post if you still use your garage for its intended purpose.

Check out my workshop and send me an message if you have any questions. I hope this helps.




-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3081 days

#3 posted 01-25-2011 02:32 PM


I feel your pain. My shop is in a 1-car garage that is only 12×24. It seems that I am constantly fighting the battle of the most effective way to take advantage of the space I have. One poster mentioned the shop arrangement tool on the Grizzly website. It is helpful. Keep checking the shop photos here on LJ and you will find lots of ideas. Feel free too check out my shop, although, I have made some changes since I took those photos.

Also, check the shop of fellow LJ member ND2ELK. That is one of the most well setup and organized shops you will find. It is quite impressive how he manages to get so much from such a small space.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Lumbee's profile


2 posts in 2709 days

#4 posted 01-25-2011 03:42 PM

Angela, I arranged my shop based on what equipment gets used the most. Number 1 was my table saw and even though it is mobile I dedicated a section for it and I get the most use out of it in that location. Next was my radial arm saw {which is not mobile} I chose the longest wall section I could find and built a table the entire lenght of the wall and set the saw in position to where I could cut with maximum efficiency. Under this table is a series of cabinets with doors to store all my hand power tools, nails ,screws etc. I also use a cast iron router table which attaches to my table saw which also saves space. My planer, joiner, drill press, band saw like yours are mobile. I position them in a row along a wall and roll them out when needed to a open location. I also have used peg board and cabinets on the walls for storage and hanging items on. Most shop plans or diagrams can be helpful but I think in the longrun what you are going to be working on the most should dictate what should go where. Happy Woodworking !!!

-- B.W.Hunt

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3097 days

#5 posted 01-25-2011 04:09 PM

Angela, my shop is about the same size as yours (17×22) and I am pretty happy with how the tools are laid out. I have pictures of my shop posted and, if you would like, I can send a drawing of the layout to you. As an FYI, the only tool with wheels is my jointer which I need to move out of the way if I am cutting a large piece on my TS.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3784 days

#6 posted 01-25-2011 04:25 PM


A garage workshop is a tough design. Often, it has to serve other purposes as well as being a workshop. Electrical service and lighting are almost always inadequate, and insulation, heating, and A/C issues often have to be addressed as well. Any natural light is a plus, but wall space is limited. There is this large wall called the garage door that can’t be used for anything, and it has it’s ugly mechanism on the ceiling that gets in the way. The tool manufacturer’s on-line guides aren’t likely to address these problems.

Begin with defining your actual working space. Even with all the tools being mobile, the “work triangle” design concept used in kitchens is also applicable to a workshop. I have two work triangles, one for power tool work and another for bench work. I find that I cannot combine the two. For working with your power tools in a very limited space, a “center stage” area close to a tool cabinet containing sccessories will work well and save unnecessary steps. This requires planning your work, as you cannot have table saw, jointer, planer, bandsaw, ect. all set in place at the same time.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3218 days

#7 posted 01-25-2011 04:52 PM

Feel free to check my workshop out. Very similar situation. I’ve added a permanent router table on wheels next to workbench that isn’t in workshop photo but layout is pretty much the same after reorganizing but a little more spread out. Put as much stuff on the walls as possible to save floor space

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3255 days

#8 posted 01-25-2011 05:00 PM


Check out my shop. I am in 18×20 with a small nook in the back corner, and sharing space with quantities of non woodworking junk as well. It’s all in how you organize it.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3796 days

#9 posted 01-25-2011 07:42 PM

Hi Angela

The Woodwhisperer site shows shop pictures. He used to list a web site that also showed a lot of shops under his favorite links. His favorite links is not there any more but you might want to Email him and ask him what that site was. I know you have looked at my shop and hope you might get some ideas there. I really like the lift table so I can store some of my equipment under my miter saw table. Have fun planing your shop and setting it.


-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3293 days

#10 posted 01-25-2011 07:58 PM

My shop is a little bigger….but since you state that your tools are on wheels (I have the same) I would recommend that you keep an area clear to move the tools that you need to use…the rest of the time keep them staged by a wall or in a corner. In my shop there are only 4 stationary items….my workbench, my lathe…The table saw…and the small stove I use to heat the place. the rest of the time….I wheel the tool out to the center to use it…..when I am done I blow it off and return to the wall or corner – I made some mobile tables to hold my drill press….my grinder and benchtop sanders. You might also get the book from woodsmith about wookshops….it gives you great ideas for storage and compact too stands.

I posted some pics when I was just starting to put the tools in it (I enclosed an old horse barn).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jeff's profile


439 posts in 3217 days

#11 posted 01-25-2011 08:06 PM

I haven’t posted a picture of my shop because it’s so fluid. Like you I only have half a two car garage of about 24×20 ft. The only thing I have permanently located is my workbench and some shelving units mounted on the walls. Everything else is on wheels. The piece of machinery I need to use is pushed to the center open space and everything else can be moved out of the way. I made my own wheeled carts for all the tools. The only recommendation I have for these is don’t skimp on the wheels.

My limited space also determined what pieces of equipment I can own. I don’t have a large dust collector because that takes up space. I have a few large shop vacs instead. I don’t have a cabinet saw. Even though they can be wheel mounted they still take up a lot of room. You just have to be flexible and accept the conditions in place. Maybe some day I’ll have a bigger space.

View ralmand's profile


162 posts in 3325 days

#12 posted 01-25-2011 11:10 PM

Mine is not fancy, but I try to utilize my space as best as possible. It works well for me. I built several items that are multi-function and tried to get things off the floor as much as possible. Hope this helps a little…

-- Randy, Allen Texas

View Chriskmb5150's profile


253 posts in 3099 days

#13 posted 01-26-2011 12:38 AM

I would love to help you out but there isn’t enough room for both of us in this tiny garage :)
Hehe, sorry but I couldnt resist.
I too am working in a two car garage thats about 22X20. I DO have a cabinet saw and a rather large router table as well so i had to put everything on wheels. It’s kind of a hassle sometimes but I learned to adapt. I’ts alot better than the 16X16 shed that i called a shop at my old house. I played around with the grizzly shop planner and its pretty good for getting ideas

-- Woodworkers theory of relativity - the quality of your scrap is relative to your skill level

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3746 days

#14 posted 01-26-2011 01:58 AM

For me it is a standard two car garage that my wife lets me use (yeah right) as a shop as long she can have her car in it when it snows. Right now is holding:
mid size car
Honda Goldwing
10” Contractor Table saw with a built in router table on the extension wing (overall length is 4ft)
Work Bench
Radial Arm Saw (adjoins the work bench to increase work surface)
Drill Press
24” Scroll Saw
Band Saw
Bench Grinder
4” Jointer, 6” Planer, 4” Belt/Disk Sander, 6” Grinder/Buffing arbor (All these tools mount onto one base and are stored in a rack in the corner of garage when not in use)

Lots of storage room for every small power tool that is needed and room for everything that is needed to keep a 30 year old motor cycle running.
How do I do? Lots of wheels on every tool or base and having a “wrap around work bench” that is higher than most of my tools that allows the tools to roll up against the walls. The hardest part is getting it all put away at the end of the day so I can get the cars away before it snows.

I just recently finished the tool base/storage and then I got sick. Sorry that I don’t have any current photos but I will be updating that as soon as I shake this cold.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2919 days

#15 posted 01-26-2011 03:31 AM

Thanks everyone!

I’ll check out Grizzly’s site.

Actually I had looked at a couple of your workshops before I posted this.

Alongiron I like your set up and can’t believe how clean it is. You must have another place to keep your gardening stuff.

Docholladay – I like your shop just wish you had a few far away photos of the shop.

Richgreer – I like your set up too. I have a lot of the same tools, except my table saw is huge. I also wish you have some wide angle photos.

Dbhost – I had seen your site before. I figured you must not open your garage door very often based on your tool placement. Also I noticed you stacked some of your tools so save space. Unfortunately I can’t do that. I have an injury and can’t lift those things. I also saw some good dust collection ideas from your photos.

ND2ELK – I didn’t know that was a lift cart in the photo. I like that idea, and then you don’t have to make carts or stands for all the tools. Where’d you get that? Also I like your set up and dust collection. Sine I have the same saw I might move it more like the way you have it set up. I also have the same air compressor that I bolted to the wall to give me more room. It seems like you have less room than I do all that same tools but everything fits. Minus the moose head.

Reggiek’s – I saw your shop. When I started woodworking I had the Bosch saw. Loved it. I also have the miter saw.

A lot of the shop photos focus on the machines in the shop and not the overall design of the shop. But I thank everyone for helping me out. When things get more organized I’ll post my shop.


-- - Helping other woodworker's

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