12X16 Woodshop. Is it big enough????

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Forum topic by ElDuderino2412 posted 03-03-2011 01:21 AM 19968 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2811 days

03-03-2011 01:21 AM

Hi, I’m just about to start getting in to wood working; and am trying to figure out if a 12×16 shop is big enough to start out with. Will have double doors on 16’ foot side, so i could feed long stock out the door if i need to. I’m only gonna be in this house for maybe two more years, so don’t want to sink to much in building that i won’t get back on resale. Also is there a better layout for shop than 12×16(i.e. 10×20 etc.) with roughly the same square footage. Thx.

BTW: Was planning on buying a Grizzly G0715P table saw, and making router table for it. TS and workbench would be the biggest space eaters. All large tools would be on casters: jointer, table saw, etc.


47 replies so far

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3000 days

#1 posted 03-03-2011 01:27 AM

There is no such shop that is “big enough” A lot of people get along fine with that size and smaller, it’s just a matter of organization.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View ElDuderino2412's profile


8 posts in 2811 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 01:38 AM

Yeah, i would love to have a huge shop, but i’m gonna buy a house a little outside the city w/ a big shop already built in a couple of years. Just don’t have the space to do it now(or the money for that matter).

View biglarry's profile


76 posts in 2857 days

#3 posted 03-03-2011 02:23 AM

Before I had my shop I had a little area about 10’ x 10’ that I shared with a hot water tank and furnace. At that time you might have called me a fair weather woodworker because I did a lot of work outside in the driveway.

You will be fine with what you have and no matter what you end up with you will always wished it was larger.


-- "When the going gets tough, switch to power tools." - Red Green

View Paul C.'s profile

Paul C.

154 posts in 3414 days

#4 posted 03-03-2011 02:31 AM

Dude, that would literally double my floorspace.

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3205 days

#5 posted 03-03-2011 02:38 AM

With tools AND shop. “You don’t get what you need,...You get what you MIGHT need!”

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3121 days

#6 posted 03-03-2011 02:39 AM

I’m in a 10×20 garage. It’s tight, but you learn to make do. Everything is on casters and I have a flip-top cart for my miter saw and planer. For me, the hardest part is finding sufficient space to store material.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Jim's profile


120 posts in 4167 days

#7 posted 03-03-2011 02:42 AM

I have a 12×20 with an addition and its not nearly big enough

-- Jim in Cushing Oklahoma

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3140 days

#8 posted 03-03-2011 02:50 AM

Plan to have a good circular saw with some guides and a sheet of styrofoam to put under your workpiece for cutting sheet goods down to managable size. Also, a miter saw for cross cuts on long stock. Then most everthing else will fit. I have 22 feet with my TS in the middle, but I hardly ever rip anything longer than 8 ft. To me, the biggest space eater is the work room needed for cutting sheet goods and the circular saw solved that. A panel saw would be the best, but that’s expensive.

When you love this craft like most folks on here do, you will make what you have work. Heck, one guy in South America put a shop in a 5’ x 5’ space.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 03-03-2011 03:02 AM

That would work yes, but ever little bit larger would be a huge gain. I have a 13.5×25 shop and I think it is a great size for a shop. Only thing I wish I had was a dedicated space for finishing…..

I work construction and I know that a 16×12 building doesn’t cost much less than a 25×12 building when it all comes down to it. What is four more feet? +12×9 wouldn’t do much to your pocket and would do wonders to your shop. If you have someone else build it, most of the cost is getting them out there to do it.

Consider building a shop you can take with you when you go! You could build a shop in two halfs and still have it when you move.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3817 days

#10 posted 03-03-2011 03:07 AM

The question is: what kind of wooden things do you want to build?

In other than a professional cabinet-making environment, the large table
saw is not really necessary and it does hog up an awful lot of space.

View 8iowa's profile


1586 posts in 3930 days

#11 posted 03-03-2011 03:07 AM

Your 192 sq. ft. is exactly what I have here in Gainesville. For 25 years I had to work in 1/2 of a garage. You are not alone by any means. A recent poll on the Shopsmith forum revealed that over 30% of the respondents work in 200 sq. ft. or less. Actually 11% had less than 100 sq. ft.

Every machine has to be on castors and used one at a time in a designated “center stage” area.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Mike's profile


18 posts in 3164 days

#12 posted 03-03-2011 03:19 AM

I have 16’ x 24’. Space is a little cramped working with sheet goods but other than that, it is enough. OK not really ; ). Like others said there is never enough space, period. My advice would be that do not think in the horizontal, think vertical. Those walls and ceilings are spaces ripe for being utilized. I have a Rigid job site 10” table saw that folds flat against the wall when not in use, this saves A LOT of room. It tackles 90 % of things I need done just fine. Bigger sheet goods is where it falls short but, there are all types of good track saws that can do that work, or like crank said a circular saw (just make sure you buy a good blade). If your not married to that saw it could save you a great deal of space by looking at a good portable. Just my 2 cents.

Also one factor most over look is lighting (imo), make sure you have plenty. If you do any type of painting on your projects you need the sun in there to show you any defects. I have four 8 foot dual bulb units and I feel I need more. : /

-- Why measure twice when you can cut twice.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3935 days

#13 posted 03-03-2011 03:31 AM

That’s the size of my shop. You wouldn’t believe what all I’ve managed to squeeze in it. I started out in a 5×5 area in my basement….well, not basement, craw space. It took me about two months to dig it out so I could stand up in there….... bad back and all. Just shows that when you get the WW fever, you can make things happen. Anyway, you work with what you have. Don’t get me wrong, if I could afford it, I’d have a giant shop. I’m waiting on the Mega Millions Lottery. Good luck. Be safe.
- JJ

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2684 posts in 3091 days

#14 posted 03-03-2011 05:57 AM

Yes…...... it all depends on what you plan to make in your shop. I have a 10’ x 25’ shop and it suits me OK but I make small crafty items. Jewelery boxes, intarsia, toys, and small trunks.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View auggy53's profile


159 posts in 2849 days

#15 posted 03-03-2011 06:32 AM

i have a 10×20 area and just about to add that much more . i must have lifted my miter saw to a table 20 times today . i have to move something to do anything . i have a wall mounted bench that has to go to make more room , i ll build a rolling table to replace it . one thing i find in a small place , its hard to keep it clean enough to finish in because dust is on everything . i also have half of a 2 car garage to cut sheet goods , so i do finishing in there.

-- rick

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