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Forum topic by Renuraki posted 03-05-2013 05:26 PM 1920 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2114 days

03-05-2013 05:26 PM

Hi there
I was wondering what size shops you guys have?
I’ve a space in the yard were I could maybe get a 12×8 shed/shop if I pushed my luck and wallet (not to mention the wife) I could get a 14×12 shed. But that would give me construction problems.
I’m wondering if this is too small to work? Or do you make do with what you have at hand?
Joe the joiner

37 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3067 days

#1 posted 03-05-2013 05:28 PM

I believe that a small shop is better than no shop at all. You can do a lot with just hand tools and portable power tools.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mosquito's profile


9539 posts in 2493 days

#2 posted 03-05-2013 05:30 PM

I currently use a 10’x11’ spare bedroom in my apartment, so I don’t see why that 8’x12’ wouldn’t work if it had to. Obviously it’s dependent on what kind of work you want to do, and how. Working with larger pieces may get annoying, but probably still doable. Keep tool storage in mind as well, as it can eat up space quickly. May have to get creative in that area.

EDIT: I should also probably mention I’m a handtool only (other than cordless drill) shop in my apartment.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2486 days

#3 posted 03-05-2013 05:30 PM

What do you plan to DO in your shop and what is the climate where you live? Meaning, how likely is it that you could bring stuff outside the actual shop to work on it?

My shop is in a 24×16 building. My wife got 6 feet of it so my shop is 16×18. But I’m building her a garden shed this year and taking that 6 feet (her suggestion, not mine). So I’m going to end up with the whole 26×16 :)

12×14 would be better, but I can tell you as someone who now has 16×18 that you’ll want bigger unless you can be creative with space management. :)

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2611 days

#4 posted 03-05-2013 05:30 PM

Depends on what you want to make.

I started with one bay of a two-car garage, then took over the other bay, and then moved to a house where I could have a three car garage. I wish I had a more space still.

Make do with what you can, but understand that you will definitely want more. In a 12×8 shop, you will be limited in what you can make. (Dining tables are probably out.)

-- Kelby

View Joe Andrews's profile

Joe Andrews

68 posts in 2199 days

#5 posted 03-05-2013 05:33 PM

I think any size could be made to work with enough ingenuity and planning. It certainly won’t be the best setup, but depending on what tools you have and what you want to build, I’m sure it could be made to work. As for me, I don’t have the planning or ingenuity, so I just bought a 8×16 shed for the back yard to move all my non-woodworking stuff out of the garage so I can convert it into my dedicated shop. This will give me about a 20×20 workspace.

In my old house I had a 1 car garage and had about a 12×18 shop. It actually worked out pretty well.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1876 posts in 2170 days

#6 posted 03-05-2013 05:34 PM

I would say that most things you could get done in there with a little planning. I only have a one car garage and half of that contains lawn equipment and other such. I would think where you would want your tools and how much swing you have with them. Build a small deck in front of your shed and use that space as well. Bigger things can be cut outside as can assembly. This is my method for doing things. Or I make sure that when I am doing a big glue up, I wait until the end of the evening and do it before I walk inside for the night and do leave it in my small work area. I was in a guitar building shop in Spain that was literally the size of a closet, well maybe not, but it was smaller than a shed. This man produced some wonderful instruments in that shop. I think you should have plenty of room no matter what you do. And I think deep down inside, even the guys with the big shops still wish for more room

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Jerry's profile


221 posts in 3739 days

#7 posted 03-05-2013 05:35 PM

I just built a 28” x 34” shop last year and I could use more. LOL Build it to fit your space and budget, no one wants to be ‘shop poor’. Besides, it doesn’t matter how big or small you build it, you will be out of space soon enough!! HAVE FUN

-- Jerry - Rochester, MN *Whether you think you can or you can't, you are probably right* - Henry Ford

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3014 days

#8 posted 03-05-2013 05:36 PM

Consider the footprint of stationary tools like the tablesaw and bandsaw. Add to that room to maneuver stock around the tools. I think you will find a much larger shop size will serve you well.
Do you have a garage space to use? Rolling tool stands can help store tools against a wall when not in use.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View ToddJB's profile


8294 posts in 2331 days

#9 posted 03-05-2013 05:36 PM

12X8 is pretty small, but it really depends on what you want to do in there. If you have dreams of putting many stationary machines, like a contractor table saw, bandsaw, jointer, ect… you would constantly be playing tetris to get to the machine you need. If you are using hand tools you might be able to get away with it.

I would consider having Garage Door on it, so you could effectively remove one wall if you needed some more space for sheet goods and set ups.

Grizzly has a shop planner that you could get an idea of size, compaired to machines that would go in it:

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3485 days

#10 posted 03-05-2013 05:37 PM


Check out this Lumberjock’s project and then check out his Bio about his shop (or should I say the lack of a shop) .

We all would love to have a big shop, but I agree with Charles; a small shop is better than no shop at all.

enjoy your woodworking and welcome to LJ’s

-- John @

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2486 days

#11 posted 03-05-2013 05:37 PM

I have a small 2 car garage, 20’ x 20’. It’s adequate for now but will get tight when I add a few more machines.

-- John, BC, Canada

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3114 days

#12 posted 03-05-2013 05:39 PM

IMO, that 8ft dimension is just TOO small to even turn around in when holding on to a piece of lumber. As Charles says, much can be done with hand tools and portable power tools, however I would not rush into limiting yourself to ONLY that type of woodworking. A 12×14 shop would be much more flexible in allowing you to utilize various forms of larger WW equipment as needed. Plus you need a certain amount of room to store lumber and your tools out-of-the-way so that you can actually do some work in there… ;-)

I am fortunate to have a good sized shop, 24×30 garage and only 1/4 of it is for the motorcycle and the associated automotive tools.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2486 days

#13 posted 03-05-2013 08:02 PM

When I designed my shop, I put in a set of french doors so I could roll the table saw in front of the doors (and still walk past it) and pass a piece of stock through it. I’ve done this same “trick” when passing long stock through my planer. My clamp rack is on wheels, my planer, jointer, bandsaw, table saw. Pretty much anything heavy except my workbench (which doubles as an outfeed table for the table saw) is on wheels. My sliding miter saw is on one of those stands that folds up, wheels around like a 2-wheel dolly and stands against the wall when not in use.

It really only takes a few minutes to decide what machines you need and roll them out to where you can use them. I often have my sliding miter set up outside the shop, where I chunk stuff down to rough length, then pass it through the planer sitting in the french door doorway and then it goes to the table saw.

I work alone almost all the time. So I tend to cut things into manageable pieces and I probably generate more waste doing this, but with a little fore-thought, not much more waste.

I can not WAIT to get that 6×16 piece of building from my wife though. Partially because I’ll also get 2 more doors and a window for ventilation :)

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3359 days

#14 posted 03-05-2013 08:21 PM

My shop is 240×240…inches, that is. Doesn’t it make my 2-car garage sound bigger?

-- jay,

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2892 days

#15 posted 03-05-2013 08:36 PM

I make do with a dinky one car garage. About 1/3 of that is lawn and garden stuff. Having the ability to open the garage door helps immensely. If you are building a shop of whatever size, I second the recommendation to put a garage door on it.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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