Unmotivated with small shop

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Forum topic by agallant posted 05-20-2013 02:19 PM 3054 views 2 times favorited 94 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 3086 days

05-20-2013 02:19 PM

I have stepped away from wood working for about a year now. I did a few projects durning that year but I think the reason why I have been staying away from it is because the shop it too small. I built what I could and expanding it is not really an option. I would love to get bak in to the shop and make some projects its just kinda cumbersome in 288 squar feet. Any ideas?

94 replies so far

View Bullet's profile


150 posts in 3529 days

#1 posted 05-20-2013 02:20 PM

Try turning some pens. A small lathe is pretty cheap and they make great gifts. Quick projects and pretty fullfilling.
My shop is about the same size as yours. 12×20 – sometimes it’s a pain to do bigger jobs (I can’t fit a 4×8 sheet into the basement), but I really enjoy it, so I make it work. Roller bases on everything is the way to go to make it easier. Also a vac system will really help. I find that I get kind of discouraged when the dust builds up on everything. A clean shop is easier to work in.

-- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you're talking about.

View chrisstef's profile


17761 posts in 3205 days

#2 posted 05-20-2013 02:26 PM

You can try and but some of your equipment on roll around bases and tuck them in where you can. Pull one machine out at a time to use. It’ll take a bit more planning to work like that but you can get it done without a doubt.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3151 days

#3 posted 05-20-2013 02:27 PM

Honestly 288 sqft is larger than a lot of woodworkers have to use. Sure, we’d all want larger shops, but we make do with our space. Is it that you have a bunch of large machinery? Perhaps you can get into hand tools, which require little space. Planing by itself can be very therapeutic.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View poopiekat's profile


4385 posts in 3933 days

#4 posted 05-20-2013 02:34 PM

Your lack of motivation should not be blamed on the size of your shop. You need to do some soul-searching to find the REAL reason for not producing. If you had, say, 2000 sf, the same lack of motivation would still be there.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4417 days

#5 posted 05-20-2013 02:34 PM

I’m in half of a two-car garage, so I’ve got no more space than you. I’d love to have a huge shop with every tool in it’s place and a central dust collection system, but I make do. Most of my tools are on wheels so I can make a little extra room when I need it.

To give up woodworking because your shop is too small is like giving up sex because you only have a single bed. Improvise, man! :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3086 days

#6 posted 05-20-2013 02:35 PM

Im not sure about that. It is just a PITA to alwas have to keep things super clean, speaking of that, cleaning will be my first step when I get home tonight.

View CrazeeTxn's profile


151 posts in 2149 days

#7 posted 05-20-2013 02:35 PM

Mines only 250 sq ft. I have two benches (one with a motiser and d/p) the other is for everything else. A t/s with extensions on the left and right, miter saw, b/s, joiner, planer, a couple of metal lockers, lumber cart, router table, Jet d/c and a few jigs. The t/s and the benches are the only things without wheels.

The benches have shelves for additional storage and I just finished putting wheels on the miter saw and router table so I could move them out of the way if needed.

Maybe just reorganize a little bit (if the machines are movable)? I believe there are websites that will let you layout your shop and place tools to maximize space. If not, use some graph paper and cut pieces (footprints) out to scale and move around.

Adding mobile bases is a lot cheaper than expanding and may provide you with alot more options :)

View Dchip's profile


271 posts in 3451 days

#8 posted 05-20-2013 03:09 PM

I work in a 9’x12’ room, and the best thing I ever did was put a table saw / router table combo on casters. I keep a sheet of plywood off to the side so this serves back-up duty as a mobile workbench (finishing bench, planer cart, etc.) as well.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3847 days

#9 posted 05-20-2013 04:03 PM

Projects that don’t require a lot of floor space to build:

-demilune table
-jewelry box
-silver chest

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3170 days

#10 posted 05-20-2013 04:10 PM

Is it the size of the shop or the layout and/or organization in the shop?
Or, maybe something else?

There is a member on here, who I won’t name, that had a totally un-supportive spouse and had to work outside and drag everything out for every work session; then put it all back up at the end of every session. This person now has a one car garage to work in and just puts out an incredible amount of work; happy as a lark. I wish I could be so motivated.

But, my point is you can find motivation, regardless of conditions, if you want to. Get motivated to improve the efficiency of your space, for instance.

View bbasiaga's profile


1240 posts in 2194 days

#11 posted 05-20-2013 04:21 PM

If you had a 2000sqft shop, you’d just have a bigger mess to clean when everything was finally too cluttered/dusty to work well. I’m hoping to have a shop your size at the next house. That would be so much better than having to share garage space with the car.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View TOM's profile


65 posts in 2190 days

#12 posted 05-20-2013 04:23 PM

Here are two magazine issues you might find helpful / inspiring (as I have). . . .

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1876 posts in 2168 days

#13 posted 05-20-2013 04:24 PM

I have half of a one car garage. We all would love some more space…...and for it to be clean (my wife would love that). Anyway, maybe if you make something for someone as a gift, or as a donation for a charity or something. That would force you to really concentrate and finish. Sometimes being woodworkers we do things so much for our own enjoyment or pleasure and forget that others might benefit from our craft. I saw the door you made, gorgeous work.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View bondogaposis's profile


5088 posts in 2550 days

#14 posted 05-20-2013 04:28 PM

Organization is the key to working in a small shop. I have about as much space as you, I’d love to double it. I get by though and don’t suffer from lack of motivation. I do try to balance woodworking w/ other activities and try alternate between hunting and fishing w/ shop time. I need my outdoors too.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3168 days

#15 posted 05-20-2013 04:29 PM

One car garage build, 20×9.5’

Bit of a squeeze, but it can be done

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