Efficient layout in an extremely narrow space?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by 5KIPPY posted 08-15-2013 01:56 PM 4335 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 5KIPPY's profile


8 posts in 1716 days

08-15-2013 01:56 PM


I’m a newish wood worker, and a new member looking for some help/advice on laying out my wood working shop in the space I have available. I will be using my garage, which is a 3 car (but 2 door) space shaped like a backwards capital “L”. In one bay of the garage I have lawn equipment, wife’s crap (er..stuff) storage shelves, kids bikes, etc. I am considering building a false wall between the two halves of the garage to isolate the wood working space (my garage see lots of young child traffic coming in and out of the house and I’d like to keep them away from the tools) This leaves me the other (longer side) of the garage to dedicate to a shop. The space is roughly 31.5’ long and a miserable 9’4” wide with a 8’ garage door on one end.

I have tried several different layout ideas, most of them grouping cutting/shaping tools and wood stock close to the garage door with finishing area/tools at the back end but can’t seem to make the extremely narrow space work well. I’m having the most trouble with the cutting/shapping and stock storage part of it. Fitting a full complement of tools (table saw, band saw, router, planer, jointer and dust collection) along with wood stock storage into roughly have of the space (16’ x 9’4”) is not working out. Anyone have some ideas or advice? I need help!

Plan B is move everything else out of the garage and claim the entire space in all its glory as my wood shop! Unfortunately “upper management” has not yet embraced that plan.

Thanks for the help,

-- 5kippy

10 replies so far

View JayT's profile


5588 posts in 2176 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 02:05 PM

Have you tried using the Grizzly Shop Planner? It works well for helping to visualize different layouts.

Complain about the space all you want, I envy you. My shop is about the same width and only 11’6” long (yes 110 sq ft total). Mobile bases and adjusting heights so that tools or storage nest together is very useful. Also consider using overhead space, if you have any. You might be able to figure out how to store some of the stock in a rack mounted on the ceiling to help get it off the floor.

Good luck with your organization.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View 5KIPPY's profile


8 posts in 1716 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 02:13 PM

Thank you for the link to the shop planner! That’s going to keep be busy for hours.

BTW, I love your knock down workbench!

-- 5kippy

View Sanding2day's profile


1011 posts in 1811 days

#3 posted 08-15-2013 02:31 PM

+1 to using a shop planner… Like the idea of wall to seperate the shop, wonder if it would be appropriate/beneficial to build half walls which are equal to the height of equipment around them i.e. enabling some use as table extensions and allowing sheet goods to be maneuvered over the walls etc. Not sure the kids will respect that they do not enter shop area without your presence but suppose full walls would prevent sawdust hitting up the other areas of the shop so… Decisions decisions :P Good luck, welcome to LJs and enjoy the shop…

-- Dan

View firefighterontheside's profile


17941 posts in 1821 days

#4 posted 08-15-2013 03:11 PM

My shop is 12 by 24. I have my ts in the center pushed up aginst the wall with the rail extension against the wall. Most of the time this is fine. Sometimes i have to pull it out a little. I have enough room to push a piece of ply thru lengthwise. I would think thats what you shoukd do. Put the infeed side about 10 feet from garage door. My workbench is also my outfeed table. Still working on other layout stuff but thats my basic.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3160 posts in 3196 days

#5 posted 08-15-2013 08:24 PM

Save room for your dust collector near the door so it will be easy to empty when the time comes.

I am working out of a one car garage with all of the tools you described. the band saw, planer and drill press are on wheels so I can move them about as needed. A dedicated miter saw station has been a great addition for me.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2887 days

#6 posted 08-15-2013 10:55 PM

In my last house, I moved in December, I had a workshop that was 25’ x 10’ with roll up door. I made some wall hung benches along the three walls. On these benches I mounted my equipment. I had my table saw on wheels and it was the only tool I moved. On these benches I had a Drill press, drum sander, 6” belt sander, miter saw,
router mounted in the bench, bench top 6” jointer and a bench top planer. I also had a floor mounted band saw. I put the dust collector outside the room in the garage and wood storage was also outside the workshop. Not ideal but it worked for me for six years.

-- Website is

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2316 days

#7 posted 08-15-2013 11:17 PM

Consider getting/building a storage shed for lawn & garden, bikes, etc. Then you will have a lot more space to claim as your own.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View mbs's profile


1652 posts in 2905 days

#8 posted 08-15-2013 11:19 PM

Have you considered hanging the bikes from the ceiling to free up floor space?

I wouldn’t build the wall because its too constraining. I like the idea of placing the tools so they feed outside the garage because it provides free working envelop.

Good luck.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2202 days

#9 posted 08-15-2013 11:29 PM

My space is roughly 12×21. What I ended up doing is, getting a TS that rolls around and positioning it near the door. I rotate it so it’s facing out for rips, and spin it 90 for crosscuts. I use a workmate with a support board clamped in it for supporting large stock. My DC is central on one wall and I move the hose between machines. Everything else is jammed up against one wall or another. My DP and BS are stationary, but my router table is on wheels. I tried planning my space, but ended up just working out there until I got a feel for where I wanted everything. Good luck.

View PxT's profile


3 posts in 2399 days

#10 posted 08-16-2013 09:49 PM

I have a 10’x20’ space that I make work. Would love for it to be bigger, but you gotta work with what you got. TS in the middle, and everything else around the edges. I find that the jointer & planer are really the only machines I ever need to roll around to make room to feed long stock.

Good article on making the most of a small space:

I took the miter-saw idea from that one, and the double-duty outfeed/workbench plan from Wood Magazine #178. Very happy with both.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics