A Small-Shop Survival Guide
With mobile machines, smart storage, and ample lighting and power, even a one-car garage can be a first-rate workshop.
Synopsis: There’s no such thing as the perfect workshop, but it’s a goal we all strive for. And one of the most daunting challenges is creating a safe and functional shop in a small space. This “survival guide” will help readers get the most from a limited space, with tips on lumber storage, tool selection, shop cabinets, lighting, power, and even the material used to finish workshop walls.
The ultimate workshop. It doesn’t exist, of course. But if you’re a perpetual remodeler or an aspiring woodworker who happens to move frequently, you keep getting opportunities to make your next workshop better than the previous one. That’s pretty much the position I’ve been in over the years. Basements, garages, outbuildings: I’ve had my shot at exploiting the advantages and overcoming the limitations of all these workshop venues. While I’ve (usually) learned from my mistakes, I’ve also learned from visiting the workshops of cabinetmakers, contractors, and friends all over the country. And I’ve read books by workshop experts like Scott Gibson, Paul Anthony, and Sandor Nagyszalanczy. Workshop wisdom contributed at “Breaktime,” FHB’s online discussion forum, is another source for small-shop survival skills. No matter how big or small your space happens to be, I hope this collection of tips, strategies, and guidelines helps to make your shop a safe, efficient, and enjoyable place to work.
Stationary machines are a luxury you can’t afford
In a cabinet shop, major machines don’t have to move to a job site. Most of the time, they don’t even need to move out of the way. But in a small garage, you get a central open area that’s occupied by one machine or workstation at a time.
If you’re building a bookcase,…