One thing I was forced to think very hard about when using a small space for working in was how best to deal with ripping larger pieces and cutting sheets.
The problem with a tablesaw is that the work has to be taken to it, which means quite a large space needed all round. Plus the fact I just don’t like them, either.
So I bought a Plunge (Track) Saw with short but connectable guide rails – and honestly have to say this was THE best power tool purchase I made last year, no contest. It enabled me to cut all the 8′ by 4′ sheets for my new workshop exactly to size and shape, and you only need the actual size of the sheet (plus an inch or two either end) available as floor space, if indoors.
Although I’m now in a slightly larger workshop, it still sees frequent use, and with its anti kickback feature plus the fact its blade points down and goes into the work, seems to me much safer than a tablesaw, if perhaps a little less versatile.
I finally finished my mini work bench a week ago. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my Partner in Paddington, Sydney Australia. My work bench measures 36″ by 12″ (900mm x 300mm). The room which houses my workbench is 6’x 3’7″ (1.8m x 1.1m) and also has a sink, washing machine and clothes drier.
I find the space large enough for most small jobs. As a beginner its perfect. I have no power tools.
hi i have to use my hallway for my woodworking and i do struggle at times when making something large but not that large as i dont have the space to do it. what does help is to have everything up on the wall.
i will in clude a pic for you.
as you will see the hallway is quite long but the width is very tight.
please if you have any pics or idea,s please could i see them.
kind regards and dont let the space you have lose your passion for wood craft.
the bench is 5ft x 18 inches wide
Yes as Kenny says, against a wall helps.
My bench is not bolted to the wall. I have leather pads on the bottom of the legs and the areas where it contacts with the wall tiles. This was intended to prevent damage to the tiles but it also prevents slippage.
The bench is surprisingly stable, pushed flush with the wall on two sides I always plane towards the wall, this drives all forces into the wall and it all stays pretty solid. Its far from perfect but way better then on the ground as id been used to.
Sometimes I have to move the bench a touch so a long workpiece can stick out the window(i did this today when marking the pins for my toolbox), the apartment is rented so I cant drill holes in the wall(also don’t have any power tools).
I don’t have a small shop by any standard but I might be moving and then I’ll probably have to squeeze into a small shop. Kind of worried about it actually. I think once I finish building my Paul Sellers bench, I’ll build a tool cabinet to store my tools in so they’re not spread all over my shop and maybe I’ll be able to fit most of my stuff into a smaller shop. It’s so disorganized now that I don’t even know what tools I have anymore. Feel terrible about that. Time to organize. 🙂
Ah yes, the small shop club. I can see it now.
I’ll skip the part about working in a 4′ x 4′ area on my balcony and storing my tools under the bed when I first started, although I did learn a lot about using tools there.
My current shop is 10′ x 12′ and seems huge to me. It’s slowly getting better organized weekly as I find better ways of making use of the space. Sold my table saw, hated using it, dangerous, noisy, dusty. Bought a hand saw to replace it.
The only power tools I have, hand drill, chop saw which hasn’t been used in 2 years or more, drill press also not used anymore and will sell it soon. And a router table which I won’t sell even though I don’t use it anymore. It’s just to nice in case I do decide to use it for something.
Work bench is 4′. Would like to have had 5′ or 6′, but space is space. So far it hasn’t limited me work wise.
i also have an exhaust fan at the top of one wall which really works nice, not so much for dust, but it vents the rooms nicely.
I just did a shop reorganization that is working out well so far. The space is 10ft x 20ft and the ceiling height is 8ft.
I needed to get everything off the floor and avoid leaning stuff against the walls, prior to this every time I would move, things would go crashing to the floor.
I built a tool wall that is directly behind me as I work at the bench. It houses my saws, planes, chisels, marking tools, drills and has room for more. This has kept my benchtop uncluttered as it is very easy to just put the item back on the wall when I am done with it, as it all within arms reach.
The vacuum was positioned centrally, the long hose allows me to reach all corners of the shop without having to drag the shopvac around, which is never fun in a tight space.
Most of the clamps are in a corner where I have a small table that is used for assembly, etc.
The chest with the drawers contains nuts, bolts, nails, screws, misc jigs and sharpening equipment. I plan on adding a machinsts vise to this chest.
Wood storage is on one wall next to the tool wall; beneath it I have a work surface that is just a Home depot steel shelving unit split in two with a plywood top. I use it mainly to store parts for the current project.
The space itself was not insulated when we moved in and in the summers it could get as high as 100F and just above freezing in the winter. After insulating I added AC and heat. Summers I use portable AC and in the winters I use an oil filled space heater that I leave set to 62F. Not a perfect solution but it works for now.
I do have a drill press and a job site TS in the garage but they are seldom used and need to be put away so that we can park our cars in the garage.
I built a 10′ x 12′ shed a few years ago, which houses our family bikes, garden tools, and tools/work shop. The shop space is about 2/3 of the area. I began the pivot to hand tools last summer (I was out of space for power tools, tired of making dust, and wanting to slow down and enjoy the work more), wrapping the workbench in the fall and am still building out storage and such, but the basic arrangement is finally settled.
Most tools are along one of the 10′ walls, with the window that faces toward the back yard. Power tools are tucked primarily into the right, with hand tools, clamps, jigs, etc. working around the left. The work bench straddles the miter saw, which has been demoted from a top of the bench tool to under the bench (residing on the prior work bench’s shelf).
When the shop is cleaned up between projects it seems like it has all the space in the world. In the aftermath of Christmas present building…not so much (last pic). I truncated Paul’s bench design from 66″ to 58″ to accommodate the space, but it is otherwise pretty much the same design.
It gets very tight when I have to have the table saw out (portable Bosch), but it’s plenty for hand work.
The pictures are: 1) looking into the shed, 2) to the left, 3) to the right, and 4) a view of the tool wall.
My hand tools are currently in a tote I store inside; as the shed is unconditioned, I take them in and out of the shed to work. They’ll live out there in the summer and then migrate again when it gets cold.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Ghal.
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