Typically a woodworking shop starts in a corner of the garage or basement. Then over time you add tools, develop new skills, expand the shop and change the layout. And at some point over this evolution you may be lucky enough to design a new shop from scratch or to completely rethink and revamp the existing space you have.

The Basics:
• Aim for efficiency and functionality
• Think about noise and comfort when choosing features
• Plan out the space on paper first

The goal of any woodworker should be to design a shop that’s an efficient and comfortable environment to work in. Often the most important considerations are saving space and laying out your tools for an efficient workflow. Many ideas will suffice whether you’re working in a one-car garage shop, a two-car garage shop and a basement shop.

Shop noise reduction can be important, especially in a basement shop. There are a number of methods to muffle both vibratory and airborne noise, such as installing rubber feet on your machines, isolating the foundation, insulating the ceiling and air ducts, and offsetting the drywall from the ceiling joists.

Choosing the right shop floor is also an important consideration. We’ve all experienced firsthand how unforgiving a concrete floor can be on your feet and tools. Some solutions include installing sleepers and plywood over the concrete floor. Or, if you don’t want a major construction project, using rubber barn-stall mats in the shop will save your feet.

Shop systems, such as dust collection, plumbing for air, and heating and ventilation should also be considered when setting up shop. These features can improve your safety and comfort.

When it comes to planning a shop layout you should always first plan it out on paper, or with a scale model. Doing this work ahead of time, and understanding the limits of the space ahead of time can greatly aid your decisions for placing tools and workspaces. In turn, your shop layout will strongly influence your selection of machinery, wood storage, and dust collection.