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Thread: Small workshops, 300-400 sq ft???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Pierre, SD
    Posts
    11

    Small workshops, 300-400 sq ft???

    Whose working in small spaces? I'm wanting my area as easy as possible to use.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Posts
    888
    My last shop was about 360 sq ft. Ultimately you're going to have to play around with things. I guarantee we're going to both work differently.

    I've seen smaller, well used, shops than my last one though.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    401
    Mine is 325 sq ft with a TS, BS, DP, Mini lathe and Thickness sander. That's about all I can fit but I'm OK with that since I try to do most of my work with hand tools. I also build small things like guitars and handplanes. With a little more organization I'm sure I could add planers but I don't find I need them. Hand planes and thickness sander get me where I want to be, no problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    557
    12’w x 16’L x 9’h, shared with storing the snowblower and 2 push lawn mowers. RAS, table saw, drill press, welder. Two 24”x48” workbenches, one 18”x24” welding table. Bench grinder, lunchbox planer, router table are all bench top tools and stored under various machines or workbenches.

    One long wall for me, the other long wall for the grounds equipment, and misc tool/hardware storage. The six feet down the middle is always kept clear and is the work area.

    The workbenches double as infeed, outfeed tables. Lumber stored above the machines.
    Doors at both gable ends so I can rip longer boards if need be. One is a standard 8’x7’ so if I have to, I can roll my small utility trailer in there.

    Everything is on wheels... everything. There is no room to walk around my bench when it is in its “wall” position, so I roll it to the center when using it.

    Everything has to be kept neat, otherwise I spend all my time moving stuff out of the way to get the work space I need at that time ready.

    It was easier when I had a 24x24 before we downsized.
    Last edited by Charlie Velasquez; 10-02-2020 at 5:09 PM.
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    54,759
    The original space I used for woodworking in my outbuilding was approximately in that size range. I'm about double now, but I'm also using much larger gear than "back then". One can do a whole lot of woodworking in 300-400 square feet with some thoughtful accommodation to mobility, knock-down support for assembly/finishing, etc. There are lots of folks who work in even less space here at SMC!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    My shop garage is 14x24 with a 8 foot ceiling. I've made 2 queen sized beds, a bunk bed, a double bed, a couple good sized 9 drawer dressers, a crib, a 7 foot long base cabinet and other stuff in it. Sometimes I use the car garage next door for assembly or finishing. This is the second shop I've had about this size. In both, I have a long wall for cross cutting with drawers for tool storage below. My assembly table is 3x7 foot and is also my outfeed table and track saw cutting station. My shop cannot hold a kitchen full of cabinets at one time but I made a kitchen in a similar small shop - a cabinet or two at a time. To me, 300-400 ft2 is a good shop size although it can get a bit cramped when I am making larger pieces. I have to be careful about bringing in more tools. One reason I really like my domino is that in addition to being quick and accurate it doesn't take up much space. A track saw also works well because it eliminates the extra space my table saw needs to cut up sheet goods. I feel like I can make anything I want or need but I do have to think it through.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Hoschton, Georgia
    Posts
    87
    Put as much equipment on wheels as you can. I have my assembly table on wheels and the same height as my table saw, RAS and CMS. That way I can use it for stock support when cutting. Make use of lots of shallow shelving. Any wider than about 6" and stuff just gets lost at the back. I like to keep the middle of the shop open so I can wheel tools into it when needed. Planer, drum sander, dust collector, router table and table saw are all mobile and easily moved around. The only tools that are stationary are the RAS, two wood lathes and the bandsaw. I have a 12x27 workshop in the basement with a small storage room. I'd love to have more space but my wife won't let me take over any more of the basement.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    549
    Roughly 16' deep x 15' wide,6' x 8' storage hand power tools on 2' deep shelves wood storage other side. Primary wood storage is in another part of basement. Main area has cabinets and shelves on two walls, racial arm was in middle of one wall. Next wall has double door, drill press, 14" bandsaw, 44" tool box , opening to furnace. Last wall has 12" planner on wheels, space for out feed of table saw, shaper, dust collector booster fan, storage with wood storage on upper wall. 15" wide belt sander at end of 4 x8 work bench. Jointed tight to work bench. SawStop ICS 36" fence on wheels in open area, gets moved alot, to use planer, assemble dressers, etc. Have 12' bench with racial arm was in garage on one wall, air compressor also. Safety Speed H-5 on another wall. Do park wifes car in garage along with bikes, zero turn, show blowers, etc.

  9. #9
    My shop is in my basement which is 28’x 22’ or ~ 600 sq ft of total space (with 7’ ceilings below the open joists above - 90” height between joists.)

    My woodshop occupies about 75% of that space, so about 400 sq ft. The other 25% being mechanicals / utilities for the house, a set of open stairs from the main floor above (right in the middle of the basement), and 3 concrete block columns that run right down the middle of the basement and support the main structural beam of the floor system. Almost one entire wall is taken up with washer / dryer, water heater, deep freezer, dehumidifier, pressure tank, etc and there is an HVAC air handler a little more centrally located and insulated flex duct work running out from it in most directions for the supply lines for the main floor. The rest of the space I have arranged like a very expensive and ongoing game of Tetris to make a useable work space. Thankfully there is a large (45” wide) walkout door to the side yard which is a flat and straight shot to the driveway / garage for getting stuff in and out.

    Some of you guys may not believe this or think I’m crazy, but in this space I have a rotary phase converter, 12” Oliver jointer, 20” SCM planer, 20” bandsaw with 10’ of infeed space/support, 16” Tannewitz table saw, 10” Powermatic table saw, 3 HP dust collector with hard pipe, a hand tool workbench and tool storage wall, a half wall of horizontal lumber storage (metal racks fastened to the wall that can hold a couple hundred bd ft) a couple of outfeed / assembly tables, a fold up 3’x6’ art/large format paper cutting table for the wood print art that I make. I hope to add a floor standing drill press sometime soon to replace the small bench top model I have that doesn’t see much use because it’s not permanently set up.

    It can get cramped to say the least. I have to plan out my steps and the way that I work to a certain degree around the space limitations, which is a frustration as I’ve worked in 25,000 ft shops with forklifts and 20’ ceilings and could do whatever I wanted in terms of spreading out and batching out production processes in efficient ways. The basement shop is a different beast, but I can say that I rarely loose anything and I don’t have to run between machines or spaces.

    Just as an idea of some of the larger projects I’ve done in such a small space - I have built an 11’ long butcher block countertop, large live edge floating shelves, fireplace mantels, garden gates, a couple entry doors, small scale built in/cabinetry (not a whole kitchen worth). A few winters ago I built 3 identical wooden chaise lounge chairs that were 87” long and I was loosing my mind trying to move around them, assemble them, work on them in this space. 2 were for clients and the third was for me / exhibition.

    I wish I had natural light, a dedicated finishing room, 12’ ceilings, about 2000 sq ft, and a large roll up door or carriage doors...one day i hope to build my dream shop, but it’s some years off before I can afford it so I make do with the basement shop and the advanced Tetris.

    This is not the first iteration of how the shop is organized and the tools acquired over the years have increased in number, size, and quality from when I started with a borrowed Delta contractor saw and sliding miter saw.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 10-02-2020 at 11:29 PM.
    Still waters run deep.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Leesville, SC
    Posts
    2,309
    A small shop is better than no shop.
    Army Veteran 1968 - 1970
    NRA Lifetime Member
    I Support the Second Amendment of the US Constitution

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Von Bickley View Post
    A small shop is better than no shop.
    I completely agree, Von. You gotta keep that in mind sometimes.
    Still waters run deep.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Pierre, SD
    Posts
    11
    Thank you. This was my father in laws space. I've used it on and off for the last 15 years but the last couple it has became a catch all. I want to reclaim it. He did alot of carpentry in it, repaired his tractor parts inside it, practiced leather work and taxidermy and butchered many deer there. I didn't know him near long enough to learn what he could teach me.
    My goal is to clean it up and this winter build my wife a blanket chest, and keep up on the small engine repairs we have lined up for our equipment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    336
    Those are good goals. I have made a lot of things in a similar sized space. Good to have a place to work.
    Regards,

    Kris

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    372
    The coziness of it is nice, but you run into the issue of not being able to lay things out that you're building. Like for example my shop was like 400 sq ft, but I realized it was too small when I couldn't put my outfeed table together. I cut all the pieces I needed to build it, but it's still waiting to be put together. lol

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,183
    My shop is about 300 square feet.

    I have a lathe, bench, sliding saw/shaper, band saw, jointer/planer, drill press edge belt sander and a cyclone....Rod

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