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Best-Ever Home Shop Ideas

Best-Ever Home Shop Ideas

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The best ideas on workshop setup from WOOD magazine come together in these comprehensive magazines. Find innovative shop organizers, storage, floor coverings, tool selection—in effect, everything you need to create your own workspace, organize a garage, or update your existing work area.

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United States
Meredith Corporation

in this issue

1 min.
the shipshape shop

I’ve seen a lot of amazing craftsmanship come from shops of every size and shape in my more than 15 years at WOOD® magazine. From basements to garages, from apartment closets to standalone buildings, each shop is as different as the woodworker who hangs his or her hammer there. But what they have in common is that someone had to figure out how to best organize that space. And whether you’re setting up shop for the first time or just improving your current space, you’ll love the ideas we’ve collected here. You’ll find this issue jam-packed with articles about planning and prepping a shop from floor to ceiling. We share our best plans for shop benches, organizers, and fixtures. (My personal favorites are the tables for the drill press and bandsaw on…

9 min.
organize your shop

(and keep it that way for a lifetime) Imagine a workshop where you can find every tool, jig, and board almost without looking. Whether you’re machining lumber, assembling parts, sanding, or finishing, everything you need is situated within easy reach. Who owns this awesome shop? You do, if you drop the indecision, bad habits, and sloppy housekeeping that lead to clutter and frustration. We’ll show how to do that and reorganize your shop to focus on woodworking. Organize your work areas After you sort through your shop tools and supplies, determine what you really need to keep. Assign these items to one of the following work areas. 1. The workbench/assembly area. If you build mostly small to medium-size projects or furniture smaller than your bench, position the workbench against a wall to open up floor…

9 min.
dust collection that evolves with your shop

You know an upgrade to your workshop dust-collection system is overdue when: 1. Your workspace looks like a shopvacuum showroom, with a different one attached to each machine. 2. You postpone buying a jointer or planer because it would overwhelm your old vacuum or bury your shop in chips and dust. 3. If the dust in your lungs doesn’t choke you, the people sharing your dust-filled house will. 4. All of the above. Of course, a basic dust collector or cyclone plus ductwork can be installed for less than $1,000, while high-capacity systems cost several thousand—not exactly chump change. If you’re about to make that kind of investment, install a system that will serve you for years to come, even as your dust-collection needs change. And they surely will. You’ll find the extra investment will…

8 min.
heat and cool your shop

Double your woodworking enjoyment. If your shop feels uncomfortably cold in the winter or unbearably hot in the summer (or both), your smartest “tool” purchase might be a shop heater or air conditioner. We take a look at some of the details to consider, and our quick-read chart on page 18 speeds you to a decision. Heating Systems For most of us, wintertime means woodworking. With the summer chores done, it’s time to make sawdust. But if you live in a cold climate, toughing out a frigid shop can have a chilling effect on your hobby. Time to look into a heating system. But first, consider these four “Ins”: INSULATION Bare building materials, such as wood studs, sheathing, and siding, readily conduct heat and cold. To tame that transmission, add weather stripping to doors and…

10 min.
bright ideas for your shop

Strategy 1: Take a twofold approach to proper lighting When setting up a shop, most of us pay too little attention to lighting. We hang a few fixtures where convenient and hope the light they produce meets our needs. Without good illumination, though, it’s a strain to safely complete detail work that’s required for many shop activities. As you’ll see, our eyes perceive not just the quantity of light but also its quality. To get the quantity and quality of light you need, follow these guidelines. Light it bright Lighting quantity—the amount of light reaching a surface—is measured in footcandles (fc) or lux (.1×fc). (Affordable light meters that measure foot-candles or lux sell online for $15–$30.) The quantity of light needed for any task increases with the complexity of the task. For example, household…

7 min.
workshop wiring

Critical Questions About See whether your shop has the power it needs for the projects you plan to build. Power tools have big appetites for electricity, and unless you built your shop from scratch, you’ve likely tripped circuit breakers trying to feed them. A properly wired shop offers the only way to ensure an adequate “food supply.” So how do you determine your shopwiring needs? Take the time to answer the following questions, and you’ll be well on your way. Note: Unless you are skilled at electrical work and familiar with local codes, leave wiring jobs to professionals. Use the information gathered here to guide conversations with an electrician. Q How do I choose the right extension cord? A No matter how many outlets your shop contains, you may occasionally need an extension cord. Keep the…