Rearranging a Woodworking Shop

Introduction

From time to time I get into a shop rearranging mood, but this time is different. My skills and interests are growing and so my shop must also grow. What’s interesting about this shop rearrangement is that I’m going to be adding a couple more pieces of shop furniture to the workshop and get this… I’ll be gaining workspace. It doesn’t really make sense when I say it out loud, but on paper it makes complete sense. I’m committed and willing to try it, so we shall see if I really do gain some extra work space.

Shop rearrangement before

Planning

Plan or seek

In the last project, I said my old workbench is coming out and it is, but not without recognizing the fact that I worked hard to build this shop up. The two by four workbench that I am talking about was the first thing I built in the shop. This workbench was mainly a place to store things as I brought stuff in, but didn’t know where to put them. So, right off the bat, I was creating an unorganized shop without even knowing it. I was cramming things into corners and into this bench that I had built to “work off of”. Before I could even start on my first project I was looking for things I needed. Instead, I should’ve planned a little better or looked for advice on how to start my woodworking journey. There’s tons of resources online on this subject, but it can be overwhelming and cause one to work in circles if you’re not careful. I have an online course that helps with this very thing. I think it’s important to start out on the right foot or even if you’re already knee deep in an unorganized shop environment this course will help you. (<— that was a plug, check it out) 🙂

Woodworking Journey Course

Think about it

So, the first thing I knew I had to do was figure out the new layout of the shop. Let me also preface this by saying that I thought my previous layout was the best layout for my shop space. A little creativity goes a long way in any planning task. I had to think about how I actually use my tools and know what position to place them in to still have the same access in a different layout. It can be a science… rearranging a shop, but one of the best planning tools any shop owner can utilize is the Grizzly Shop Planner (http://www.grizzly.com/workshopplanner). This is where I laid out every tool I own and some that I might purchase later on. By doing this, I can move things around to get a feel of how everything will flow. I tend to over analyze things too much, so for me this process can be a bit tedious. Regardless, I would much rather use the shop planner than rearrange my shop half a dozen times to figure out what works best.

Shop plan layout

Tearing It Down

The first move

Once I figured out the best layout for the addition of a new workbench, yes I’ll be building a workbench, I could start moving things around. In my case, I had to tear down the old two by four workbench first in order to do anything else. I started taking the workbench apart by removing the top, then I could continue disassembling the rest of it. For some reason I used different kinds of screws when I built it. Different as in phillips head and star head, which meant I had to either change drills or change bits every time I encountered a different screw.

Shop rearrangement bench removal

Opportunity

This was a great opportunity to show how this would look with and without the proper gear. I didn’t wear my workshop vest in the first part of this “take down” phase for a reason. If you watched the video above you know what it looked like for me setting my drill down and picking it up each time I needed it. Collecting the screws was another task I was doing a lot of while dismantling the workbench. Towards the end of the video I used a magnetic wrist strap to collect the screws, which was much, much quicker. Atlas 46 provides a lot of gear to help out with this kind of work and they happen to support the work that I do. Honestly, I find their vest and other products extremely useful, which II’ll get into more next week. You can check out Atlas 46 here.

Atlas 46 Magnetic wrist strap

Getting it done

After removing the top, I started in on the lower shelf and legs. Some of the supports were nailed in, which constituted the use of a hammer at times. Swinging a hammer can be therapy in a way. I have to be honest, it felt good to go into full demolition mode on this workbench. It helps knowing that I am improving the workflow of my shop and I plan to build a more organized solution for the tools that are being removed from the wall. The bench came apart fairly easy, but I did leave a portion of the bench intact. When I built the workbench I had to drill into the brick and attach a two by four with lag screws. So, needless to say, that board is really secure and I could possibly use it as a means to attach other things in the future, so I left it.

Shop rearrangement bench removal

Know your limits

Just a year ago I would have reused all the wood that I just took down, but this time I’m starting over. The main reason I want to start fresh is because I don’t want to have to remove nails and some of the boards have holes in them, plus I don’t want to store them in the shop taking up space. When the time comes to needing two by fours I will just go get what I need. Everything else came down including the old wooden fence panels that were hiding the french cleats above the workbench. Before the setup that I just removed, I had previously installed french cleats and decided I didn’t care for them on the entire wall, although I did leave the top one for future use.

Shop rearrangement tool wall removal

Rearranging the Shop

Get started

In this particular project I’m showing the process and narrating the plan (video at the top), so I won’t finish the shop rearrangement until next week. What I do want to show you and talk about are the small wins. In the beginning of this project I doubted that I could actually gain any space by rearranging the shop, but when I decided to just do it and removed that first screw out of the workbench I knew it had to be done. Having a plan like the shop planner provides really helped me visualize the final result, which in turn helped me stay motivated. Before I started, I was in the vicious cycle of “I can’t do this until I do that and I can’t do that until I do this”, which overwhelmed me and caused me to do nothing. I learned to not fall into that trap last week when I moved my leg vise. Instead, I chose to believe… Starting is always the beginning of something.

Improve your shop time

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Shop ideas

Rearranging the shop might be the start of something beautiful and what I mean by that is when you start moving stuff around you might have your best shop idea. For me I need to reincorporate my miter saw. I’m planning to build a bank of drawers and set my miter saw on top of it, which will solve several issues for me. For some of you, building Jay Bates’ miter saw station would be the way to go. It has a ton of storage and it’s a great design. You can see Jay’s miter saw station here.

Small wins

For a small win to keep me going, I moved a couple of tools into place where Grizzly’s shop planner showed them to be and that simple move of the jointer and planer was enough to keep me motivated. Now, I can move on to the next part of my plan, which is moving my table saw and outfeed assembly table to it’s new spot and also moving some other things that will make sense once I have everything in position. To make sure you see the entire shop rearrangement and all the benefits of sticking to a plan, be sure to Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

Shop rearrangement bench removal complete

What I learned

Share what you know

I like sharing what I learn each week because it allows me to pass it along to you. If you gain just a small nugget of information that helps you on your woodworking journey or on your next project then I’ve done my job. This week is no different. I learned that having the right tools can make a difference and I’m not talking about the best of the best tools. I’m talking about what works best for you. Everyone is different and everyone has different needs. I could have very easily finished out this project and not record any of it, but I wanted to show you what works for me in case it works for you.

Recognize what works for you

One thing that works for me is convenience. Convenience is something that is not up for negotiation in my shop. If it’s not convenient, it doesn’t get used. My shop vest is one of those things, but I also realized that there are a couple of small things that can be used in conjunction with the vest for an even better experience. For example, the magnetic wrist strap is awesome for holding the screws I need or collect and the fact that the drill can be hung on my vest in between uses is extremely helpful, especially when I’m working like I am in this project.

The main takeaway’s from this project would be…

  1. Start on something to make your workflow better. Doing this will motivate you to keep improving.
  2. Look for ways to work more conveniently. The more convenient your tools and workflow are, the more efficient you’ll be.

Coming This Year

This year I’m working on a course for kids that will take them through a series of projects and reward them with a certificate when they complete it. It’s not only one course, it’s a progressive of three different courses that focuses on teaching different skills. It could be life changing for some. If this sounds interesting sign up below to be notified when the course is complete and ready for enrollment.

Learn more about us

Are you new here and don’t know where to go next? Click here: http://www.stoneandsons.net/starthere/

About us and our story: http://www.stoneandsons.net/about/

Stay in the loop with our projects: http://www.stoneandsons.net/newsletter/

See our project plans: http://www.stoneandsons.net/plans/

Tools I use: http://www.stoneandsons.net/tools

Tools Used In This Project

Shop Attire:

• Shop apron/vest (and kids shop vest), Atlas 46: http://bit.ly/atlas46

• Hats/shirts: http://www.stoneandsons.net/product-category/apparel/

Marking and Drilling:

• Drill and impact 18v, Ridgid: http://amzn.to/2DhYHbA

Other tools I use

http://www.stoneandsons.net/tools

*Most of the links listed above are Amazon Affiliate links

You might also be interested in… A video on Shop Budget

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Shawn,

    I find your journey interesting, as I am on a similar one, but at a much slower pace as I work to build a business for my semi-retirement in a few more years. Like you, I am trying to build something for my family, which they can participate in by help them get to their bigger dreams.

    That said, I liked this article as well. I went through a very similar process about a year ago of reorganizing my shop, and actually ended up building a rolling work platform, that I designed to be modular so that most of my major tools have a place, and easy storage for all the smaller tools with easy access. Except my bandsaw of course. I even built in most of my dust collection to the unit as well as power points. The reason I decided to do this was solely to expand the amount of floor space as I often work on larger projects and am cramped in a 24×26 workshop that also houses other large items for mechanical work as well.

    Wow that seems a long winded way of saying I enjoyed your article and thank you as I am about to log into the grizzly planner to see if I can improve even more. And that I wish I had the ability to build such a web presence, I’m impressed.

    • Thanks, Paul, for the comment. I really appreciate it. I believe the more we improve our workflow the more efficient we will be. Glad you found the video and article useful. Thanks again.

  2. Do you ever wish you had more space to work or do you prefer a smaller shop. I have been in a small basement shop for about 4 years now and I’m finally moving out. I love some parts or a small well organized shop but lately I have been taking on larger projects and sometimes multiple projects at once and there’s just not enough space. Through your experiences what do you think would be an ideal sized shop. Thanks

    • I definitely wished I had more space, although I do like having little organization corners here and there. I currently have a 20×20, but I think a 30×40 (with a lean-to) would be ideal with 10′ ceilings and an attic for storage to be specific, LoL.

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