Building The Best Workshop From Zero

Building The Best Workshop From Zero

Space and Location are Important

No one ever complains about the size of their store. Make the most of your available space. Shops can be located in the basement (near the door if the basement is a walkout), the garage, or even a garden shed. A shop with a door to the outside is quite useful, especially if you want to bring in lumber, sheet materials like plywood, or a lawn mower for repair. The greater the size of the door, the better.

For most people, the weather will influence where they shop. Basement businesses rarely require heating or cooling, but dehumidification is required in many places to prevent tools from rusting and timber from warping. In temperate climates, garage shops and garden sheds are straightforward to maintain, but in colder climates, you may need to consider heating the space. You may want to air condition it if you live in a hot climate.

Think about if you want to conduct any potentially dangerous work in the shop. If you want to use volatile chemicals or weld, the basement of your home is probably not the best place to do so. You'll need a room that's well-ventilated and isolated from the rest of the house.

It's possible that the garage would be more appropriate, and a separate structure would be much better. Any store that could be a fire hazard should have at least two exits. One can be a door, while the other can be a large enough movable window.

Care About Regularity and Organization

Every shop should have at least one workbench, if not two, because you shouldn't create furniture on the same bench that you rebuilt your mower's engine on.

When space is limited or a specific job necessitates an extra work area, a thick plywood panel placed across a pair of sawhorses is a typical alternative. This portable work station is simple to assemble and stow, especially if you use folding sawhorses.

In any event, you'll require storage for your tools and materials. It's unlikely that there will be enough cabinets and shelves.

Also consider how you'd like to organize your tools. A flexible organizational system can be quite beneficial because the range of equipment a homeowner may collect over time can be surprising. Pegboard is a cost-effective and versatile solution to keep frequently used equipment within easy reach. Simply reposition the hooks to make room for more equipment. Toolboxes that are mounted on the wall are another alternative.

If you don't have enough wall space for pegboard, a rolling mechanic's toolbox comes in handy. It's a terrific method to organize equipment from little to large, even if they're not mechanic's tools, thanks to the graduated drawer sizes.

You'll most likely wind up with a bunch of fasteners and some scrap lumber. These items are handy to have on hand and can help you avoid excursions to the home center, but they only work if you can find what you need when you need it. Fasteners can be stored in small cabinets with a lot of drawers that can be labeled. Because materials are big, they might be difficult to store. Depending on what you have, both wall cabinets and open shelves are useful. Paints, for example, can be used in cabinets and wood can be used on shelves.

Lighting and Electrical Power Outlets

There is probably no such thing as too much light or too many electrical outlets, just as there is no such thing as too much space or storage. It's easy to overspend on lighting, especially if you choose for large fluorescent fixtures. A less expensive option is to install 60-watt equivalent LED bulbs in a slew of low-cost keyless lampholders on the ceiling. For task illumination, you might wish to invest in a few reflector lamps.

Just to plug in battery chargers, you'll need many outlets. For your handheld power tools, add a couple extra near the bench. If you're installing these for the first time, upgrading to 20-amp circuits (rather than the standard 15-amp circuits) is an excellent option. Twenty-amp circuits necessitate 12-gauge wire rather than the more common 14-gauge, but you'll save time at the breaker panel. In addition, the law mandates that outlets in virtually any shop environment—basement, garage, or shed—be GFCI protected.


If you're a woodworker, you'll need a tablesaw or bandsaw, as well as a router table and possibly a jointer, as well as space to work with the lumber. It's a good idea to purchase and install a movable base for at least one of these large tools. You'll be better able to clear your shop area and create place for any huge projects that may come your way if you mobilize a hefty stationary tool. Professional versions of these equipment will require 240 volt circuits to operate. Because all of these tools produce dust, consider setting up a central dust collection system. Hang a number of fire extinguishers around the shop in any event.

Wood businesses, more than any other form of business, require a storage area. Even if you just buy lumber or plywood as needed, you'll almost certainly have plenty of leftovers that are too excellent to waste.


You'll need an air compressor, grinder, drill press, and possibly welding equipment if you're a home mechanic. You may also require 240-volt power, depending on the compressor and welder. You'll need ventilation and fire extinguishers if you do any welding.

You'll also require space. Whether you're working on a 1957 Chevy, a lawn mower, or an ancient tractor, you'll need space inside to walk around it, manipulate jacks, and so on.

And Gardening

The distinction between a gardening shed and a shop is purely academic. Gardeners need a bench for potting, and even if the shed doesn't have electricity, they'll need enough of light from the windows.

The importance of tool storage for the gardener cannot be overstated. Because many tools have long handles, wall-mounted hangers that can store a half-dozen shovels, rakes, cultivators, and other equipment vertically are a terrific way to save room. Pesticide and supply cabinets, as well as bins or racks for potting soil and fertilizers, are essential. Mowers, trimmers, rototillers, and other similar machines require storage, as well as a secure means to store their fuel.

You won't regret dedicating a space for a shop no matter what you need it for.

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