What will my woodworking shop be like when I grow up?

You spend a lot of time dreaming about the wooden masterpieces you will create in the future. You have a certain level of capability now with your current shop and tools, but like all of us there is that certain nagging to grow our capability.

“If I got that table extension, I could make better cuts on large pieces.”

“Oh if I arranged my shop this way, I could be more comfortable and get a lot more done.”

“Man, I could really use a nice sharp chisel. Then I could really make some fine pieces.”

Whether it is our human nature or the constant din of marketing, maintaining a state of happy contentment is hard to do. Being satisfied with our shop and tools is a rare and special thing. The two recently featured projects, the wooden canoe and the flower bowl, were two great examples of craftsmen laboring over a long, satisfying project. They used spaces where they lived that were not the typical spacious and dedicated shops. They worked where they lived and created objects of beauty worthy of much admiration.

It is important be aware that you can allow yourself to get distracted from your projects by straightening tools, pining (no pun intended) over woodworking shop design or dreaming about your next tool purchase. If you need inspiration, the Shopsmith site has a large collection of woodshop project plans to help you select your next project.

Once you have good projects under your belt and you’ve established that you’re not procrastinating, there is a time when you can make your woodshop a showplace. There is a time when you want to create a haven where you can retreat. A place where time flies by as you build more objects of functional beauty. When that moment arrives, you are justified to savor the process. Take your time considering the many woodshop project plans. You can then blend ideas from several or choose one that suits you.

Woodshop project plans

One of the first improvements you can make to your woodshop to increase its efficiency and function, is to add a well-designed toolbox. A neat and ordered toolbox will help you find the right tool more quickly, increasing your general workflow. It will also give your tools longer lives by protecting them from damage and loss.

3-14-2016 10-40-48 AMThis Workshop Toolbox is a project from the woodshop project plans in our archives:

This workshop toolbox features a total of nine drawers to hold all types of hand tools and small accessories for your MARK V and portable electric tools. It’s made in two sections…a top with a large upper compartment and six drawers, and a base with three drawers. Since it’s a two-part project, you can either make the entire tool box all at once, or you can split the job into two sessions, building part now and part later.3-14-2016 10-41-20 AM

If you want something a little fancier, there is the Precision Tool Chest in the woodshop project plans section of the website. It will guide you to build a felt-lined 13-drawer chest.


Box projects can go a long way to helping you to organize your shop. That link will take you to one of our forum writers detailing how they made a rolling cabinet to keep their Shopsmith accessories organized. It even tucks away under his Mark V when it is not in use. That thread provides a lot of detailed features that you can work into your woodshop workbench plans.3-14-2016 10-41-35 AM

Woodworking Shop Design

3-14-2016 10-41-51 AMBut adding more container boxes is just the beginning of good shop design. If you’re just starting out setting up, you can find this guide on choosing woodworking shop floor plans. This feature explains the benefits of good traffic flow, ventilation and noise-cancellation strategies.

The article also suggests that you designate four zones or areas as you create your woodshop floor plans:

  • Area (A) for lumber storage
  • Area (B) for outfeed table
  • Area (C) for workbench/workspace
  • Area (D) for finishing area

One problem forum contributor algale mentioned in his post as he built his wooden canoe, that it gets too cold to work year round in his unheated sunroom. That brings up another consideration as you create the place where your woodworking magic happens, do you heat your shop?

If you live in a place where the weather is too hot or cold to spend long amounts of time woodworking, you can extend your potential working season by addressing temperature control into your woodworking shop design.

It can also be a very valuable safety improvement. If you chose to heat your shop with an open flame, that might not mix well with a lot of airborne sawdust. If you adapted to the cold by covering up with heavier clothing, you are risking getting caught in the tools. So an environment that is properly ventilated and provides controlled temperature will be a major improvement.

Make it yours

So the most important tip as you build your woodworking shop design into a fabulous working space that suits your personal needs, is to make it your own! Also, don’t forget that knowledge is power. You can search through our large resource of woodshop project plans. Pick the ones that make it a pleasure to work so that you can keep your projects moving forward. Don’t forget to share your successes on the Shopsmith forum!

What will my woodworking shop be like when I grow up?