Setting Up a Woodworking Shop

Setting up a small woodworking shop is incredibly important when starting your woodworking business. Being able to work efficiently, safely, and doing so while keeping your shop professional, says leaps and bounds about your business. Wondering what a well designed shop includes? We’ve compiled a list of woodshop setup considerations for your business’s success:

Safe Work Environment

Having a safe working environment should be your top priority. Any woodworker will tell you: woodworking isn’t the safest job under the sun. Hence why safe decisions in your shop are so important. Consider everything: spacing between machine centers, making sure you have enough room to work, proper air circulation and dust collection, safe lumber storage, removal of fall and trip hazards, and of course, hearing and eye protection. Never underestimate the importance of safety! It should drive just about every decision you make when designing your shop.

Woodworker in workshop

A Separate Place for Work

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: you need to have a balance between your work and personal life. Keeping work time focused on work, and family time focused on family is important. Many woodworkers operate right out of their garage, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If this is your situation, set your shop up in a separate part of your garage where materials don’t have to constantly get moved around. The last thing you need is for tools to get lost or equipment and projects to get damaged.

Meeting Area

It’s important to have some sort of meeting area included in your shop layout. This meeting area is essential when potential clients visit. This area should allow you and a client to sit down and discuss details about a project without the noise and busyness of a shop. Providing a clean, distraction free meeting area shows your professionality and further defines your business’s brand.

woman speaking on phone in a woodworking shop


There are no right or necessary tools that you have to have in your shop. There’s multiple ways to complete a specific cut with different tooling. What it comes down to is what tool functions do you need? Is all of your lumber coming ripped and planed to size? If so, then you only need to be able to chop the lumber and have the tools to do the proper jointery. That jointery might be dowels, where all you need is a hand held drill. Maybe it’s just pocket screws. A drill or impact driver will get the job done. What we are getting at is you need to recognize what kinds of projects you want to make, how far your material is milled, and what you need to do to turn it into the completed project.

There is all kinds of information out there regarding what is the best basic tool set. A quick Google search will overload you with “essential” tools for your shop. Remember, don’t think of it as an essential tool, but rather, essential actions/cuts. Think about the projects you plan to make and then map out the process to get from raw lumber to the finished project. From there, you can map out what kind of cuts you need to make. Then look at what tools make those cuts, and you’ll be on your way to understanding what tools you need for your shop.

Once you know what tools you need, you can start making the best woodshop layout for your business. You can identify what tools will go where, how often you’ll use the tool, and how much surrounding space you need to operate that tool safely.

woodworker cutting wood on a tablesaw

Lean Manufacturing Principles

Being efficient in your shop helps eliminate unnecessary costs and can lead to more profits. This is often referred to as lean manufacturing. It’s important to recognize when something is inefficient and work on ways to increase efficiency. This can be done through different lean manufacturing processes. There are many helpful resources available to get your business to become more lean. It just simply takes a little research. As a starting place, check out our, “Intro to Lean Manufacturing,” blog!

Your Shop is a Place to Enjoy!

The last piece of advice we want to share: your shop should be a place you enjoy. If you’re working in your shop all day, that last thing you want is for it to feel like a dungeon. Make your shop your own by adding personal touches and features that will make working there more enjoyable.

smiling senior woman in workshop

What’s next?

With your shop setup for manufacturing safely and efficiently, you’re ready to start making projects. And if you play your cards right, soon your woodworking hobby can turn into a profitable business. Check out our blog, “How to Start a Successful Woodworking Business,” to set yourself on a path to woodworking business success.

You May Also Like…

The Craftsman’s Notes: Butcher Block Desk Top

The Craftsman’s Notes: Butcher Block Desk Top

This was a slightly different project made in the Fine Craftsman Lumber Workshop. We needed another desk top, so we decided to take on the task. Here was our process: Butcher Block Instead of starting from scratch, we started with one of our butcher blocks. We make...

4 Tips for Storing Lumber

4 Tips for Storing Lumber

Wood can be super finicky when it comes to storing it. As a natural product, it reacts to the environment around it. As a woodworker, it is helpful to understand how wood reacts to its environment. From there, you can manipulate it to do what you want. Wood storage is...

What to do with Scrap Lumber?

What to do with Scrap Lumber?

Lumber is expensive. That's why it is important to reduce waste and use as much of each board as possible. Often, at the end of a project, you may find yourself looking for ways to utilize scrap pieces.  But finding those projects that utilize scraps can be somewhat...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *