How to work in a tiny wood working shop

How to work in a tiny wood working shop

The heading you have just read is very similar to something I tried to search Google with. You see, I do have a workshop of sorts, for all my woodworking, but not much of a work space.

How to work in a small woodshop

It is in the cellar under my house, my house is a small terraced house. So you can imagine, cellars in these places are tiny, not much room to swing a cat really. But it is all I have and have to make do. Where money is tight, to make it bigger would cost a fortune and to rent a workshop somewhere…well, I’ll not be going there any time soon.

So, this was what I typed into Google search, in the hope to get some great and fantastic space saving ideas.

The first four pages I viewed, I just had to laugh. Because on every one of the forum pages there where dozens of people complaining about how much room they haven’t got and wanting to know what they can do to improve it. What was even more laughable was that all of them had bigger work spaces than I did! It was pathetic the way they all moaned about it. They should come to where I work and then they would be thankful for what they have.

In the end I gave up reading and decided to put on my creative cap on and see if I could come up with any cleaver ideas, a proper diy make over if you like.
It eventually turned into several diy projects, all aimed for a work shop solution, all looking to be that great space saving idea.
And space saving ideas on a budget to, this was looking at being next to nothing.

And here they are.

If your needing some bench and work tops to work on but also could do with the storage as well, then look no further than the humble kitchen suite. You can either purchase ready made carcases cheaply from a trade place, the work tops make great hard wearing bench tops. Absolutely ideal, better still – keep an eye out for any neighbors having a new kitchen done, ask them if you can have the old cabinets, they will be glad that you save them a job of taking them away to the dump.
OR, why don’t you kill two birds with one stone, this one will help keep the misses happy and you will get plenty of diy practice in.. How is your kitchen suite looking these days? A little shabby is it? Could do with a change? Yes? Then good, rip it out and assemble it as quickly as you can as part of your workshop and start using it to help build the new cabinets for your kitchen, don’t take too long or the misses will get shirty with you.

So you have units, what about machines, these can be useful in their purpose, but a bloomin nuisance to move about if you have a few of them and you need to shift it out the way so you can use the other machine.

Well try this idea, this is where you can be truly creative with clever ideas. You could use a couple of those kitchen units and modify them to incorporate your machine. I have a bench planer / thicknesser all in one. Bulky thing it is, but a neat size to fit inside the kitchen cabinet, just.. So I modified it so the the planer was bolted to the top. The top would have a pivot axle right on the balanced weight of the base of the machine. If I want to put the planner away so that I can have some work top space, all I have to do is to flip the top over. Then the planner would be inside the cabinet and I would have free bench space in front of me.

Now if your like me, you may have a few of these cumbersome machines taking space, and sometimes find it necessary to shift them somewhere else. Do your self a favour before you put your back out trying to shift it. If your machine is bolted to an old kitchen cabinet or is on some sort of stand, attach wheels or castors to it. It is best to use ones that have brakes on them so that you can lock it down when you come to use your machine.
I have found this to be ideal and easy to shift a heavy machine if it is in your way.

Lastly, floor space can be taken up pretty quickly, especially where benches are sat, the black and decker work bench was a wonderful creation for the small workshop and it was portable. But I am sure many who have used one, wished for more bench or work top space. So why not adapt the idea?, you can have your old cabinets on one wall, and a work bench (like an old, long kitchen worktop) and have it hinged at an agreeable working height all the way along another wall, with either folding legs underneath or chains or rope at the outer corners attached to the wall. So you can work on it whilst it is out or you can fold it up to the wall to gain more floor space for larger projects.

Be creative, try and find cleaver ideas to create more space in a small wood work shop and help build better DIY projects.

Special thanks to Reuben Gregory for this excellent piece