The size of your woodworking shop is the single most important thing you need to plan for when building your workshop.
Without a properly sized workshop, you will feel cramped and cannot safely operate machinery.
The benefits of a properly sized workshop include ample space for projects, providing the maximum amount of safety, and allowing your shop to grow as the needs of your workshop change in the future.
How big should a woodworking shop be? The recommended size for a woodworking shop is 20 x 30 (600 square feet). This allows plenty of space for tools and lets you stay organized while still providing enough workspace to not feel cramped, though much will depend on the number of people working, types of tools, project size, and more.
A properly sized woodworking shop is the foundation for the success of your woodworking journey.
Continue reading to learn how to size a workshop that fits your needs as well as additional topics like workbench sizes, basic tools required, a separate finishing room, and much more!
Woodworking Shop Recommended Size & Considerations
Here are important questions you need to answer before deciding the size of your woodworking shop:
- How many people will work in your shop?
- Will you use all power tools, all hand tools, or a mixture of both?
- What size projects will you work on?
- Will you work on many projects at once?
- Will the needs of my shop change in the future?
Your answers to these questions will help you better understand what your current and future woodworking shop needs might be.
Keep these answers in mind because you will need them as you continue reading this article!
The recommended woodworking shop size is generally 20 x 30 (600 square feet). The design of the workshop layout should revolve around the goal of avoiding as much movement in the workshop as possible.
This can be achieved by organizing equipment and tools in the order that they are most commonly used.
By doing this, the need to move objects throughout your workspace will be limited during the various tasks of the project.
When planning your future woodshop, carefully consider each of the follow aspects before finalizing any decisions.
You should know what type of tools will be the most commonly used while completing projects. This will determine how many tools will be needed and how to store them.
You can store most tools and move them to the workbench as needed. We have provided a comprehensive tool list below.
There are only a few stationary tools that require their own dedicated space.
You will want to store cutting tools, like miter and table saws, close to your lumber storage or in the center of your workshop.
Vehicles can unload and load lumber, materials, and completed projects if you place the entrance to your workshop in an easily accessible place.
You should also store only the amount of wood needed for current projects.
The most common workbench dimensions are 72” (Length) x 24” (Width) x 36” (Height).
The dimensions provided work for most people, but a perfectly sized workbench is just as important as the size of your woodworking shop.
Here are a few ways to ensure you have a perfect workbench:
- A 6-foot-long workbench is long enough for a single extensive project or multiple minor projects. The questions you answered above will help you determine what length you need.
- The depth of your workbench shouldn’t be longer than the reach of your arms.
- With your arms relaxed at your side, measure from the ground to the first knuckle of your thumb to find a bench that is properly sized for your specific height.
Workbenches should have plenty of space on all sides. Saws and other cutting tools also require ample space in the front, back, and sides for you to operate them safely.
Common spacing measurements for stationary tools:
- Workbench: 36 inches
- Saw tools: 36 inches
- Saw blades: 96 inches
You can fill the rest of your space with other non-stationary tools and equipment.
When building a separate finishing room, you must have an exhaust system to pull in clean air and send out dirty air.
If you use any volatile chemicals, use no-spark exhaust fans.
You can minimize the space needed for a finishing room by using a plywood turntable, which allows you to spin projects during the spraying process.
Your workspace will be safe if you follow the above tips on properly sizing your workshop, using a workbench with the proper dimensions, spacing your machinery appropriately, and setting up a separate finishing room.
Using the proper tools and safety equipment while completing projects is a good way to protect yourself.
Basic Tools & Equipment Needed for a Woodworking Shop
Most projects require a basic set of tools and safety equipment. You can start using more advanced tools once you begin more complicated projects.
Use the lists below to find the most common tools and equipment based on your specific needs.
- First-aid kit
- Hearing protection
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
- Carpenter’s square
- Circular saw
- Hammer and mallet
- Marking gauge
- Measurement tools
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander
- Portable power drill
- Smooth plane
- Air compressor tools
- Belt sander
- Drill press
- Dust collector
How Small Can a Woodshop Be?
The smallest recommended size for a woodworking workshop is 20 x 20 (400 square feet).
This smaller-sized workshop will provide you with the basic amount of space needed for your workbench, tools and equipment, and lumber.
One drawback to a smaller workshop is that you may feel a bit cramped depending on the size or number of projects you are currently working on.
How Do You Design a Workshop Layout?
There are many good workshop layout programs available via a web browser or computer download.
These programs allow you to upload or manually create floor plans of the space you will use for your woodworking shop.
Once you are satisfied with the layout, you can start measuring your space and marking locations with tape using the completed layout design.
You will have a perfectly sized woodworking shop that will meet all your needs by answering the important questions above.
You can then use these answers to design a workshop layout that will be highly efficient, organized, and safe during all processes of your woodworking shop projects.