Easy Guide on Setting Up Your First Woodworking Shop

Planning on setting up woodworking shop.

Woodworking is no longer a man’s world. Many women are interested in developing skills for personal use, especially if they live alone. Woodworking is a challenging skill that brings lots of benefits to you. It can provide a career and earn extra dollars in completing a project. 

Carpenters are hard to find, and their rate is excessive. Having the skills is an advantage in case you want to make a DIY cabinet. But, before you explore woodworking, you need to have a workstation to optimize the space for your project.  

We will get you covered on hacks on how to get started with a woodworking workshop.

Things You Should Know About Setting Up A Woodworking Shop

Wood is the primary material in woodworking. Woodworking involves carpentry, cabinet making, and crafts using wood. It would help if you considered many things before venturing into woodworking, whether as a hobby or as a livelihood. 

The type of wood you will use in woodworking influences the outcome of your project. The workability of the wood plays a role in how it responds when you work using carpentry tools, power tools, or by hand. 

Choose a piece of wood with even straight grain to achieve resilient glued joints. It is easy to manipulate according to your design when it is workable and durable. You can maximize the wood into desired forms without causing your tools to get blunt, and the wood is safe from splitting during screwing and nailing.  

Another thing that you should consider is to equip your workshop with hand tools and power tools. Both devices are vital in woodworking as some projects may need a power tool to save time and effort.  

But most of all, a well-designed and comfortable workshop makes your woodworking project much more manageable.  

Here are the hacks on how to set up your woodworking workshop.

Look for an Accessible Location 

Whatever your reason for putting up a woodworking workshop, the first step is finding the best location accessible to people. But if you want to attract buyers in the future, you need to find a place where people frequent, like malls or a commercial arcade. 

If that entails high rental cost, it would be best to set up in your home frontage for the time being. A home-based workshop could be your starting point- Who knows if your woodworking business will grow into a big enterprise?

It is helpful to research and make a feasibility study if the location is suitable for this type of business.  

Plan Your Budget

Before renting a mall space, you must set your budget. Ask yourself how much you can afford to lose in case your woodworking business does not click. (But, cross your fingers, it will not happen).  

You have to allocate a budget for the rental, renovation, furnishing, and woodworking tools (hand tools, power tools, etc.), as well as the salary for your assistant. 

The high rental cost may impact the price of your products, and customers may not consider buying them. Business permits and licenses also require a lot of money before you begin your workshop.  

Mapping Your Workflow

Workflow refers to your repeatable daily tasks that should be systematic and organized. When building a workshop, you have to think about the time you spend on each project-how, many hours for cutting, sawing, gluing, and nailing the wood.  

These are just samples of your workflow that you have to consider before laying out your shop. Spend a moment of reflection on where to place the workbench, machinery or tools, fasteners (nails, bolts, and screws), wood, and everything you need in your shop. 

Take a look at the ergonomics when axing a log into small pieces. Is it time-consuming to lift timber from the warehouse to your shop? The best thing you can do to have a smooth workflow is to draft your design on paper and study how things work out in every section of your workshop.  

Measure the Space 

Some people may end up regretting it after finding out that their woodworking workshop cannot accommodate their equipment and wood supply. Visit the area where you decide to put up a shop and measure the size for each section. 

Think about the length of the lumber, tools, and equipment you will put in the shop. According to experts, the minimum area suitable for a workshop is about 75 square feet. The ideal place should be about 125 square feet, where you can add a storage area for the lumber.  

The key to finding the right size for your shop is estimating the number of stationary power tools (lathes, panel saws, planers, etc.). If you have plenty of these tools, ample space is ideal. 

Also, consider the area for the workbench, which should be four feet from the stationary tools. Your workbench should be accessible for both standing and sitting. Each machine should have an allowance of three feet from each other for smooth traffic flow. 

The shop should have enough space to lift the raw timber and the finished products and not impede your movement. The shop’s door and window should be large enough for easy entry and exit of the materials.  

Equip Your Shop with Basic Woodworking Materials & Tools 

Operating a woodworking workshop needs high-powered and essential tools to make and finish your projects on time. Customers will patronize your products if they are well crafted and delivered according to their requirements. But that would be impossible if you lack the tools and materials to operate your business. 

A successful woodworking business starts with a few tools and accumulates them in years. You can begin investing with a handful of handsaws, sanders, and hand planes. It could not be evident for beginners which of these handsaws are ideal for their business. 

The basic types of saws include table saws, miter saws, circular saws, jig saws, and band saws. You can add other kinds of saws to your collections, such as a scroll, reciprocating, hole, panel, tack, and oscillating. 

Consider investing in hand-held power tools like jig saw and circular saw. A miter saw is an excellent tool for cutting down the lumber to a length that is not so thick and wide. You can use it for furring shiplap and strips and trimming. Beginners should choose a #1 miter saw for ease of use. 

A table saw is ideal for cutting large wood panels (plywood, hardwood, and MDF). You will also need a band saw to cut large wood chunks to form different shapes. 

You cannot produce a smooth finish woodworking project if you do not have a hand planer. Invest in block panes for trimming, edgework, and flush trimming wood plugs and dovetails. 

A bench plane is a must-have tool, and they come in different numbers: #1 (5 inches) to #8 (24 inches). A Jack plane smoothens and flattens edges and surfaces of glued and board panels. 

An orbital sander is a valuable tool to smoothen the wood surface and removes paint and rust. Equip your shop with a battery-powered drill or cordless drills for drilling holes. You also need a ratchet set for tightening and loosening fasteners.

But, what is the use of power and hand tools if you lack measuring tools? These tools include rulers, tape measures, combination squares, angle finders, precision try squares, and calipers. 

Invest in Safety Equipment 

A woodworking workshop should have essential safety equipment for your protection. Dust particles, paint odor, and chemicals used in your project could harm your safety and health. 

You and your staff must wear safety goggles, cut-resistant gloves, dust masks/respirators, earplugs/earmuffs, steel toe boots, a leather apron, and a push stick. 

Ensure that your shop has an efficient dust collection system and a shop vac to maintain sanitation and cleanliness in your workspace. Your shop should have a non-slip floor and adequate lighting for your safety.

Factors to Consider in Setting up a Workshop


Ventilation helps improve the average temperature and moisture control in your workshop. A moist shop invites mildew, termites, and pest to lurk in the lumber and damage them.  

A warm area of your house is the best location for the shop because the temperature is suitable for the lumber supply to retain its texture and color. However, converting a barn or an animal shed could risk your equipment and woodworking materials.

Install a heating device in your shop if you live in a place with extreme winter temperatures. During hot weather, you must also install an air conditioning unit for a comfortable workplace. You can also install a household fan in a spot that needs ventilation.  

Fix rain gutters and wall and floor cracks to prevent your shop’s flooding during heavy rains. Check damp areas in your shop before installing your equipment and lumber and insulate pipes to avoid condensation reactions. The electric shock might occur when electrical cords touch the flooded floor.


Before installing your stationary tools, you must ensure that your workshop is large enough to hold them. The lumber supplies and equipment should be in a spot that provides flexibility and ease of maneuvering while sitting or standing around the workbench and machines. 

If your shop has a large area, you can add more stationary tools in the future. The shop also requires a large area to store the lumber, which could be inside or outside your shop.   

Adequate Lighting & Electricity 

A woodworking shop is prone to danger if it is not well lighted. It has an abundance of natural ambient light in case there is a power outage in your area. Position your stationary power tools and workbenches near the window, but not direct sunlight that harms your eyes and skin.  

The reflected light is a plus factor when setting up a workshop. You can encourage reflected light by painting the walls and ceiling with a white, beige, or off-white color.  

The workshop should have many electrical outlets for ease of use and not too many extension cords. Since the power tools require extra amperage, the wiring should be capable of handling a massive load of electricity. 

Small power tools require 2 to 8 amperage, while more extensive power tools require 6 to 16. Air compressors, welders, and dust collector machines require 220 volts circuits and 40 amps.  

Entryways & Ceiling Height

Doorways and entryways of your workshop should be extra-large to give way for lumber supply and finished products. Consider installing a roll-up or double door at least three feet in width. 

Attach a pegboard on walls and place your tools to clear doorways, or you can place them on a freestanding tool cabinet. Aside from entryways, the ceiling height should be about ten feet for easy flipping and moving large sheets of wood like plywood.


Storage for your lumber supply should be within your shop vicinity, particularly near the main entrance. It lessens bodily pain during loading and unloading the timber.  

Install enclosed tool cabinets along the wall surface that is within your reach. The cabinet protects your tools from rusting and stains due to dust, moisture, and elements. 

Wall-mounted cabinets are space savers, so you can have them customized. Place small tools, clamps, fasteners, accessories, measuring devices, and levels in a wall-mounted pegboard for quick access. 

After arranging all the tools, you have to add labels and keep a record of where you place them. Always return the tools to their proper places to avoid looking for them when needed.  


Don’t compromise comfort over a discount price when choosing a power tool and equipment for your workshop. Buy tools that are functional, workable, and suitable for your height and weight. 

Always think of its usefulness when working with your project. Invest in tables, benches, and equipment that are comfortable to use and not because they are on sale.

Wrapping Up 

A workshop will be your nesting place to bring your designs into a beautiful piece of woodworking art. Make it a desirable location that brings comfort and safety while creating your masterpiece. Aside from your home, you will be spending eight to ten hours a day in your workshop, so make it a safe and healthy haven by installing proper lighting, a non-slippery floor, and free from visual clutter, dust, and moist, and hazards.  

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