Six Most Essential Elements of Any Woodworking Space


Most woodworkers start out with a collection of tools and a bench in the corner of their garage or basement. However, as their skills and supplies increase, woodworkers outgrow their corner and may need to consider getting a dedicated shed or workshop outbuilding. They’ll know it’s time for a woodworking shop when cars no longer fit in the garage, or when larger equipment and finished pieces can’t be easily carried up and down the basement steps.

Adding a woodworking shed or outbuilding is not only more convenient but also safer for the woodworker and their family. A shed means machines and tools can be stored securely away from children. And, sheds or outbuildings can be surprisingly affordable, depending on their size and type.

Regardless of the shed’s size or the woodworker’s budget, every woodshop needs these essentials: lumber and tool storage, a stationary machine area, worktables and benches, a finishing area, dust collection system, and safety equipment.

Lumber and Tool Storage

When planning the layout of any woodworking outbuilding, be sure to place the building where vehicles can access the entrance for easier loading and unloading of supplies and large finished pieces. With that in mind, storing lumber right inside the shop’s entrance will shorten the distance those pieces of heavy wood need to be carried. Storing only enough wood for immediate projects will reduce the amount of space required for lumber storage and will save money.

No matter the type of woodworking, having the right tools nearby is ideal. In general, storing all the tools needed for a specific task in the area where that task takes place is best, such as on a centralized workbench. The most frequently used tools should hang closest to the area, while those used less often can be stored in nearby drawers or cabinets. Keeping tools in designated places rather than just lying on counters and tables will help prevent their loss and make cleanup easier.

Stationary Machine Area

Many woodworking machines are small enough they can be moved from counters to tables and your workbench as needed, but larger ones like miter saws and table saws cannot. Placing these larger, stationary tools near where your lumber is stored or in the center of the space may be more convenient.

Worktables & Counter Space

No matter what the project, woodworkers can never have too much counter or worktable space. Woodworkers can’t go wrong by placing a large table in the center of the building. This may be your workbench, or a totally flexible space depending on your needs.

When planning counter workspaces along walls, consider the type of woodworking projects and their steps from start to finish. Organizing counter workspaces for specific steps in your process, and in the order they are accomplished, may increase efficiency.

Take time to consider lighting and window placement in this planning process, as well. Windows provide both sunlight and ventilation. Ideally, tasks that need the best lighting should have workspaces in front of a window. Also, be sure to set the finishing area, with all of its toxic fumes from stains and lacquers, in front of a window that can be opened to provide fresh air.

Finishing Area

Finishing areas must have proper ventilation because of toxic fumes from the solvents and paints. If the area is not near an open door or window, consider installing an exhaust fan.

The finishing area should also have shelving or cabinetry for storing solvents, paints, and stains. If possible, adding a utility sink for cleaning brushes and hands would be ideal.

Dust Collection

Woodworking generates sawdust in large and fine particles. Inhaling sawdust is bad for lung health, which is why smart woodworkers wear a mask or respirator when they are working. However, fine particles can hang in the air for quite some time after the machines have stopped and woodworkers have removed their masks, meaning the risk of inhaling sawdust is still high.

The best way to mitigate this risk is to use a dust collection system. These systems can be small, portable, and able to be connected to different machines when in use, or they can be large, involving permanent ductwork and piping connected to multiple machines. The system that works best depends on how much sawdust will be generated, shop space, and your budget.

Safety Equipment

Woodworking is hazardous, and therefore, every woodworking shop should have a first-aid kit. Additionally, every woodworker should wear safety goggles when working and should wear hearing protection when using loud machines. Following basic safety guidelines can help reduce the risks of injury.

The overall safety of the shop itself is also something to consider as you plan your building. Metal outbuildings have excellent durability and are much more fire safe than wooden sheds or frame construction for woodworking shops.

Let Newmart Builders help you create your dream woodworking shop!

Woodworkers who are thinking about moving their hobby operation to a dedicated outbuilding will undoubtedly appreciate all of the benefits that steel buildings like the ones we create here at Newmart Builders can offer. From ease of construction—whether you want to build it yourself or have professionals install your new building—to affordable financing options, we make creating your dream shop a reality. Get in touch with us today to learn more about constructing a new American-made steel pole building or metal pole barn on your property.