Tiny Woodshop Is Packed With Space-Saving Hacks

Fair warning: once you’ve watched [Stephen]’s tiny workshop tour, you will officially be out of excuses for why you need to expand your workshop. And, once you see his storage and organization hacks, you’ll be shamed into replicating some in whatever space you call home.

[Stephen]’s woodshop is a cozy 6′ x 8′ (1.8 m x 2.4 m) garden shed. The front wall is almost entirely occupied by the door and a window, reducing the amount of wall space available but providing ample natural light and keeping the small space from inducing claustrophobia. Absolutely every square inch of the remaining space is optimized and organized. [Stephen] wisely eschews bulky cabinets in favor of hanging tool racks, all mounted flexibly to the wall on French cleats. Everything has a place, and since every hand tool is literally within arm’s reach, it stays stored until it’s needed and goes right back when it’s done. The shop boasts way more than hand tools, though; a lathe, drill press, thickness planer, sander, air compressor, scroll saw, band saw, and even a table saw all fit in there. There’s even dust collection courtesy of “The Beast”, [Stephen]’s DIY dust extractor.

No matter whether you work in wood, metal, or silicon, we could all learn some lessons from [Stephen]’s shop. It’s a model of efficiency and organization, and while he’s not likely to build a full-size [Queen Anne] dresser in there, it’s clear from his blog that he gets a lot done with it. Too bad we missed this one the last time we did a roundup of tiny shops.

32 thoughts on “Tiny Woodshop Is Packed With Space-Saving Hacks

  1. Probably a nice shop to build, but I could never work in that. However modular the setup, there is something about doing a project that sequentially clutters up the room in a nice way.. I can’t lose that. It informs me on how the project is going and how I can make a space better.

    1. I would have included more photos, if I had had any to post. As it was, all the material I had to work with was in the video, so what you see are screen grabs. And in this case, stills don’t do the shop justice – kind of like stills from a prenatal ultrasound don’t look like babies as much as watching it in real time. Stephen did a great job of capturing his shop with the video, and the shop can only really be appreciated as he slowly pans around and demos the various features. Besides, it was a very calming video to watch – almost like watching Mr. Rogers was for me back in the day.

  2. I would love to be that organized, but sadly, it’s just not in my nature. I start a project by spending a day or two collecting tools and materials. After completion, the big tools get put back (most of the time), with the remaining maybe getting put back or just finding new homes in close proximity to where they were last used, necessitating the day or two of tool gathering the next time they’re needed. Two or three times a year, I’ll do a massive clean up / organization…. but it never lasts.

  3. Beautifully done, but most of the tiny shops in the previous roundup as well as this one tend to be wrapped around a singly type of work; woodworking, clock making and the like. I (and likely others) hopscotch among multiple types in a day. For me it’s cars, bicycles, electronics, lab and house fixtures, imaging equipment, and likely two or three other things and that’s very, very hard to make small.

  4. His jointer is carbon neutral, but his pencil sharpener isn’t ;) . Plenty of clever ideas but some may not work for me., I see in time for a need that my workshop to be mobile.How large would depend on on my ability or willingness to hire a tractor to move it, if that’s an option it could be a long as 40 feet. Most likely 8.5 feet16feet wide if I have the funds to do that. A novel way to stows band saw bladec, but most I know coil up the blades. Manet track lighting could be and idea for any shop regardless of size

  5. 1. Is he sponsored by Axminster by any chance?

    2. I’m deeply suspicious of anyone with a place that tidy, it’s not natural

    3. Where’s the actual wood kept? My garage is rammed but 50% of it it is spare parts, stock, consumables, etc. and aside from a few sanding pads and a jar of screws I’m not seeing much… maybe he doesn’t need much and just does one project at a time from start to finish and disposes of all the scraps, but that feels weird and unnatural to me!

    1. Yes, I was wondering where he keeps wood. It accounts for a large volume of my garage and a lot of hassle stacking it neatly etc.
      All the neat storage solutions for wood I’ve seen have been relatively inefficient use of space – not up to the standard of this video. I’d like to see his solution.

      I’ve also got cupboards of electronics and electrics, bins of cables etc. And the semi-useful junk you might need.

      I’m also wondering how he keeps it clean – everything not in a cupboard in my workshop gets quickly covered in a layer of dust. My “dust extractor” (old vacuum) certainly isn’t as good as his “beast”, but I’d still expect some dust.

  6. My workbench is not an Ikea catalog. Also when you spend all that time organizing and building stuff to all these tools when do you actually use them for something else? It looks like a moebius ribon type of hobby to me. :-)
    #jealousy #envy #dishonesty #sarcasm #bitter

  7. It looks beautifully organized. Hats off to him.

    I don’t really understand the internet’s obsession with French cleats though. Why not attach some plywood to the studs and screw all of those custom tool holders into the plywood? It’ll be less of an eyesore than the angled rails, collect less dust, be more secure, and be significantly faster than installing a whole cleat system. Modularity isn’t even an advantage: who wants to try to remember where they moved their tools to?

    They have their place in mounting things on walls in the rest of the home, but not in a workshop.

  8. heh, at first, I was thinking about big pieces. My workshop is much larger but it’s still challenging to get any 8 foot piece onto the table saw, or even to get a nice flat space on the floor for taking a hand-held saw to a 4×8 sheet of plywood. So I often wind up outside — and lo, that’s what Stephen does too. No problem at all, weather-permitting.

    I am upset that he hangs his manual saws from the handle instead of from the hanging hole.

    1. The saw till I was going to build has slots to slide the saw bladess into and the handles hold up the weight.
      I thought his method was “beautiful”.
      P.S. I am not going to drill holes into my antique saws just to hang them from a nail!

  9. I had been planning for several years to tear down my tiny 8’x14′ shed, and put up a 16’x16′ shop, because I thought I needed all that space.
    I found this last year… and now am almost done refurbishing my MASSIVE 8’x14′ shed into a shop LOL. If he can get this much packed into something less than half the size of the space I have available to me, with a larger tool collection than mine… I’ve got no excuses.

  10. And I thought my 11′ x 23′ space was tight… Nearly 6x the space of what Dan has… I won’t complain, but he has gotten me on the ‘space maximizing’ kick. Some of my builds are very sizable (ie Bookshelf: 78″H x 48″W x 9″D with 8 decks.

  11. this is great and beautifully shown.
    Having a 2x3m space myself, I’m always looking for improvements on how to organize.

    I am curious on two points.
    _If you could, would you wish for a wider exterior door for when you push in/out your larger tools?
    _I’m having trouble with dust (who isn’t). Do you attach your dust collector to each tool or just use it for your lathe?

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