Building a New Woodworking Shop


Requirements / Desires
When I began this process I had a rough idea of what I would like to have. I have always found it beneficial to write these items down as they tend to bring up other issues that need to be resolved or otherwise work themselves into part of the requirements. Listed below are some high-level requirements or nice-to-haves for my shop.

The list below is meant to illustrate how I set the design direction for my particular shop.  Others might find is useful  but they would certainly want to add or subtract from this list to arrive at their own personal "dream shop" requirements.  Notice that cost isn't in this list, not because it isn't important, it is.  This is a "dream" requirements list, this is where you start before the harsh reality of cost makes you change you plans.

For me, design is all about choosing what  the most important aspects are and ensuring that these are met with the least amount of compromise.   While all the items listed below are important to me (otherwise they wouldn't be in the list), those in bold type are those which are higher in value.  The reason for setting a value to items is that any list of requirements tends to compete against itself at one point or another, the trick is to ensure that some lower value requirement doesn't compromise something of higher value.  This is especially useful when cost is brought into the design.


  • High ceilings
  • Light colored walls with French cleat system for hanging objects onto wall
  • Insulated very well to reduce heating / cooling(?) cost
  • Two 9' garage doors and one entry door
  • Separate electrical service
  • Security alarm of some sort
  • Conduit to house for future use
  • Dedicated circuits for major tools
  • Outlets at work benches
  • Intercom with flasher
  • Phone line with flasher
  • Tablesaw
  • Shaper
  • Second tablesaw (conventional for dado, convenience, etc.)
  • 2 work benches
  • 12' of counter top
  • Jointer
  • Planer
  • Edge sander
  • Drill press
  • Bandsaw
  • Wide belt sander
  • Sink
  • No major machine movement or connection (elec / DC) of primary machines (saws, shaper, bandsaw, jointer, planer, drill) required prior to use
  • Enough free area for two large projects simultaneously (around 400 square feet)
  • Separate machine and bench areas for optional wood floor around main work bench
  • Sacrificial table surface (counter top) for "drop-off" items
  • Free area near garage door with pad for work expansion.
Compressed Air
  • In separate enclosure to reduce noise
  • Multiple outlets next to common usage points and pad area.
  • Sheet goods and lumber storage outside main shop area
  • Small parts behind doors to keep dust out
  • Heat, in slab
  • Cooling (if desired)
  • Ceiling fans
  • Very well lit with good color rendering
  • Night light of some sort
  • Exterior spot lights on separate circuit(s)
  • Windows for natural light
Dust Collection
  • In separate enclosure to reduce noise
  • Port placement so as to not interfere with alternate layouts
  • Switch or remote activated main DC system
  • Easy to empty chips
  • Overflow alarms?
  • Tool activated shop vac system with cyclone Air cleaner(s).

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