Woodshop Layout – Tour and Tips from Matt’s Basement Workshop

I can’t deny that I’ve always wanted a large woodshop. Patterned after a professional shop, my large woodshop would include:

  • Space for hundreds of board feet of lumber
  • Dedicated power- and hand-tool workspaces
  • A finishing room
  • My own design area to play with mockups and such

Large would be nice.

Still, I’m all right with a small woodworking shop, because at the end of the day I have everything I need. And I’ve developed some tactics for efficient work where everything is crammed into one tight space.

As the owner of a basement workshop I’ve learned over the years that in order to enjoy woodworking as much as I do it’s all about compromise. It takes a little more time, careful thought about the tools I use and most especially about the layout of the woodshop itself.

The woodshop layout has a direct effect on how much enjoyment I can get out of my time woodworking.

Matt's woodshop layout

Looking at my own woodshop’s floor plan, you can see I have almost everything on my “large woodshop” list. I have storage space for lumber (tens of board feet, not hundreds). I have dedicated space for both power and hand tools. I have room for finishing and even some space for mock-ups and design. It’s just that rather than having separate rooms it’s all in one location and quite often even sharing the same spot.

It’s very tempting as a small woodshop owner to try and carve out spots for permanent placement of particular tools, but in reality it’s not a good idea to monopolize your valuable floor space if you don’t have to.

As I alluded to, small woodshops are all about compromise and one of the best ways to keep the shop from becoming cluttered and unmanageable is my copious use of mobile bases for almost every tool I own.

Matt Vanderlist


These are some terrific tips, Matt. Thank you for sharing them with the Popular Woodworking community! We can’t wait to see your next two posts in this series on how to best use a small shop.

Note to readers: stay tuned to “Woodworking Daily” this month for the rest of Matt’s series. And if you’re eager to get started organizing your own shop, browse the woodshop projects section of our store now!

Dan Farnbach

CATEGORIES
Shop Projects, Tools in Your Shop, Woodworking Daily Blog

About Matt

Matt is the host and creator of the first and longest-running podcast dedicated to the home woodworker – Matt's Basement Workshop. While woodworking isn't his full time occupation, it is his passion. So to help feed that passion Matt started his podcast in an effort to learn as much about woodworking as he can and share it with whomever will listen.

One thought on “Woodshop Layout – Tour and Tips from Matt’s Basement Workshop

  1. David Cockey

    Size is relative. My woodworking workshop is very close to Matt’s in size and shape, and I’ve always thought of it as moderately large, larger than the workshops of many others who feel fortunate to have a 20′ x 9′ single garage stall space or smaller. But if I went by some of the magazine articles I’ve read over the years and some of the posts on internet forums then perhaps I’d feel anything under 30′ x 40′ was small.

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