How To Convert A Garage Into A Woodshop

Published Categorized as Woodworking Business

A great way to save on the cost of setting up a woodshop is starting from your own garage. Plus you will enjoy the convenience of working from home.

With hard economic times, being able to do something for an earn extra money is great. Woodworking is one of the most loveable art and hobby that you can engage yourself in. And it can be a money maker too.

Why You Should Start A Wood Shop From Your Garage

There is high demand for good quality woodwork projects. These projects can range from toys to household furniture.

One of limitations will be not being able make very large wood projects as you are limited somewhat by space, thought not all that much.

Working from your garage also means that you need to use small tools that do not produce much noise that will disturb your neighbours. Larger  power tools usually make a fair bit of noise. But you can always make larger projects like outdoor projects, well, outdoors and on location. Examples of such wood projects are sheds, patios etc.

The best projects that will utilize the space that you have is toys and small furniture projects.

Toys and furniture will not take a lot of space in your workshop and will not require usage of power tools, not to mention the fact that they are high selling wood items. The internet is one of the best places where you can get woodworking plans from.

As a beginner, starting from your garage will give you a better chance to make profits, allowing you to grow faster.

Designing A Garage As A Wood Shop

The process of converting a garage into a functioning woodshop can be managed in straightforward steps. Most garages in the US are standard size, and are either a single or a two-car garage.

The first thing to do is to come up with a layout plan. If you think you can do this yourself, go ahead. But it’s best to take professional help at this point. Check the yellow pages and find people who do remodelling work.

Start calling them up and find the ones that have experience in doing garage to woodshop remodelling. People who have done this kind of work before are also the most likely to have options for layout designs. You will probably have ideas of your own as well.

Find sources of layout designs for a garage woodshop. Look online. Find them in magazines and books. You should be able to see plenty of images and get ideas of what to do with your own garage.

These are 2 great books that you can get for a complete lay down on setting up a woodworking shop:

  1. Setting Up Shop: The Practical Guide to Designing and Building Your Dream Shop
  2. Small Woodworking Shops (New Best of Fine Woodworking)

Future Proofing

Try and always look ahead when designing your woodshop. The space of your garage is going to remain the same but the things you want to put in it might not.

Maybe you are not installing a ‘flexible arm circular saw” just yet. But there is a strong possibility that you will in the future. Preparing your wood shop today for the expansion in future is called future proofing.

Future proofing is also done with many aspects of a business such as the business name, equipment etc.

The Single Car Garage Workshop

Garage woodworking workshopWhen you utilize the single car garage of a home is a workshop, it means that your vehicle has to be is relegated to the driveway.

Normally the two car garage lends itself better to domestic situation for a woodworking workshop because your car can still be parked inside the garage. This is specifically more convenient for northern climates.

One of the most efficient workshops are built in an inverted U-shaped configuration. This allows the lumber to be bought in to the shop and then processed in a natural sequences off processes.

For example, professional shops will have the lumber storage area right next to or close to the freight door for the convenience of storage. The next installed machine closest to the lumber racks will be a thickness planer. Many woodworkers prefer to buy rough lumber because it is cheaper than finished wood.

A thickness planer will allow you to buy the more economical rough lumber and work with it. Therefore it will pay for itself over time. The next logical tool to follow would be tablesaw. A table saw should be centrally placed and they should be at least 8 feet of clear space in front of and behind it to allow for the cutting off the sheet material.

This is a great video that shows one of the layouts for a woodworking workshop in a garage. It gives a good method of visualising the space usage before getting in any of the tools. The video is broken into 6 space maximising and planning steps that all workshops need to utilise.

Placing Essential Systems 

Lighting and Electrical Outlets

This is a part of planning the layout. You want plenty of light fixtures in the right places as well as plug points to hook your tools in. Stationary and fixed lighting is used to provide uniform illumination to the work place. It is also used over stationary stations like your table saw. Use plenty of CFL lighting for this purpose since it provides uniform light with minimum shadows.

You also need mobile and targeted lighting. That is for the times when you need spot lighting in any one place to perform a certain function. The lighting systems keep evolving. So it’s difficult to exactly tell you what to get. One cannot be sure what is and isn’t available during the time that you are reading this.

However, small lamps, wall and ceiling mounted rail spotlights and even curtain rods with hooks can provide the kind of mobile lighting you require. The color temperature of the lights used is usually that matching daylight.

Sufficient number of electric points provides power where you need it and avoid running cables all over the place. Make sure that you have enough power being sent to the shop so that your tools don’t trip the circuits because of overload.

Always have a different circuit breaker for your woodshop so that any kind of overload does not affect the power supply of the rest of the house.

Dust Collection Systems

A dust collection system really helps in keeping your woodshop and the air you breathe clean. A dust collection system for your woodworking is like a vacuum system that sucks in the dust right at the source of the work. Many tools come with an attachment to connect a dust collection system to them.

There are 2 kinds of dust collection systems, one stage and 2-stage collectors. One stage sucks the sawdust as well as larger pieces into a single sac. The 2 stages separate the finer sawdust from the larger pieces.

The one stage system is more popular because it’s cheaper. The 2-stage system has an advantage that it is more versatile and needs to be emptied out less frequently as the larger wood pieces are prevented from clogging the sac. A single stage dust collection can usually be converted to a 2 stage system by using a filter accessory.

Apart from this automated dust collection you will also need a vacuum cleaner to clean your woodshop that is bound to get dirty. A household dry and wet vacuum cleaner serves the purpose well, provided it is fitted with a fine dust filter. This filter prevents the really fine wood dust from getting into the motor and ruining it.


A woodshop ventilation is almost a paradox. On one hand you are going to do everything to ensure that the dust from the shop does not escape, either into your home or into the neighborhood. And yet you want plenty of fresh air coming in. You will also consider air-conditioning your shop if you live in a place that sees extreme weather conditions.

So this is something that has to work in tandem with the dust collection system. The dust has to be collected and removed the air by the tool dust collection systems and also through the filters in your air conditioning units if you use any. If not air conditioning you can also install air purifiers that circulate and remove particle matter from the air. 

Once you have system that cleans the air, it is a simple enough matter to have some fresh air pouring in with the help of an exhaust, depending on the size of the wood shop.

1 comment

  1. What is the best use of the raised bumper curb at the back of the garage? Mine is 33” deep and 18’-6” wide.

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