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Best Woodshop Layout For Beginners

So you want to start doing some woodworking? I can’t blame you. Woodworking is a great hobby and if you practice at it enough to become good at it, you can actually make some money too.

It’s incredibly hard to figure out a perfect woodshop layout when you aren’t sure what you’re doing. When you just start out, you don’t know what tools you need and what tools you want.

If you know some things you already want to make, learn how to prepare for your trip to the hardware store here.

The great news is that you don’t need a lot of tools to start your new woodworking hobby. You also don’t need a lot of space. I’ll walk you through the basic needs in your first woodshop layout. Once you have the perfect layout, I’ll teach you how to order lumber in this article.

Necessary Stationary Tools For Your Woodshop Layout

In the world of the woodshop there are two major stationary tools that you need before you can really do most projects. Stationary tools are those large tools that you put in one spot and, for the most part, they stay there.

Miter Saw

A miter saw is perfect for cutting long boards into short boards. They can make that cut at any angle as well, making them incredibly versatile and necessary in any good woodshop layout.

You can find miter saws in every hardware store and they come in many sizes and types. For a beginner, I would suggest a 12″ saw that will do a double bevel cut. This size of saw will cut almost any board you will want to use for quite some time.

The double bevel will let you angle the cut not only on the X axis but also on the Y axis. You will be surprised how often you will use this feature of your new miter saw.

Table Saw

The table saw holds a special place in a woodshop layout. It is the most dangerous tool in the shop and also one of the most useful.

I’ll tell you the best trick for keeping yourself safe when using the table saw: know every moment you are using it where all 10 of your fingers are.

Table saws are useful for cutting wide pieces of lumber lengthwise or for cutting sheets of paneling in half. For those looking for an all purpose table saw, I highly suggest a 10″ worm drive saw. It will cut through anything you could want.

There’s a great article on woodshop safety for beginners on Industry DIY if you need more safety tips.

Woodshop Layout Bench Needs

Starting the perfect woodshop layout is easy

Any good woodshop layout should also have a workbench. Woodshop benches are not only for a good, clean, convenient place to work but also for keeping a few often used tools.

Circular Saw

One of my favorite tools, even though I was afraid to use it for the longest time, is a circular saw. It’s incredibly handy to have one of these for large sheetgoods that you can’t run through a table saw alone.

Circular saws are smaller than table saws which makes them easy to use and, once someone shows you how they work, relatively safe. Make sure when you buy a circular saw, you purchase a battery operated one that has numerous blades that are easy to find.

Drill/Impact Driver

Okay folks, let me start by telling you that everybody has a favorite brand of drill and impact driver and there’s always a good reason for it. So I won’t be talking to you about a brand of drill or driver to buy.

Your drill is used for making holes in things and your impact driver is used for putting screws into the hole. Impact drivers are often very loud but you can find quieter ones if you ask.

I would suggest buying your drill and driver in a kit together. Buying them separately rarely makes sense financially. These kits usually come with the drill, driver, 2 batteries, and a bag to carry it all in.

Orbital Sander

Whenever you finish a wood project, you’re going to want to sand it down and get rid of all of the rough edges. There are 3 main types of sanders: orbital sanders, quarter sheet sanders, and belt sanders.

Orbital sanders are one of the most useful types of sanders. It works by spinning sandpaper in a circle so rapidly it doesn’t look like it’s moving. Because of their versatility, your woodshop layout should have a space for an orbital sander.


Storage solutions for your woodshop layout include several options. I suggest a mixture of cabinets, shelves, and pegs. Cabinets are great for hiding the mess the can inevitably happen in a woodshop.

Shelves are great for easy to access tools. Things that you need to reach for quickly, a clamp or a drill, are perfect for a set of open shelves.

Peg hooks are stunning options to keep things organized, quick to access, and clean. I love how versatile peg hooks are and they are great for hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers.

Tool chests are a good option for tools that you don’t access on a regular basis and would get lost in a basic cabinet. For example, your socket wrenches are a great option to put in your tool chest.

Final Thoughts

Your woodshop layout is something that you can and should personalize to how you use your woodshop. Each woodworker is unique and when you are just starting out, you may be confused what you need in your shop.

Start your beginning woodshop layout with some of the basic tools and you won’t regret it. Wait to see what tools you actually want to use before buying too many.

If you are still looking for some beginner projects, The Family Handyman has some great beginning woodworking projects you can do. I love how easy The Family Handyman is to work with and I have an in depth article on the magazine you can read.

Woodworking is a very rewarding and useful hobby. I recommend that any homeowner who wants to improve their home tries at least some basic woodworking. If you get your woodshop layout right, you’ll find that it’s even easier.