Author Topic: Critique my small workshop floor plan  (Read 4100 times)

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Offline batmanimal

  • Posts: 111
Critique my small workshop floor plan
« on: January 30, 2022, 11:07 PM »
I’m mapping out my first dedicated workshop in the top right corner of a 2 car garage. The space is appx 13’ wide by 5’ deep before you start hitting bumper. I will move the cars out for my builds. I would like to use the space to build cabinets and other case goods, and to cut framing lumber for outdoor projects (decks/stairs, patio furniture, etc).
 
Wall height is only 7’, but I am short, so anything above 6’ is an inconvenience for me anyhow.

Lumber is stored mostly on the ceiling and on other garage walls.

My main question is, do you think my ordering of items along the wall makes sense? I have it (L-R) going: router table, MFT, miter saw, tool cart. Tool cart is the only thing that does not have a 900mm table surface. However, the cart is essential as it holds all my drills and serves as a charging station.

My other question is, how much work surface space is optimal? Currently, my plan is to hold a 2x4’ MFT folded up on top of a custom adjustable height table on wheels. That way, if I need more space, I can unfold the MFT, then raise the height of the rolling table to 900mm. That would give me 4’x4’ of MFT space, configurable as a square, 2x8 rectangle, or an L shape. Is that enough space? Should I consider getting an MFT extension as well?

I feel I need more space for clamps, so likely will need to store the long ones on the ceiling.

Any thoughts and feedback on the plan is appreciated!

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2022, 06:45 AM »
Years ago I decided to create my own "Mobile Workshop" concept by using industrial quality castors with brakes for the main elements of the workshop. I made a video but much has changed since then:



My main bench is now actually fixed because it really must be solid and stable. I do have a mobile bench, a little bigger than the MFT3 and with some quite large drawers. My bandsaw, planer/thicknesser, bobbin sander and mitre station are all on castors. This has recently proved to be very useful as I have had to decrease the amount of space for woodworking. My pillar drill was on castors but is now fixed.

The key thing for the mobile elements is to have castors with brakes and in most cases the swivel function has also to be braked.

Peter

Offline mino

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2022, 07:15 AM »
Castors => Good.
Castors which can be put away so can stand firmly with leveling legs => Better.

On the arrangement, I would swap the mitter saw with the MFT/worktable in the "default" arragement. That way you can work CMS or mittre saw while not blocking your main workspace - aka the MFT.
Secondly, make sure everything is the same height and can be leveled to be co-planar when needed. Including the tool cart so it can be used as a workspace extension.

That said, if you did not already purchase the MFT, I would stay clear of it for this use case. Much better make something more stable with the MFT concept. OR plan to put it on a fixed and stable cabinet, not using its legs. Check the Ron Paulk Smart series for inspiration for the top and some basic stable cabinet below it. Very cost-effective when combined with the Parf Guide template set for making accurate MFT holes.

MFT is really optimised for mobile work. In a fixed small shop it is not allowed to shine in mobility while its limitations in stability will become very apparent the moment you need to do something using hand tools, need stability for vertical clamping etc.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2022, 07:18 AM by mino »
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2022, 07:41 AM »
I think there's some members here in your situation. @GoingMyWay comes to mind. I think @Dick Mahany  and @Mike Goetzke work out of their garages as well. Maybe they can chime in.

I'm in 12x16 and find it's adequate but never enough. I had 3 MFT3's at one point but have since sold them. You may find them valuable but in a small shop you need mobility on everything possible. You'll figure this out as soon as you go to cut a board longer than any of your tool stations allows.

Good luck
« Last Edit: January 31, 2022, 07:45 AM by DynaGlide »
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Packard

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2022, 08:36 AM »
Miter saw:  Are all the surfaces the same height as the cutting surface on the miter saw?  What support do you have to the right of the saw?  Is there any possibility of measuring stops?

Perhaps a couple of folding shelves on the wall.  Roll out all three units, Place the miter saw on a center shelf with a way to register the saw in the same position each time.  And then you can have stock support and positive stops. 

When you are done, put the saw on its rolling cart and fold everything up and return the other pieces to their position against the wall.


Offline batmanimal

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2022, 11:34 AM »
Wow! Thank you all for the tips and references

Peter Parfitt - I’ve seen your mobile workstation video! Like all your New Brit videos, it was quite helpful. I’m wondering if I keep my MFT (Dashboard) without casters folded on top of an adjustable height MFT that has casters, then I can unfold my my un-wheeled Dashboard when I need a truly solid surface. But perhaps that would become too bothersome? Maybe I should have the Dashboard unfolded as the default (very sturdy), and have a smaller adjustable height MFT on lockable casters nested underneath it instead? Then when I need more space, I can wheel out the secondary MFT and crank its height to up to equal the Dashboard. I’ll think about this.

@Packard Yes, all the table heights are the same (900mm), with the MS Kapex cart at 790mm so that the saw’s table is at 900mm.

I do like the idea of folding shelves, will consider that option. My initial idea had been to have the MS on wheels though bc I plan to use the Kapex extension wings for measuring cuts and in/out feed support. The wings have the saw stops built in.

@DynaGlide thank you for those references - I’ll take a look! I did eyeball the STM mobile cutting table but felt it was probably over the top for what I need. I typically process plywood on the floor. Not ideal but it’s OK for now. What did you replace the 3 MFTs with?

@mino Good tip about the leveling casters. I will see what I can find! For the MFT, I am going with Dashboard PWS “ShortCut” model, which will be about 4’x2’ and appears to be very solid, for the reason you mentioned. It isn’t the same heft as the Paulk solution but I’m hoping it’s stable and sturdy enough for my needs, AND light enough that I can fold it and unfold it and stash it away/move it around.

I will experiment swapping the MS and MFT in my plan. Thank you!

—-
Thank you all, again, for your feedback! I appreciate your time and expertise.


Offline Packard

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2022, 11:43 AM »
I rather like this setup.  The saw folds away and a plank replaces it.

https://woodworkjunkie.com/diy-folding-miter-saw-table-make-the-most-of-a-small-shop




Online DynaGlide

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2022, 11:45 AM »
@batmanimal

https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/other-tool-reviews/track-tubes-mft-top/

That's a link to the system I've adapted to my workflow.

Matt
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Packard

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2022, 11:53 AM »
I just looked over your system and the exercise mat option.  I used horse stall mats.  They have a bit more density and are thicker than most mats.  The concrete floor is cold as well as hard on the feet.  The horse stall mats don't indent as easily as other mats.

I got the 3/4" thick stuff.  They also sell 12' x 12' mats but I don't know the thickness of those. They get rolled up and I cannot imagine rolling up the 3/4" stuff.  Too stiff.

A grown horse weighs about 600 pounds and rests on 4 feet.  I'm pretty sure none of my equipment is that heavy.  They also rest on four feet.  So a fairly good option.  I don't know the cost comparison and there is just one color: black.

https://www.greatmats.com/horse-stall-mats.php?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=FS-Horse_and_Dog&gclid=EAIaIQobChMInfXfibnc9QIVFeXICh14ggMcEAAYASAAEgI7f_D_BwE

Offline batmanimal

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2022, 12:13 AM »
@batmanimal

https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/other-tool-reviews/track-tubes-mft-top/

That's a link to the system I've adapted to my workflow.

Matt

This was a GREAT thread, tons of inspiration here - thank you Matt

@Packard did you end up getting the mats from DynaGlide’s set up? I have used that company before (Great Mats) for outdoor mats - was really impressed with the quality and would definitely consider them as a source for shop mats.

Planning out this little shop space has been really fun. Thanks again for all the pointers!

Offline Packard

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2022, 08:17 AM »
I did buy the interlinking horse stall mats from GreatMats.

I only put them in the standing areas; none under the machinery or in areas where I walked to station to station.  It was about 20 years ago, so I have no recollection of the cost, but the reason I did not cover the entire floor was the cost.

I also got a 4' x 6' mat for my dog to sleep on.  He destroyed the fabric beds by "digging" before going to sleep.  He continued to "dig" on the horse stall mat, but it handled that abuse with ease. 

As I said, it is a lot denser than the other mats, probably to deal with the weight of the horses.  The only color available was a near-black charcoal gray.

Offline afish

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2022, 08:52 AM »
If you have never moved one of those 4x6x.75 rubber matts by yourself you are in for a treat.  Its like trying to move a 100# giant wet noodle. 

Offline batmanimal

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2022, 09:46 PM »
Made some progress (finally) on my workshop today. Here is the “before” photo. Big mess.  340973-0

Moved a bunch of stuff out, and put up plywood to cover the vintage pegboard. Plywood had the benefit of making the wall flush. Previously there had been a 1/2-3/4” ledge below the pegboard.
340975-1

Then painted the wall and ceiling with a nice white/grey interior/exterior paint that was $7/gal on clearance. Went on great. Did 2 coats.
340977-2

Also finally got my track saw batteries in so I could finish my Kapex cart. I used leftover 2x4 cedar from a deck project for the frame. Ripping plywood with a track saw vs using a circular saw is SUCH AN UPGRADE. Holy cow.

The big box on the left is the CMS table that I need to set up. I also am waiting to order my Dashboard MFT. I need to figure out how to store all my stuff - hand tools, measuring tools, etc. And rails and Kapex extensions. I keep my outdoor power tools and less used tools in a shed next to the garage, but I still have a lot of things I need in the garage. That all needs to be organized. It’s overwhelming but also fun.

I may end up ditching the tool cart even though I love it. I think I’d rather figure out storage on the walls and under tables (cabinets, pull outs, etc) and reclaim the floor space that the tool cart takes up.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2022, 09:51 PM by batmanimal »

Offline mino

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2022, 05:13 AM »
...
I may end up ditching the tool cart even though I love it.
...
Was about to write that once saw the photos. These carts are excellent, but not a good fit for a small wood shop. Selling on you should get back most of its cost.

I would replace it with a smaller version from plywood height-aligned to the "MFT" so it becomes work surface extension when in its place. A tool cart with most/all manual tools like wrenches etc. is an excellent thing. If you have the shop level with outside, like in a garage etc., I would also put "huge" (5" or 6") wheels on the tool cart so can easily move it on rough surfaces. That way it will give you 90% value of that metal cart but at 60% or so space.

Thing I learned this year - after making that mistake - that one should not place the most-used tools on a fixed location like wall, cupboard etc. No matter how accessible. It fast becomes tiring going over the room, even a small one, to get that wrench, the screwdriver etc. when you are working on something non-woodish. These things belong in/on a tool cart.
When The Machine has no brains, use yours.

Offline batmanimal

  • Posts: 111
Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2022, 10:15 PM »
A little more progress today. Put up shelves, Kapex extension wings, and set up a charging station. Felt good to get a bunch of stuff off the ground.
341005-0
The pile of boxes on the left represents (metaphorically and in actuality) the CMS router table. I took @mino ’s advice and swapped the position of the MS and MFT (the platform in the middle represents the MFT). I agree this is a better arrangement - thank you!

I also agree about keeping tools mobile. The reason why I love the tool cart so much is because it moved along with me for all my projects. But the non standard height makes it infeasible for such a small space, so I’ll plan to sell it soon.

I had hoped to set up the CMS today but it was not to be. Hard to get everything done! I am happy I managed to set up the charging station though and especially proud that I finally managed to label the plugs of all my chargers and corded tools so I can tell what they are.

You may notice from the background that I have an affinity for Milwaukee drivers. That M12 stubby is my MVP. The fuel surge is amazing for noise reduction. One of the few tool categories that I have no desire to upgrade or change.

The cord mess on the wall bugs me, but I’ll just take the W today and tackle that at another time.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2022, 10:21 PM by batmanimal »

Offline batmanimal

  • Posts: 111
Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2022, 12:47 AM »
Painted the entire garage last month and put in new flooring the over last two weekends. Will be getting a mini split in a month or two, that will really improve the comfort level for projects (and also just getting into the car in the mornings)



Flooring is Newage stone composite LVP in Sandstone. It was relatively straightforward to install, but any imperfections in the floor surface will telegraph, so I would only recommend the product if your floors are fairly level and smooth. It is designed for garage use, and seems to be fine under our cars, but I guess time will tell. Overall I’m v happy with how it turned out.

I used the Oshlun Fespro blade for laminates for cross cuts using the Kapex. Excellent performance, but horrible laminate dust, per usual for this type of material. I have some tips for install I can share later if anyone is interested.

On the MFT front, my Dashboard Shortcut order is in, and that should be coming in April. I also invested in an Aerofix rail (vacuum suction clamping for track saw rails) for my Mafell, which has been a HUGE timesaver and a joy to use - Aerofix + STM are are helping to offset my lack of MFT for the time being.

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2022, 10:34 AM »
looks good.
 but rest assured you will be moving and changing things around for quite some time. Work shops are one of those things that are constantly being reanged the more you use them/work in them.

nature of the beast

Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2022, 03:37 PM »
looks good.
 but rest assured you will be moving and changing things around for quite some time. Work shops are one of those things that are constantly being reanged the more you use them/work in them.

nature of the beast

That is very true. I work in a large commercial cabinet shop, where space is never a concern, and I am constantly improving/moving and adding to my setup.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1010F
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation
MFT clamps set

Offline batmanimal

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Re: Critique my small workshop floor plan
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2022, 05:27 PM »
looks good.
 but rest assured you will be moving and changing things around for quite some time. Work shops are one of those things that are constantly being reanged the more you use them/work in them.

nature of the beast

I believe you! Enjoyed your workshop build thread from last year (or maybe 2 years ago? Time is very fluid for me lately)

I’m glad to have a floor in, good base to get started from.