The Up-And-Comer’s Home Shop

Everything you need for a fully functional workspace

Every two years at Woodcraft Magazine, we create a unique home workshop issue for readers wanting to start a shop or improve the one they already have. We first decide on a theme and then follow through by selecting a bare-bones space that serves as our blank slate. We then prep the walls, ceiling, and floor for shop duty and outfit the space with original shop projects and interesting products that match nicely with the theme, which, in this issue, is the “up-and-comer’s” home shop. As you can imagine, it’s an all-hands effort by our talented staff and woodworking contributors from across the country.

What’s an up-and-comer?

By up-and-comer, we mean the woodworker who has successfully tackled a variety of DIY and woodworking assignments and who has accumulated a battery of hand tools, portable power tools, and key machines along the way. He or she now sees woodworking important enough to merit a dedicated workspace to house all of the tools, hardware, jigs, lumber, and sheet goods in one organized place. In this case, the shop shown belongs to our own up-and-comer Chad McClung, the magazine’s art director. (Read about Chad’s woodworking journey in “Cutting-In” on page 6.)

Chad’s shop spans a 20 × 20' area at the back right corner of his two-car garage. And, with the exception of the hybrid JET 10" tablesaw (#853321), the space is set up as a full-service benchtop power tool shop with the wiring and capacity to grow. Chad’s goals reflect those of many up-and-comers. “My wife, Elizabeth, and I wanted a dedicated workspace with enough space to park her car and mine. For that very reason, a flexible design was a must. Casters and mobile bases solved the problem, letting me easily store the tools along the walls in an orderly fashion while the cars are inside. Elizabeth is quite good at DIY projects, so it was important to me that everything was organized and within easy reach within this ‘shared’ shop.”

Prepping the shop

Starting with the bare-bones space in the Before photo on page 19, Chad began readying the shop by meeting with an electrician to discuss his outlet and lighting needs. “I already had a 50-amp service panel in the garage, which, I was advised, was enough to supply my machine and lighting needs. While the panel serviced a few broadly spaced fluorescent fixtures and 110v outlets, I had the electrician add a 110v circuit for the four new LED ceiling fixtures, along with the needed ceiling receptacles. I had him wire three circuits for three new 110v wall outlets to supplement the two existing outlets. I also had him install two 220v circuits with two outlets for the day when I upgrade to a more substantial tablesaw, jointer, or other machine.” (See Figure 1.)

For lights, we worked closely with Big Ass Light to spec ample general lighting for the unique demands of a woodworking shop—measuring, marking, fine joinery, sanding, and finishing. For more on this innovative lighting approach, see page 27.

Following the wiring, Chad insulated the walls with R-13 batt insulation and the ceiling with R-30. Soliciting a helper and using a rented drywall lift, he then covered the walls and ceilings with 1⁄2" fir plywood. “While drywall may be cheaper, I opted for a rugged, more functional surface to hang clamps, tools, and jigs.” Chad painted the walls to lighten the space and to better reflect the shop’s lighting. At this point, he screwed on the receptacle plates and hung the LED light fixtures with J-hooks, S hooks, and chain.

Finally, Chad installed the polyvinyl rollout flooring to complete the prep work. (See page 26 for more.) He let the flooring acclimate to the cleaned concrete by letting the waviness flatten over a few days. Then he trimmed the edges of the two 10 × 20' rolls for a seamless coin pattern match as shown below. His last act was to apply adhesive-backed tape to the mating edges to keep them firmly bonded to the floor.

Must-have plans for a hardworking space

Functionality and storage are critical components for an efficient, successful shop. To address these needs, we designed a variety of projects you can build that take care of business for the up-and-comer and the more advanced woodworker as well. Included are the following: stout workbench with front and end vises and a pair of shelves; custom hand-tool cabinet with bypass tool-hanging doors and hardware drawer storage; torsion-box mitersaw station that sets up on a pair of sawhorses; compact benchtop router table and fence; three benchtop power tool mobile carts in 2 × 2' and 2 × 4' top sizes with drawer and shelving storage; and tool cubby cabinet.

Tools and products

Of course, a shop’s not real until you mix in tools. “In my shop, to better deal with costs, I opted for benchtop machines,” says Chad. Among those shown are the Rikon bandsaw (#150503), helical cutterhead planer (#863179), jointer (#863672), belt/disc sander (#828577), and bench grinder (#158512). To these I added a General benchtop drill press (#841427), the DeWalt 12" sliding compound mitersaw (DWS780), and the Bosch 2.25 HP variable-speed router combo kit (1617EVSPK).

Chad looked after his dust and chip collecting needs with the Fein shop vac (#861108) and Oneida’s Dust Cobra Stationary Two-Stage Shop Vacuum (#159240). He hung a Laguna air-filtration system to capture fine particulate circulating in the space. And, in addition to the QuikBENCH portable workbench (#154760) for extra counter space, we threw in several products that serve to improve the shop, making it more useable, convenient, and downright enjoyable. (See “10 Home-Shop Improvements,” page 24.) “Now it’s time to put the space to good use,” says Chad. “I’m looking to expand my skills and take on more challenging projects. The goal is to one day design and build a project that earns a spot on the cover of Woodcraft Magazine.”

Note: All entries with product numbers are available at Woodcraft stores,, or by calling (800) 225-1153.

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