View Full Version : Complete workshop overhaul

11-13-2017, 05:40 AM
My workshop cluttered up. Yeah I know, doesn't sound too bad does it. But it was a mess. The mess to end all other messes. All surfaces were covered in tools. The tools were covered in shavings and sawdust. I had literally no space to put a tool down without hitting three other tools.

How do you solve a predicament like that? By... buying more stuff obviously. Well I thought long and hard and the thing for me was to start more or less from scratch. I blamed my bench, an old model of the classical European workbench. I had modified it, fitted a new vice, installed a sound system, raised it - the list goes on and inevitably led to the term "beating a dead horse".

So I designed a new bench. And five more. I thought long and hard about when I was going to build it but hadn't the time or the space to do a good enough job, so a while back I sent the drawings to my favourite carpenter. He built it for me, and yes it was expensive. But I am whole now. And the workshop is ace.

First pic shows what it looked like Friday morning at eight o'clock. The new bench was to be delivered at ten so I really had some clearing out to do.


Then I spent most of my weekend inside, not seeing daylight. Though it's fairly easy to miss the few hours of daylight we get in Sweden at this time of the year. I think I spent 30 hours reorganising the shop, and the result is great.


Some more pics can be seen if you can be arsed to follow this link:

The linked pics don't seem to be full width, I don't know why that happens. But as a before and after document they'll do.

Now I feel as if I'm working in a laboratory! I give it four months, that's about the usual span I have before tools end up on tools. But at least I know it's possible to have it this way.

I am super happy.


11-13-2017, 10:05 AM
Wow, Sven! That looks great. Nice work.

11-13-2017, 12:18 PM
I built an extension to my other two extended sheds..now ive got three messed up sheds with no space to work...I don't know how you get out of this ...Help :(

11-13-2017, 02:44 PM
I built an extension to my other two extended sheds..now ive got three messed up sheds with no space to work...I don't know how you get out of this ...Help :(

Easy peasy, Ken. Buy another shed.

11-13-2017, 07:29 PM
Wow. What an improvement Sven. What a relief that must be. I too am getting to the point that things are getting totally out of control. I would send pictures but it is frankly embarrassing. I'm going to get a grip one of these days. No excuses! Pictures below. Soon I will get around to it.

104397 104398

11-13-2017, 09:08 PM
Shop re-organization is one of the great mysteries for me. When ever I attempt it I will loose at least 5 tools for weeks at a time, verses 20 minutes. It helps that I work out of an expanded closet, the tools can't go far.

11-13-2017, 10:01 PM
My workshop is in my apartment, and barring the wood stash which is in a jumbled mess in a large shelf the pictures show all of it. So organisation is necessary. As for losing tools, each tool has its place and dedicated hanger in the cupboard above the bench. If I force myself to hang it back up I will find it. But I gained a lot of space since all the planes and most of the saws went into the drawers in the new bench.

Sequoia, that's not too bad. A padded surface for finishing work is an idea I've considered but all my carpet pieces have ended up with glue blobs embedded in the pile.

Michael N.
11-13-2017, 11:07 PM
I'm just in the process of reorganising my workshop. Things had got so bad that I could hardly bear to go in the place. Things piled on top of things piled on top of things - you get the picture. I find it difficult to work in such an environment. I even think my work suffers because of it. So I had to discipline myself and throw out the stuff that has been there for decades but never used. The light bulb moment came when someone offered me an old wardrobe. It had a series of shelves on one part and the open section was ideal for hanging instruments. Then I went bonkers and bought 3 more modern flatpack cupboards/wardrobes. The idea is to get as much as possible into cupboard space, stop things getting piled up on the nearest flat surface. I chopped up an old table because it was only useful as the base of a mountain. When things are out in the open, on shelves, they only collect dust and they collect lots of it. That makes it difficult to clean. Cupboards save that, it's only really the top of the cupboard that gets dusty. I still have a few open tool racks that are positioned near the main bench but that's about it. By the time I've completed this major overhaul it's going to look far tidier and far easier to clean. How long it stays in the tidy state will be interesting!

11-14-2017, 12:13 AM
Michael, you seem to have been in the exact same place as me. My next project is to organise my wood stash. Every time I reach for something in there I fear an avalanche of tone wood, neck blanks and other stuff. It's somewhat overwhelming but having succeeded in the bench corner I have gained some courage.

11-14-2017, 06:59 AM
I also am in the same boat as y'all and would be too embarrassed to show a photo. But I am gettin a handle on it. Slowly organizing but what I am going to do is remove EVERYTHING from the shop and start over. It's so overwhelming I almost don't know where to start. We bought a shipping container so I'm putting all the non uke tools and extraneous BS down there.
Organized tho, ya right

11-15-2017, 04:34 PM
I'm another in that same boat. I'm also slowly getting a handle on it but I find that the biggest issue I'm having at the moment is where to put all the jigs that I have built. they all take up so much room. I don't see any power tools in your pictures. Are you all doing everything by hand? I'm also trying to figure out how to cram power tools into my small shop space.

11-15-2017, 09:53 PM
I use a few power tools. A power drill, the drum sander, and two miniature saws from Proxxon. Their table saw and their band saw, model builder's size both of them but very good for some of the parts I make for ukuleles. The two power saws are on a trolley hidden in the cupboard on the left of the bench.

Other than that I try to use hand tools. My collection of hand planes is ridiculous.

Then I have a large workshop at my summer house where I can mill wood on a larger scale, but since my large band saw isn't large enough I sometimes resew by hand with a frame saw I built with a blade from Bad Axe tool works.