Why You Shouldn’t Fill Your Shop With Tools

Curious why you shouldn’t fill your workshop with tools? Find out the answer and learn one of my ‘top shop setup tips’ in this episode of DP Shop Talk. Also get a look at some of my past shop spaces and find out which elements worked, which didn’t, and why.

Watch the Full Shop Tour – https://youtu.be/bg98NZPLkBM

Learn more about the Multi Purpose Table (MPT) – https://www.danpattison.com/mpt/

Purchase a full set of plans & instructions to build your own MPT – https://www.danpattison.com/mptplans/

My Work Pants – http://amzn.to/2tSrBva

See some of the tools I use and recommend in the DP Tool Box – https://www.danpattison.com/toolbox/

– Old Shop Tour – https://youtu.be/0DT9iK1gKhg
– Small Shop Dust Collection Solutions – https://youtu.be/nZufyVoizto
– Table Saw Overarm Dust Collector – https://youtu.be/XFyGhu43tUU
– 4 Table Saw Dust Collection Upgrades – https://youtu.be/4_agpfHAg_4
– Bosch Axial Glide Dust Collection Upgrades – https://youtu.be/pRlZGApo6vA
– Essential Miter Saw Upgrades – https://youtu.be/H6cXuwQOwz0
– Edge Banding Stands – https://youtu.be/YGpha5XI0YA

Workshop layout is vitally important to an efficient workflow. Over the 20 years that I’ve been woodworking and 7 different shop spaces, I’ve come to learn the concept that I share in this video as one of my top shop tips.

To learn more about the Multi Purpose Table (MPT) or to purchase plans please visit – http://www.danpattison.com/mptplans/

For general information visit – http://www.danpattison.com/

For helpful articles and blog posts visit – http://www.danpattison.com/blog/

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William Klatt says:

What do you do with old tools; it looks like all of yours are pretty new?

isakwatz11 says:

I’ve also found clear open space to be important. But I also think it’s important to have every tool acessible and ready to use. For every project that isn’t thoroughly planned I turn to different machines all the time.

Dan Pattison says:

Hope you guys find this concept helpful in your own shop! I’ve been finding the clear open space in the shop even more valuable since I shot this episode. I’ve been doing a lot of mechanical work in the shop lately getting all my small engines ready for summer as well as maintaining the vehicles, so the clear open space has been very important and useful. Share some of your top shop setup tips here in the comments!

colin farrier says:

Hi Dan, I don’t disagree with the concept because in my 12′ by 20′ shop I lack space. I have storage racks and shelves all round the walls. The main machines are on castors but the 6′ by 4′ table takes most space (needed for saw guides 4′ and 6′). Recently I had some giveaway tool offers and reduced the spare tools. Apart from giving away one of my machines – shop made table saw or table router, chop saw with bench sander unit or bench top thicknesser and band saw I am stuck with very little space to move. The giveaways resulted from having to move stuff on top of the table saw and table router that had to be moved before I could use them and moved back after. I think that if I were to put the band saw or thicknesser down on a storage shelf then I may be reluctant to get it out.

Warren Renshaw says:

I appreciate this video. You have put my consideration’s into words. I have been opening up spaces that I don’t want to give up for something that is a rare usage. It just feels better. Isn’t it a good feeling? Warren

Sebastian Palmer says:

I so needed to watch this: my ‘shop’ is tiny, and extremely cluttered. ‘Clear open space’? Nope, I don’t have any!

Paul Waldrop says:

I have a 160 sq foot shop. I have almost everything on wheels, and keep about 80 sq ft, in the middle of the shop, open. I can agree with you, you need to organize what you have to work. And, I have a complete woodshop (don’t know what I might be missing). It’s all in organization, in my opinion.

deezynar says:

Better tile, ‘Leave Open Space In Your Shop’.  As important that information is, the existing title infers that fewer tools are better.  That was the information I was looking for when I clicked on this video.  Since you mislead me to watch this video I give it a thumbs down.

E Caff says:

Great idea. Thanks for sharing

Daniel Lawson says:

I have to basically agree with what your saying, I got tired of moving this to get to that and then back again, so I did a full shop tear down basically. I am in a one car garage 11 by 20 with a small roughly 4 by 8 area in the front to give me about 18 plus feet across the very front. I got rid of as much tools and excess storage lockers and the boxes that I had and just slimmed everything down a lot. I still have a little bit left to do but I am almost there and it has been so much more of a nicer experience to find something right away and put it back almost right away in the place it belongs. And I have more room at the end of the garage to work.

Driftless Joinery says:

Preach it. Yep. I started with an empty 1800SF space and filled it to the brim in 2 years. While I had a great open area, it soon filled up with random long term projects of woodwork and tool restorations. I’m focusing the next couple of months to finish….ehem….about 22 unfinished projects and get my space back.

Solexx X says:

Where is your assembly table? Armatures work on the floor.

John Shaw says:

10 or more hand planes…. opportunity for a little more space

TurboFlush says:

Its also hard not to fill the empty spots with more tools or junk.
Usually the more space one has.. the more they collect instead of tossing.

I am trying to figure out how to configure my automotive shop space. In my case alot of my wood tools will be put away.

Gary and judi Boyd says:

From my 1st shop( a flat spot in the back yard)2nd hand Craftsman table saw and radial arm saw under a tarp , to the back porch upgraded table saw to new portable one so I could bring in the laundry room when not in use, to sharing the laundry room ( 10×20)so I upgraded to a bigger table saw , now that we bought a bigger shop with attached house (24×24 garage) I’ve added the SHOP Fox – The Classic Fence w/ 7′ Rails & Legs (54″ rip capacity) this video will help me set up my shop

Michael McDonald says:

Lol same here. I did my largest job at the time about 4 years ago. About 100 linear feet of cabinets. I had nowhere to put my cabinets so I had to put them in my spare bedroom…. And also in my living room… and dining room…… It was a disaster lol.

Question- have you found it a problem for you not to have a dedicated spray area? It has been a huge game changer for me to have a dedicated spray area

MustacheVerra says:

Totally agree!

Brian M. says:

Wonderful topic and excellent presentation. I built a 192 sq/ft shop in my backyard and my big concern is stationary tools. Just becuase I have a small shop doesn’t mean small projects so I plan to put my power tools on mobile bases. However, that also means compromising and having fewer tools but those tools can do many jobs. Spending a little bit more so I have fewer tools and more space to make stuff.

Darren's Workshop says:

I know exactly what you mean. I have just spent a year reorganising my shop to increase the space. My biggest battle is with offcuts. I find it hard to get rid of anything that may be useful in the future. But like you, over the years I have learned that the value of the space out weighs the value of a stack of pine and MDF pieces.

Rainer Schulte says:

Dan, you’re soooo right! I only have a small cellar, where I store all stuff we seasonly use or things to be kept. Within this room I also have my “not really existing” shop, because I have to move all Tools out to the corridor to have space for turning myself arround in that room. Everything needs to be build on Wheels and must be high enough in case of flood water again.
It is really no good place to work. And I’m always searching for space saving solutions and arrange my tool carts…

djmaur says:

Everything was going fine until you used the word out. Canadians…. 🙂

Sebastopolmark says:

Good stuff Dan. Regardless of your shop “space” the principle it the same. If you can’t move your material around, it will be a frustrating thing to deal with. Congrat’s on your new shop.

Michael Anderson says:

Ah, a makeover. That might work. Too bad you’re so far from southern California 🙂

Specific Love Creations says:

Great info

Dan Barrett says:

I just love how you Canadians say ABOOT. Nice video thank you.

Carter Wilson Workshop says:

This is definitely a conclusion I’ve been coming to myself recently…have a small garage and used to have a very large 4×8 workbench in the center and my planer and a bunch of other stuff and slowly I’ve been paring things down to what I actually need – giving things I never use away and trying to move the rarely used items like thickness planer and jointer into a shed where I can use them if needed but they’re not in the way all the time. Also make a concerted effort not to keep to much scrap as it takes up a lot of space. About to cut up my large scrap bin which also fills quite a bit of space.

Mike Zeke says:

I have a shop full of tools, and no shop. lol

steenfraosterbro says:

Great advise Dan. I do have to point out that your wall clock is way off. The time is 11:56

Michael Conolly says:

Very nice video thanks Dan. I have a very small workshop and often run up against the problem with storage space for the project. Guess it’s time to re-organise.

patrick Murphy says:

Agree %100!!! I have a two car garage. I originally followed the advice over everyone telling me to put my table saw in the middle of the shop. Work flow was not the best. Now that I have moved everything to the perimeter. I can build so much more and with much more ease and way better flow.

Andrea's Workshop says:

It all depends if you’re a pro or hobbyist. But even as a hobbyist myself I appreciate having open space to assemble my projects. Now off to organizing the shop. Thank you for your video. Cheers

norman white says:

Thanks Dan, you make a good point.

Clyde Ulmer says:

I learned early to work in limited spaces — my first two “workshops” were apartment balconies 🙂 Now, many years later, I have a dedicated workshop space, but my flat woodworking now has to compete with a full size wood lathe, a milling machine, and a metal lathe. My forge, anvil, heat treat oven, belt grinders and welder have overflowed to my half of the garage, so I *still* have to work in limited spaces. My solutions have been to make everything mobile, use every inch of wall space, and hang several pieces of equipment (e.g. router table & scroll saw) from the ceiling with canoe/kayak hoists. I highly recommend this last solution if your ceiling is high enough and you don’t mind the Sword of Damocles effect 🙂 Clyde

Joseph r says:

Great tip Dan!! I agree with your suggestion. Often times open space is overlooked and its so important in order to assemble your projects. I have a single car garage that doubles as storage and a wood working shop. I have absolutely no open space at all and it has become unsafe to even work in the confined area I have. I recently began making changes by redesigning my work space and getting rid of items that are not used very much. I will now have more open space to assemble my projects. Thanks for your help you are a true inspiration!

Donald sharp says:

Thanks Dan very informative. To many tools can create clutter. And stop productivity.

Michael Anderson says:

Fine, now you tell us! I’ve filled my shop with tools, and now have everything I need. No room for two projects when one is stalled for whatever reason, sometimes I’ve had every flat surface covered with stacks of furniture parts and nowhere to work. Even with my workbench and some machines outdoors under the carport I still have nowhere to work. This is only my third shop. Do I have to move again? Is that what you’re saying Dan?

Tracy Farthing says:

Lots of wisdom in “less is more”, “slow is fast” etc. Also, open space is adaptable for a variety of projects. Still, a place for everything and everything in its place.

r s says:

sorry but i’ll never say no to a good deal on a jointer or band saw

Chad DIY says:

Hi Dan! Your video quality is great! What camera and lens do you use for shooting?

Daniel Methot says:

How about some more track saw tips? Some shop-made jigs maybe? I have 100 cuts (full length rips) at 2.5″ exactly I need to make and my table saw just bit the dust.

Hanzon says:

This is great advice. Clear space seems to equate to clear head, I feel.
I will certainly take what I can from your presentation and implement in my workshop. Woodwork is a hobby for me but now that I am retired, time- saving and efficiency are even more important if I am to make the most of whatever time and energy I have left. Thanks very much.

Steve Kowalik says:

Great video Dan! One suggestion I would like to make. If someone is running out of wall space in their shop for storing tools and supplies. Building a wall perpendicular to one of the perimeter walls. It only needs to be aboot 4 to 8 feet long. Thanks for your quality videos, keep them coming.

Marcus Wolschon says:

That more or less applies only to non-model/toymaking woodworking-shops, where you work with large stock material and work on large items (furniture). There are lots of other types of workshops.

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