Last Updated on 2022-03-10 by Harry Masterton
The ultimate guide to woodshop storage with 25 of the very best small woodworking shop storage ideas from lumber to power tools..
As woodworkers, one thing we always seem to be short on is storage space. I buy another tool or set of accessories, only to find that I need a home for the new arrival. Fortunately, there are plenty of small woodworking shop storage ideas out there.
Three things take up storage room in my shop:
- My hand and power tools: The only thing I buy more often than tools is wood. Your hand tools will become damaged if you can not find a home for them. Even power tools with protective cases require storage space in a small woodworking shop;
- Building Materials: Long pieces of lumber and sheet goods require dedicated storage space until you are ready to use them. I find it hard to pass up on cheap (or free) lumber, so I need space to store it until it is time to build a project that uses it. Fasteners, hardware, finishing products, and other disposable items need to be kept out of the way until you are ready;
- Woodworking projects: Something that novice woodworkers often overlook is how much of their shop space partially built projects can take up. You will need shelves or cabinet space to place them as the glue or finish dries, or when you need to stop at a certain point and begin another component.
That is why small woodworking shop storage ideas are so important. Most of us work in the basement corner, small room, shed, or along the back of the garage. Our tools and other materials can not be sitting all over the place. The best small woodworking shop storage ideas will:
- Improve your organization: My storage areas hold my tools in designated areas. I know where to go, and it is easy to access every tool I need. I also find staying organized helps to improve my work flow;
- Protect your investments: I can attest that one of the most frustrating shop accidents is when you damage your tools, dimensioned lumber, or partially assembled projects. Good storage prevents this from happening;
- Keep you safe: An overlooked benefit of small woodworking shop storage ideas is safety. Blades, tips, and non-secure lumber can hurt you if you are not careful. Even worse, some power tools can do some nasty damage if they are sitting around and you bump into them.
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- 1 Small Woodshop Storage Ideas
- 2 Small Woodshop Organization Ideas
- 3 Woodshop Space Saving Ideas
- 4 Woodshop Storage Cabinets
Small Woodshop Storage Ideas
I have used several small woodworking shop storage ideas through the years. They built around my shop layout and my needs at the time. Woodworkers will know that small woodshop storage solutions evolve, so I like to tell new hobbyists that their shop will change often.
Small Woodshop Storage Ideas for Wood
When I first started woodworking, I would buy what I needed for a single project. There was no need for lumber storage because I had not built up a collection. Even when I started collecting wood at bargain prices or as freebies, I stored the boards on end behind my shop door.
Eventually, my woodpile grew into two piles, and that was when I needed some small woodshop storage solutions for my building materials. I researched and found four storage categories, one of which might fit your needs:
- Storing on the floor: Your floor can support more wood and weight than any other option. The downside is that the floor is not an ideal location for timber;
- Storage on the wall: These need some assembly, but it keeps wood off the floor and bench top. Wall storage gets in the way of other storage and organization options, though;
- Overhead storage: Wood stores out of your way, but you may find it more difficult to access when you need it;
- Cart/Island storage: You can build stationary or mobile options, but these take up limited floor space in a small woodshop.
Small Woodshop Storage Solutions for Everything Else
Your hardware, tools, accessories, and disposables require specific small woodshop storage ideas too. I find non-lumber storage easier to work with if you have limited floor space. The things stored are less bulky, and many of these options double as organization items.
- Storage under the bench: I like storage under benches and tabletops. The only downside is reaching underneath to get something;
- Wall shelves: These work well for containers and bins. Adding too much can weigh them down and make shelf space disorganized;
- Cabinets: These offer great protection, but interior dimensions dictate what and how much you store;
- Tool chests/boxes: I use lots of these, but that is the trade-off. You get ideal protection and organization at the expense of minimal room.
Small Woodshop Organization Ideas
It might appear that I am splitting hairs by dedicating a section to the organization above, but I am not. Small woodworking shop storage ideas and organizational storage function differently:
- Both use space differently: Creating storage space provides a home for something. Making organized storage gives room to spread items out or store them in a specific order. Using small woodshop organization ideas offers each item a home, not a spot where you toss everything;
- Each offers different access priorities: Storage space holds things, often stacked on top of each other. Space dedicated to organizing a small woodworking shop will provide quick access, so items are usually stored side by side. That prevents the need to rummage through drawers, chests, or other compartments.
So, what are the designs I use for organizing a small woodworking shop space?
Hand Tool Organization
For my hand tools, I use tool chests. These are larger than a toolbox, allowing me to spread things like my woodworking chisels across a drawer.
The tool chests I prefer have shallow drawer heights that prevent me from stacking hand tools on top of one another. That thinner profile offers the advantage of more drawers in similar tool chest dimensions.
Organizing Power Tools
My small woodshop organization ideas for power tools are easy; open wall shelves. I have hard storage cases for most of my power tools, so these fit nicely on shelving 12-inches deep. That puts these tools within easy reach, and I do not have to fumble under a bench to get the one I need.
My bits, discs, sanding sheets, and multi-purpose tool attachments have individual storage systems. These are designed around the items to provide increased protection along with storage. For example, my drill bits sit in holders that keep them from rolling into one another.
Disposables like sanding paper have storage racks that I built for that specific purpose. These organizers sit at the workstations where I use them.
There are several options for organizing a small woodworking shop for wood. In the past, I used carts to hold my sheet goods and a bookshelf design for cutoffs and small pieces that I collected. The key to organizing lumber is storage that offers quick access and grouping by size or species.
Woodshop Space Saving Ideas
I have found many small woodworking shop storage ideas on the internet, craft magazines, and some woodworking plans that associates, family, and friends were kind enough to pass me.
Some of those woodshop space saving ideas were clever enough to be tested in my shop, and those that have stood the test of time are worth sharing here.
One item that I never seem to have enough of is clamps. I have Spring clamps, C-clamps, Bar clamps, and some heft Pipe clamps for those big glue-ups. One of the best storage and organization ideas that I found was wall racks.
These let me organize my clamps by type, store them out of the way on the wall, and keep them secure. I modified this wall design by adding two drawers at the top to keep Corner clamps and my straps.
Flip-Top Tool Stand
One of my favorite woodshop space saving ideas is the flip-top power tool workstation. The concept is simple; create a hinged tabletop with benchtop power tools connected to each face. You position the power tool you want to use on the top, secure the table in place, and then operate.
In all the years I have used this clever design, I have had no issues with support. It also keeps the workflow going at a steady pace.
Lumber Storage Miter Saw Station
Many beginning and intermediate woodworkers use framing lumber for their projects. These come in several widths and lengths, with 2×4 being the most popular. A carpenter friend of mine built a long table that he stored eight-foot lumber beneath, and he installed his miter saw on the tabletop.
These types of small woodworking shop storage ideas combine material storage with a working surface for the tools you use on those materials most often.
Cordless Power Tool Station
Cordless power tools continue to grow in popularity among woodworkers. Today's batteries and power capacity make them the go-to tool for many hobbyists and DIYers.
A clever storage and organization idea is to build dedicated shelves to hold drills, drivers, and similar cordless tools. Slots help keep standing cordless tools in place, and open areas provide battery storage (perhaps stacked slots for several batteries). Add a place for the charger, and you can build a complete rack for your favorite battery platform.
Woodshop Storage Cabinets
I was surprised to discover how passionate woodworkers are when it comes to the designs of small woodworking shop storage ideas. That includes woodshop storage cabinets, which seem to be a polarizing topic for some. Cabinet enthusiasts and detractors fairly point out that:
- Cabinets provide aesthetic appeal to your shop;
- Woodshop tool storage cabinets often hold hard-sided cases, containers, and other items that make their protection redundant;
- They are costly when compared to other storage options of similar size;
- Building woodshop storage cabinets would make a good intermediate or advanced woodworking project;
- Might require lots of floor space to open the doors on full-sized cabinets;
- Are easy to damage when compared to storage systems not made from wood.
No matter what, woodshop tool storage cabinets are popular topics on forums, magazines, and many woodworking-oriented social media channels. These cabinets are worth considering for small woodworking shops, especially beginners and intermediates in the hobby.
Need more woodworking how to's? See our in-depth article How Do You Make A Wood Storage Rack
And our guide to Building A Woodshop On A Budget
- You can practice your fine woodworking on a shop item: What better way to build your skills than on something you can make mistakes on during construction? You can build smaller cabinets that fit above tabletops and mounted to walls and work your way towards a full-sized cabinet.
- A cabinet makes your shop feel professional: Look, I am all for practicality, but sometimes you need to ditch the sheet goods and build something that looks like a piece of furniture. It improves the look of your shop, keeps you confident, and acts as free advertising when someone sees what you can do beyond using 2×4 framing lumber and 1/2-inch plywood.
- Lets you build around your specific shop space: My first storage options were pre-built, so my shop wrapped around them. I think it is so much better to fit your cabinets around your benchtops, windows, wall openings, and floor space.
- Woodshop tool storage cabinets can be designed around tools: I have a storage cabinet for my router bits. I built it to hold them, providing a way to sort by type and size. Some are expensive, so the secure hold and cover are appreciated.
- Cabinets offer dust protection: My wood shop gets dusty over time. Cabinet storage blocks dust. They can also act as storage for products sensitive to light.