Outfit a shop in under a year by earmarking money each paycheck.
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Idea Shop 6, before and after
Idea Shop 6 Logo

So the woodworking bug bit hard, and now you want a nice space to build more stuff. But setting up a fully outfitted shop can be expensive and confusing. Not any longer. As described in issue 238 (March 2016) of WOOD®, we will show you exactly how to set up a shop by working within a budget of $150 every two weeks over 26 pay periods. On that modest amount, you can take an empty space, such as this one, and transform it into a full-on woodworking shop, outfitted with quality tools, accessories, jigs, and fixtures. You'll see immediate results, building things with your new tools right from the start.

To coincide with each paycheck's budgeted $150, we'll provide links to related articles, plans, and videos.

The next posts will outline what to do with your budgeted amounts. Because not all of the money gets spent each two weeks, you will bank any leftover cash for purchasing big-ticket items such as a tablesaw, planer, and jointer. We will recommend good-quality tools but, because this is a budget-based shop, they may not be class-leading. If you can afford more than the budget (or already own some of the items listed), put that extra money towards upgraded tools. Find tool evaluations to guide your choices on ReviewATool.com. At its core, Idea Shop 6 is less about the specific items in it, and more about how to create a workable shop, over time, without breaking the bank.

The first step to setting up a woodworking shop is evaluating your shop site for space, electrical needs and wiring, and comfort. As you address any needs in those areas, you can still get started with purchases for your shop. You should have on hand your basic tool kit, described below, or order any missing tools.

Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

Idea Shop 6 basic tool kit

You likely already own these tools. If you don't, acquiring them will cost only about $150, so just tack one more two-week period onto the year. You'll need them mainly to assemble stationary tools, but the hearing and eye protection, tape measure, and extension cord will be needed from the get-go. Purchase any or all of these items in one fell swoop, and have them delivered to your door.

The recommended basic tool kit includes: Wrench set (metric and imperial), pliers, hacksaw, hex-key set (metric and imperial), safety glasses, ratchet and socket set (metric and imperial), 12' or 16' tape measure, screwdrivers (Phillips and slotted), 12-gauge extension cord or power strip, hammer.

In the next post, with your first $150 in hand, you'll start outfitting your shop.

Curious about Idea Shops 1–5?

Our previous Idea Shops are packed full of ideas including tool stands, innovative storage solutions, tool organizers and more. Here are the issues of WOOD in which each appeared. See highlights, including floorplans with tool placement, at woodmagazine.com/ideashops

Idea Shop 1, 14×28' shed, issue 54 (September 1992)

Idea Shop 1: 14x28' shed

Idea Shop 2, 24×24' two-car garage, issue 72 (September 1994)

Idea Shop 2: 24x24' two-car garage

Idea Shop 3, 12×16' basement room, issue 100 (November 1997)

Idea Shop 3: 12x16' basement room

Idea Shop 2000, 12×20' outbuilding, issue 119 (December 1999)

Idea Shop 2000: 12x20' outbuilding

Idea Shop 5, 15×22' garage stall, issue 151 (October 2003)

Idea Shop 5: 15x22' garage stall