With just 550 square feet to work with in a walk-out basement, John and Shelley Glover planned well to make their shared shop neat and organized.

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With just 550 square feet to work with in a walk-out basement, John and Shelley Glover planned well to make their shared shop neat and organized. That meant six months of fine-tuning the floor plan by moving around sticky-note cutouts of the tools and cabinets on graph paper. As a result, they shrank the basement exercise room to make the shop a little bigger. And they put to use a narrow nook next to the stairs for lumber storage, adding long shelves to hold finish and supplies.

Although compact, the shop has no shortage of power, with six 110-volt circuits and five 220-volt lines. "When our contractor saw the plan for wiring," John said, "he asked if we planned to light a shop or power a tanning parlor. We have 19 double-bulb 4'-long fluorescent ceiling fixtures. And we get natural light from two windows and a door.

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A window recessed in a knee wall provides 14" of clearance behind the sliding compound mitersaw, reducing the depth of the workstation's footprint. John knows how to keep fasteners organized, using a 10' run of bins and cabinets above the jointer.

"I do have two planning regrets. First, I didn't plan an outlet in the floor for the tablesaw. Too late now—we have radiant-heat pipes buried in the floor. And, I wish I had placed the 3-hp cyclone dust collector outside of the shop—it's noisy."

To keep tools honed, John built and equipped a sharpening center [below]. "I have an 8" grinder for freehand sharpening. I do quick touch-ups of kitchen knives on the 1" belt; chisels and hand-plane blades on the Veritas Mk.II Power Sharpener; and scissors and finishing work on kitchen knives with the Tormek sharpener."

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No sharpening system is perfect for every tool, so John has five, including a horizontal abrasive wheel, vertical sanding belt, bench grinder, and a water-cooled slow-speed grinder on a roll-out cart.

A wall-mounted cabinet [below] houses many of those keenly honed tools. "Except for my grandfather's square," John says, "I bought everything in this cabinet from Lee Valley. I appreciate quality and I don't mind paying for it." Look to Shelley to head to the hand-tool cabinet, the proud husband says. "She really likes to hand-cut dovetails."

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Prized hand tools rest on custom holders or are held in place by rare-earth magnets in this maple cabinet with clamshell doors.