30×40 Shop Part 3: Tool Layout

In this video I cover what I consider characteristics of a good tool layout for workflow efficiency. Basically, the table saw is not the heart of a workshop but rather one of the most used tools. The assembly table or work table should be the heart of the workshop. Make a workflow wheel with the assembly table being the center hub.


  1. I understand why you would remove ceiling tiles for summer months,
    then I wonder will heating the space in winter cost you so much more,
    I reduced my open loft space and used duckting to sort out cooling to save money on heating and cooling,
    as I tried open plan and it cost me 4 times as much over the year,
    just a thought, will be interested to seee what you end up with.

  2. Sooner or later you’ll need to move or replace something in the loft office. Why not consider adding an attic lift, with either a manually or electrically operated hoist mechanism. It will be useful to you when you need it, relatively inexpensive, and a great project for your viewers. I added one to my garage to store my summer patio furniture and other items (even my smaller lawn mower and power washer) and it’s been an excellent space saver. The spiral staircase will still be needed.

    • I also put a lift in my current shop to access the loft. Harbor freight hoist and uni strut guide rails. Best thing I’ve ever done to utilize an attic. I’ve lifted 500# no problem with it.

  3. Nice!!! Work flow is great in the last set up!, IMHO, spiral staircase suck. You will regret them soon enough. It’s is hard to even carry even a box up and down. They are also expensive! You are better served by putting a platform in the run and turning the stair 90deg .put the dust collector in the area created between the stair platform and the exterior wall. (Run them 180 Deg. from the current set up) the dust collector room wall will serve as a brace and handrail for the platform open side.
    I do not know the capacity of mini splits but, pulling the ceiling down will increase the tempered air volume dramatically. There is also lighting considerations. It will be darker in there with no ceiling to refelect the light.
    I had a pole barn and the spiders, dust bunnies and even birds loved the open rafters. You will be hard pressed to keep the shop clean with that area open.
    Personally I would have loved to have had a ceiling in my pole barn. Looks real good! FYI I’m 63 years old and on my 6th shop. I’ve more stuff around than I can remember! Scetch up didn’t exist!
    Good luck! I m excited for you!

  4. I’m building my own shop, and I researched insulation options…while the spray foam is the perfect and complete cavity filler, there was MORE than a few horror stories about off gassing that ruled it out…you’ve stated in previous episodes about personal respiratory issues, so I thought I’d mention it…very difficult, if not impossible, to remove after the fact if it fails.
    Nice thought process!!

    • Great comment. Yes the gas effect of spray insulation is horrid.
      The costs of spray insulation is a non starter for me. Makes areas not breath and all structures need that. I’m doing two walls of my home with it and that’s all I’d do with it. One on the upstairs front wall cause of the roof line covered front porch has vented soffit and the other under my bathroom floor as it was a 8×21 addition

  5. On the stairway have you considered doing double where you go up 5 or 6 steps to a landing, turn left on landing then left off landing up the other 5 or 6 steps to the office. It would leave half the wall space taken by the current stair case and the upper section could be closed in below for a storage closet. However is would take up more space from the wall out.

  6. Love the historical perspective of your space needs. seems with my work garage (tiny) i like the idea of cutting my wood, then jointing then thickenessing all in a horseshoe configuration, but then i don’t have room for a Miter station. I loved seeing your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Really nice start on your new shop Jay.
    Looks like you have way too much room to start with but not to worry I am sure it will be utilized in time.
    Can’t wait to see the shop with all the tools installed.
    Good luck and work safe.

  8. I am in the process of (potentially) starting a project that has been on my to-do list for several years, an assembly table. I plan to use it for assembly, glue ups, perhaps some routing, sanding, etc., that is too big for my Tage Frid workbench. I am wondering what would be a good height for this. I have some boxes that I intend to convert into drawers. Using them, I sketched out a 30″ high (dining table height), but believe that is going to be too low. I’m 6’4″ so don’t want to under-build and end up with backaches.

  9. I may have shortened the run on the staircase instead of removing it. One day you’ll want to get something up or down and a spiral, although esthetically appealing is more functionally non existent. And if you decked out the upper rafters you’d have more storage than most.
    Keep up the idea exchanging.

  10. IDZk if it has been suggested, but why not put the dust collection solution upstairs outside the finished area. You could still keep part of it downstairs with a smaller footprint. I keep my compressor in my attic and Plumbed the pressure pipe around. Just a thought.

  11. You mentioned a fireman’s pole briefly. That would be great for getting down to the shop quickly when you have an idea you want to try out.

  12. Nice video/ plan
    You may want to consider a pull down staircase as an option. Less expensive and gives you a standard stair when needed.

  13. Great video as always, Jay.
    I believe there are shop ideas that can benefit almost anyone. I plan to make an assembly table next and then get rid of all the clutter that old, old shops like mine seem prone to.
    As the wise men ay, “First is inspiration, then perspiration.
    BTW, may I claim to being your oldest fan, WW II vet, 96 next Dcc. 24th.

    Joe Bobst

  14. I’m designing a shop right now, so thank you for this series. A quick question – I noticed you did not create a separate room for doing finishing work. Is there a reason for that one way or another in your opinion? Many folks giving me feedback online as a design my shop recommend a separate room for finish work so the main area remains usably convenient. Would love to hear your thoughts.


    • I’m not making a living selling what I do so I really don’t have a big rush for finishing. I’d rather not be locked down with a working space restriction with walls and such.

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