A Workshop to Envy

I’ve always enjoyed Frank Howarth’s videos. His approach to cinematography is as interesting as the woodworking. Most interesting, he never proclaims to be a professional, but his skill-set and eye for design is indicative of his architectural training. This is a video I watch, time and again, mostly out of jealousy. Frank walks us through the design and construction of his free-standing workshop; and while unique to his taste, it is a thing of beauty.


I don’t have a shop that big… in fact I work almost exclusively out of my garage. Our Victorian era urban lot would never support a workshop as spacious and enviable as Frank’s, but the design elements he puts into the layout and construction gives me room for thought every time I watch with jealous eyes.

Ever the planner, I find joy in thinking about new workshop layouts, equipment purchases and builds that will make my work ever more efficient and enjoyable. Below are some books that are on my reading list for the spring as I plan to improve my own work space.

Turn your vision of the perfect woodshop into reality!

Bill Stankus’s text is a little dated, published in 2001, but gives a traditional overview of woodshop layout, from tool storage to electrical service. This one is loaded on the Kindle for a second read. Best of all, it’s a free download for Amazon Prime members right now.

Small Woodworking Shops contains years of

This collection from Fine Woodworking magazine consolidates 40 years of woodshop recommendations into one book. While it might make you feel bad for your small space (they do give layouts for up to 2400 square foot workshops!) I find the individual projects interesting and potentially useful with a frame of reference.

Woodworkers are always looking for ways to improve their workshops, and this book is exactly what they need to outfit a shop for the first time, or expand their existing shop.

The newest publication, from 2014, is Setting Up Shop. This offers a modern view on traditional layouts, equipment and best practices regarding dust collection. I’m looking forward to applying some of these topics for my shop layout this summer.





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