Temporary Workspace Guide

miter saw cutting board

Build Better. Build More.

You may not have a lot of space to work with, but that doesn't mean you can't create a functional, enjoyable workspace. Check out our tips below for ideas that can improve even the smallest of workspaces.

WHICH TOPIC DO YOU WANT TO EXPLORE FIRST?

Work Surfaces

Storage & Organization

Dust Control

Work Environment

Work Surfaces

You may not have a large space to work in, but there are still some simple things you can do to create a work surface for your project builds. Take a look at the tips below for ideas ranging from compact work benches to surfaces that are 100% set-up and tear-down.

SHOP TOUR:

ideas for work surfaces in small, temporary spaces

In this video, Emily shows simple ways she's created work surfaces that still leave room for both vehicles in her two-car garage.

Emily was able to carve out space for a narrow workbench along the back wall of her garage--the entire set-up is only 2 feet deep!

You'll also see how she creates a larger temporary work surface that's fully collapsible and can be set up in minutes. This gives her space to work with larger materials and projects. Plus, this temporary work surface can be set up anywhere she needs it!

When selecting a work surface, always ensure it is flat, sturdy, level, and you can easily clamp to it.

Choosing A Work Surface For Your Temporary Space

 TIP #1  

Sturdy

All work surfaces should be flat, level, and sturdy.

 TIP #2  

Collapsible

If you don't have space for a permanent work surface, consider something that can be set up and torn down quickly and that is easily portable.

 tip #3  

Multipurpose

With limited space, consider a multipurpose work surface that works well for all stages of your project builds ranging from cutting to assembly to finishing.

 tip #4  

Edge To Clamp To

It's important to be able to clamp your work piece to your work surface so don't overlook this when choosing a work surface. A surface that ranges from ¾”- 1 ½” thick with an overhang works well for clamping around the edge.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR TEMPORARY SPACES

mobile project center

This can be used as a main assembly and finishing area. Integrated clamping across multiple surfaces adds to the versatility, making it a work surface for all projects. And it easily folds flat to store against the wall when not in use.


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traCk horse

Combining a track horse with a Mobile Project Center can give you a larger work area and get your cutting surface up off the ground. See our Support Cutting Grid project plan for a fully collapsible work station that sets up in minutes.


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saw horse work surface

  These lightweight saw horses are portable for quick set up, tear down and minimal storage.
This set includes notches that hold 2 2x4 boards to give you a stable surface to cut down plywood, support larger projects, or set larger tools like a miter saw to elevate your work area. 

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simple workbench

This small multipurpose workbench is great for many projects and hobbies. Its small footprint is a good match for small spaces, and it provides a good edge for clamping and assembly.


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drop-down workbench

If you can carve out wall space in your garage, this workbench can collapse flat against the wall so you get a work surface without sacrificing floor space. It's a great multipurpose workbench with a good edge for clamping and assembly.

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Rolling miter saw stand

This miter saw stand has a minimal footprint with removable wings, making it easy to tuck into a small corner when not in use. The casters make it easy to roll out when you're cutting material.


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knock-down cutting support grid

This is a large, flexible surface for cutting or working on projects. It quickly tears down and requires minimal storage space.




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Storage & Organization

Creating thoughtful storage is important in every workspace but probably most important in smaller shops where space is at a premium. With limited space that's often shared with garden tools, sports equipment, and more, you can maximize your storage space for tools, lumber, and supplies with the ideas below.

SHOP TOUR:

ideas for Organizing small, temporary spaces

Take a tour of Emily's small garage workspace for simple ideas you can use to organize your tools, lumber and supplies.

You'll see the simple method she used to get her lumber organized and off of the floor along with how she created storage space for tools and supplies while keeping her everyday essentials within easy reach.

Organizing YOUR TEMPORARY SPACE

miter saw cutting board

 tip #1

TOOL storage 

  • Wall cabinets and wall shelves work well for storing tools. Keep tools you use often within easy reach and store tools used less frequently up high.
  • Organizing your most-used tools on pegboard makes them easy to find and quick to grab.
  • Mobile storage like small tool chests and miter saw stands allow you to store them against the wall and move them around while working on proejcts.
  • A portable tool bag (like Bucket Boss) is a great spot to store frequently-used tools, especially if you often find yourself carrying them into the house or to other locations.
miter saw cutting board

 tip #2 

lumber storage

  • Wall-mounted racks free up floor space and allow you to store lumber flat so it doesn't warp. Take note of the weight capacity of your brackets so you don't overload them.
  • A small plywood bin with a couple dividers creates a spot to organize short boards and materials. Make it mobile with casters.
  • Plywood and sheet goods can be leaned against the wall and held in place with bungee cords attacked to eye screws in the wall. It's a good idea to give them a short platform to sit on to avoid the damp floor.
miter saw cutting board

 tip #3  

Hardware & Supply storage

  • Organizing cases with locking lids work well for organizing screws and small hardware. They easily stack on a shelf.
  • Pegboard keeps things easy to find and access (we like Wall Control pegboard). Add open bins to store loose hardware and use hooks to hang small supplies you use frequently.
  • Organize categories of items together so they're easy to find. Small bins help keep your shelves organized, and clear bins make it easy to find what you're looking for.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR TEMPORARY SPACES

Wall Control kits

Place near your work for quick access to your most-used tools.


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bucket boss organizers

Use for portable, easy access to your tools and hardware.


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casters

Keep those storage carts mobile and accessible with our collection of medium duty and heavy duty casters.

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Cabinet

Build one or build enough to fill a whole wall! Having doors to hide away the clutter always helps spaces look more organized.


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storage cabinets

Find a home for all of your tools and supplies with this large storage cabinet.



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garage storage & work center

This multipurpose storage area keeps things organized and easy to access.

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garage sports equipment storage

Not having to move stuff every time you build makes it much more enjoyable.  Give it a home near the door where it gets used.

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rolling tool cart

Mobility and small footprint make this a great addition to a small or shared space to keep you tools near your work.
 

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rolling work seat

A small, mobile storage seat handy for small projects in the garage.



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drill charging station

Keep wires out of the way and your batteries charged with a dedicated place for your cordless drill and tools.


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Organizer shelf

Dedicated storage for hardware and small parts can save a lot of time and headaches finding what you need, when you need it.


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Simple tool storage center

Easy access with minimal space.
Pegboards provide flexible organization anywhere in the workspace.

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lumber cart

Piles of unorganized lumber can drive a person crazy and be a safety hazard. Keep it mobile and dedicate a cart to keep you building, not digging.

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Dust Collection

Want to spend more time building and less time cleaning up? Maximize your efficiency by controlling saw dust as you make it rather than spending time cleaning it up at the end. No matter your work space set up, dust collection doesn’t need to take over your shop.

SHOP TOUR:

dust collection tips

It's easy to let dust pile up in your workspace. In this video, Allen shows you some simple things he's done to control the dust that go beyond the standard dust bags on his power tools. 

 tip #1

VACUUMS CAN DO IT ALL (ALMOST)

  • Upgrading to a quality shop vac with some simple accessories can make it a workhorse in your shop.
  • Adding accessories like a longer, more flexible hose, different size connections to fit a variety of tools, and a quality reusable filter are simple ways to make a vacuum more versatile.
  • A dust separator attachment and a 5 gallon bucket can even help handle some tools that kick out a high volume of dust or chips.

 tip #2 

Use Dust Bags

Make sure you're using the dust bags that came with your power tools. They're great for quick work when you don't want to take the time to hook them up to your vacuum.

 tip #3  

Consider a DIY cart

A mobile cart makes it easy to move your vacuum around your space. Check out this DIY shop vac cart that includes storage for accessories.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR Temporary SPACES

Shop Vacs

Wet/Dry vacs are handy for all sorts of cleanups in addition to wood projects and dust collection.  Check out our selection.

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Shop Vac remote Switch

Conveniently turn on/off the shop vac when and where you're using it.


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Dust Separator

Add this lid + bucket to your vac setup to remove the dust and keep your vac filter clean.

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Shop Vac cart w/Storage

Keep the vac near the action with this DIY cart on casters.  Easily modified to include a dust separator system.

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DIY AIr filtration

Open air isn't always a given.  This DIY air filtration is a great way to keep the dust down.

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casters

Use with DIY carts to keep the vacs near the action.


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Work Environment

Power, lighting, climate and air all have an impact on your workspace. Not only is a good work environment more comfortable and enjoyable to work in, but can also affect your materials and the quality of your projects.

SHOP TOUR:

Tips To Improve Your Work Environment

No matter the size of your workspace, there are improvements you can make to improve your projects and work environment.

Mike will walk you through the variety of lighting, climate, and air circulation solutions he added to his shop. Although his shop space is much larger than you may be working with, many of the ideas he shares can be implemented in small spaces.

 tip #1

Improve Your Lighting

  • Overhead LED shop lights help brighten up your entire shop. Look for lights that are 3000 to 5000 lumens and consider plug-in options that don't require electrical work.
  • Under-cabinet LED lights reduce shadows and create a well-lit area for detail work.
  • Battery-operated work lights come in many sizes and can be used to add lighting to your workspace and create task lighting for detail work.

 tip #2

Add More Outlets

  • Mount a long power strip on the wall near your workbench to increase the number of outlets you have available.
  • Use multi-head extension cords to run power to temporary work surfaces set up in your driveway or the middle of your garage.

 tip #3

Circulate The Air

Adding a simple fan to your workspace helps with temperature control and air circulation (removing dust and fumes). 

Safety equipment

As always, keep your eyes, hands, and lungs SAFE with our select shop supplies.

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