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Small Woodworking Shops (New Best of Fine Woodworking) Paperback – February 9, 2004


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Small Woodworking Shops (New Best of Fine Woodworking) + Setting Up Shop: The Practical Guide to Designing and Building You + Woodshop Dust Control: A Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Own System
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (February 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561586862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561586868
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fine Woodworking has been publishing the best woodworking information for small shop woodworkers since 1975.

Customer Reviews

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See all 14 customer reviews
Makes you want to construct a special building.
Thomas Lecoq
The different layouts do provide a lot of good ideas that I personally found interesting and intriguing.
William E. Smith
Read the book for ideas about how to make your workspace more usable and more efficient.
Patrick E. McKnight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Timothy H. Mensch on July 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has its positive points, but encouraging someone who wants to create a small workshop is not one of them. Instead it tends to make you feel bad about not having 1000+ sq. ft. of space to allocate to a wood shop. They've reprinted six articles that describe wood shops, but only one fits my definition of "small." The rest describe spaces 600, 720, 1296, and two at 2400 sq. ft. I guess if you are making a "small" commercial shop, 2400 sq. ft. is not out of the question, but if woodworking is just a hobby, 200-400 sq. ft. is a more common limitation.

It also has two (related, overlapping in content) articles on dust collection; one of the articles is useful, but another seems redundant. Seems like the editors were looking for filler articles.

I would have given this book more stars--3 or 4--if it hadn't claimed to be about "small" shops. However I wouldn't have purchased it in that case, because I already have general woodshop design books--and in fact almost all the information in this one I've seen in my other books. And it really is just a collection of articles rather than a coherent whole.

In particular, I find How to Design and Build Your Ideal Woodshop (Popular Woodworking) to be much more appropriate. It talks about how to design a small workshop in much greater detail. I also have an earlier edition of Setting Up Shop, Completely Revised and Updated: A Practical Guide to Designing and Building Your Dream Shop, which is quite good.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Pauls on January 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the best concise shop design book out now in my opinion. It covers quite a few areas in detail like lighting, adding a wood floor on top of concrete, dust collection issues, various layouts, essential tools, and more that make it an essential book. Aim high in making your shop as good as any tool you have or project you make. This book encourages that and helps you make wise, cost-effective decisions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patrick E. McKnight on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first when I started reading the book I thought I was in store for a long treatise on how to build a professional workshop. If you are in the market for that information, I am sure this book will get you started. Where I found the book most useful was in seeing how each person used the space available. In one instance, the shop design was a professional spread with a specific location for each step of the woodworking process. In another instance, the shop design was for a professional who had limited space. Both extremes helped me visualize how my home workshop (my garage) might be better used. I gained a lot from reading the book. Reading it is not a necessity, however. You may gain the same information the authors did by making the same mistakes as they did or you can learn vicariously from them and the examples.

Now, one thing I recommend for most hobbyists; while reading the book, do not get discouraged or dismissive. Read the book for ideas about how to make your workspace more usable and more efficient. If you do, you will not be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Skuegler on April 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
When the first couple reviews for a book are all 5 stars, I tend to wonder whether the author's friends and relatives are doing their part to pump up sales. I'm writing this review in case you're like me in that regard. Fear not, I've got no connection whatsoever with anyone involved with this book.

As a new woodworking hobbyist, I found this book informative and helpful. The writing was clear and readable, the photos and graphics well-done. More importantly, for me the breadth and depth of information was just right. Example: there was a simple, informative piece on the best power tools to start off with -- and then there was another to offer a different perspective. Some goes with coverage of dust control, with several different angles presented.

This book doesn't try to be all things to all people. I doubt anyone with serious woodworking experience would find this book worth buying. On the other hand, if finances or space limit your tool choices to a circular saw and a drill, look elsewhere -- this book really is for folks setting up a shop with the tools to go with it. Its also more oriented towards power tools than hand tools.

I think the ideal reader would be someone with a garage to fill and a $5000 budget to spend. That's not me on either count, and I do wish the book had focused more on small hobbyist starter shops and less on professional, two-car garage shops with every tool.

But I still got a lot out of it, and I'd buy it again without hesitating. However, I don't own any of the other books on setting up a shop, so can't compare their relative merits.

--- Coming back to this review a month later, I think I was wrong to give it only 4 stars. This has been the one book I've turned to the most as I continue setting up my shop, and I get something useful out of it every time. Amazon doesn't seem to let you change your star rating after the fact, but now I'd give it 5 stars without hesitation.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Dillman on August 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book gives outstanding ideas in all areas of building your workshop. Learned a whole lot from this book! Well worth the price. A+++ in my book
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By New England Yankee on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Like many of Taunton's books in the woodworking arena, this one consists mostly of reprints of Fine Woodworking magazine (FWW) articles. That's not bad in itself, of course, as FWW is a fine magazine, and one to which I subscribe. It does mean that even though the articles are all small shop themed, there isn't a logical flow from beginning to end or article to article. Each stands on its own merits, is written by a different author, and has its own emphasis and style.

Approach this book and these titles as idea and tips generators. This book is most appropriate to those who are not already FWW subscribers. If you are a long-term subscriber, you will have already read the articles. You can also get at most or all of this content by subscribing to FWW's online site.
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