While every beginning woodworker focuses his/her budget on the woodworking tools necessary to outfit the shop, there are a number of shop accessories that are not only useful, but in some cases, absolutely necesssary. In this article, learn about the Top 10 Shop Accessories for every wood shop. As you'll see, some of these are items you can build yourself, while others are tools that aren't always associated with woodworking, but useful in the wood shop nonetheless.
1. Woodworker's Bench with Vise
3. Saw HorsesEvery carpenter or woodworker has needed a pair of saw horses at some point. I've used them for hundreds of tasks, including as a sturdy base for a table saw. This set of saw horses is stackable, very solid (they will hold as much as 500 pounds each, if properly built) and very easy and inexpensive to build. Once you have a set, you'll find hundreds of uses for them, not only in the wood shop, but around the house as well.
4. Tool StorageOnce you've begun to collect a number of both hand and power tools, you'll need a place to store them when they're not in use. Whether you decide to build a cabinet with cupboards and drawers or just a shelving system to store them out of the way, you'll need to develop a system that works for your shop layout. Learn to keep your shop clean and organized by putting your tools away when they're not needed. Not only will your shop be safer, but your tools will last much longer.
5. Fastener Organization & StorageAnother item of organization you'll want to think through is how to store and keep fasteners organized. When I begin a project, if I need a number of 4d Bright Finish Nails, I'll buy a box at the home center, but will have quite a few left over when finished. Since I don't want to mix these with other nails, I have a system to keep them separate.
I like to use fishing tackle boxes with adjustable dividers. Using these, I can keep different sizes of nails or screws divided in the same box.
6. ClampsIf a dog is man's best friend, clamps are a woodworker's best friend. Clamps (bar, pipe, vise, etc.) aren't necessarily cheap (as much as $50 each), but if there's one axiom of woodworking, its that you can NEVER have enough clamps. Try to add a couple to your stable regularly whenever you can afford it.
A simple clamp storage solution is a 2x4 mounted horzontally high on a shop wall. Rest one end of each clamp on the board, and the other end dangles beneath, resting against the wall.
7. Dust Collection and Shop VacuumsTo keep your shop clean, invest in a large, well-built shop vacuum. Most machines and some power tools have ports for connecting a vacuum to help control dust in the shop. Additionally, you can use it as a standard wet/dry vacuum.
As you progress in accessorizing your shop, you may want to consider a more sophisticated form of dust collection. Some manufacturers offer dust collection systems with ported ducts throughout the shop. These types of systems make breating in the shop much easier.
Featherboards can be purchased commercially, but I've never found a reason to buy them because they can be made so quickly and easily using scrap materials. We show you how in our featherboard woodworking plans.