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I'm in the planning stage of building a shed. I would like to be able to use a table saw and various other tools (drill press, router table, compound miter saw, etc). Would a 20x12 shed be big enough? I would like room to grow a little but space is a limiting factor.

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    This is the type of thing that can't be definitively answered, so not a good fit for the SE format. But in basic outline 20x12 is more than adequate for a home shop.... to give you some context this is 3 times more floor space than a typical/average workshop over here just a short while ago, and I personally know many (including numerous TS users) whose workshops are much smaller than this.
    – Graphus
    Mar 18 '20 at 16:13
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    Yes, definitely "opinion-only" type question. But, honestly, the answer to this question is always a resounding "yes!". Any size shop is good enough. Just make it work.
    – jdv
    Mar 18 '20 at 20:51
  • If the community decides this isn't a good fit so be it. I've answered this anyway because it is a pretty clear and common question for hobby shops. And, while this is my opinion, it is shared by a great many folks out there.
    – jdv
    Mar 18 '20 at 21:02
  • Follow-on to my Comment under @jdv's Answer, in terms of tools that one feels are must-haves but actually aren't, not a few would class a table saw that way (although yes, hugely useful, all its tasks can be done another way which don't require that size of footprint being taken up permanently in a prominent position). But a better example is the compound mitre saw, absolutely not a key purchase! Heaps of woodworkers don't own one and many would try to talk anyone setting up a home shop out of one as a needless waste of money and space (even more so due to the infeed & outfeed requirements).
    – Graphus
    Mar 19 '20 at 8:23
  • Yeah, a mitre saw for finer woodworking (as opposed to to trades work) is not recommended. That would be last tool I'd ever considering buying.
    – jdv
    Mar 19 '20 at 13:00
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Would a 20x12 shed be big enough?

Yes! You can do woodworking in almost any sized space, but 20x12' is practically king-sized compared to what some of us have. There is no reason you can't have a shop in a corner of a garage that you share with a car, or a part of a basement.

My advice is to start slow. Don't buy equipment just to own it. Have your projects earn that equipment. Start with hand tools and some common useful power tools. Use those tools to build some tool storage and work areas. Learn how to design to maximize your workspace. Figure out how to put stuff on wheels.

There are scads of "small hobby wood shop" sites on the internet and YouTube. See what others are doing. There are all kinds of free plans out there that you can use to turn almost any small space into a functional shop. There has never been a better time to dive as deep as you want into woodworking! Don't let some notion of square footage and the dream of what tools you want tomorrow interfere with the chips you can make today.

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  • +1 Couldn't agree more with the second paragraph. "Have your projects earn that equipment." Yes! A similar thought with somewhat the same motivation I've read a few times is a tool should earn its place right from the start. Either way, it helps counter (and then hopefully conquer) the inclination to have tools because they're just something one has in a workshop.
    – Graphus
    Mar 19 '20 at 8:13
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It should be very adequate along with jdv suggestions Suggestions 1) insulate and heat (maintain 50* or so temp) your building (and cover the walls) for your comfort and a stable environment for your tools* and supplies 2) a minimum of an 8' ceiling 3) all of your equipment on wheels and the same table height if possible 4) DUST Control!! 5) ability to lock the building 6)look for used equipment 7) lots of lighting *I used to use an unheated garage and had problems with rust on cast iron and wood warpage.

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