Building The Woodshop

Building The Woodshop

This is about how I built my wood shop. We decided to move from our previous home for a variety of reasons. I saw the move as an opportunity to gain a bigger shop for my wood working hobby. The house we found had everything we wanted, except for a shop or even a garage. It did have a non functioning indoor pool. We thought this space would make a nice wood shop. I could just build a floor over the pool and have a shop. As we got further into the inspection process, it was looking as though fixing the structure over the pool was going to be expensive. It looked like we would have to put a bunch of money into a structure that was not really a wood shop and not a functioning pool either. It made more sense to take out the pool and structure, and then build a wood shop from the ground up. We started this project by regrading our side yard to gain access to the pool in the backyard. Once we had access, we took out the pool. We half filled the hole where the pool was with compacted gravel. I realized that if we sank the shop into the ground I could have the ceiling height I had always wanted in the shop and preserve the view from the house. The design of the shop is a box with a shed roof. The roof wraps down the east side of the structure. I like to think of it as a slightly open toolbox. The entire shop is laid out on a 24 inch grid. The windows and doors fall within this grid. I had a general contractor built the shell and then I built the windows and interior. The interior walls are comprised of a 34 inch concrete stem wall at the base. Above that is a 9 foot, plywood wall. In the space above the plywood wall and below the shed roof is poly carbonate panel to form a clerestory. The tool layout in the shop is divided into 4 areas: an area near the door for material storage and prep, a central area for general wood working, and two areas near the back of the shop, one for turning and one for metal working.

woodshop tour:

band saw video:

jointer video:


  1. Renville80 on January 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    You certainly made a nice bit of lemonade from that lemon. I bet it would have cost a lot more to get that pool shack into usable condition (even for its original purpose) than what it took to make that woodworker’s dream workshop.

  2. jay Richards on January 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Can I ask how the poly-carbonate has held up over the past few years. How thick is it? Does it discolor over time?

  3. 11611ss on January 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    I’m surprised that neither of the large doors go down to the floor level of the inside of the shop somehow. If anything awkward and/or heavy is delivered, the 34" drop has to be negotiated to get it inside.

  4. Silica Chan on January 16, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Amazing job

  5. Kelvin Dieto on January 16, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    could i come work for you

  6. Dylan James on January 16, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Good Job on the design and execution! I really like the low profile shed roof as I’m going to incorporate one into my house plans. We have a neighbor that’s on a hill to our right and open space to our left so the shed roof will rise to our open space. I’m thinking that will create more privacy and maximize our view! I also like the idea that this is below grade. That would help with cooling costs where we live. Mahalo for posting.

  7. Anh Chrisman on January 16, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    I made it myself. Just take a fast look for woodprix website if you’d like to make it too.

  8. Gabriel C on January 16, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    The shop, the video, the planning are amazing. You are amazing. No, i’m not gay 😀

  9. Jacob Wilson on January 16, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    I love how you have a clear idea of exactly where all the tools go in the order the material is milled. That’s something I would’ve never thought of, and I love organization.

  10. Scottie Manners on January 16, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    My question is why did you make the shop sunken so you aren’t level with the driveway? Doesn’t that make getting large products out the garage door difficult?

  11. ΠΕΡΙΚΛΗΣ ΚΟΚΟΣΗΣ on January 16, 2019 at 8:32 pm


  12. Sky Boyer on January 16, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Frank, as a Portlander I’m curious what neighborhood you are in. Obviously exactly location is not important but just curious what corner of the city you ended up.

  13. Dimitri Nassenstein on January 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    wanna see stairs but i like just the wood you have laid out makes it homey kind of

  14. Adam Symonds on January 16, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    +Frankhowarth High frank,
    your videos are so amazing
    for an aspiring woodworker like me
    that would love to have a workshop
    as well made as this.

    i would love to see your CNC machine you built thats been in your recent videos. keep up the good work. peace and love from the UK

  15. Maxid1 on January 16, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Lots of change orders eh?

  16. Fred Patton on January 16, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I know this comment is late, but this is great. We’re starting to plan a new house on some property we just bought, and a shop is key part of the plan. This is the best looking shop I’ve seen to date. Love all the windows, and that you respected your neighbors enough to put in sound damping. I’m planning to put in as much acoustic insulation as I can. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Jason Tuscaloosa on January 16, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Frank, i love your videos… you’re brilliant. Have you thought about some kind of electric lift for your problem with heavier objects getting in & out?

  18. Alan Pinho on January 16, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Very nice. Surprised no bathroom? Is dust collection motor outside to minimize noise? How do you heat and cool? Does rain water get inside given recessed floor? A small loading dock elevator can make the transition easier to go back and forth between outside/inside as wood is heavy. Thanks ☺

  19. chrisutubeism on January 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Was power a consideration? Running multiple workshop equipment off what I assume is residential power.

  20. Maxid1 on January 16, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    No bathroom?

  21. shane palmquist on January 16, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I’m intrigued by the sunken floor, are you happy with it so far? I’m starting the planning process of my own shop and we’re only allowed a max sidewall height of 10′, this would be an interesting way to get around that. I need to get cars in and out of mine though…

  22. Junior J on January 16, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Good video. If you have a few minutes and wouldn’t mind answering a question I’d appreciate your advice. I have a small device (vape mod) that I’ve recently made 2 sets of spare door panels for. One from a hardwood that I believe is oak and the second from a spare soft timber board. They have been cut and sanded to 1000grit however neither have been finish treated. I have tried ageing the hardwood panels using apple cider vinegar and steel wood but I may try this again for a longer steeping time What would you recommend as a finish? Danish oil? Yorkshire Grit? Varnish or spray Lacquer? The mod is handled consistently throughout the day, every day so I don’t particularly want to use something that may transfer colour back on to my hands or leave any residual oils or general grease. For the aged panels I’d prefer to have a non glossy finish to showcase the blue effect but something that would raise the grain and the softer wood panels to have a hIgher gloss finish. Any particular products you would recommend and any tips on best results when using them. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated. Steel and stone cause me zero issues but when it comes to wood I’m out of my depth. Thank you

  23. Jim Hope on January 16, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Money well spent. Your neighbours will appreciate the steps you’ve taken to suppress the noise.

  24. johan van wiechen on January 16, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Don’t reall understand why you dropped the floor, must be a pain to take stuff in and out.

  25. Reggie Smith on January 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Beautiful idea assisted by technology turned into reality. What an amazing and creative mind you have Sir. Execution of this video was on time and on target. Many can learn from your skill, especially me. Thank you for uploading.

  26. John Wayne on January 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    WOW Nice shop. Thansk for sharing. But…. Yah know it’s coming. No water proofing anywhere and you are below grade. little to no insulation so it’s going to get coldddddd in that shop. The shop looks cool at night but does that light pollution bother the neighbors?

  27. This Is Google on January 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    So many fire hazards and poor design. This would never be approved in Europe

  28. thesourkroutkid on January 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm


  29. Filipe Melco on January 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I think it’s fantastic when someone donates their time to show their experience to people who happen to have the same desire. I am curious to know if there is something that you would change in your wood shop today.

  30. FOJ on January 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    this would be a killer music studio

  31. knafo Ilan on January 16, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Very nice, but the"sound effects" is really annoying!!

  32. Shannon Stjulien on January 16, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    no bathroom?

  33. Al Eladon on January 16, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    All I can say outside looks great. Can not comment about internal space as I did not see how you operate inside.
    THank you for video. I liked it.))))))

  34. siding8 on January 16, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    How or where do you enter the shop? Stairs?

  35. David Garcia on January 16, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Wow….what a great dream come true….

  36. Jose Gonzalez on January 16, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Great job as always. I’d like to see more on the actual work area and kleat sys.

  37. TD on January 16, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    In the UK we call ‘back yards’ gardens..

  38. Mrwrenchifi on January 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    This dude sounds exactly like tj miller

  39. Lila Simpson on January 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Hey Frank, loved this video! My partner and I are looking to build our own shop very similarly to yours, and we saw what you spent on the shop, but do you know how much of that was labor/rentals, and how much was materials?

  40. Charlie X on January 16, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Other comment on the drop to bring items into shop. Lift Gate. Enough said.

  41. Nedeles on January 16, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    the sound effects made it worse

  42. John Davidson on January 16, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Incredible shop and channel Frank. I like the way you think.

  43. Rodrigo Folador Milli on January 16, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    That is amazing! Hope one day have an opportunity to built my own wood shop too
    Great job! Work safe.
    Cheers from Brazil!

  44. christinearmington on January 16, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    So beautiful!

  45. voetbal12 on January 16, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Total cost!!??

  46. Andre Pradiktha on January 16, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    thank you for sharing the process

  47. TheRichjrr6 on January 16, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Fantastic job!

  48. Chandler Howerton on January 16, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I literally cried watching this video… out of joy for someone to have a shop like this, then sadness because I will never be able to. And then I got very mad.

  49. Sashtrousy Aone on January 16, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Always there is a hope
    Thank you

  50. TD on January 16, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Awesome shop & tools Jim. Nice property too.