Setting Up Your Stained Glass Workshop

Everything Else

I am about to set up my new workshop. I was just wondering what you think are the most important things to include?

Since every situation is different, we cant give you specific answers, but here are some things that you should give some thought to. We think that the two most important things in a workshop are safety and comfort.

You obviously want everything in your workshop to be as safe as possible. Ideally, you will want to have: proper ventilation, plenty of lighting, safe storage areas for glass and chemicals (do you have children?), grounded electrical connections, no extension cords, safe disposal for glass and supplies (trash cans as opposed to plastic bags), and easy to clean surfaces (no carpet on the floor).

Comfort is the next most important consideration. The height of your work surface is very important. If you arent comfortable, you wont be able to work as long as youd like. If you arent sure of the most comfortable height for you, use your house as a guide. You know whether you prefer to work standing up or sitting down. If you like to work sitting down, measure the height of the tables in your house where you like to work. If you always pay your bills at the kitchen table because your desk isnt comfortable, make your work benches the height of the kitchen table. If you like to work standing up, use your kitchen and bathroom counter tops as a guide.

Lighting is another important thing to think about. Its difficult to grind a piece of glass to the line that you drew if you cant see the line! Besides having plenty of overhead lighting, small desk lamps are inexpensive, easy to move around and provide direct lighting to any area that you may need. Be sure that you have plenty of electrical outlets in appropriate places.

You will need to be able to clean your projects, so access to water is important. (For safety reasons, you dont want to clean your projects in the kitchen sink.) If possible, you should have a deep sink with a water sprayer, set at a height that allows you to clean your projects without bending over. This will also allow you to clean yourself up before leaving your work area.

You may enjoy having access to a television, stereo, or telephone. You dont want to have to run upstairs (or wherever) every time the phone rings.

As far as storage goes, anything that you can do to organize your work space and keep it that way will make your time spent in your workshop more enjoyable. Each issue of Stained Glass News features a reader's workshop. You may find some ideas there that will work for you. Reprinted with permission from Stained Glass News. All rights reserved.

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Karina F.  •  October 20, 2015
@bcmoen the workshop space shown is approximately 6 foot long x 24" deep with a bench top surface at approximately 36" high with storage shelves below, and peg-board walls extending an additional 4' high. A well organized workshop doesn't require a large space. In addition to the space shown, many artists keep a small table or bench surface for assembling their project on so it remains quick and easy to swap which tools are on the work surface to use, and which are neatly stowed away.
Barb M.  •  October 15, 2015
What is the approximate size of the pictured workshop?
Delia R.  •  August 25, 2010
If your area is large enough, I like having a table just for cutting, another to hold my saw, grinder, and wash basin, and another just for assembling my piece.
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Stained Glass News

Stained Glass News

Stained Glass News is a full-color newspaper which has been dedicated to informing, entertaining and inspiring stained glass hobbyists for over 22 years. Each issue features: • information on new books, tools and glass • quick tips & hints and Q&A's • columns on stained glass, mosaics, and hot glass by industry experts • photos of our readers' projects in the Readers' Gallery • glassworking hints from our readers on The Readers' Page • a photo and information about a glass workshop belonging to one of our readers on The Readers' Page • other information that makes working with glass easier, more fun and more rewarding SGN is published five times a year (on the first of January, March, May, September and November). The current issue is SGN #90 (May, 2010).