I do my woodworking in the garage and when I started it only had a single 15 amp 110 volt circuit, two light bulbs, and garage doors that were low enough that I bumped into them constantly whenever I moved boards around.
Most of us have been there at one point and it worked well enough for me but last summer I was sidelined from the shop while my collar bone was healing (doctor’s orders – no woodworking) so I figured I might as well use the ole’ woodworking budget to have some upgrades done. Boy, am I glad I did!
Now the garage has a dedicated 100-amp sub-panel, multiple 110v and 220v circuits, and loads of outlets so I can finally leave everything plugged in at once! I can’t even believe how much time I save not having to plug/unplug my tools after every use. To do the wiring it turned out to be cheaper to actually build a second wall on the sill along the back of the garage instead of running cables inside the existing wall. It looks great and helps insulate the house from shop noise to boot.
I also upgraded the lighting, adding a set of recessed cans on 2 circuits. The light still isn’t strong enough for detail or finishing work but, at 12-15 ft-candles, it’s fine now for casual work and it’s way better than the old pair of naked 150W bulbs (the small round holes in the next picture).
Did you notice the square hole for a 220v outlet in the ceiling by the garage door motor? I’m planning ahead for the table saw as a central fixture. When I get a bit more settled in and get the rest of the tools where I want ‘em I’ll also add more task lighting and fluorescent fixtures in targeted areas where I really need more light.
As a final step – and this one took some cajoling to get the wife to go along with it – I put in high-lift garage doors. We have a 10.5’ garage ceiling so with the high-lift doors I created 3 feet of extra headroom! You can see how low the doors were before in the last picture. The next one shows the improvement. No central track for the garage door opener and everything’s way higher. I can finally flip 8’ boards around without banging into something at every turn.
More lights, more plugs, and more overhead space may seem like details but I can tell you it’s made a huge difference in how I work!
-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright