How many people find that a basement is the ideal place for a woodworking shop? I am guessing that the number is high for those who prefer a basement and it might even be 50:50 between those who opt for the basement or the garage. There are pros and cons to a basement environment and I’ll touch on those later. Before I could get excited about my basement for a shop, I opted to install a backup sump system. It provides added protection during power outages. Well, I was also blessed to have an unfinished basement in a fairly newer home with concrete poured walls. You might have a basement shop if you have moved a number of times in the last ten years. I was in favor of a basement shop because I wanted a space that could be usable year round and didn’t require a separate heating system.
The challenge that I have after experiencing moving last year is that I want to get my stuff organized and yet I really crave the opportunity to get busy making projects. I am also looking over my floor space and making decisions about storage, placement of tools and machinery, and wood storage. So while I wall off areas and make progress on getting organized, I am thinking more about the layout of the machinery. Shop layouts based on the literature and blogs are very individualistic to me and mine will be the same way—it will have to make sense for the tools I have and woodworking projects I take on. It truly seems like trial and error for now on the placement of machinery and maybe that has been your experience too. Mobile bases aren’t always that helpful either although I do appreciate them on some machines. My beef with mobile bases is that the larger footprint of the mobile bases has to weighed against keeping a machine in one place and gaining some space from the smaller footprint of the tool base/stand.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a basement woodworking shop? The ease of temperature control is certainly a positive. I can remember firing up the woodstove for hours in my separate shop building in Upstate New York, before it was comfortable to work in. I also like the fact too that being in the house one can work in the shop for short periods. Some of the negatives though are the need to protect the furnace from dust and the chemical smells that work their way through the house. It encourages the use of environmentally friendly finishes. I think that a challenge to both the garage and the basement settings for a workshop is that storage of household items often competes for shop space. Basements and garages are areas that lend themselves to accumulation of seasonal and extra things.