Need ideas for new shop

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Blog entry by tennjock59 posted 02-08-2010 06:51 PM 1101 reads 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Building a 16×20 shop in the SE corner of our 32×60 horse barn, and am trying to get some ideas for equipment. I am open to suggestions, constructive criticisms from all of you as this project moves forward. Please feel free to contribute your ideas.

-- jselrahc, east Tennessee

16 comments so far

View paulcoyne's profile


133 posts in 3146 days

#1 posted 02-08-2010 06:59 PM

well it all depends on what you hope to make maybe a bit more info would help

and welcome to LJ

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3317 days

#2 posted 02-08-2010 07:09 PM

1. Think bigger – 20×24 or even more.
2. Add dedicated enclosures outside of the main shop area for dust collector, air compressor, lumber storage, finishing, etc.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View David Murray's profile

David Murray

187 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 02-08-2010 07:11 PM

Welcome aboard. I would look at other LJ’s workshops, always plenty of ideas there. I didn’t stumble onto LJ’s until my shop done, I’ve seen so many good ideas that I would like to incorporated into my shop. So just browse away.

-- Dave from "The Sawdust Shed"

View a1Jim's profile


117119 posts in 3603 days

#4 posted 02-08-2010 07:13 PM

There’s a lot to consider if you want to send me a private message through my home page I can help with . I’m a 20 year contractor and woodshop owner

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View burkelyn's profile


31 posts in 3105 days

#5 posted 02-08-2010 07:44 PM

ok, first of all, you NEVER have enough space. Storage of lumber is a major issue. High and dry is the best, but some people actually build lumber carts to move large sheets around their shop. This also works for medium size scraps. Other scrap wood, well, I store mine in a series of 2’ x 2’ boxes that I just framed out with 2×4’s as long as the wood is not near any moisture you should be ok. I agree, but in dedicated dust and don’t forget air filter management too. Tools, well, plan for every to you every wanted. Table saws seem to take up a lot of space because of infeed and out feed space needed as well as supporting the outfeed. Someone had a nice rig for a fold down support for table saw out feed here so I suggest you look it up. A good investment in a great table saw is worth it. I support the concept of the StopSaw or is it SawStop either way it WILL save you parts of your hand that even the most experienced woodworker will tell you it only takes a split second and WOW!

I also support a cheap panel saw which can be stored in about a 5×3 area. This saves on heavy lifting of panel sheets to a table saw. Recommend both a good 14” band saw and if you have the funds and 18” one especially good for ripping narrow strips too and then cleaning up on the table saw if your comfortable with it. However, a good portable planer by Dewalt on wheels can be tucked in a corner until needed. If you are doing a lot of sanding keep the “Boss” by Delta in mind, Dewalt makes a fine and quiet scroll saw which I highly recommend too. I don’t have a jointer, and unless your building fine furnature I am not sure just how much you would need one. Perhaps you have a friend who has one and would let you use it when you’re ready. Tool boxes and I mean good ones can sometimes be found at odd places, my opinion. I got mine at the local Sam’s Club years ago for $500 and noticed last month the same box now sells for $750. Space required is 4’x2’x5’. What about storage for all those nuts, bolts, screws, etc. Well I use old coffee cans and mark the tops with a magic marker. Again more shelf space. AND what about stains, paints, etc… again more storage space on the shelves. Maximize your shelf space and put wheels on all your tools. Lifting is such a drag, LOL. I would recommend getting the max. amount of power into your shop. If you can get enough for 3 phase great, but usually power co. does not allow so put in a very large breaker box with a 200 amp service. This is what I have and although I don’t run all the tools at once, silly wouldn’t it be huh. It makes wiring the whole place with 12-3 wire (yellow stuff) a good investment. Most people allow for their major tools to be placed around the outside of their shop as the wiring is along the outside walls and we don’t want to run extension cords all over the place. Finally, Take the WHOLE BUILDING and if necessary build an attachment for any horses. I assume that you have plenty of room for doorways in and out if it is a horse barn, but consider insulation for the sound dampening effect and to keep the heat in. Oh, that is an issue, what do you plan to heat this place with a wood stove? I have a monitor K-1 heater in my area and it works fine as I can adjust it up or down depending on whether I am there or not or if something is drying. Best of luck. Take before and after pictures and we would love to see them here. I have pics of my workshop on here but I have an old house so it is a work around kind of thing. View them if you want, maybe it will help.


-- Peter J. Blake, Auburn, ME

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3100 days

#6 posted 02-08-2010 10:16 PM

16×20 is barely big enough for what I would call a full function hobby shop. My shop is 17×22 with an additional 9×2 alcove. For me it is barely big enough.

Will you be storing wood in your workshop? If possible, I would advise you to find another location for your inventory of wood. If possible, I would also look for another location to do finishing work. That is not just a space issue. It’s always good to do your finishing work in an environment that has less dust in the air.

The key for you will be how you position your tools. I feel like I need at least 8 feet of clearance on both the infeed and outfeed sides of my TS, jointer and planer. Some tools you can basically put back to back in a cluster. I do that with my BS, mortising machine and sharpening station.

Personally, I do not like rolling tools around a lot. The only tool I have on a mobile base is my jointer. Since it sets at the end of my TS, I need to move it out of the way if I am working on a big piece on the TS.

I advise you to get real cleaver with storage space. Maximize storage in the space under your workbench and router table. Look for ways to store things in wall cabinets. If you have a tool that gets used very rarely, if ever, get it out of your shop.

I invite you to check out pictures of my workshop on this website. You may get some ideas.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3800 days

#7 posted 02-09-2010 02:40 AM

Your shop is about the same size as mine. This is not a very big shop but a lot has to do with what you are going to make. All my equipment is mobile and I store my lumber in my unfinished basement. I also have a metal shed out side the back door of my shop for off fall, misc and jigs. I do finish in my shop but do not mind because I like to clean my shop after building a project. If you care to look at my workshop it might give you some ideas. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View a1Jim's profile


117119 posts in 3603 days

#8 posted 02-09-2010 02:44 AM

Loose the horses and go 32×60 LOL

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3464 days

#9 posted 02-09-2010 02:53 AM

mobile equipment and keep your wall space free. i.e. make a bench that is in the center of the shop but don’t clog wallspace with shelves, benches, and cupboards. After you move your power tools next to them you won’t have any room. In a small space, wall space is to park things out of the way.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View tennjock59's profile


9 posts in 3055 days

#10 posted 02-09-2010 05:07 PM

Hello again, LJs, and thanks for all the input. You’ve given me plenty to think about in regard to shop size. Of course I have to clear any changes with the boss (my wife) before actually doing them.

I guess my first challenge is getting power to the barn. I have an unused circuit for an electric heater, but am not sure 90A will be enough, even with the tools being mostly 220. any thoughts?

I will have to run the power through #0 or 2 wire about 100 feet, or so (under ground in conduit) into a breaker box inside the barn and then on to the shop. Would it be possible to put two breaker in the main disconnect, one for the house and one for the barn?

-- jselrahc, east Tennessee

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3787 days

#11 posted 02-09-2010 05:38 PM

In an ongoing poll on the Shopsmith forum, over 11% of the respondents work in spaces up to 100 sq. ft. Another 30% are limited to 200 sq. ft. Obviously, your 320 sq. ft. area would put a lot of guys in “hog heaven”.

In postings like this I always advise that Insulation, heating/AC, electrical, and lighting needs should be addressed before purchasing tools and moving them in. Be sure to have several circuits with recepticles about 42” high along the walls. At least one 240V circuit would be nice. Keep the lighting on a separate circuit. I like the T-8 fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts. A few incandescent bulbs also on the ceiling will help to raise the color rendering index (CRI). Being able to see true colors is important. Windows reduce wall space, but the natural light is well worth it.

I built my “Workshop in the Woods” in “07.Several of these considerations are shown and described in my home page blog:

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View burkelyn's profile


31 posts in 3105 days

#12 posted 02-09-2010 06:44 PM

Yes, I have to agree with Bowa. Set the outlets at 42” or even higher if you’re a tall person. Bending over as you get older is a B… However, I am not an electrician, but I suggest that you consult one before too much planning goes ahead. If you have a 200 amp service coming into your house already, then you’re well on your way to success. If not, you can spec out the cost to have a separate service to the workshop which I think might be expensive depending on the distance you have to run the wire. However, I know that you can create a separate breaker for the shop from the main house (if you have enough power). Sub-Panels need a lot of power in a shop unless you want to run to the switch box every time. This is doubtful. I have an apt to which I have had a min. 60 amp run by an electrician. I recommend strongly that you at least consult one. I believe that you can do most of the surface or frame wiring yourself. Just have an electrician come in an inspect it or the electrical inspector will want to check it out after that of course. Be sure this is done for insurance purposes. I would prefer to see you run a standard 100 amp to the shop. More IS BETTER. However, underground issues I can not speak to so hopefully another LJ will know about this. Must be some water heater if it takes 90 amps… are you sure about that? All wiring and the Sub Panel in the workshop must be new and up to code. Depends on local issues and this is a good reason to get an electrician involved. See if you can find someone who still has a Master Electricians License who may be about to retire or has just retired. His license may be good or at least his knowledge will be and he or she would work for a lot less than normal. Personally I always hire someone to wire up 220 circuits because if something goes wrong there is more than a tickle there… LOL I know that you can go with half height breakers in your main box if you need more room and this would free up space. I only hope that you plan to run only one tool at 220 shut it down and then start another. With all this happening are you sure that you want to steal power from the house? No way to justify a new but expensive service to your workshop??? Sounds like serious tools. You don’t have any 3 phase do you….as that will bring whole new issues and 220 or not they will not work. 3 phase vs 1 phase is an issue better discussed here with someone who has an electrical background. Oh, sorry I forgot to mention that work table and I agree it should be central and large and the tools can be on the parimeter of the shop. You also might want to check out an issue of the Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram about a work table which can also be mobile and large too. Best of Luck

-- Peter J. Blake, Auburn, ME

View burkelyn's profile


31 posts in 3105 days

#13 posted 02-09-2010 06:48 PM

One more thought is lighting which I recommend florescent bulbs … Especially the DAYTIME bulbs, which I have just changed over to in my shop. More natural light and relieves any winter depression… I would do it again in a minute. Got mine and 4’ shop light at Home Depot. I used outlets with covers as shop lights already come wired and the light cord is about 4-5 ft long so you have a radius to play with them. Best to put all lights overhead on one switch which doesn’t drain much power, better keep them high enough so that you don’t hit them however I am limited in my shop and I think mine are about 6.5’ max as I am short enough to walk under them and others over 6’ bang their heads… LOL. Obviously the switch is by the door you enter. If you have two doors the feed is a little more complex, but not much. I wired everything in my house with 12-3 which to me is a white, black and ground wire in the yellow cable. I also wired the lights although people say that you can use 14 wire to do lights… Just buy enough 12-3 in a large amount to do the whole job. Be sure that the wire is flat and not twisted when you stretch it out to get a length before you do any cutting. I suggest that you buy at least 250’ of wire to start and go from there, however you might know better once you have your floor plan and approx lighting layout. Best of Luck Let us know and post pictures too as your work progresses.

-- Peter J. Blake, Auburn, ME

View burkelyn's profile


31 posts in 3105 days

#14 posted 02-09-2010 07:09 PM

Take a look at my shop and see if anything here gives you any ideas.

-- Peter J. Blake, Auburn, ME

View alexbarlage's profile


41 posts in 3068 days

#15 posted 02-09-2010 07:55 PM

a1jim has the right idea, you’ll just need 184’ of fence though.

Horses like the sun and snow.

-- The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

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