New Shop From the Ground Up - Two Questions

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Forum topic by SteveM posted 01-31-2010 06:27 PM 1585 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SteveM's profile


108 posts in 4193 days

01-31-2010 06:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop workshop design

Fellow dusty people,

As some know, my skill set easily floats around in my current shop by my ego barely fits in. And, since my bride has banished me from using the interior door to the shop (its locked and taped shut to keep at least some of the dust out of ‘her’ house – what’s wrong with dust?) requiring that I exit the house and enter the shop from the exterior, we have decided to build a new shop building.

Actually I plan to call it “The Studio” because things coming from a studio cost a lot more than if they came from a lowly shop. Anyhow, the shop will be 24’ x 36’ with 10’ ceilings and here are the questions:

1. does anyone care enough about this project for me to attempt to blog about it and showcase the errors I make?
2. does anyone have suggestions as to specific existing blogs, forums, etc. for me to review so maybe the number of errors is reduced?

The building permit will come next week and we should move dirt the following week. Thanks for any and all input.


20 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4949 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 01-31-2010 06:36 PM

No blog here, but a few observations from my shop building. Plenty of 120v and several 240V outlets on a “shop” breaker box. I put mine @ 4’ from the finished floor. I used 12” x 12” cvt tile for the floor (slab), and pegboard for the walls which are insulated 16” center studs. Insulate the ceiling too.
Good luck.


View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 01-31-2010 06:56 PM

It always interesting to watch shops (aka) Studios going up. I would suggest having dust collection,air and electric in the floor. When I poured the floors to my shop I left channels in the floor wide enough to hold dust collection,air and wiring. then I put 1/4” metal plates over the top so I can roll my equipment around. this way there are outs were I need them,Dust collection going to my table saw with out having to step over it or have a unit next to my saw or one go straight up over head.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5911 posts in 3220 days

#3 posted 01-31-2010 07:28 PM

Greetings Jim…. That’s a niffty idea about the dust collection, wiring, etc. in the floor… I didn’t know you had done that. Sort of like when I put my floor plugs in the slab before pouring…... just a question though… what happens if you get a clog, or back-up in your d.c. hose, and have to clear it? Do you use a snake, or just blow it clear with air? Also… do you have blast gates to shut off others? Just curious, Jim…. neat idea, though.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3551 days

#4 posted 01-31-2010 07:43 PM

I would suggest using roxul mineral wool insulation blown in in the walls if sound deadening is at all important to you. Also 5/8 drywall on the outside walls will kill sound better than two layers of 1/2” will. Other than that, plan on having more outlets than tool with LOTS of breakers and also plan on having 240v circuits even if you don’t have any 240v tools yet. What tools do you have already? Do you have a layout already in mind? Do you plan on having a finishing room?

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#5 posted 01-31-2010 07:50 PM

Hey Rick
I guess more details are in order. when I poured the floor I formed the channels with pressure treated 2×8s with 20 penny nails towards the slab to hold the forms permanently in place and put some 1/4” ply across the top . after the poor had set I removed the 1/4” ply and I had a place were I screwed down the plates so if I ever have a problem I can get to it and unscrew and lift up the plates, but so far so good.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5911 posts in 3220 days

#6 posted 01-31-2010 08:03 PM

Greetings Steve…. All the suggestions above are very good ones, and you’ll get a lot more as this thing goes along.. all will have good ideas about what makes a good shop great. Take heed and listen. My suggestion is this: when designing your shop, if you have the room, add an extra room to store your dust collector, air compressor, and /or central heat and air in. I built an 10’ x 10’ room inside my shop to house these. It cuts down on the noise factor a bunch, and insulate that room well. Then you can run your duct work to all your machines (either overhead, or in the floor like Jim). I’m glad I did mine. More ideas coming from great wworkers, who know how to build a shop and what is needed.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#7 posted 01-31-2010 08:13 PM

Good Idea Rick . You can also have a small space outside that’s were I put two of my three dust collectors plus my compressor all done for noise and safety(compressors blow up some times) Actually I still have some of my dust collection up high along one wall and some sub grade.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3594 days

#8 posted 01-31-2010 08:25 PM

As for #1; It’s always fun to watch someone’s new shop come to life, that’s the part of my comment you’ll like.

As for #2; Now for the part you won’t like so much. If the building permit is on the way and you’re just about ready to move dirt, you’re missing out on 90% of the benefit you’d get from reviewing existing shops. There’s a lot of details (like will you use radiant heating in the floors?, will you run dust collection under the slab?, etc.) that really should be figured out before moving a shovelful of dirt. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a constant (and expensive) game of catch up.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 3098 days

#9 posted 01-31-2010 08:36 PM

i say if u have the time dave do it up!, but dont take time from the project to blog if your running short, and run outlets like youll never use close to that many, because you will, my garage has 2-220 outlets both on the back wall which makes me have to bring something in the shop 1/2 way to use the plasma cutter, not too bad for smaller stuff but when a car is involved im screwed…lol
also i just got a pc set up out there which shuts off with the light switch, (kind of a funny, well for anyone else) but all my lights are on the house breaker which is 90% of my outlets all on the house side of the garage which is pretty stupid beings that i have a subpanel in the garage (previous owner did the electric) and i also have 1 breaker dedicated to a single 60 watt lightbulb in the center of the garage ceiling, so eventually ill get a bunch of outlets ran from it and ill have room for 1 more breaker but then i gotta tear walls up…so that 1 may remain dead for

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3787 days

#10 posted 01-31-2010 08:49 PM


I built my “Workshop in the Woods” in ‘07, after having to suffer in 1/2 of a two car garage for over two decades. In the planning for a new shop I found that there are two main considerations; the amount of land available, and the budget. All ideas, practical and grandose, must filter through those two considerations.

Top priorities are electrical, lighting, heating, and insulation. Do not neglect wood storage as well. There are always compromises and trade offs. I wanted a lot of natural light and ventilation, so I have six windows. this reduced my wall space. Plywood on walls, ceiling, and floors was too expensive, so I have a concrete floor and OSB walls and ceiling. Did I get everything I wanted? No. Am I happy with the final result? You bet!

Your question regarding whether anyone would care about your blog on your project, is easy to answer. My “Workshop in the Woods” blog now has 1642 “reads”.
Best wishes and keep us posted.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3800 days

#11 posted 01-31-2010 09:15 PM

My shop is in our old garage which is just off from the kitchen. I have no problem with dust getting into the house what so ever. If you care to look at my blog “Dust Collection In” it might give you some ideas to consider. My dust collection system has really made the difference of keeping the dust contained in the shop.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View SteveM's profile


108 posts in 4193 days

#12 posted 01-31-2010 09:15 PM

Wow! Thanks for the quick replies. Guess I should have been clearer.

I’m game to attempt my first blog and show progress or lack thereof IF it can help others.

As to design, the building outside dimensions are more or less fixed but little else. It will have a truss floor on 12” centers w/ 3/4” Advantec flooring and a truss roof. The official drawings upon which my tax assessment is based, shows unfinished throughout with a two small rooms; one for mechanical and one bath/shower. I had planned the DC and compressor in the smaller room but recently decided to put them in the underfloor space to let gravity help the DC and keep the noise of both out of the shop.

Plan to have too many (meaning I MIGHT end up with enough) 110 and 220 outlets, compressed air stations and dust collection points where the major tools are. Knowing that I’ll probably change the location of the major tools was the reason why I was keeping to the overhead dust system until recently. Now I figure I’ll just cut holes in the floor and let the kids figure out how to fix them when they inherit the place.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4014 days

#13 posted 01-31-2010 09:23 PM

Well, you can see my entire shop being build from the ground up.

You could build trap doors over the places where the DC pipes come up through the floor. Make them so that they plug the pipe when they are closed. That would allow you to put them about anywhere and even move machinery out of the way when not in use without leaving a hole in the floor.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View brandonsommer's profile


33 posts in 3063 days

#14 posted 02-01-2010 09:45 AM

can’t wait to watch this project unfold!

View HoustonFurniture's profile


2 posts in 3063 days

#15 posted 02-01-2010 11:11 AM


Nice discussion above every one has shared the good knowledge.

Houston Furniture

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