Which is better, a larger shared space shop, or a smaller dedicated shop?

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Forum topic by dbhost posted 06-18-2010 08:13 PM 1496 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5767 posts in 3474 days

06-18-2010 08:13 PM

I am constantly pondering this question. I CAN keep my shop in the garage, where it seems like every single item related to outdoor use ends up. Weed eater, mower, edger, bags of fertilizer, lawn seed, you name it, ends up. I CAN put in a shed, but it will have to be small due to the size of my lot. The biggest I am going to be able to manage is 12×16, and that would be a bit large in my lot. A 10×12 would be much more reasonable…

My question is. I am already working in similar space. What advantages are in each setup. Even if I move the non shop stuff out to a new shed, what would the drawbacks to that be?

I would guess others have mulled this over before. What did you decide to do and why?

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19 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3890 days

#1 posted 06-18-2010 08:19 PM

if you can get every non woodworking related item out, and you have the space to raise a shed for those. why wouldn’t you? I fail to see any drawback to it…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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5767 posts in 3474 days

#2 posted 06-18-2010 08:27 PM

What about dust / noise? I failed to mention. Attached garage workshop… My fault. I keep thinking that it would be nice to get the noise away from the house, but I have a hard time giving up the space. ESPECIALLY since I can move non shop stuff to a shed…

LOML would prefer I keep it in the garage… But when babies come, work will come to a standstill while baby sleeps… That could be a huge problem….

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View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3227 days

#3 posted 06-18-2010 08:36 PM

If you built a shed for the woodworking, would it really be that much quieter? Would it be easier/cheaper to build a small storage shed (that has little requirements structurally) and then put some money into insulating the garage and soundproofing it more?

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3350 days

#4 posted 06-18-2010 09:21 PM

My thoughts seem to be the same as those already expressed. I would think you could store a good deal of outdoor items in a smaller shed, freeing room in the garage. Storage space does not require as much room to be effective. Everything I had used to be stored in the basement. I built an 8×10 shed out in the backyard and was quite surprised how much I could put in there and still keep it organized. I think it would be more efficient to capitalize on the larger space of the garage then attempt to build another work environment.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3200 days

#5 posted 06-18-2010 09:23 PM

It matters not how much shed space you create, you will find a way to fill it beyond its capability. There will always be something that just has to go in there, lol. The bottom line is you will need to work with the room you have, and stick to it. Throw out the things you don’t need (using it within 6 months?) and put the ones you do in their places. Wall space can be well utilized, even hanging light things from the roof works; I have a few things hanging with a rope tied to them to let them down when needed. Organization really helps. I have a small workspace, about 14×14, and it’s always full. It’s a battle, but what the heck?

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3890 days

#6 posted 06-18-2010 09:32 PM


outdoor ‘shed’ for woodworking will require you to consider and setup the following:

1. electric
2. insulation
3. heating/AC
4. moisture control
5. better flooring material than just for outdoor stuff storage.

esp. since you mentioned that you’re limited by outdoor space that you have – I would stay in the garage, than having to go through all the trouble and having to suffice for a smaller work space.

when babies come – priorities change. noise may not be your #1 reason not to be woodworking (or it may… lol)

good luck with both ventures :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4256 posts in 3406 days

#7 posted 06-18-2010 09:47 PM

Agree with the above. A separate small shop doesn’t sound cheap, and you have already put in the electric, AC, insulation, etc in the garage.

I had an extremely small shop at one point in my life, for just 18 months. An outdoor item with doors on each end
so I could put long stock in from either side to cut with my RAS. The walls were for hanging my meager number of tools. Had electricity, but not much, no AC, no heat etc.

Ain’t going back there again, especially in this climate. More sound proofing, and some more DC solutions would solve your issues, along with the shed.

Then you have to demarcate space, and keep everybody and everything out of it. I fight that one tooth and nail, and it works.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3474 days

#8 posted 06-18-2010 10:00 PM


I have the A/C, some of the electric, and insulation in the attic and rollup doors.

I have yet to do the work that needs to be done on the walls. (Rip sheet rock out, insulate, run sub panel and branch circuits, put new rock up, paint…). BUT I am close enough I ought to soldier forward.

I think the biggest issue, and worry for me is, LOML just insists garden stuff goes here more or less.Even with the shed I am concerned she will continue this approach…

I have thought of the 8×12 shed out back as well. Not for a shop, but to store the not shop stuff. That would NOT offer any help in storing building materials, but it WOULD store all the BBQ, and lawn & garden stuff. And as I finish projects, the building materials stack gets smaller…

Did I mention there are 10 bags of quickcrete, about 16 PT 2×4x8s, 8 PT 4×4x8s, about 180 6’ x6” x5/8” dog eared PT fence pickets, and 10 1×6x8 PT in the shop along with a New Braunfels Bandera Smoker (6’ tall x 6’ wide by 2.5’ deep), a push mower, a wheel barrow, edger weed eater, fertilizer spreader, buckets of paint, gas cans…. It’s enough to drive you crazy!

And punching a hole in my foot last weekend didn’t help the progress either!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3378 days

#9 posted 06-18-2010 10:41 PM

Babies don’t stay babies very long, and in my experience they keep you busy enough that the time goes by pretty fast. If you are spending a lot of time with the baby when its awake – which I recommend – you may find yourself pretty busy – or sleeping yourself – when the baby is asleep. So I wouldn’t use that as a significant design consideration. But if the noise in the house is enough to aggravate the LOYL – even a little – I recommend you take that very seriously.

My shop shares the garage with the wife’s car as well as the yard stuff. I store the yard stuff near the big doors so its easy for my wife to find it and get it – and so she has no reason to wander into the space where my tools are. My garage is detached so all the doors are in one wall and my shop space is toward the opposite wall. That works very well. Your layout is likely different, but probably still has a corner away from all the doors. I also have the yard stuff storage well organized so the stuff is easy to find and get, and also so it doesn’t occupy any more space than necessary. ALSO, I never say anything if my wife doesn’t put stuff back in its place – I just put it back when I see it. The kids get different treatment, but then the last is out of the house by the end of the summer.

In the end the situation works pretty well for me. One advantage is that I can use the wife’s parking space when I need to. I just make sure that when I’m using her parking space I don’t let the project sit, and I get my crap out of her way promptly when I’m done. The arrangement works well (hello, my name is Greg and I’m a slobaholic. I’ve been neat for 18 months – if you know what I mean!).

What probably won’t work well is sharing space with kids. I have heard of kids that like to keep things neat – but I’ve never seen one. My experience is that they trash all the space they have access to. So I’d consider using a storage shed to isolate their stuff far away from everything that you care about.

-- Greg D.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4256 posts in 3406 days

#10 posted 06-18-2010 10:52 PM

It’s obvious, that you just have to really be calculating in this part of the dance. Perhaps have a few things that would be easy to store on the wall of the garage with special hooks and all for her. But then make the storage shed kinda her project, maybe throw in a potting bench, or whatever might grab her. Gotta be creative…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View sandt38's profile


166 posts in 3149 days

#11 posted 06-18-2010 11:44 PM

As someone who went from an attached garage to a separate building, I would do the separate building any day. Sure, there are extra costs involved, but the building is my space, not an addition to the house. My wife leaves me alone out there, where she always stuck her head in the garage and “bugged me” about something or another. Plus the noise level in the house is down, and I can run my saw while the drier is running… yeah, that sucks.

I ran a 100 amps out there with a 12 position panel, and overdid everything for a hobbyist. If you need info on stringing power and running wire from the panel in the house, to stringing the building, I can share a lot of info with you, and personal experiences.You have the light fixtures and AC already, so you save a pretty penny on them. Insulation isn’t terribly expensive, and a blue flame heater with a 30 pound propane tank is the deal. You can also build a little outhouse/lean-to and stick your compressor and dust collection system in it, so no more noise.

While my shop is smaller then my garage, it is my personal sanctuary… my escape place. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3827 days

#12 posted 06-18-2010 11:59 PM

I need my own space, and have it. I have invested a lot of time energy and cash in my hobby. I don’t like the idea of anyone sharing my shop or vice versa.I feel that some may take advantage and borrow my tools not put them back etc even take them .So a big no no. I prefer the security and peace of mind with my own door keys thanks.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4541 days

#13 posted 06-19-2010 12:10 AM

I’d go for building a separate storage shed.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View a1Jim's profile


117423 posts in 3819 days

#14 posted 06-19-2010 01:06 AM

I vote for a storage shed for none woodworking items.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3306 days

#15 posted 06-19-2010 10:17 AM

I agree with Jim. I got a storage shed for all my other things. Mower, snowblower, weedeater.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

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