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Wood shop in a house?

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Forum topic by Marleywood posted 10-07-2016 03:09 AM 624 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marleywood

15 posts in 139 days


10-07-2016 03:09 AM

Hello folks,

I hope you can help me with some guidance, I’m getting very different points of view from associates.

I need to set up a wood shop to make raised bed garden kits. I’ll be using cedar. I’m bringing in S4S stock, so most of what will be going on is chop saw cutting, several router tables for rounding, channeling etc and some sanders.

I have an apartment over my garage with a front room large enough to accommodate my needs (more or less). My brother (with more of a background in wood working than I) feels this is a bad idea, not only because of the added hassle of bringing raw materials up stairs, and finished products down, but mostly because he says we’ll “never get the sawdust out of the rooms”. I plan to use a dust collection system.

Is he right? Am I crazy to consider doing this? I can’t/won’t give up my garage for this because I live in an area with some serious winter weather. I can build a shop next year I suppose, but I need to get this going soon (it’s a business).

Thoughts?

THanks!


13 replies so far

View clin's profile

clin

514 posts in 461 days


#1 posted 10-07-2016 03:47 AM

Fine dust is considered a health hazard. This is the dust so fine you cannot see it. And, cedar is considered more hazardous than your average wood dust. Even the absolute best dust collectors will not collect all the fine dust.

Is this apartment connected to the main house?

Does it share heating and cooling with the main house?

If it does NOT share ventilation with the main house, you should be okay. If it shares ventilation with the main house, I think it is an absolute NO unless you disconnect or otherwise modify the ventilation.

I would also consider venting your dust collector outside vs recirculating through a filter (though noise for your neighbors could be an issue). This will of course eliminate your DC pumping dust back, but also will create negative air pressure in the space. So if it is connected to the house, if anything it should suck air from the house into the apartment. Though you still need to crack a window or provide some other more direct air source. But still NO ventilation in common with the main house.

If the space shares ventilation, I think you should consider renting some space until you build your shop. Also, if you’re in a typical residential area, almost certainly zoning would restrict you from running a wood shop type business.

Your product sounds like something you have to process a lot of lumber for. Your brother probably has a point about the difficulties of moving materials in and out. Another reason to consider renting a space.

-- Clin

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ki7hy

493 posts in 204 days


#2 posted 10-07-2016 03:58 AM

Clint is right, this is not just a bad idea but a very bad idea. If you were a hand tool user only then this would be up for discussion but power tools? I wouldn’t think the health risks would be worth it at all. Carting materials up and down stairs and dirty rooms is the least of your worries.

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hairy

2384 posts in 2997 days


#3 posted 10-07-2016 11:53 AM

Do the cutting, routing, sanding stuff in the garage, assembly in the house, until you get a dedicated space.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

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MrStyle

52 posts in 1195 days


#4 posted 10-07-2016 12:18 PM

I would say – use the garage for everything – and park the vehicle outside. Dealing with the winter is a small price – and from your post seems like only 1 winter of inconvenience – compared to the health issues you would risking from the inside upstairs shop. I have a shop in my basement with pretty aggressive dust collection – and dust still gets into the air – there is simple no way to stop it. So you would end up having to do a pretty aggressive cleaning of the apartment – every surface will have some layer of fine cedar dust…

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dmo0430

23 posts in 467 days


#5 posted 10-07-2016 02:01 PM

To help with the garage buy mobile kits and get as many tools on wheels as possible. If you stack it right you might still get the car in the garage. If you’re building a shop for this next year maybe just wear a dust mask (all the time) in the interim.

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Snipes

94 posts in 1709 days


#6 posted 10-07-2016 02:13 PM

yep he’s right!! but I like to put a handful of sawdust under my pillow at night, helps me sleep better. It’s your place get cuttin’..

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


#7 posted 10-07-2016 02:27 PM

Am I crazy to consider doing this?

Yes, listen to your brother.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Marleywood's profile

Marleywood

15 posts in 139 days


#8 posted 10-07-2016 04:45 PM

Just to be clear, I’m far from having committed (even in my mind)to building anyplace else to work in any time soon (including next year). This house was purchased with the intent of having enough space to do what I’m doing in that space over the garages. It is not connected to the main house through any ductwork

It’s only two of us working in the shop, if we are lucky enough to need more capacity, well, nice problem to have.

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile

UncannyValleyWoods

441 posts in 1329 days


#9 posted 10-07-2016 08:55 PM



Am I crazy to consider doing this?

Yes, listen to your brother.

- bondogaposis


-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/UncannyValleyWoods?ref=hdr_shop_menu

View justgrif's profile

justgrif

36 posts in 1098 days


#10 posted 10-07-2016 09:00 PM

So this is a currently unused apartment space? Would it make sense to just convert it to a dedicated shop space? In addition to normal dust collection, install a good air cleaner, and use masks while operating tools.

View Marleywood's profile

Marleywood

15 posts in 139 days


#11 posted 10-08-2016 02:23 PM



So this is a currently unused apartment space? Would it make sense to just convert it to a dedicated shop space? In addition to normal dust collection, install a good air cleaner, and use masks while operating tools.

- justgrif

It is currently unused, it was actually built before the main house and they share no common ventilation. We are planning on making it a dedicated shop space.

A lot of folks here seem to be getting caught up in the description of the space. If it were a ground floor free standing space, would that make anyone view it differently?

I’m not being critical of other peoples opinions here, heck, I came here seeking them.

Besides the obvious inconvenience of being on a second level, which I get, I don’t see how this is much different than a finished barn for use in cold weather climates (which we are in).

We have two good size DC units to hook to the machines for sawdust, we plan on installing an air filtration unit and using masks.

View clin's profile

clin

514 posts in 461 days


#12 posted 10-08-2016 06:15 PM



A lot of folks here seem to be getting caught up in the description of the space. If it were a ground floor free standing space, would that make anyone view it differently?

- Marleywood

Well, your thread title is “Wood shop in a house?”, so I think that sort of set the scene. I’m still unclear if the proposed shop space is connected to the house in any meaningful way, such as a door between the two. If so, you just need to be aware of this, weather seal that door and keep it closed.

Otherwise, it sounds like it is just a space you can use. How inconvenient it is, being above the garage, depends on what you are doing. And heck, seldom in life is any situation perfect. Just keep in mind that aside from materials, you have to get any machines (like a table saw) up there.

Also, don’t rule out using your garage. There’s lots of ways to share a garage with cars using rolling work surfaces and machines. And it doesn’t have to be either or. Maybe you only need the garage to rough cut lumber into more manageable lengths, and don’t have to do that every day.

I have an old book, that I picked up used, titled “Great Workshops From Fine Woodworking” which is a compendium of articles on workshops from Fine Woodworking magazine.

One of these is title “A Shop on Top”: Here’s a link to the article, though you need to have a membership with Fine Woodworking to see the whole article, but even without you can see the sketch of the shop.

I didn’t re-read the article, but he appears to use a block and tackle to raise and lower things from the garage up into the shop space. As I recall, he found this convenient to lift and lower directly into the bed of his pickup truck.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2004/12/01/a-shop-on-top

-- Clin

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Marleywood

15 posts in 139 days


#13 posted 10-08-2016 07:13 PM

Clin,

I’m quite sure I caused some of confusion as to what I am trying to do, my bad.

That diagram pretty accurately illustrates what I have in mind. I wish I had peaked ceilings like that, but alas not, there is an attic above.

To clarify the building arrangement, the garage with the apartment over (proposed shop) was built before the house that we will be living is was built. There is no sharing of systems with the main house of any HVAC. They two buildings are connected via a breezeway or vestibule type hallway, which also opens out to the driveway. All 3 doorways have exterior type doors & seals on them, and there no opening windows in this space.

As for equipment, much like the drawing in your post, my space has a small balcony with a doorway over the driveway. I have good access there to use a skid steer or something similar to lift the machinery up to the space.

Materials up and down are another matter, but I’m willing to put up with that inconvenience for the other benefits I expect to realize from using this space to work in. We may leave the table saw in one of the garage bays however, both for space issues and the fact that we really don’t need it for day-to-day operation. The shop had a work table mounted chop saw and a radial saw that take care of most of our needs. When we need to rip something long, we use the TS. (Plus it weighs a friggin ton!)

Part of the appeal of this location for living and working are the incredible views of the mountains and lake area we will be in. Even if I was willing to push wheeled equipment around down in the garage area, it would be like working in a cave as opposed to the space above which is bright and cheery.

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