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Forum topic by nate22 posted 02-26-2011 07:52 PM 1488 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 3109 days

02-26-2011 07:52 PM

Hi everyone I am in the process of designing my own workshop and I was seeing if any of you guys had any ideas. I know the major stuff like work area, space for lumber, finishing room, and I am going to put a office and storage area on a second floor. But what other things would be good to include in it. And what kind of heat is best to heat my shop with. Should I get a wood stove or someother kind of heat. I thought about a stove I got a lot of woods around me so I could get wood anytime. Any ideas would be great. Thanks in advance and have a nice day. And what kind of floor should I put in it. Concrete or wood.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

5 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3408 days

#1 posted 02-26-2011 08:03 PM

To be honest … you’re asking very good questions, but … because there are so many of them … my first thought is to point you toward any of a couple of REALLY good books ON the subject of designing and building a workshop.

I have a few, and could recommend any of them (and bought them used, for cheap !):

Title …. (author)

Setting up Your Workshop (“Back to Basics” series)
The Workshop Book (Landis)
Setting up Shop (Nagyszalanczy)
Small Woodworking Shops (Fine Woodworking)

Good luck !

-- -- Neil

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3290 days

#2 posted 02-28-2011 10:56 PM

When I was designing my workshop, actually redesigning, I used a simple planning tool that Grizzly Tools has on their website. It has dimensionally accurate power tool and bench icons that are easy to move around digitally.

My shop is a detached building, a bit bigger than a 2 car garage, about 24×32.

My first piece of advice is build as big as you can afford. Like you I have 2 stories. Upstairs if finished with carpet, TV, wet bar, room length closets, etc. I houses my woodworking library and some storage. I actually wish I hadn’t carpeted the room. I would put my lathes upstairs and separate turning from wood working.

I didn’t put 220 current in originally, I didn’t have any 220 tools, but now my saw, planer, jointer, and lathe are 220 so I had to have wiring run with conduit on the walls.

I really wish I had planned better for the air compressor and dust collection. I would have put them in a spearate room. The shop has a cement floor. If I had to do it againI would have put in an elevated wood floor and would have run the ducting, air plumbing, and electricity under the floor. I would really like to have the power for the tools and the duct collection connections right where it needs to be for each tool coming out of the floor.

I also agree with Neil about the books. I probably own 8-10 workshop planning books. I could go on with things I would do differently, but I still love my shop and it’s getting close to being ready to photograph and post. I think it’s really important to be flexible because you interests and tools will change over time.

If you have individual questions Pm me and I’ll respond.

Good luck,

-- Glen

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 03-07-2011 12:31 AM

- make it larger. No matter what size you think you can get by with, you will regret it when you are done so you might as well double it now. Woodworking has many facets that you may want to explore over the years, and a lot of them require extensive space. Without knowing your specific interests, it is always a safe bet to say you will want more space.

- incorporate lots of windows. Natural light has many benefits, and you will be glad you made the investment in a bit more glass than you might think necessary.

- lots of circuits. Plan for 220 on every wall. Make each wall’s outlet’s on their own circuit.

- go overboard on lighting. Find a lighting calculator on line, and follow the guidelines. It might seem ridiculous, but you will appreciate it.

- a water source in the shop is handy if feasible.

- make it larger. It was not an accident that I typed this twice. :)

- design a spot in your shop layout for a good sized assembly table. Wire outlets above it in the ceiling. This can become the heart of your shop.

- regarding heat, I went with in-floor radiant with an electric boiler. It is sweet. Would do it the same way if I built another shop.

- regarding your point on the finishing room, I would suggest not doing this because it is a waste of footprint. Most people that I know who dedicated some portion of their shop to this function regret doing so. I just finish pieces right where I build them and it hasn’t been a problem. If I am trying to do multiple projects at once, I can drag one into the garage to finish it, or up in the attic.

- use attic trusses to give yourself a nice room up above. put down a floor up there, and then you can use that as your finishing room if you want, or as an “attic kiln” like I use mine.

Good luck!

-- PaulMayer,

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2914 days

#4 posted 03-07-2011 03:02 AM

I have a 40’ x 70’ pole building that has 2 shops a 40’x45’ wood shop and a 30’x40’ auto shop. I have 10’ ceilings that I highly recommend.

If I had to do it over again I would go with in floor heat in the concrete with 1” high density foam underneath. But that’s only if you plan on keeping it heated.The heat source would be a wood boiler with a gas back up.

Also recommend running all your electric in conduit.

-- New Auburn,WI

View Pop's profile


429 posts in 4180 days

#5 posted 03-07-2011 06:16 PM

Being an old draftsman I drew up my shop design at 1/2 in. = 1 foot. I then drew-up the footprint of my tools at the same scale on heavy paper like a file folder. I cut out the machines and then tried out various layouts. I also cut out a 4 foot (scale) circle to plan for my movement around the shop.It’s easier to push machines around on paper than move real machines. When you think you’ve decided on a layout, leave it for a few days and come back to see if it’s really what you like. When you get the final design tape the machines down and overlay with another another sheet of tracing paper and trace the “master plan” to design power, lighting, dust collection etc.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

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