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Forum topic by Madtapper posted 03-09-2011 09:06 AM 1819 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Madtapper's profile


10 posts in 2639 days

03-09-2011 09:06 AM

Hello everyone. In the last six months I have been giving some serious thought to remodeling my home and possibly building a new work shop. I am currently working out of a 25’ x 25’ two car garage (that has displaced both vehicles), and I would love a little more natural light and room. My question to everyone is, “What would you do differently if you had to build your shop all over again?” Any particulars on where to put the dust collection? Outlet locations? What type of flooring? What type of heating? Lumbar storage? Finishing room? What advice would you pass on to help me with this project? I should point out that this shop is going to be dedicated to wood working, and purely as a hobby (i.e. no production…except for family and friends). Any help would be appreciated.

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

13 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 03-09-2011 03:29 PM

I’d do a better job of providing room for lumber stock and scraps outside of the workshop.

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

View whit's profile


246 posts in 3975 days

#2 posted 03-09-2011 03:54 PM

Are we talking dream shop, here, or functional reality?

I’d start with a clean slate and put in a separate power connection (meter and panel), ambient lighting and ventilation – lots of each. Most of the typical tools aren’t tall enough to interrupt lighting or ventilation (bandsaw and drill press, perhaps). If you run into issues, add task lighting. Dust collection and air compressor would be located outside the shop in an attached shed – again with plenty of ventilation.

I’d put the dust collection and power under the floor – either in the slab or under a framed floor. It gets all the cables and hoses out of the work area and makes the place easier to clean and safer. The down side is – you have to make sure how you set up the shop to start with.

It would have a small office area (PC, printer, etc), a finishing room, high ceiling rafters, and a double-wide, roll-up door. And, I agree with Rich, storage of raw materials away from the work area.

Now . . . if I could have my DREAM shop . . . ;)

-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3759 days

#3 posted 03-09-2011 04:06 PM

By all means, if you have enough land, build a separate dedicated workshop. Garages are almost always a compromise, a multi purpose/multi tasking place that puts limits on woodworking. In ‘07 I built my “Workshop in the Woods” because it became very evident that the garage had too many other purposes & functions.

My dedicated workshop is 100 yards from the house. It is actually a modified 24’x28’ garage package from Menards. By going with a gambrel roof design, I have a 12’x28’ loft area for wood storage. I can’t emphasize enough on how great it is to have this storage area. Downstairs in the main area I have six windows that give me a lot of natural light and ventilation. This reduces wall space, but for me was a good decision. Another good initial decision was to forgo the typical garage door. After all this was going to be a workshop, not a garage, and I certainly wasn’t going to build it to suit some future owner after I’m gone. My entry is double doors which gives me an opening of about 60”x80”, which is large enough for even some large projects.

You’ll hear it said that you can’t build it large enough. I don’t think that’s true. An oversized space can lead to a lot of extra steps and inneficient operation. Give some thought to the “work triangle” concept of design.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2796 days

#4 posted 03-09-2011 04:39 PM

I’ve had about five different commercial oriented shops over the years and when I built my retirement “dream shop” I made sure that:
1) I was walking on a framed wood floor. I’ve spent enough hours on concrete.
2) I had good dust collection. It’s below the floor. 8” PVC main with 6’ and some smaller 4” branches.
3) Power for the stationary tools was under the floor, right by the DC holes.
4) Lots of windows
5) Dedicated finishing room with filtered ventilation.
6) Built in compressed air with at least four stand pipes.
7) Lots of wall plugs. I hate long extensions.
8) Wood heat
I got them all in and it’s a great shop to work in.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2981 days

#5 posted 03-09-2011 05:04 PM

I’m in the process of doing it over, but on a smaller scale due to budget. What I will do will be different from what you will do. If your going to put down a concrete slab for the floor, one thing I would suggest would be to run sleepers and run your electrical and dust collection duct work to be under a wood floor. This will get things out of the way and make it more convenient as well as comfort on your feet and legs. If you plan to keep everything under one roof I would build a lumber storage room 10’x12’ with double doors for ease of access. With a finish room next to it with double doors as well. If your going to be some distance from the house you may want to consider a half bath restroom. If you have a large air compressor like myself you may want to house it in a small shed to conserve space and noise. In my situation I will be storing my lumber and air compressor in a 10’x12’ shed. For my electrical outlets I’m running them 48” off the floor and will have double outlets every 48” apart. I’m also running 240 single outlets every 8’ for possible 240 needs. For my heating I will use a natural gas vent less heater, and of course a window unit for A/C.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3230 days

#6 posted 03-09-2011 05:26 PM

Since we are talking “Dream Shop” territory here, assuming the space and finances aren’t the limits they are for me (I am on a small suburban lot with the house positioned oddly back on the lot making the back yard all but useless.).

I would… #1. Gambrel roof type barn. I like the aesthetics, not to mention the functionality of the added loft storage. #2. 10’ ceiling on the main shop floor. I have 8’ 6” ceilings now, and although it works, if simply feels claustrophobic. #3. 24’ x 48’ building footprint. #4. Wood floor with epoxy coating to protect the floor and make it easier to clean up. #5. Spray in foam insulation. #6. Full slatwall. White. #7. Centralized HVAC, Not sure how they work down here, but I understand Heat Pumps are great up north! I would defer that descision to those with expertise in the field… #8. Big cyclone dust collector, in a closet about halfway down one of the sidewalls. (Internally the sidwalls won’t go the full 48’, I am getting to that!) #9. Separate finishing room, 12’ x 18’ along the back section of the barn. #10. Along that same wall, have a bathroom 12’x6’. Including a shower. (Good way to avoid dragging dust into the house!) The shower MUST have a hand held head with a LONG hose, I am sure if I ever put up a shop like this, LOML would make me bathe the dogs in there… #11. LOTS of lighting. #12. Full second story with stairs, AND a materials lift for storage. #13. Plenty of windows. #14. At least 100 amp electrical service, probably more like 150… With plenty of 110V and 220V circuits and outlets. #15. Front “porch” loading dock level with a full size 4×4 pickup truck. Or at least closer than the ground. #16. Adult beverage fridge, a couple of chairs, and a table for poker night with friends. On the second floor away from the power tools and sawdust of course. (LOML hates cigar smoke…) #17. Proper full on miter saw station. My collapsible B&D really isn’t confidence inspiring, and the room I have now isn’t conductive to a truly good saw station. #18. Bookshelf on the 2nd floor “rec room” area to house the Technical library of woodworking, automotive, agriculture, homebrewing, music, computer, and outdoor magazines, and books. #19. IF possible to do it without problems due to the roof type, full radiant barrier (I am really liking the Attic Foil I got for the house).

I am pretty happy equipment wise, but again, since we are talking dream shop territory…

#1. Replace my Ryobi table saw with a SawStop 3HP long rail PCS with overhead dust collection. #2. Finish the 1.5 HP motor swap into my HF 14” band saw. Keep smaller blades in this one. #3. Add a Grizzly G0514X2B 19” 3HP band saw.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2878 days

#7 posted 03-09-2011 06:10 PM

I am currently remodeling my garage into my little dream shop and one thing I am doing this spring that I think will make a huge improvement is adding larger new windows. I am actually planning on putting a whole row of nice large hinge style windows along one wall with a view into my back yard. I will have my work bench in front of the windows so I can have the light and view as I work at the bench.

I hate not having a view outside and lack of natural light. Makes it feel so dark in my shop.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2920 days

#8 posted 03-10-2011 03:55 AM

Put the dust collector and air compressor outside of your workshop. Wooden floor. Heat with elect. or gas space heater and install a window A/C. .............................. and yes a seperate building.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3230 days

#9 posted 03-10-2011 05:23 AM

Three items you need to solve the problem…

#1. GPS tracking system like the FBI uses to track terrorism suspects. #2. 9mm, .45, .357, eh pick your caliber… #3. Laws like we have here in Texas!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3944 days

#10 posted 03-10-2011 05:39 AM

1. – God bless Texas gun laws. I wish all states would let you protect your home and property.
2. – I don’t quite agree with you on caliber. I prefer 12 or 20 gauge with “00” buck.
3. – dbhost, what are you talking about on the GPS tracking gadgets? How much are they, and were do you get them?


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

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3759 days

#11 posted 03-10-2011 04:50 PM

Perhaps shop security is a topic important enough to justify a new thread, so that more LJ’s will be informed.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2924 days

#12 posted 03-12-2011 06:11 PM

I think we all have something that we think might work better, but dbhost, when I read your list, I started to feel good about my shop again. It is built in the loft of our 44’ x 84’ gambrel roofed barn, and I lowered the ceilings to 12’ to keep in the heat (supplied by 30’ radiant heater).

My dust collection is under the shop floor and the cyclone is on the main level of the barn, so I have less noise with it running than a jigsaw…

I don’t really have anything to do over or add except a seperate finishing room as was mentioned would be nice…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Madtapper's profile


10 posts in 2639 days

#13 posted 03-13-2011 07:45 AM

Thank you all for the great advice! DB, I want to work in your dream shop! I am definitely going to take advantage of everyone’s advice. I must say, in thinking about heating, flooring, electrical, and dust collection, I did forget about security. Thanks for putting that on my radar Jonathan.

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

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