New shop - need ideas and advice

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Forum topic by BamaCummins posted 11-24-2011 06:57 PM 1406 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 3569 days

11-24-2011 06:57 PM

I just built a 24×24 workshop, wood frame, metal on outside on a concrete slab. I need advice for the help. Shop is approximately 200 feet from my house, stand alone.

Electrical needs – service box (60 or 100 amp), 220 volts outlets? (don’t have any tools currently using this), gauge wire to run from house to shop etc. outlets on separate circuits, lighting etc. want to ensure future needs will be covered

wall covering – OSB painted?
ceiling covering – ????
shop layout – tools, cabinets, counter space
lighting = maybe 3 rows of 4 foot flourescents?

Tools I already own: delta contractor saw, jointer, portable planer, portable dust collector, air compressor, jet air cleaner, router table, miter saw, and multiple hand tools. Plan to buy a bandsaw.

Any advice and help would be appreciated.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

14 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#1 posted 11-24-2011 08:48 PM

I built mine a couple years ago. I ran 100 amp service which seems to be ok, I usually work alone, so its 1 or 2 tools at a time.

I did 1/2 plywood on walls and ceilings. I costed out OSB and the difference wasn’t enough for me so I went with CDX. I love being able to hang stuff and not worry.

I just ran 2 rows of outlets in the ceiling. For the most part I have the normal florescent light bulbs. I bought the temporary light fixtures at Home depot and added a plug on the end. Just plugging them in hold them up. (I also have 10’ ceilings)

I separated as many circuits as I could.

I screwed the plywood up, so if I need another circuit its possible, but a pain.

I don’t think you can ever guess what you’ll need for 220. You’ll probably have tools on 3 walls so I’d run a 220 circuit to each.

As for wire size, I’ll let someone with more knowledge than me chime in. I happened to have a long piece of entrance wire left over from a project long ago. Its bigger than what I needed, but I had it so cost was right.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3954 days

#2 posted 11-24-2011 09:06 PM

Insulate all walls and ceiling. What about windows? 220 on 4 walls, 100 amp should be fine. Separate circuits on each wall. Size the breakers accordingly. How far from your main in the house?
I used a prefinished pegboard on all walls, and sheetrock on ceiling. Plenty of hanging space.
Grizzly has a shop layout program you can use. Click and drag your tools. Tablesaw in the center. Is the TS a 220?
What about heat? I put in 2 ceiling fans for ventilation.
Steel doors for security. Fire alarm? Burglar alarm?


View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 11-24-2011 09:12 PM

Don has some good ideas .I put in a 200 amp box and I have at least 50, 120 outlets and 20, 220 outlets. I agree ply is better then osb but osb will work. If after you have insulated,done your wiring and installed your wall covers I would suggest you paint all walls and ceilings white to help with you lighting when you get around to it. I used #10 wire for 220 and #12 for 120 wiring. I would look at other shops on LJs to see their layouts and use the grizzly workshop planner and I think finewoodworking is having a contest for the best shop layout to help with the best lay out for you . you want to think about what operation your going when . as an example if your going to make cabinets you want to store you sheet goods close to the front of the table saw so you can tilt the sheet goods in place, usually you will use a jounter and table saw in close order one following the other so you don’t want them very far apart. I think if your going to use florescent lights 3 rows length wise should do the trick . I hope this helps some. Feel free to Pm me if I can help more.
Here’s FWW shop planner

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2669 days

#4 posted 11-25-2011 01:51 AM

Separate the lights from the wall receptacles (different circuits).

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3431 days

#5 posted 11-25-2011 02:23 AM

Regarding size. depends on length. 50 ft #4 or 3 wire… 100 feet or longer #3 o #2. And that’s copper. aluminum would need larger.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View BamaCummins's profile


67 posts in 3569 days

#6 posted 11-25-2011 03:03 PM

Thanks all for the insight. Yes, I planned to paint walls regardless of material used. Seems OSB looks OK when painted. Planned to insulate and have a portable kerosene heater, just have to be judicious when finishing projects with that type of heat. Probably will put in a wood stove later. Sounds like a 220v outlet on each wall would be sufficient. No tools use 220v at present, just thinking ahead in case.

Thanks for all the advice.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2481 days

#7 posted 11-25-2011 03:29 PM

My thoughts would be to make certain you insulate the roof heavily and put in powered vents.
There’s nothing like the summer sun beating down on a roof to really help you lose that extra weight.
Next, put up some storage in the rafters, depending on the available space it doesn’t need to be a lot. This sure makes it nice to move green wood out of the way and give it a place to dry.
Receptacles in the rafters…. it’s nice to be able to have lights coming down when you are wandering around up there, instead of using a flash light or a drop light or just the ambient light coming up from below.

I agree with the 220 on every wall. While your at it, put in a 200 amp service, you may not need it now, but it’s amazing how soon you’ll find you can run out of power. Besides, it doesn’t cost that much more and the meter is going to be 200 amps anyway, provided you are running a new meter head.
Bring the power from the pole, not your house. This might cost more, but it will keep mama happy if you don’t suck all the power while she’s doing laundry, cooking and has the heat pump going all at once.

These would be my personal preferences, YMMV

Good Luck!


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#8 posted 11-25-2011 03:34 PM

I polyéd the plywood. Its still light, Its at least wood, and I hate paint!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15341 posts in 2612 days

#9 posted 11-25-2011 03:36 PM

Workbench space along a wall with a window. Natural lighting is best, anytime you can get it.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View StumpyNubs's profile


7587 posts in 2794 days

#10 posted 11-25-2011 04:15 PM

I’ll let the others comment on the mechanical issues (like electricity, heating, etc) and give you my take on the shop look and layout…

If you plan on spending any amount of time in the shop, carefully plan out how you want it to look and feel. If you’re like me, you want your shop to be a place to work AND a place to enjoy. Choose a style you like and incorporate it into things like your wall coverings, layout, etc.

For example, I like a rustic look with lots of unpainted wood. So I used antique roughsawn cedar siding for the walls, unpainted cabinets and benches, and made a little area int he corner with a comfortable chair, wall mounted fireplace and bookshelf for relaxing.

BUT- shop layout is more about efficiency that looks. You don’t want to cut a board on your table saw, walk across the shop to the jointer, then back across the shop to the planer and so on all day long.

Funny- but this is the exact subject of this week’s episode of Blue Collar Woodworking. It will be posted here on LJ’s in the video blog section of the home page tonight or tomorrow morning. It may be worth a look, and it includes a sort of tour of our shop… and who doesn’t like shop tours?

Plus, we will be building a wooden bandsaw and some other shop machines in comming episodes. Might want to check those out too…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View zwwizard's profile


210 posts in 3703 days

#11 posted 11-25-2011 06:15 PM

Check with your power co. about putting a separate service and go with 200 amp. Don’t forget water service and a bath room. It aint fun making that 100 yard dash when you had all them Ribs and beer the night before. :))

-- Richard

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4980 posts in 2487 days

#12 posted 11-25-2011 06:35 PM

The cost difference between a 100 amp versus 60 amp subpanel is pretty small, and you may come to a day when the extra amperage is appreciated…I’d go 100 amp IF you do a subpanel off the house. If you go new service, a 200 amp panel would be the cat’s meow. As for outlets, consider multiple 240V outlets on each wall, one breaker to a wall. Don’t forget any dedicated outlets you may want, like a DC system.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 2686 days

#13 posted 11-26-2011 03:07 PM

Painting OSB is a pain in the neck. If you can, use plywood if you are painting. It is amazing sometimes what you can find that is salvaged that will do the trick.

Even if you have no tools at this point time that would require 220, if you can put in at least one outlet. You won’t regret doing it now instead of doing it later. The cost won’t be that much different once you get the service to the workshop.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3090 days

#14 posted 11-26-2011 04:29 PM

The shop (16’x20’) I inherited when I purchased the property is about 125 feet from the house, and was fairly well built, insulated, and wired with service coming from the house. It already had OBS for both the walls and ceiling, and I painted it very light colors.

Do you need to worry about heat? I used my one 220 outlet for a heater.

Also I had to cover the concrete floor with plywood because of back pain after standing on it for hours.

Someday I’ll get around to posting my shop, but that might require cleaning it first.

-- John from Hampstead

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