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My New Shop's Electrical System - What do you think?

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Forum topic by helluvawreck posted 02-06-2013 06:05 PM 1376 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


02-06-2013 06:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: 200 amp breaker box shop wiring shop electrical service emt conduit conduit

After I get my 30’ x 30’ shop dried in I plan on sheeting the inside with plywood. I like to be able to use nails and screws to hang stuff where ever I want to. I’m planning on installing a 200 AMP service (not 3 phase) to the shop that is completely separate of the house. I will mount the box on the surface of the interior plywood sheeting. I want to run all of my wiring through EMT conduit that is exposed and on the surface of the plywood sheeting of the walls and ceiling. I like this approach better because I will know exactly where the electrical wiring is and it will also be easier to modify the system and add to it. Plus since there will be no wiring inside the walls I will not have to worry about damaging any wiring hidden inside the walls buy driving in nails and screws. I will most likely put a coat of white paint on the plywood sheeting before the conduit, lights, outlets, etc. is installed. This will make the shop brighter and spread the light efficiently. I will try to plan my space carefully so that I can put some conduit into the concrete floor going to the equipment away from the walls – especially the table saws, planer, and joiner. Running conduit along the walls and ceiling to the machinery near the walls will obviously not be a problem.

BTW, the electrical system will be done according to the code by a professional licensed electrician. I have not talked to an electrician yet so some of this will change when he puts his input into it. I will not jeopardize my insurance by doing the electrical myself.

What do you folks think about this approach? Thanks in advance for your ideas.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau


46 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2959 posts in 982 days


#1 posted 02-06-2013 06:18 PM

I like having white walls in my shop, helps with lighting. As for having an electrician do the job, yes. However seeing you are exposing the wires, why not just install the outlets yourself and save a $$. In fact, I’d just have the electrician mount the box and hook it up. I’d do it all from there.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7109 posts in 1999 days


#2 posted 02-06-2013 06:20 PM

well Charles i think it sounds like a good plan, i like it for the same reasons you do, and im really excited to see this come about, when will this project start, and im sure you will do blogs of its progress…it makes me remember when i built my shop, it was one of the most exciting events in my life, as for the last 16 years, my shop has given so much joy…i cant wait to see you in your new shop making saw dust…im sure your going to get to the point where you start to make money from what you make in there…do you have any idea yet where your focus will be…cant wait to this this start…enjoy it..i sure did mine…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


#3 posted 02-06-2013 06:22 PM

Russell, the wires will not be exposed. The wires will be inside electrical conduit (EMT) that is mounted on the walls and ceiling. EMT is used inside most industrial plants and is perfectly safe. Yes, the white walls will brighten it up, lift your spirit, spread the light and even make the shop look bigger.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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grizzman

7109 posts in 1999 days


#4 posted 02-06-2013 06:24 PM

charles its no big deal running your own wire and doing your boxes, you could save yourself a good chunk of change by doing it yourself…i did my own house, and ive never had a problem…but its your shop, so be happy with what you have..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile

stefang

13334 posts in 2030 days


#5 posted 02-06-2013 06:26 PM

Hi Charles. Everybodys needs and preferences are different. Personally I don’t like having the wiring conduit exposed just for looks and future painting and upkeep, and it is a dust catcher. You could always make a mark on the ceiling or near the floor to indicate the presence of wiring. This will also allow you to have shelves and other storage pieces tight against the wall wherever you want. I guess any advantage always has some disadvantages. I installed 4 socket outlets in several places and even on the ceiling over my tablesaw and vacuum. this has worked out very well because I have an outlet available anywhere in the shop and I use all of them a lot too. That said, you have a lot of experience with working in a shop, so I say do what you think is best and what will work best for you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


#6 posted 02-06-2013 06:28 PM

Grizz, thanks for the kind words. We will move to the property on the 22nd of February and start the shop about then or a little before and I will do a blog about it. I hope that I can clear whatever Social Security will allow because I will have to supplement my SS somehow. I might as well be doing something that I enjoy.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


#7 posted 02-06-2013 06:30 PM

Grizz, I’ve ran conduit and wiring ever since I was 20 years old. The insurance people are becoming very strict and I will not take chances with my insurance. Perhaps I will work with the electrician under his guidance. I’ve done that before as well.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2959 posts in 982 days


#8 posted 02-06-2013 06:33 PM

Charles, just remember to keep outlets at least 18” above the floor and run that EMT either low or high so you can mount shelving. If you plan to have a wood storage rack on your wall, don’t drywall that area, just plywood over the studs and make sure they are in good shape. In fact it’s a good idea to replace any studs that are not in good shape. Also it’s a good time to add studs and or bracing for future needs. One piece of advice, don’t over do the outlets, you’ll find a 20A retractable cord at Rockler that works great. I use it for machines on the other end of my shop where the garage doors are and if I need to work outside on a nice day. I like to keep as many plugs on the ceiling as possible so I can see the cords and not trip or get them tangled up.

By exposed, I mean not inside the wall.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


#9 posted 02-06-2013 06:37 PM

Mike, I appreciate the advice and I understand your points and they are valid. However, the main advantage of EMT is that it is exposed and easily modified as needed yet safe and protects the wire.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2959 posts in 982 days


#10 posted 02-06-2013 06:40 PM

I think it’s a good idea for others to remember when building their shop either in an existing structure or a new dedicated structure that it’s a good idea to keep the wiring on the outside of the wall where you can see it.
Of course never hide a connection of any kind behind a wall without an inspection plate that is well marked. I will also mark the wall and the outlet with whatever AMP rating it is as well. Don’t want to run DC on a 15A breaker.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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helluvawreck

15965 posts in 1562 days


#11 posted 02-06-2013 06:45 PM

Thanks, Russell. All of the walls and ceiling will be plywood not any drywall at all. Plywood is good and tough and I can hang stuff where ever I want to with screws and nails. I will work with the electrician closely and will look for his guidance and forthought. I also will take into consideration any advice I get here on LJs and will appreciate it. I’m going to put time into planning my shop. I know that it is important. I will have only one chance to get it as close to being right as I can.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2959 posts in 982 days


#12 posted 02-06-2013 06:49 PM

Looking forward to seeing it completed and you in there.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View patron's profile

patron

13110 posts in 2037 days


#13 posted 02-06-2013 07:11 PM

if you are doing concrete floor
you might consider having ‘canals’ in the floor
for all interior tool electric/air/vacuum
maybe with ply or steel sheet covers
(make a ledge to keep them flush)
that way you won’t have lines coming across the floor
or down from the ceiling
to keep from banging into them
or moving them to roll things around

all the services can be put where the tools will be
and the covers make it easier to add or change later

as far as paint goes
wal-mart has the cheapest
in off white or white semi or gloss
5 gallons for about $100
( the can pictured is just one gallon)
roll it on straight
and forget the primer

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View teejk's profile

teejk

1215 posts in 1380 days


#14 posted 02-06-2013 07:24 PM

Charles…EMT is an acceptable ground on its own so the $$$ you pay for the material gets offset somewhat by losing the ground wire, plus you can use single strand wires rather than Romex. I ran 3/4” all around my shop using 4” sq boxes…2 separate 120v circuits in each box plus wiring for 240v. I hated to cut the stuff because it leaves a burr that can cut your wire insulation as you pull it, so other than bends to turn a corner or sneak under a window, they are 10’ apart. I like the fact that the boxes are exposed so if I ever wanted to add to anything it would be pretty easy. And I think the exposed EMT looks kind of nice (2 man job though with 10’ sticks to keep it level for a professional look).

As for your walls, my experience is that drywall is cheaper up front but shops are shops…it doesn’t take long before you become a drywall patching expert (and with time you become a pro at patching drywall patches). Whatever you do, buy a few gallons of brilliant high gloss white paint before you hang anything on it. The difference in lighting is amazing.

View wiwildcat's profile

wiwildcat

53 posts in 658 days


#15 posted 02-06-2013 07:30 PM

Seems like those are good ideas. Get a good electrician and that conduit work will look nice in the shop, otherwise it might look like spaghetti on the walls. My preference is for counter top height receptacles all around the shop. Lots of dedicated circuit receptacle too. Remember to plan for stubbing a conduit up near any island workbenches or assembly tables for power to those too. Carefully planning so the conduit is installed neatly and will not interfere with wall cabinets, shelves, dust collection piping…

-- Wisconsin Wildcat

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