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Converting My Garage from a Semi-Workshop to a full Wood/Metal Workshop

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Forum topic by KE4NYV posted 07-07-2014 03:06 PM 2922 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


07-07-2014 03:06 PM

When I bought my house over five years ago, I threw up a quick workbench the first week. A few months later, I added another stick-out platform for my drill press, another a few weeks later for a bandsaw and so on. Fast forward five years, I have a true woodworking bench out in the floor, a good table saw, lathe, CNC and running out of room fast!

Here is the (over the past five years) thrown together shop the way it was a month ago:

It was time to tear it all out, start over and design it methodically. I planned to build a single 16-20’ bench along the wall, leaving a gap near the front for my shop vac/dust collection system. I started with expanding the electrical receptacles to support all of the machines I planned to have on the bench.

Even though we typically mild winters in Eastern Virginia, we have had snow the last few and it has become fairly cold in the shop. I found a space heater barely made a dent. One thing that always bothered me was the lack of insulation, so first plan was to insulate the walls and then cover them with 3/8” sheathing plywood for mounting everything on that side of the shop.

Build the bench:

I still have upper and lower cabinets to build, but I have already started on things like pegboard and other organizing items like a new lumber rack.

Here it is so far. Still have plenty of work to do, but I think it’s going to be very functional once I’m done. I still have to do the other side, but that’s still on the drawing board.

-- Jason R.


23 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23189 posts in 2332 days


#1 posted 07-07-2014 03:08 PM

Jayson, that is a fine shop that you have there. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

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 KE4NYV's profile

KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#2 posted 07-07-2014 03:31 PM

Jayson, that is a fine shop that you have there. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

Thanks! Still a lot more to do, but this has been a good start.

-- Jason R.

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waho6o9

7176 posts in 2043 days


#3 posted 07-07-2014 03:54 PM

Great shop Jason and welcome to Lumber Jocks!

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KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#4 posted 07-07-2014 04:12 PM

Great shop Jason and welcome to Lumber Jocks!

Thanks!

-- Jason R.

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dirtycurty

44 posts in 1044 days


#5 posted 07-07-2014 07:15 PM

That is a nice shop!!! All of your hard work will pay off for years to come!!!! Your title mentioned metal working. I didn’t see a bunch of metal working tools so I’m not sure how much or what type of metal working you plan on doing but keep in mind that welding, cutting with a torch, cutting, grinding, etc (anything that creates sparks) DOES NOT mix with saw dust!!!!!!! Also metal cutting fluids and oils and such will not be good on your wood projects and WILL mess up your finish that will be put on your wood projects. So keep any shop rags used for metal working away from your wood working.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1186 days


#6 posted 07-07-2014 07:32 PM

Looks like you’ve made a good decision by setting up everything after thinking it through instead of piling more and more stuff almost on top of what you already have (like I did in the past). I’ve thought about having metal and wood working together, but the one thing that keeps worrying me is welding in an area with wood dust. I’ve made strides to keep the dust down and collect it better, but even the very best collection measures will still leave some combustible dust around and I really don’t want to risk a fire. I remember at work someone setting the disc/belt sander on fire by sharpening something steel when the base had fine wood dust the collector missed. That was an eye opener, despite not being that big of a fire. However you decide to keep the danger at a manageable level in your shop, be safe.

View KE4NYV's profile

KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#7 posted 07-07-2014 07:33 PM

That is a nice shop!!! All of your hard work will pay off for years to come!!!! Your title mentioned metal working. I didn t see a bunch of metal working tools so I m not sure how much or what type of metal working you plan on doing but keep in mind that welding, cutting with a torch, cutting, grinding, etc (anything that creates sparks) DOES NOT mix with saw dust!!!!!!! Also metal cutting fluids and oils and such will not be good on your wood projects and WILL mess up your finish that will be put on your wood projects. So keep any shop rags used for metal working away from your wood working.

I have a CNC that I built a couple of years ago. I use it mostly for milling out panels and housing for my electronics-based company and personal electronics projects. I also mill quite a bit of plastic housings with the mill. At some point I would like to put a welder in, but it’s not on the short list of things to buy. (That money is going in the planer and turning tools fund). The black metal rolling cabinet seen under the bench has 95% of of my metal working tools, layout tools, end mills, taps, dies, dial indicators, ect. Also, I typically use oil-based cutting fluids and keep them contained to the mill as much as possible. One thing I am thinking about doing is creating some kind of 3-4 mil poly curtain around the mill/LCD/keyboard to control the amount of sawdust that gets into it.

-- Jason R.

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KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#8 posted 07-07-2014 07:44 PM

Looks like you ve made a good decision by setting up everything after thinking it through instead of piling more and more stuff almost on top of what you got (like I did in the past). I ve thought about having metal and wood working together, but the one thing that keeps worrying me is welding in an area with wood dust. I ve made strides to keep the dust down and collect it better, but even the very best collection measures will still leave some combustible dust around and I really don t want to risk a fire. I remember someone setting the disc/belt sander at work on fire by sharpening something steel when the base had fine wood dust the collector missed. That was an eye opener, despite not being that big of a fire. However you decide to keep the danger at a manageable level in your shop, be safe.

I’m mostly running the CNC to do aluminum panel milling. Here is an example of something I did on the mill, a four port, wideband RF multicoupler:

-- Jason R.

View changeoffocus's profile

changeoffocus

457 posts in 1083 days


#9 posted 07-07-2014 07:53 PM

You sure did a great job on your shop upgrade, first class. While I don’t have a clue what your electronic or radio device does, I know what first class workmanship looks like.

View ErikF's profile

ErikF

508 posts in 1710 days


#10 posted 07-07-2014 07:55 PM

That’s awesome, Jason. I know how the ever evolving shop life goes. I started with a thin MDF bench and a load of cheap tools. I slowly upgraded through buying and selling on CL and now have a reasonable set of woodworking and metalworking tools. I’m moving at the end of the year and can’t wait for an upgrade in space. I’m hoping to get a knee mill and get my table saw back (I sold it to make room for a turret lathe). Keep up the cool work.

-- Power to the people.

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KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#11 posted 07-07-2014 08:01 PM

You sure did a great job on your shop upgrade, first class. While I don t have a clue what your electronic or radio device does, I know what first class workmanship looks like.

Thanks, Bob! For lack of technical terms, it’s an amplified antenna splitter :o)

-- Jason R.

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KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#12 posted 07-07-2014 08:03 PM

That s awesome, Jason. I know how the ever evolving shop life goes. I started with a thin MDF bench and a load of cheap tools. I slowly upgraded through buying and selling on CL and now have a reasonable set of woodworking and metalworking tools. I m moving at the end of the year and can t wait for an upgrade in space. I m hoping to get a knee mill and get my table saw back (I sold it to make room for a turret lathe). Keep up the cool work.

Erik, I’m hoping to add a mini metal lathe eventually, but it’s all money. Haha! I’m finding a nice balance between metal work and wood work. Wood is so much more forgiving!

-- Jason R.

View Gart's profile

Gart

16 posts in 882 days


#13 posted 07-10-2014 12:27 PM

Jason (and others),

New to the site to gather information, ideas, knowledge, etc.

One of the things on my list is to re-wire my garage for 220 plus more outlets similar to what you did. I am somewhat tossed of putting up plywood walls (have painted drywall now) after wiring/insulating.

I am wondering though why you did left the plywood raw and not paint the walls to lighten up the room?

Just curious.

Gart

View KE4NYV's profile

KE4NYV

135 posts in 928 days


#14 posted 07-10-2014 12:43 PM

Gart,

I want to address the power first. My house was built about three months prior to me buying it and moving in. One of the downsides when I found it was that it DIDN’T have a garage. Since the house was built without a garage, the power panel was installed in one of the bedrooms, at the opposite side of the house. I made a deal with the builder to add on the garage before I purchased the house. Since the panel was already in place, there was no way to re-locate it to the garage and I was stuck with it how it was built. Fast forward five years and now I have a hot tub (spa) behind the garage on my back patio. Right now it’s running on 110V, but I’m currently looking for an electrician that will run a 220V line from my panel to a sub-panel in the garage and then run 220V to the hot tub. At the same time, I want to put a 220V receptacle in the garage for a welder and I would like to have at least a couple more 110V circuits, since right now the whole garage is only on one single 15A circuit.

As for the plywood, I guess I just liked the natural look of the wood. I know I am going to add more light anyways, so I wasn’t too concerned with the “brightness” of the wood panels. It’s all personal preference and taste, I guess.

-- Jason R.

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Gart

16 posts in 882 days


#15 posted 07-10-2014 06:14 PM

Thanks Jason for the response.

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