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Forum topic by Absinthe posted 08-09-2014 11:47 AM 3262 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Absinthe's profile


90 posts in 2709 days

08-09-2014 11:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop dust collection layout

I am in the process of moving to a new home. We will be tearing down an existing garage and replacing it with a 20×40 (two story) one with the intent of having a wood working shop downstairs, and other craft issues (pottery, soap making, fiber craft etc. upstairs).

I am looking for ideas to do it “right”.

I assume I want to start with dust collection.

Any suggestions on layout and best practices?

I was thinking about maybe trying to build Bill Pentz’ system or just buying clear-vue or perhaps there is something similar?

Given an empty space what is a good strategy to laying out the necessary ducting? What sizes?

Y’know stuff like that. Perhaps if you had the opportunity to start over, from scratch…?

-- Absinthe

26 replies so far

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2783 days

#1 posted 08-09-2014 12:51 PM

The latest fine woodworking email had a link to a podcast that talked about this:

My advice would be to make sure you have lots of outlets in the cieling, they are very useful and will save you from having wires running from the walls to machines in the middle of the shop.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5262 posts in 1899 days

#2 posted 08-09-2014 12:55 PM

Dust collection and wiring are both very important. A little thought before hand can save you lots of time aggravation and money later. Layout what you have and what you will acquire in the future based on the work flow through the shop, then figure out the dust management and electrical requirements for each machine.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View ChefHDAN's profile


1144 posts in 3027 days

#3 posted 08-09-2014 02:42 PM

Oh, how I wish my DC & compressor weren’t in the same room with me

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 08-09-2014 02:54 PM

I encourage you to think very hard about the size of your shop. I have recently built a shop and regret that I didn’t build it 5 ft. wider and 5 ft. deeper. I love my shop but still wish that I had built it a little larger. I wish you well with your plans. It’s always exciting for someone to build a new shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Absinthe's profile


90 posts in 2709 days

#5 posted 08-09-2014 03:06 PM

The size is fixed since I am going as large as the available space will permit.

-- Absinthe

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1602 days

#6 posted 08-09-2014 03:27 PM

Make sure your chop saw or RAS has a long, clear work surface that can be fed from outside.

Long pieces of baseboard, quarter round, trim, etc. can be difficult to fit into a shop layout without proper planning.

When I have large pieces, sometimes they hang off the bench and out the garage door until I have time to whittle them down to size.

Lesson learned and I thought I would share.

-- Brad, Texas,

View crippledcarpenter's profile


29 posts in 2624 days

#7 posted 08-09-2014 03:44 PM

A good book to reference is “SETTING UP SHOP” it show examples of shops from garden shed to full production shops. It will not tell you how to set up your shop but rather how to approch and think about the optimal layout for your needs and space

-- haste makes firewood.

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2435 days

#8 posted 08-10-2014 01:07 AM

+1 for Setting Up Shop

-- Art

View BurlyBob's profile


5937 posts in 2443 days

#9 posted 08-10-2014 03:57 AM

I got a whole lot of ideas for you. In my 60 years on this earth I’ve never heard any one say they wish they had built a smaller shop. Bigger is better, more lighting is better as are more outlets, more cabinets and shelving. A minimum of windows visible to the general public. They don’t need to know what you’ve got in your shop. Secure mandoors and overhead doors. Oh yeah, keep the outlets at least 50” off the floor so a sheet of plywood doesn’t block them and investigate a quality epoxy floor coating system in a light color. It helps with the lighting and makes clean up real easy or find parts that fall on the foor. Shoot for a 10 foot ceiling. Do your research on how your going to heat your shop. Have plenty of electric service to you shop and at least 2-3 220

But most important don’t cut corners. It’s your shop, you deserve the best. So do it right.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1577 days

#10 posted 08-11-2014 01:50 AM

Before you pour your floor slab (assuming you are), run dust ducts underground from the center to where your DC will be. Run electric conduits from the center to where your breaker panel will be. Build power outlets and dust ports into the floor everywhere you will have a machine in the middle of the shop.
Agree with BurlyBob on all points. I would have suggested a 9’ ceiling, though a 10’er would still be better.
Build a miniature model of your shop (out of scrap plywood, cardboard, foamcore, or LEGO bricks), with same-scale machines and furniture, so you can see it in 3D. Cut a bunch of scaled pieces of wood and cardboard, to represent lumber and sheet goods, so you can see how the place would function. Window placement is another thing to think about. If you’ll have a work table or a machine near a corner, a window by that corner can be opened to accommodate a long workpiece. Include a finishing room, bathroom, mechanical room, maybe even a kitchenette. You’re thinking, mechanical room? That’s for your DC, WH, breaker panel, water shutoff, its own door to the outside, a place for muddy boots, and maybe also include a washer/dryer combo unit, for washing your work clothes.
Pick whatever scale works for you. If you daughter has dolls (Barbie, etc.), or you son has, say GI Joe figures, build the model in the same scale as your kid’s dolls/figures, and pose them like they’re using tools and building things. This may help with the layout. Use your imagination. Run with it.
Consider heating with a wood burning appliance. Use your offcuts as fuel. If you have the few extra kilo$’s to set aside, build a Masonry Contraflow Heater.

View Absinthe's profile


90 posts in 2709 days

#11 posted 08-11-2014 02:12 AM

Wow, that’s a lot, and very specific
We are going to pour the floor. How does one put dust ducting in there? And what size does one choose? I have seen the arguments over 4” vs 6” vs 8” but to no full out optimal solution. Is there a good way to do this so that hey are still accessable in case of clogs/jams etc.? What ducting material is safe to do this with, especially if it will be in contact with concrete?

-- Absinthe

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1577 days

#12 posted 08-11-2014 11:57 PM

If you bury it in the ground under the floor, it will have concrete contact only where it goes through the floor. Good old fashioned PVC pipes should be fine. Regarding diameter: I would probably go with 6”. About clogs, use a wet/dry vac to push clogs (build a vac hose adapter) while the DC is running, but there’s the possibility of totally stubborn clogs, so maybe instead, use hoses snaked through an oversize pipe. If the hose gets clogged, just pull it out and flop it around until the clogs come out. The pipe would only be a conduit for the hose. For example, if you’ll be using 6” hose, run 8” pipes. Elbows might be a problem (may turn too sharp). If you can find large elbows, like the kind used with electric conduit, that would make it easy to run a hose. Otherwise, use 22.5-degree elbows and pipe segments to build your own 20-inch-radius (or larger) elbows. Bury as deep as necessary to accommodate the elbows. Experiment by dry-fitting elbows and pipes together (use tape if they won’t stay together) and pushing hoses through them, before construction.
About the diameter argument: Maybe run 10” pipe, and use whatever size hose works best. Whether you’re willing to splurge on 10” pipe, that’s another matter. $141 for a 10” 22.5 elbow @ Home Depot. Yikes!
Another idea I had earlier, and just found out it is called a cable trough, in the floor, covered with steel plates. All your cords, wires, pipes and hoses can be run thru the trough, and have power outlets there as well, eliminating the need to put pipes in the ground before pouring concrete.

View G5Flyr's profile


60 posts in 1911 days

#13 posted 08-21-2014 02:21 AM

+1 for Setting Up Shop

+1 for EVERYTHING from BurlyBob and splatman. Especially the outlets 50” off floor. They don’t get blocked and you don’t have to bend over.

+1 for outlets in the ceiling.

Don’t forget air cleaning/filtration as a part of dust collection. I have a 12’x18’ basement shop. My filtration system exhausts to outside. Consider that instead of a system that filters and then recirculates.

Consider putting large machines on some kind of wheel base. You may not move them a lot but when you have to you’ll be glad they’re on wheels.

Good luck. Enjoy. Be safe.

-- G5Flyr

View JustplaneJeff's profile


266 posts in 2081 days

#14 posted 08-21-2014 11:11 AM

Tall ceilings are nice at least on the first floor. At least 9’ will allow flipping plywood on end

-- JustplaneJeff

View ChrisK's profile


2004 posts in 3259 days

#15 posted 08-21-2014 12:03 PM

Tall ceilings are a must if you are going to be using a lot of 8 foot lumber. Also lighting is very important. Will the walls and ceiling be sheet rocked? Light colors will help spread the light. If the walls are going to be studs you will need more light. I used the 6 foot long 2 bulb fluorescent fixtures. I have 4 on two on a switch for an 18×18 shop. They provide a lot of overlapping light without shadows.

A wide entrance door is also a must. How else will you get all those new tools in the shop? I also alternate the outlets so I do not have two from the same circuit breaker next to each other. This helps when another person is running a tool at the same time.

-- Chris K

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