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Forum topic by Darin Starr posted 10-30-2014 07:49 PM 1935 views 1 time favorited 57 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Darin Starr

15 posts in 764 days


10-30-2014 07:49 PM

Hi everyone-

I am a rank novice who has little clue what he’s doing currently, but I know that I love building things and that’s always been the case. I’m currently working on my various small scale furniture and home renovation projects in half of a 2-car garage, and the opportunity has come up to build a dedicated workshop somewhere in our large back yard.

I’m 37, and the plan is to build a shop that will last me for the next 40+ years. Right now I don’t even have so many of the things that are considered “standard” in a shop – dust collection, thickness planer, jointer, drill press, etc – but I know these are things I’ll be acquiring and I’m shopping for potential items in those categories now, only if to get an idea for a likely footprint when the time comes to get one, and so I can take that footprint into consideration. I’ve never used a lathe but I’m sure at some point in the next 40 years I’ll pick one up ;)

My question is deceptively simple: what should I be taking into consideration that likely hasn’t even crossed my mind yet? What do YOU wish you would have done differently when building your shop, or what’s on your “must have” list for the next shop you build?

A few things that have already been under consideration:

-Size (I can fit a 16×20 building – including setbacks – with no space or code issues)
-Power (I’ve considered this, but no clue on what amperage I should have run to the shop)
-Flooring (likely going with wood – I’m a personal trainer and my body feels fine, but I still plan on getting older!)

I appreciate any and all responses and I look forward to learning a lot more from this place in the future!

Darin


57 replies so far

View JerrodMcCrary's profile

JerrodMcCrary

86 posts in 1066 days


#1 posted 10-30-2014 07:58 PM

You can never have enough plugs, I guess they are like clamps. I would say have 220/240 plugs even in places you may think you will never use. I wish I had plugs above my work table so I didnt have to bend over to plug stuff in. You probably already thought of this, but I would say plugs. Find a comfortable working height for your equipment. Organization.

I would set the building as close to the line as I could, in case in the future you could add on to it on the other side. Maybe only an extra 3-4 feet but you could use that space as wood storage, or air compressor and dust collector. If you build it, I would over build the floor in it because you never know what equipment you will end up with and this stuff weighs a lot, so instead of floor joists every 16” go every 12”, instead of 2×8 use 2×10.

I like to look out windows, some shops have them some don’t. They take away from wall space but let in light. A large doorway is very nice. I work out of a 12×24 storage building. I wish I had more lighting.

View Soonerdg's profile

Soonerdg

12 posts in 1845 days


#2 posted 10-30-2014 08:08 PM

Build the absolute biggest shop that you can. It’s easier and cheaper to build it bigger now than to try to add onto it later. If 16×20 is the biggest you can do then that’s what you should do. I’m just wrapping up a 14×24 shop build (it’s in the workshop galleries if you want to look at it) because that’s what I could afford. I already wish it was bigger.

As for power, I’m going to put a dedicated 60A breaker for the shop in the houses main panel. I don’t think you need huge amperage in your shop because really you only run a few things at a time. At any one time you’ll be running the tool you’re using, dust collection, lights and maybe a radio. 60A should be more than adequate. Make sure you add or at least have the option to add some 240V outlets. They don’t need to be more than 20A but you can go 30A if you want. Pretty much all of the tools you run on 240V will only draw 8A-10A

My shop has a wood floor but I think I may put down some really cheap laminate just to make sweeping easier.

As for things you may not have considered – lighting! Install as much lighting as you can. i’m goig to put 9 4foot T12 shop lights in mine. Lumber storage may be another. I’ve not yet figured that one out for myself although I’ve considered building a small lean-to on one side to store lumber.

Congrats on getting the new shop. i too was in half of a two car garage so I can’t wait to have all this space.

-- "Life is a matter of luck and the odds of success are in no way enhanced by extreme caution." - Erich Tropp, German U-boat Commander, 1945

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#3 posted 10-30-2014 08:17 PM

Make all your 110v circuits 15amps and add in a couple 240v circuits. Put all outlets at 48” above the floor to the very bottom of the outlet cover. This allows storage of sheet goods underneath without covering up an outlet.

Use storage trusses so that you can store wood above. Wood storage takes up a lot of space that could be better used for machinery/tables/benches/etc. A drop down ladder to get up/down, and perhaps a small pulley system so you can raise up/lower the wood down without having to carry it yourself. This can be put on the inside or outside.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1568 days


#4 posted 10-30-2014 08:18 PM

On the issue of circuitry, I’d recommend installing a number of separate circuits. I have one 220v circuit dedicated to my table saw, one 110v circuit dedicated to my dust collector and shop vac, one 110v circuit dedicated to lighting, and one 110v circuit with a ton of outlets for everything else. I didn’t want to risk tripping the breaker by running my dust collector and a power tool simultaneously on one circuit, and above all else I did not want the lights to go out if I trip a breaker during tool use.

My regrets with respect to electric work are that I didn’t extend the “general” circuit around all four walls, and I only installed a single 220v circuit (assuming at the time that my only 220v tool would be my table saw).

Other than that, leave your options open to maximize your use of vertical storage. In my small shop (11×17), I try to use every square foot of wall space for storing lumber or tools, and I hang things from the ceiling/store between joists too. But you may be better off with a bigger space.

Congrats and have fun!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1568 days


#5 posted 10-30-2014 08:21 PM

Also, you can use the Grizzly workshop planner to get a rough setup for your entire “ideal world” shop. You can pick Grizzly templates (or use generic figures) and alter the dimensions to whatever you’re hoping to have down the road – tools, benches, cabinets, lumber storage, even cats and dogs – and then play around with the layout to see what works best.

There’s probably even some way to print your workshop plan, so you can cut out the tools and play around with the layout on paper.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View philba's profile

philba

96 posts in 832 days


#6 posted 10-30-2014 08:52 PM

Fun topic. I finished my workshop space about 4 months ago. It’s essentially a 3 bays of a 5 car garage though no cars will share the shop space!

Power is the biggest issue. I have 3 walls with electrical outlets – on 2 I have quad 120V outlets every 6 feet. There are 3 separate 110 circuits. In addition I have duplex 110 outlets between each of the garage doors. I also have a 50A 240 circuit that I use for several power tools. (50 Amp is for a second electrical vehicle in the other part of the garage.) I have an extra 240V circuit for a heater when i get around to it.

I also focused on making sure there was enough lighting. I have 9 4 bulb 4 ft fluorescent fixtures (36 bulbs total). It’s pretty good though if I did it again, I’d give serious consideration to doing 12 fixtures. Don’t scrimp on the lighting because as you age, you will need more light.

I’d look to put in a storage loft.

On flooring – I would make it strong enough to handle super heavy equipment on mobile bases. This means that the weight will be concentrated into 4 very small areas. My heaviest tool is about 550 lbs but I would target 1000 lbs to be safe.

Doors – oversize your doors or, even better, use overhead garage doors.

Think about how you will get stuff into and out of the shop. I’d figure out a way to put in an I-beam for a lifting crane. It would be really great to have a way to back a pickup truck up to your shop, put straps under something very heavy and unload it into the shop.

It would be great to have your dust collection vent outside of your shop area. Though, you don’t want to antagonize the neighbors with the sound.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1568 days


#7 posted 10-30-2014 08:56 PM


Doors – oversize your doors or, even better, use overhead garage doors.
- philba

Oh my god this is so important. I have to wrestle any new tool through three standard doors (and down a 3’ wide hallway into a 90 degree turn) before it reaches my shop. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to get my new table saw into the shop without removing a wall.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

2327 posts in 1887 days


#8 posted 10-30-2014 09:09 PM

You can hang outlets from the ceiling so cords don’t go on the floor like mine

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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InstantSiv

259 posts in 1055 days


#9 posted 10-30-2014 09:37 PM

-Sink. I use mine pretty much every time I’m in the shop.
-Room built specifically for dust collector and Air compressor. Keep that crap(dust and sound) out.
-Rec area. Sofa, TV, computer, fridge,... Woodworking is laborious, must have a comfortable space to take a break.
-My dream build would also include an roofed outdoor space. 1 because it’s a nice change to do woodworking outside sometimes. 2. It’s nice to have a space for dirty/dusty jobs outside so you’re not doing that inside.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

4530 posts in 1972 days


#10 posted 10-30-2014 09:53 PM

Darin, you are on the right track with size, build it as large as you’re allowed, as others mentioned put your plugs mid way up on the walls. I also have a pier and beem, read up on my details and go through my pictures of my workshop and it’ll give you an idea of what you’re looking at. I was able to sneak in a 10×10 metal shed in addition to my workshop and I use it for wood storage along with finishing.

http://lumberjocks.com/Blackie_/workshop

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Darin Starr's profile

Darin Starr

15 posts in 764 days


#11 posted 10-30-2014 09:57 PM

Wow, lots of awesome ideas and feedback – thanks to all so far!


You can never have enough plugs, I guess they are like clamps.

Ha! Noted, this keeps coming up, I see. Currently I have exactly one usable outlet in the garage, and it’s not even on the half of the garage I work in. I spend so much futzing with extension cords it drives me nuts.


As for power, I m going to put a dedicated 60A breaker for the shop in the houses main panel. I don t think you need huge amperage in your shop because really you only run a few things at a time. At any one time you ll be running the tool you re using, dust collection, lights and maybe a radio. 60A should be more than adequate. Make sure you add or at least have the option to add some 240V outlets. They don t need to be more than 20A but you can go 30A if you want. Pretty much all of the tools you run on 240V will only draw 8A-10A

I figured 60A would be overkill at definitely on the safe side, if I ever have a helper in there with me in the future. What kind of stuff runs on 240V? Everything I own is 120V currently.


Make all your 110v circuits 15amps and add in a couple 240v circuits. Put all outlets at 48” above the floor to the very bottom of the outlet cover. This allows storage of sheet goods underneath without covering up an outlet.

Brilliant, thank you.


Other than that, leave your options open to maximize your use of vertical storage. In my small shop (11×17), I try to use every square foot of wall space for storing lumber or tools, and I hang things from the ceiling/store between joists too. But you may be better off with a bigger space.

I saw on Pinterest a very basic version of a panel saw that hangs from the ceiling and drops into place for cuts that I thought looked brilliant.


On flooring – I would make it strong enough to handle super heavy equipment on mobile bases. This means that the weight will be concentrated into 4 very small areas. My heaviest tool is about 550 lbs but I would target 1000 lbs to be safe.

Doors – oversize your doors or, even better, use overhead garage doors.

It would be great to have your dust collection vent outside of your shop area. Though, you don t want to antagonize the neighbors with the sound.

Good stuff. My table saw is by far the heaviest thing I currently have at about 300lbs. Portable (on wheels) but when you drop it into place there is a massive THUD that scares me on a wooden framed floor, so I will be over-engineering that ;) I was planning on a garage door. And the current site I’m looking at is in the back of the backyard, which butts up to a forest – no neighbors back there!


-Sink. I use mine pretty much every time I m in the shop.

I thought about this, for hand-washing, rinsing out brushes and the like. Seems like it would be a giant pain (drain line especially) but since there will already be a trench dug for electrical, I guess that’s the time to do it!

View Darin Starr's profile

Darin Starr

15 posts in 764 days


#12 posted 10-30-2014 10:06 PM



Darin, you are on the right track with size, build it as large as you re allowed, as others mentioned put your plugs mid way up on the walls. I also have a pier and beem, read up on my details and go through my pictures of my workshop and it ll give you an idea of what you re looking at. I was able to sneak in a 10×10 metal shed in addition to my workshop and I use it for wood storage along with finishing.

http://lumberjocks.com/Blackie_/workshop

- Blackie_

I enjoyed the gallery, nice work! I really like the idea of an extra building for storage – I was planning on a smallish lean-to closer to the house for landscaping stuff, maybe that + wood storage? The gears are turning!

View whitebeast88's profile

whitebeast88

4091 posts in 1650 days


#13 posted 10-30-2014 10:21 PM

welcome to lumberjocks,darin.

i would also consider insulation.thats my biggest regret.when we moved into our house i could have easily popped the plywood off the walls and put it in but now i have it to full and alot of stuff on the walls.

i agree with the roll up door,you can get a roll up thats small like the ones on mini-storage buildings.it’d would be a space saver and not have tracks running on the ceiling.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#14 posted 10-30-2014 10:26 PM

240v tools: Depends on if you are going to upgrade in the future. 8” jointers, 3hp table saws, 2hp bandsaws, 2hp dust collectors, drum sanders, etc. Anything with more than a 1.5hp rating will need 240v.

But you will want 15amp circuits for your 120v tools. I trip the breaker a lot from my planer if I plane wider than say 10” boards at 1/2 of a turn per pass.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3256 posts in 1694 days


#15 posted 10-30-2014 10:43 PM

Lots of input Darin. Each woodworker has his preferences for his style of work, and that colors the recommendations. My experience has been that things change…preferences, tools, style of work, type of work, place of work etc. I’ve built my shop as modular and mobile as I can make it to accommodate those changes that inevitably occur.

One thing not mentioned, is a swing arm hung at the center of one wall near the ceiling with a cordomatic on it for a drop cord. This allows almost the entire shop to be covered with a supply of 110V. I also put compressed air in that 1/2” galvanized pipe with a coil drop at the end. Really handy.

You may learn quite a bit more checking out the shops that LJs care to share.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com There are three types of people...those who are good at math and those who aren't.

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