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I have the shop space, now where to begin?

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Forum topic by Maction17 posted 03-29-2015 11:00 PM 1374 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Maction17

6 posts in 653 days


03-29-2015 11:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop renovate shop space barn

It might take a little imagination, but I finally have a stand alone space to build my dream shop. It will be the greatest project of all, though. We’re closing on a house 4/30, and it comes with this amazing barn, built in 1795. So, where to begin? I have a vision, I’m just not quite sure what course of action to take, and I’m open to any and all suggestions! Even better, if you’re near Cape Cod, come on down and take a look with me.


23 replies so far

View Ashus's profile

Ashus

31 posts in 635 days


#1 posted 03-29-2015 11:13 PM

That’s an absolutely gorgeous space! I’m quite envious!

If I had a space like that, I think my first step would be getting good lighting into whatever you designate as your primary work area. After that, I’d let the barn itself tell me what to do with it. Buildings that old have so much character – with over two centuries worth, I bet it’s got some great stories to tell.

-- Adam in Minneapolis

View MinnesotaMarty's profile

MinnesotaMarty

82 posts in 678 days


#2 posted 03-29-2015 11:58 PM

Mac,
Great building. All my comments based on, “if it were mine” point of view. Most barns don’t make great shop spaces because clear span square feet is the easiest to make into shop space. Posts in the space presents challenges. Not impossible but challenges. I would download Sketchup and load the existing floor plan. This way you can play with various options just for space and what wall can be removed or not. Just because you want to move them or not move them. In others words the plan BEFORE you do anything is most important. No drilling holes for wiring nothing. Plan first then execute the plan.
Then when you get to changing things to make it like you want and if you have to remove things, don’t throw anything away. That patina on the wood has taken years to achieve. You will use that wood somewhere, trust me.
I am a design build remodeler and most people don’t do the plan and then end up tearing out things that they already have done.
Good Luck
Marty

-- I can see the cheese heads from here and it is great.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1769 days


#3 posted 03-30-2015 12:04 AM

Neat place.

I’d start with insulation tightening up the work area so I could have heat.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Maction17's profile

Maction17

6 posts in 653 days


#4 posted 03-30-2015 12:49 AM

Ashus and Marty-
Thanks for the input. I can tell you right now, the first thing I’m going to do (and the second, and third), is just sit in it for a long time. Explore, learn the space, and as you said Marty, plan. This ol’ barn is too nice to be hasty.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

754 posts in 1455 days


#5 posted 03-30-2015 01:06 AM

Heat, then light. Then I’ll move in to your loft and borrow your tools.

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 797 days


#6 posted 03-30-2015 01:08 AM

The first step is to get rid of the two ghosts seen in third picture. I recommend watching Beetlejuice. Next, use some graph paper and draw your main spaces to scale. Then make some cut outs of your major tool footprints. Then think of how you process your stock. I like to joint my boards one face and one edge then i go to table saw to cut to size and width before planing the other face parallel. So I organized my power tools to give me good work flow. Move your foot prints of your tools around on the scaled drawing. Figure out space needed for indeed and outfeed into the equation. While my shop was being built I played around with the layout quite a bit. It was fun. And it worked really well. I haven’t moved one major tool in 10 years. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1141 days


#7 posted 03-30-2015 01:10 AM

I also suggest heat and light as top priorities followed by power. A comfortable space to work in is a space you will want to spend time in while one that is uncomfortable to work in because it’s dark, dank, or cold is a space you tend to find reasons not to visit. I would take a 12X12 insulated and well light space over a 30X30 unfinished space any day.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13713 posts in 2079 days


#8 posted 03-30-2015 01:25 AM

What a glorious place to spend spare time!

Sit, imagine, and plan is a big YES!

Think (maybe) about a smaller footprint for your work ench and handtools. Stationary electrical (and dust) stuff in another space. You’ll rough material there, and bring it in for fit and finish. These thoughts may help if the space is segmented.

Bottom line, Congrats!

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

View B4B's profile

B4B

129 posts in 818 days


#9 posted 03-30-2015 01:49 AM

Nice! I wish I had any space to work in where I didn’t have to pickup my tools when I was done for the day.
That looks like an amazing space to have and perfect for just about any use.

I agree with other suggestions. Feel the space out, and find out how to best lay out your shop, stationary tools, etc.

Ensure the flooring is stable, no boards sticking up, rotten, etc. the last thing you want is to trip and hurt yourself while using any of your tools.

Thoroughly inspect the main support structure and address any structural problems. In a couple of the pictures there looks to be some rotting in the structural beams, but I’m not there to look or feel, or have any idea what those beams actually support.

Address any water leaks. Last thing you want is a puddle of water on your tools, work surfaces, etc.

If you can, find a sawyer in your area that sells rough cut lumber, they may be able to provide you true 2”x? lumber for any renovations, it won’t match the existing wood, but over time it’ll gather its own patina and blend in better than modern dimensional lumber. There used to by one near my grandparents in southern NH, but that operation shut down when the person running it retired.

Lastly, remember it’s a drafty barn meant for livestock, not a modern built, insulated building. You’ll need to figure out how to best maintain your tools so that they don’t rust with exposure to temperature and humidity swings throughout the year and how you plan to use the shop when it’s hot/humid, or freezing cold (IE heating/cooling and insulation), although where you are the temperature swings may not be as bad as where we were in southern NH.

BTW, if you like eggs, you are in a great spot to raise chickens! I had 12 hens and we got nearly a dozen fresh eggs every morning. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh eggs for breakfast. And hens are relatively easy to care for. We sold the extra eggs for 2.50/dozen and made back what we put into the cost of the chicken feed and bedding each month.

Good luck!

-- There's two routers in my vocab, one that moves data and one that removes wood, the latter being more relevant on this forum.

View esmthin's profile

esmthin

77 posts in 641 days


#10 posted 03-30-2015 03:43 AM



Think (maybe) about a smaller footprint for your work ench and handtools. Stationary electrical (and dust) stuff in another space. You ll rough material there, and bring it in for fit and finish. These thoughts may help if the space is segmented.

I agree, if it were my space I would have separate areas. (Turning, assembly, finishing, ect.)

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

759 posts in 1859 days


#11 posted 03-30-2015 02:23 PM

My kind of guy!

Great space. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

You might be interested in my LJ web page. I included a lot of detail in finishing a space similar to where you are now. Send me a message if you would like further details.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2322 posts in 1757 days


#12 posted 03-30-2015 02:29 PM

Wow. I’d hate to take any of the old out of that place. It might be interesting to add on to the back of the building and have a modern shop there, and use the original structure for lumber storage or to keep those goats and horses you’ve always wanted.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4167 posts in 3203 days


#13 posted 03-30-2015 02:30 PM

Barn looks gorgeous – - first thing will be to get a floor in that you can work with, then set up some areas that are going to be more airtight, and heated – to make it comfortable, without costing you an arm and a leg.

Wood Heat seems attractive, but is not that stable, and often not covered in your homeowners policy for a “Unattached” building… so if there was a fire, Insurance might not cover.

In reality – - – the TRUE answer will be to do whatever projects on the house that your wife wants… that tends to pave the way to spending money on the barn.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Maction17's profile

Maction17

6 posts in 653 days


#14 posted 03-30-2015 06:20 PM



My kind of guy!

Great space. Can t wait to see how it turns out.

You might be interested in my LJ web page. I included a lot of detail in finishing a space similar to where you are now. Send me a message if you would like further details.

- RogerM

I’m going to mressage you, but apparently I need to get my post count up before I’m allowed to PM!

View Maction17's profile

Maction17

6 posts in 653 days


#15 posted 03-30-2015 06:23 PM

You know, I wasn’t thinking so much about the heat factor, but you all bring up a really good point- moisture running through there would wreak havoc on tools. My hope is I could repurpose enough of the wood I pull up to cover insultation, and keep the ol’ barn patina.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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