new shop progress #2: shop lighting

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Blog entry by woodnut posted 11-05-2007 12:42 AM 1122 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Shop progress Part 2 of new shop progress series Part 3: electrical »

I was hoping that some of you Lumberjocks could help me out with my lighting question. I am planning on putting in eight 8’ fluorecent lights in the ceiling with the fullspectrum bulbs. My question is will all the colors show up will under these lights or will I need some other form of lighting. I have read that these are the best in the fluorecent line, but would like to here from some of you that have used them.

-- F.Little

6 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4014 days

#1 posted 11-05-2007 12:46 AM

I’m not sure about the colors, but I would use 2 to 3 switches for the lights.
I have 3 rows of lights each on a different switch and use them according to which area of the shop I am working in. Saves electricity!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 11-05-2007 03:03 AM

I have banks of fluorescent lights that contain six 4’ bulbs each. I have big 4’ by 5’ windows to maximize daylight. The lights give off the standard green glow. I have never had a problem matching stain for my jobs. When I bring it in the shop, I make the new parts match what ever I am looking at. If it matches under the lights in the shop, it matches in the light outside, and it matches in the incandescent lighting in a house. Doing stain matches can be an art in itself.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 11-05-2007 03:05 AM

I’m with Gary, I really don’t know if the lights will or won’t show all the colors. I have a shop full of fluorecents but I rely on an incandescent to show sanding and finishing flaws and good ole sol to see the true colors. I use the overheads because they eliminate most shadows, for me, this makes following lines much easier.
Good luck and let us know how you fair.
Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4125 days

#4 posted 11-05-2007 04:20 AM

Here is the most important thing. Your breakers should only be loaded to 80% of capacity. A 20 amp breaker should be loaded to 16 amps. Fluorescent light ballast tend to run the breakers hot. My electricians only load breakers to 70% for fluorescent lighting. A 20 amp breaker would only be loaded to 14 amps in that case.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4113 days

#5 posted 11-05-2007 12:53 PM

I highly recommend T-8 bulbs instead of the more common T-12.

They are considerably more expensive up front but they have three advantages that I can think of:
Bulbs last 20,000 hours
There is no warm up time and no buzz
The 835 bulb will give you closest to daylight

The lighting people tell me that they are less expensive to operate but I have no way to verify that.

There was an article in FWW (#154) within the last three years about shop lighting.

IMHO I would shy away from the $8 shop light sold at borg and lowes but I have truly been spoiled by the R-8 lights
I also use site specifixc lighting at my lathe and bandsaw.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4077 days

#6 posted 11-05-2007 11:19 PM

Thanks to everyone that replied. Todd I will tell my electrician about the breaker size. Sawdust I was planning on going with the fullspectrum bulbs which are $70.00 for a box of 10 how much more are the T-8 bulbs.

-- F.Little

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