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New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

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  • New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please


    I'm in process of building a a 24' x 30' x 10' workshop! I'm looking for suggestions from folks who have travled this path before. Looking for
    the do's and dont's, MUST have tools, types of lighting, tool layout, etc.
    Thanks in advance for your help


  • #2
    Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

    If I was going to design and build a shop my first task would be to decide where the table saw was going to be. The table saw anchors the whole shop. Knowing where it will be will allow you to run power and dust collection to it under the floor to avoid running cords and hoses that could be a trip hazzard. With the table saws posistion figured out you can now start figuring out the location of the other tools and make power and dust collection plans for them. Also I would run 220 to all tools that will run on 220. You can never have to many lights which need to be on a dedicated circuit and the more outlets the better. These are just some of the things I would do hope it helps.
    SSG, U.S. Army
    K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.


    • #3
      Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

      I found "Setting Up Shop" by Sandor Nagyszalanczy published by The Taunton Press, very usefull book for designing my shop. Lots of good ideas and information.


      • #4
        Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

        Install your electrical outlets at least 52" above the floor. That way, if you lean a 4x8 piece of ply against a wall you'll still have access to power outlets.
        I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


        • #5
          Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

          Hi Andy, Welcome to the forum. A little more info on what you plan to do in that shop would make it easier to give ideas/suggestions. i.e. Are you going into cabinet production? hobby puttering around? furniture?--you get the idea.


          • #6
            Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

            YOU don't state your real desire of what your wanting to set up, and type of work,

            First what ever size of building you build it will only be half the size you need in a few years,
            so I suggest to go from the 24' by 30' to a 48 by 30' or even 40'.

            truthfully I am some what serious in the above statement.

            I will make the assumption you mean a wood shop,

            STORAGE, how or where are you planing on storing extra lumber and sheet goods,

            First I would not use a standard Truss rafter,, WHY you jsut lost much valuable storage space, I would consider using either conventional rafters and on one end of the building a loft, or using special rafters that would allow you a room in the attic area, or possibly building the building in such of a way that there is a loft on each end of the building with the center of the building open to the rafters, both for head room and for access to the storage area, the storage area in the loft areas are not the best for sheet goods but great for lumber and other storage needs,

            If you not planing an open area in the center and only doing 8' walls consider a 10' wall system,

            8' of ceiling space is very limiting, if you need to flip a sheet of 4x8 stock you will be hitting the rafters or the ceiling all the time, if only 8' up, by using conventional rafters in an open area above the table saw I think you will find you can work with 8' tall walls with out much problems,

            If you sharing the building with a vehicle consider entering from the side of the building and considering that area as a construction area, leave some space up by the wall as placing tools or a bench along the walls most find help full, IN other words do not place the big door right next to the wall, leave 5' of space from the wall to the edge of the door,

            one trick is to place the ARM saw, or miter saw, off center and in line with a walk in door or window, so if long stock is encountered one can open up a door or window an slide the stock out the door or window to have more working space, and I would suggest more area to the left of the saw than to the right, another trick is to place the saw extended from the normal work bench area or above the work bench area, so (one of my problems) one does not have to keep a perfectly clear bench, to use the saw, by placing it 3 1/2" above the bench one can use 2x4 scraps to space stock or if one pulls it out to the front of the bench then either pull out supports to support stock or the front edge of the bench,

            make all tool the same height as the work benches (movable at least), that way one can use an edge of the bench or work station to help support odd or long sized stock.

            Usually the table saw is the heart of the shop, some times setting the saw at a diagonal and other tool similarly can make clear paths for stock travel,
            leave the area around the saw with a min of 8 foot front and back if possible 8 foot, to the left side as well, and narrow paths of prefable 16' or longer in line with the blade, again lining up with doors or opening windows can be help full. may consider a wider than normal walk in door, such as a 4' door depending on placement,

            you may consider a set of tarps to close off a 1/3 of the shop, (I would say the construction area), the first reason I would suggest this is if you do desire some type of spray equipment for finishing projects, you can from a booth type area to separate the dust from the spray area, and it help keep overspray off the tools, or other,

            also if you do plan on mechanical or welding that construction area can be separated to keep wood dust off of mechanical work, and it may help keep grease off of the wood,

            again since you did not state your desires of type of work,

            but for basic wood working, first IMO the table saw is the heart of the shop,
            power miter or cut off saw,
            jointer, planer, drill press, router table or shaper, (clamps and clamps and some more clamps),
            if your into hand tools, the heart of the hand tools shop is the work bench, and multiple Vices,

            in power tools the tool is stationary, and the wood moves, in hand work the wood is held stationary and the tool moves,

            but a good free standing bench is a great tool in any wood shop, something like the one in the url.

            a good exhaust fan is a nice feature,

            If you plan on a dust removal system, design that in the or plan an area, you may consider a shed or dog house for the air compressor, it pressure switch is timed with your telephone ringer, if the phone rings the compressor will turn on during the conversation, and if it is once of the small single stage units the noise is LOUD, the bigger 2 stage usually are quieter, in operation but still nice not having to listen to it directly.

            air system run some piping, (do not use PVC pipe) and then a few hose reels, (the harbor freight reels are a good value), they will help you keep the hoses pickup, (if you have limited capacity Air compressor, using a air bubble tied in line, can help in some capacity,
            (use an approved tank, not some junk tank), the best of course is to have a large tank compressor, with a good capacity),

            lighting on a low ceiling building, florescence lighting is probly the easiest, (if you use the "shop light fixture" you may jsut want to wire in plug ins above the benches about every 9' or so, so one can add them was wanted or move them to where the work is being done, and then a row or so down the middle or two strips in the middle,
            again another argument for ceiling clearance, place the center lights up in the raised area, and that will help from knocking them out, (use the protective tubes sleeves) it beats raining glass. and if you can protected fixtures in the center of the shop,
            Higher ceilings you can consider some different options for lighting,

            I would basically set the shop up in three sections,
            one the construction area, with a large roll up door, the center area, for the table saw, jointer, and planer.
            and the third area, more of a utility area, for storage of sheet stock, air compressor, dust collection area,
            the walls of the shop for small tools, drill press, (I prefer floor models, and bolt it down, or if mobility is necessary bolt it to a steel base for stability),
            tool grinders, sharper or router table, band saw, work benches, and cabinets and other items you desire.
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


            • #7
              Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please...long post

              Howdy Again,

              Thanks to those of you who responded. I appreciate your input. I particularly like the suggestions to place outlets at 52" in height. Not only will it allow access when large sheets are leaned against the wall, it will also be out of reach of the grand kids! I also like the suggestion of multiple breakers for the outlets and multiple feeds to the outlets. Running floor outlets is also something I’ll use.

              This will be a metal building. 24 x 30 x 10 with a 14' high center on concrete foundation. I will have a 9 x 16 garage door with one walk through door. Work shop will be used mainly for wood working and watching my Cowboys and the Golf Channel (will also be wiring up for satellite. My own little hideaway. At the moment I am building picnic tables, adult size (8' & 10' lengths) and kid size (33" x 35 1/2 x 17"), basic benches, etc. I also have an arbor/swing under my belt. All built for kids and grand kids. I also plan on building work bench and storage units for the shop. As my skill level increases, I hope to move up to more demanding projects. Outdoor / indoor furniture, bird houses, etc. I’m not opposed to tackling more difficult projects. For now I'm enjoying just "puttering around". Currently have subscription to “Wood” magazine.

              I do have most (I think) of the basics. Craftsman 10" table saw, Craftsman base router and router table given to me by my late father in law (both probably 20 years old). Black and Decker plunge router, DeWalt D55141 compressor, D51236K and D51256K nailers, DW716 - 12" CMS, Craftsman 16" scroll saw, 5" bench grinder, Craftsman 16” band saw, and B&D palm sander. I also have 5 gallon compressor. Hints on router use would be appreciated. I think Santa Claus is bringing me DeWalt 18v, ½ cordless drill and 18v, 6 3/8 cordless saw! I’m considering replacing table saw or at least replacing the fence. Opinions welcomed.

              I do plan on getting larger compressor and a shop vac. My son has a GOOD
              friend who is an electrician. Looks like I’ll be getting wiring done really cheap. Beer and smoked brisket in return for work AND fixtures!

              Again, thanks for all who replied. I look forward to future conversations. And keep those suggestions coming!


              • #8
                Re: New Workshop ...Need Suggestions Please

                If you want to drool, pick up a copy of Wood Magazine's America's Best Home Workshops. It'll give you lots of good layout ideas, plenty of logistical considerations to ponder, and give you a comprehensive list of Tools You Don't Have But Hope To Get Someday.

                I won't add to any other comments, but would reiterate one of BHD's comments to plan for a dedicated finishing area...perhaps a walled off area with filtering and ventilation. It's no fun having to cease all cutting/sawing/sanding in the shop while you're finishing a piece over the course of hours or days....dust and finishing don't mix very well.

                Good luck! Having a dedicated outbuilding shop is but a dream for lots of us.