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Thread: New Shop Planning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Northern UT
    Posts
    762

    New Shop Planning

    Would like to get thoughts on what is a sweet spot for the width of a shop. I have often thought close to 30', but have been re-thinking it and am now wondering if 24 - 25' isn't a better width. At some point the extra width becomes wasted space, until you reach a point where you can add in more tools and work space.

    What I am thinking is, left to right, a TS, then a jointer or planer, with a chop saw against the right wall. It allows for 4 - 5' in between each tool. I have been working with a couple of different tool layout programs, mostly Grizzly's, but realize I could easily be missing some key points or thought process.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Medina Ohio
    Posts
    4,499
    You can never make it to big just to small.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Taylors, SC
    Posts
    223
    This may be the only time these words have ever been strung to together in a sentence... I wish my shop was smaller OR, My shop is too large.

  4. #4
    From the engineering perspective, carefully calculate all the respective tool's work envelope (allowing 10% margin of error), integrate this to derive total square footage specification. Then double it.

    Edit: Almost forgot - - This assumes the wife allows lumber storage in 'her' garage. If she doesn't, then add 1000sqft for this.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 08-25-2015 at 3:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Mark,
    As you may gather, this topic ignites many people's inner comic.


    I have helped my father thru 3 homes with scratch-built shops for each; currently planning my own (maybe a crowd-funding effort.....??). In all seriousness, make it as big as you can afford. You'll never regret it. My $.02

  6. #6
    I'm not going to argue that more space is nice but I am happy to have my 14x24 shop. The 24 foot wall without windows has my RAS & CMS on a cabinet with drawers below them. Router table is at one end (top is same height as the RAS and CMS). It is on wheels and gets pulled out some to use. The other end will get another cabinet and then clamp storage. Above the saws I have about 100 bd ft of wood on racks. The other long wall has nothing done yet but will get a rolling workbench/track saw cutting surface. Extra space will have my jointer (it's on wheels), plywood storage, and planner (on wheels). The short wall where there isn't a garage door had the floor standing drill press and a benchtop mortiser on a small cabinet. I have a table saw out in the middle and a DC that I am not using and will probably get rid of. A shop vacuum with dust deputy gets attached to the tool in use at the moment.

    This is obviously a hobby shop and limits me in some ways. But it's a LOT better than what I had when we moved into this house - nothing. Lights and wiring are in but most of the walls are bare studs. So it's very much a work in process.

    What you can afford is one measure but what fits on your lot and with your house is another consideration. Our lot is a fairly small lake lot with a decent sized house on it. The 14x24 garage addition (attached) was what fit. Because I also took care of some issues on the house, what I spent would have built a much larger shop. But that isn't what I needed.

    I will also note that cutting up sheet goods with a track saw instead of a table saw saves a bunch of space. But I used to do it on the table saw in my former shop which was about the same size as the current one. The other thing it tends to do is save some lifting/manipulating of the sheets.

    I've made entire bedroom sets and 1 kitchen in my little shops. More space would have been nice but less space doesn't mean you have to give up or limit your projects a lot.

    I would make your shop as big as fits your lot and house and within your budget. If you want to, you will be able to do a lot in it regardless of exactly how big it is.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blatter View Post
    Would like to get thoughts on what is a sweet spot for the width of a shop. I have often thought close to 30', but have been re-thinking it and am now wondering if 24 - 25' isn't a better width. At some point the extra width becomes wasted space, until you reach a point where you can add in more tools and work space.

    What I am thinking is, left to right, a TS, then a jointer or planer, with a chop saw against the right wall. It allows for 4 - 5' in between each tool. I have been working with a couple of different tool layout programs, mostly Grizzly's, but realize I could easily be missing some key points or thought process.

    Thoughts?
    My last shop was 30x20 and I found that a 20' width was marginal once you stated putting things around the edges.

  8. #8
    My uncle is the woodworker/welder/machinist in our family. While in my 20's I helped him move into and organize his third in a series of nine or ten shops. In my 30's he went into shops four through seven. They were a variety of sizes and shapes access points etcetera. Here's what he finally determined was the best setup and as far as he is concerned "the only way to go". He built his "last stand" about 10 years ago and rather than keep getting bigger and bigger buildings to house all his disciplines he went modular. By that I mean he has three "shops" but we are interested in his woodshop.

    His final decision on the ultimate woodshop size was 30 x 40. The beauty of this size is it allows him to back his truck right up to the storage section, pure luxury that. I have spent a lot of time in his shop and I have to say having that much space has serious advantages. But my dream shop would not to be that large I am certain with the small amount of work I do that 24 x 30 would be my ideal. I am currently in a much, much smaller space and am constantly irritated by size limitations.

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