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Thread: New Shop Construction

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    249

    New Shop Construction

    I currently have my shop in a two-car garage. While I don't necessarily use both bays of the garage solely for wood working; for me the footprint of one bay is not adequate space to efficiently work.

    We are down-sizing and have just purchased a 100-year old house north of where we live now. The home does not have a garage but has a 12'X19' add-on room that is insulated, and has 220V power as well as an overhead gas heater.

    We wont be moving until Spring and I am in the planning stages now regarding: shop space, garage/carport etc.

    I am thinking the add-on room would be perfect for hand tools, workbench, mortising machine, grinders, drill press.

    Power machines: TS, BS, planer, and jointer would have to go somewhere else (both from a noise and space standpoint).

    Looking at the way the yard is laid out it will be difficult or impossible to put another building very close to the house. I would like to build a shop but due to space and cost considerations I am hoping I can split the functions as outlined above, and maybe build a garage/power machine space and have the hand tool space by the house.

    We get a lot of snow and winter is when I have time for projects. I am wondering if having these different operations in separate buildings is going to be too troublesome.

    Thanks
    Kris
    Regards,

    Kris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Coppell, TX
    Posts
    908
    Anything can be made to work, Kris. Personally I would find the decrease in space and split locations a PITA, but, given a choice between your arrangement and nothing, it's going to come down to changing methods of work from what you are used to. For example - do all the cutting, shaping etc in one location and bring it into the add-on room for assembly and finishing. Just requires a different mindset and discipline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,378
    I can't work like that. My wood shop is an out building. My mechanic tools are in the garage at the opposite end of the house about 300' from the wood shop, and my welding equipment is now all at my son's shop, which is across town and about 10 miles away. Hauling stuff back and forth is driving me crazy, to the point that I'm considering selling the house and finding a house with a 3 or 4 car detached garage, or at least space to build one, where I can have everything under one roof. I know that I now have at least three sets of the common tools like screwdrivers, hammers, squares, clamps, etc so one set is in each location, but it seems like I need my drills and impact tools or something else and they are always in one of the other locations. So it seems like everything that I try to do ends up requiring at least one trip, but usually several trips to one of the other locations, usually just to get the tools that I need and don't have where I am working.
    A shop in only two locations will be better than what I have, but it's still going to get to you in a very short time, especially when dealing with it when the snow is flying outside. Is your garage heated? Working in freezing temperatures when your fingers want to stick to your table saw won't be very good for achieving cutting accuracy either.

    We never seem to be able to have our ultimate shop, but keeping it all together in one heated and insulated building runs very high on my list.

    Charley

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    249
    Thanks Andy and Charley. I think both of you have pretty much reaffirmed what I was thinking. I guess I need to do some more head scratching.

  5. #5
    As kind of an aside, is fine wood dust going to be a hazard with that overhead gas heater? I really dont know - but someone else will.

    Good luck on your move.
    Fred

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,530
    I built my shop down the hill from the house, near the barn, maybe 300' away. When the shop was partially done for a while I kept some things in the garage shop. What a pain. I was glad to get everything in one spot! Well not everything yet. I still have one bandsaw and some wood stored in the garage...


    JKJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    48,046
    I have to agree with others, if there's a way to get everything in one place, that's going to be preferable. But sometimes "downsizing" requires a change in how we work and what we actually work on if space becomes a barrier to the types of projects we worked on previously.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    If space for building a workshop is limited could you do a 2 story building? Put the heavy machinery on the ground floor and the lighter stuff and hand tools upstairs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,378
    I know someone who has his entire shop above his garage. He has a motorized lift that slides/folds out of an end door to lift his machinery and supplies, etc.
    It works for him, but I wouldn't want it. My shop was in the basement of my previous house and the only access was the inside stairway that went up to a 3 X 4' area with two doors, one left into the kitchen, and one straight ahead, which then dropped two steps into the back corner of the garage. Everything had to go in and out through that up and down maze. Before I moved, I was considering finding a sidewalk elevator and building an outside entrance with the elevator in it for access in and out of the basement, maybe with a removable stairway so the elevator didn't always have to be used. You can make do with these inconveniences, but it sure doesn't promote good shop time.

    Charley

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,530
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lent View Post
    ... Before I moved, I was considering finding a sidewalk elevator and building an outside entrance with the elevator in it for access in and out of the basement, maybe with a removable stairway so the elevator didn't always have to be used.
    Another option is to build an elevator. A quadriplegic friend of mine had an elevator made from a surplus fork lift. He had someone weld a frame and cage with guides and rollers. A small AC motor powered the hydraulic pump. I built a sturdy upper deck attached to the house with a big hole for the elevator and someone else built an enclosure and put a door into the house. This elevator is probably 7-8' square inside, could work for a shop. He had it made big enough for easy access and for turning his motorized wheelchair. Before the elevator he couldn't get to the second level of the house.

    JKJ

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    249
    Too busy at work right now (working on two different projects in two different states). Still trying to do some planning when I get time. We spent a couple of days at the new place this weekend and still trying to figure out layout. Shop is probably going to have an upper half-story for office and potential future use as an apartment. I was planning on a 24' X 40' shop with a 12' X 24' single-stall garage taking up part of that square footage. The problem I am having now is my wife is not real keen on the 25' width for the full length because it encroaches on the yard too much. I would still like to incorporate a garage stall and maybe an "L" shaped setup of some kind.

    Not really a question being posted here - more just thinking out loud. I will post some specifics after I can present some more fleshed-out ideas.

    Thanks for the responses.
    Regards,

    Kris

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,378
    Wherever you end up putting your shop, make sure you provide a bathroom in or adjacent to it. This is my biggest problem, having to stop work and head for the house when I need to use it. A half bath is Ok, but one with a shower and changing area is the ultimate. Of course, your shop will need running water for doing glue-ups, so a sink is needed at the very minimum. But a real 1/2 bathroom is also needed, with cold and hot water if you put in the shower. I have running water and a sink in my shop, but there's not enough room for the rest. I was just given a 120 volt "instant" heater for hot water at my sink, so this will be a needed improvement that I have gone 25 years without. My next shop will have a full bathroom and changing area in addition to the shop sink (who am I kidding, I'm 75 now).

    Charley

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    249

    Shop Design

    Still noodling on ideas. My work is finally starting to slow down so I can get back to planning mode. I used the Grizzly Planner to come up with the attached to see if my general layout thoughts are going to work.

    I wanted a bigger shop but I think this will work. the white area in the bottom right is not part of the building (the planner won't let you create an "L" shape).

    DC is in the garage which will house the wife's car. Stairwell above DC will go to office upstairs which will be half the footprint of the bottom floor.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Regards,

    Kris

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    249

    Shop - Size and Configuration

    Seems like there are several folks going through the same process I am for figuring out shop layout. My previous post included a drawing of a plan for a 25 ft. wide shop. Subsequently, my wife made it clear the shop wasnt going to obstruct the view. I am now looking at a 20 ft. wide building. The drawing below reconfigures my layout with the 20 ft. width (shop keeps shrinking ) My main goal at this point is to convince myself I can make the shop work with this arrangement, and finalize the layout of the building itself.. I could probably go longer with the building but not wider. Cant seem to insert photos in line like I have done before.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Regards,

    Kris

  15. #15
    Due to space on the lot considerations and appearance, I was limited to a 14x24 shop addition. It is a separate third stall on the garage. Sometimes I pull a car out and use the adjacent two car garage for something but no woodworking tools are in there. To make this work, I took the extension rails off my table saw and switched to a track saw for all cuts on big pieces. I like this arrangement better. Makes more sense to move the saw rather than the wood on big pieces. I mention this because you have a lot of space around your table saw. You wouldn't need so much if you made a decision like mine.

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