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Thread: Small home shop vs large away shop

  1. #1
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    Small home shop vs large away shop

    Someone once asked on this forum if they should get a small shop at home, or go for a larger shop off-site. I am moving my home shop out and trading up to a full size, dedicated, professional shop. It is bitter-sweet. The pros are easy: huge shop, stationary tools, not having to clean up mid-project and then set everything back up. The cons are that you no longer have all your tools in one place, and have to travel to the shop to work. Late night work when you have an extra hour before bed is not as easy with the away shop.

    This weekend I will be breaking the home shop down. Iím keeping a small bench and a number of home repair tools. I will keep a pancake compressor, small drill press, and a portable table saw at home. Not having the Roubo bench at home is going to be a bummer, but I am winding down the restoration project, and I find less and less home-related uses for it, so itís going to the big shop.

    I will keep some sharpening gear at home since I have enough to supply an army. I will also keep a few clamps and a decent automotive tool kit, although car and bike work will now also be done at the big shop.

    Fortunately the new shop is only two miles away. Ultimately itís better having a large shop, but I will still have a nook at home with a small bench, so itís not 100% giving up the home shop. I am gaining back a 12x16 room and 3/4 bathroom. The room will become an art and music room with a small library.

  2. #2
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    May 2014
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    I did the same thing about 6-7 years ago. Moved out of my garage and across town to my new shop in the industrial section. This is not as bad as it seems,I live in a small town and the distance involved is only 1 km. I ride my bike all the time in summer and walk sometimes in winter. Do miss being able to duck into the shop in a moment,but really like the shop I now have.My wife is way happier with the reduction of sawdust that used to migrate into my house.

  3. #3
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    It's 2 miles away.....That's still practically a home shop.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
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    If you spend as much time making noise in the shop as I do, a shop in a residential neighborhood would wear on the neighbors. In an industrial district, I can run all my big machines in the middle of the night, and nobody complains.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
    Location
    Crozet, VA
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    I just went through this last year, and am still in the process of getting the new, larger shop completely organized and functional. I'm not a professional so no late night work to meet deadlines and such. While not as immediately accessible, I actually find I'm more productive and focused at the new shop since there are less "domestic distractions".
    There is a very fine line between ďhobbyĒ and ďmental illness.Ē - Dave Barry

  6. #6
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    It's a good excuse to buy duplicate tools to keep at home, or maybe quintuple tools since the first 4 are somewhere in my shop.

    My shop was a mile from home, now its 4. At least my truck is mostly warmed up by the time I get there now.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2005
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    Other advantages of having the shop at home is:

    1) thereís little to no additional overhead.
    Sure you use electricity but you donít have a separate bill. Same with water - even if you donít use any thereís probably a minimum charge /mo if youíre shop isnít at home. My basement shop space would be conditioned whether I had a shop there or not.
    2) Thereís also no rent to pay with a home shop.

    Though, a ground level overhead door with tons of room would be fantastic!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Other advantages of having the shop at home is:

    1) there’s little to no additional overhead.
    Sure you use electricity but you don’t have a separate bill. Same with water - even if you don’t use any there’s probably a minimum charge /mo if you’re shop isn’t at home. My basement shop space would be conditioned whether I had a shop there or not.
    2) There’s also no rent to pay with a home shop.

    Though, a ground level overhead door with tons of room would be fantastic!
    Ours has dock height doors, but we built a ramp for the bikes. It is so nice to work on my bike in a huge shop that doesn’t leak. I had a space in an old warehouse for the bike that leaked. Now it has its own room. The main reason for the bigger shop is building the boat and also I am getting so many people wanting custom doors and furniture that I am paying for it with custom work on the side.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2015
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    Having a home shop and then working for someone Iím in a shop all day everyday.

    This is my take.

    The no distractions is huge. Like huge, like I canít express in words how huge. Kinda like having a loading dock when you wanna move something that like 5K lbs huge.I canít get crap done when Iím at home. I also canít focus being interrupted all the dam time. As a result I always seem to to make a mistake at the worst possible time. I know itís a pathetic excuse for being a hack. It can be bad enough I donít even bother getting into something. What I donít have this expertise at work I dint know other than other makers seem to understand and respect leaving each other alone or planing interruptions carfully.

    A full-size overhead door and a loading dock is my gosh darn dream. I like really really heavy machines. At work itís so easy to take delivery of and or move a old machine out. Like silly easy makes what I do and some around here do seem like a joke.

    Actually having space for everything, gotta consider price per square foot here though. But man my lumber collection machinery fetish combined with the materials for said project and my shop is a real pita. Even at work thereís always issues having enough flat surfaces to store work in progress. Then staying spotless clean as to not make mess of your house. Iím not gonna sand blast anything in my house. In a shop and fire way.

    Flip side.

    I never want to get in my car any day of the week and drive to the shop even if I have time. It just feels like way more of a commitment and unless only a mile away I bet Iíd never make the trip nearly as often as I do to my home shop.

    I run into the two sets of tools thing and itís a real pita and expensive. Inevitable what you need is at the other shop always unless you have doubles.

    No rent is awesome and allows at least me to have a way nicer shop than I ever could if I paid rent and utilities. When work is scarce I donít have to start selling my machines or taking out loans to pay rent. Thatís huge, like huge. I personally will never have anything other than a home shop if I have to pay rent even if I am running my own business. It just way to much to carry imop for most small buisness. Just what you gotta clear monthly to cover overhead means you gotta stay busy and must get paid at least $75 a shop hour minimum. Good luck getting ever homeowner to understand and or be willing to do that. It forces you to have to produce income and if itís a hobby well then your kinda screwed into taking work you might otherwise not want to.

    To me the only real solution is a piece of property with a very very large ground level building heated and cooled and paid for.
    Last edited by Patrick Walsh; 01-28-2020 at 8:37 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    I considered a remote hobby shop once. To be nearby, the suburban land cost was prohibitive - for just a shop. Putting a house with it makes it more palatable.

    To get land costs down, I looked as much as 30 miles away. Two worries: 1) Time lost to 'shop' commute. Whether driving or just losing that pre-bedtime hour - even 15 minutes to pull clamps off, it was depressing; and 2) Theft. With a remote shop and potential uncaring neighbor, I worried about a truck bumper thru the door and its all gone.

    We built a house. Commute was exactly 18sec., or even less if I skipped pants.
    Molann an obair an saor.

    If Heaven ain't alot like Texas, I don't wanna go. - Hank Jr.

  11. #11
    My shop is just across the yard. Just wish I had been able to afford this shop when I was still in business. That extra hour or 2 in the evening would have been great. Could have built the cabinets while the drywallers were doing their job. Never did miss a day of work anyway unless rain was pouring down, or maybe it was 0 outside.

  12. #12
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    All associated costs included, my shops runs me about 1.50 a sqft. Two main overhead doors, 3 dock doors, two other overhead doors as well. Plenty of power.

  13. #13
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    Find the perfect workshop, sell your house and move into the workshop.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Find the perfect workshop, sell your house and move into the workshop.
    I am fine with that. The kids and wife can stay in the house. Lol

  15. #15
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    I’m also pretty much 100% fine with this also..

    Long term that’s pretty much the plan. Huge metal building live work space.

    Could be pretty darn nice actually.

    Oh and no god dam neighbors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Find the perfect workshop, sell your house and move into the workshop.

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