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Thread: Wall-eyed

  1. #1

    Wall-eyed

    [N00b alert]

    Hello, SMC waders. My shop is coming together in our backyard. Framing is signed off, roof is on, sheathing is complete (needs wrapped), most electrical boxes are hung, and half the windows are in.

    In a week, I'm heading a couple of hours down the road to pick up a small truck load of 1x8 shiplap to close in the walls. The stock is beetle-kill pine, AKA "blue pine" (I think Canadians call it "denim pine").

    My question to the group is how best to finish this for shop walls? I'd like to preserve the blue and/or bring out more color, as opposed to ambering it up to look more "normal." Any suggestions on finishing this stuff, preferably based on experience? The walls rise around 12 feet, eleven feet of which is studs and the rest is stub wall.

    Also interested in lighting solutions. Current (heh) plan is to run four rows of LED lights below the trusses, with another two rows to run along the bottom side of a planned loft. The main lighted area is ~600 s.f., and the (future) loft will be ~180 s.f., extending from the back wall at around eight feet AFF.

    Thanks in advance for sharing any relevant wisdom. This is likely the last shop I'll have, but it's the first one I've had a chance to make right (FSVO "right"). I'd like it to be flexible and useful for the remainder of my working time.

    Cheers,

    Jack
    --Jack S. Llewyllson

    Gratitude is a gift to yourself.

    Purity tests are the bane of human existence.

    Codeine takes the pain from every muscle but the heart.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    54,207
    Jack, you can use any clear finish you prefer on that (wonderful) wall material. If you want minimal color change from the finish, use a waterborne clear. If you want more amber, use an oil based product. I'd opt for the waterborne simply because it dries more quickly and with minimal odor. It's also sprayable to make the job easier. You will get some natural color shift over time from oxidation, of course.

    I'm a little jealous about having a situation to be able to build a shop from the ground up. I'd love to have that opportunity, but it's unlikely.
    --

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    631
    I have used quite a bit of blue pine for a stairway railing, post and beam wraps, small projects. For large stuff I have stuck with a matte water based poly. keeps the color well and seems to delay darkening. for my beam I set the wood out in the sun all together for a full day to darken it a bit before finishing for a little less contrast to the hickory flooring. for small projects, I have used tongue oil, Like a table centerpiece. after a few years, the centerpiece box is really beautiful. The blue has darkened and faded a touch and the pine is that wonderful old pine amber color.

    The blue pine I have gotten here has a wide range of hardness, I think because it can be white, lodgepole, or several other species. some of it has been more like poplar and some is nearly like balsa.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Jack, you can use any clear finish you prefer on that (wonderful) wall material. If you want minimal color change from the finish, use a waterborne clear. If you want more amber, use an oil based product. I'd opt for the waterborne simply because it dries more quickly and with minimal odor. It's also sprayable to make the job easier. You will get some natural color shift over time from oxidation, of course.
    Thanks, Jim. I'll probably roller it with a long handle, as I'm not much good on ladders these days (wonky spine).

    I'm a little jealous about having a situation to be able to build a shop from the ground up. I'd love to have that opportunity, but it's unlikely.
    Pretty Wife signed off on it after discussions around decommissioning our catastrophically cluttered, attached garage shop and converting it to living space. That will take our very humble starter home from ~1,150 to ~1,800 s.f. We talked ourselves into it based on investment vs. resale value in a (hopefully) rising market, but ya never know, right? So we pinched our noses shut and jumped over the cliff.

    It's been a life goal for me to design a ground-up shop, but of course there's always that hidden knife: the opportunity to get it "just right" is matched, stride for stride, by the opportunity to make craptastically bad choices that we'll regret for years to come. I'm pretty happy that we went with ~600 s.f. vs. the 480 or so we started off with. It's still a small shop, but noticeably beyond "tiny." I'll still be jettisoning a few tools to make the space halfway walkable.

    So far, I'm cautiously optimistic that the next owner won't just sneer and tear it down. In the meantime, it should keep me out of trouble for quite a while.

    I'll post some progress pictures after I get my membership upgraded to "contributor."

    Cheers,

    Jack
    --Jack S. Llewyllson

    Gratitude is a gift to yourself.

    Purity tests are the bane of human existence.

    Codeine takes the pain from every muscle but the heart.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Herman View Post
    For large stuff I have stuck with a matte water based poly. keeps the color well and seems to delay darkening. for my beam I set the wood out in the sun all together for a full day to darken it a bit before finishing for a little less contrast to the hickory flooring. for small projects, I have used tongue oil, Like a table centerpiece. after a few years, the centerpiece box is really beautiful. The blue has darkened and faded a touch and the pine is that wonderful old pine amber color.
    Thanks, Adam. I'll look into water-based poly. The shop will be fully dried in by the time I'm slapping up wall boards, and I agree with Jim that less stink = better stink.

    Probably will avoid sun aging (thanks for the tip) because paler surfaces are better for light reflection. I'm trying to keep it fairly bright inside, but I prefer wooden walls to drywall for a couple of predictable reasons (i.e. it holds screws well, won't dent easily, it's MUCH lighter to handle, and the whole reason for having a wood shop is that I like things made of wood).

    The blue pine I have gotten here has a wide range of hardness, I think because it can be white, lodgepole, or several other species. some of it has been more like poplar and some is nearly like balsa.
    Where is "around here," if I may ask? I suspect (but am not sure) that this load will be white pine. I guess if I get some poplar-weight ballast boards I'll nail them in around waist-high, and if there are balsa-weight sticks, they can go up near the top.
    --Jack S. Llewyllson

    Gratitude is a gift to yourself.

    Purity tests are the bane of human existence.

    Codeine takes the pain from every muscle but the heart.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    54,207
    A nicely appointed outbuilding can be very valuable going forward..."work from home" isn't going away I suspect and even if someone doesn't want a shop, they may enjoy having a separate place as an office, especially if there are two or more folks working/schooling from home. Other types of leisure uses are also popular at this point for smaller, separate buildings. The fact that you're using that nice shiplap will very much be a benefit in that case!
    --

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,937
    If possible apply one or two coats flat on the ground before installation. Much quicker and safer that way. harbor freight sells canvas drop cloths.
    Bil lD

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    631
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Llewyllson View Post
    Thanks, Adam. I'll look into water-based poly. The shop will be fully dried in by the time I'm slapping up wall boards, and I agree with Jim that less stink = better stink.

    Probably will avoid sun aging (thanks for the tip) because paler surfaces are better for light reflection. I'm trying to keep it fairly bright inside, but I prefer wooden walls to drywall for a couple of predictable reasons (i.e. it holds screws well, won't dent easily, it's MUCH lighter to handle, and the whole reason for having a wood shop is that I like things made of wood).

    Where is "around here," if I may ask? I suspect (but am not sure) that this load will be white pine. I guess if I get some poplar-weight ballast boards I'll nail them in around waist-high, and if there are balsa-weight sticks, they can go up near the top.
    Agree with the wood walls. it will look great also.

    I have sourced my blue stain from local Colorado mills.

  9. #9
    Wood walls are indeed the way to go! Did mine up with 1/2" CDX plywood (painted off-white) and am very pleased.

    As for lighting - I'm very happy with these guys - put 24 of them into 900 square feet. A hidden side benefit of them being so low in profile is that it was easy to run 6" dust collection pipe beneath them.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by David M Peters View Post
    As for lighting - I'm very happy with these guys - put 24 of them into 900 square feet. A hidden side benefit of them being so low in profile is that it was easy to run 6" dust collection pipe beneath them.
    Boy, is that good to hear. I ordered a 24-pack of those a couple of days ago. They're due Monday.
    --Jack S. Llewyllson

    Gratitude is a gift to yourself.

    Purity tests are the bane of human existence.

    Codeine takes the pain from every muscle but the heart.

  11. #11

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    A nicely appointed outbuilding can be very valuable going forward..."work from home" isn't going away I suspect and even if someone doesn't want a shop, they may enjoy having a separate place as an office, especially if there are two or more folks working/schooling from home. Other types of leisure uses are also popular at this point for smaller, separate buildings. The fact that you're using that nice shiplap will very much be a benefit in that case!
    Excellent point, Jim. I've been thinking about that, and also trying to absorb life lessons from my grandparents, uncle, and stepdad, all of whom steadily built their home places into folksy life support vehicles. We bought this house primarily to get the kids into an outstanding school district, but this increasingly seems like the place where we'll spend our retirement. With that being the probable scenario, we're customizing it to meet our dreams.

    I figure "the next guy" (or gal) might well find a different use for the shop: welding, boatbuilding, garage band, or what have you. Since "the next [person] is likely to be one of our kids (or my wife; she's a bit younger), it may as well be both generically practical AND a nice space to hang out in. I'm trying to envision use case scenarios and plan for them, including comforts such as a desk & chair, mini fridge, etc. I'd have been interested in a W.C., but that's impractical for several reasons (grade to sewer, ADU surcharges, and just plain co$t).

    Had a mini brain flash the other day, though. While the walls are still open, I wired four overhead speaker locations to a banana jack box on the rear wall. This morning, a motorcycling buddy dropped by and left me a pair of Polk Audio bookshelf speakers that he's not using. Another riding friend has a no-longer-used amp and a pair of Bose 301 speakers, which I'll take off HIS hands. All up, I'm about 20 bucks into what feels like it'll be a pretty fly setup for ambient shop music.

    On warm, post-COVID afternoons, I figure I'll wheel the iron out of the way, set up a banquet table either under the roof or on the front slab (depending on rain), set out some beverages and crank up the party music, because why not? It may be a shop, but it's also a life dream. Besides, who doesn't' like to play with their food a little?

    Future plans (probably next summer) include building a trellis to span a run of clematis across the hi-lift door. My builder had the bright idea (terrible pun intended) to locate a couple of switched-outlet boxes high up in the front soffits. My light switches will be labeled MAIN (bay lights), AUX (under-loft lights), EXT (front carriage lamps and walk-in door), and, uh... "TWINKLE."

    Getting pretty stoked now. I just found three locally unobtainable 230V 30A GFI breakers online, and the power wiring is at about 85% now.

    One other thing on today's list: figure out how to pay the Contributor fee so I can bore you good folks with shop pictures -- and see yours!

    Cheers,

    Jack
    --Jack S. Llewyllson

    Gratitude is a gift to yourself.

    Purity tests are the bane of human existence.

    Codeine takes the pain from every muscle but the heart.

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