Floor plans and shop layout
Lighting... I use almost all Halogen in my shop. It has two bulbs in each light fixture and it works well for all the lighting needs I have. It is very bright and leaves very little shadow effects due to their being two lights in each fixture. I have several fixtures that are targeted at different areas, bench, table saw lathe, etc.
Lighting... I prefer fluorescent with a few low wattage incandescent to kill the flickering phenomena, headaches for some and nervousness for others and nothing for all the rest. I have found that halogen if not applied properly will cause hot spots and shadows. It seems to have a glare that my eyes are sensitive to.
Painting the walls... There is a product called seal-crete that does a great job of sealing concrete, block or wood for that matter. I used it as a primer on my barn shop. Anyhow it works very well as a first coat , you can even mix some latex in and use it as a primer. Paint always stick to it very well and it adds a moisture barrier just in case. Found in most store HD, Lowes etc.
Painting the walls... The brand that I would recommend and that is carried by most home centers (i.e. Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.) is UGL Drylok (United Gilsonite Laboratories). This is the same company that makes Zar finishing products. It is technically a water sealer and not a paint, although it applies like a paint and the finished surface looks like paint. UGL expands on curing and actually fills the small voids in the block to create a continuous barrier to water. There are two versions: an oil based product will stop even water under pressure and a latex version that is low odor and easier to clean up. The oil based product is fully tintable and the latex product comes in white, gray, blue and beige.
Gloss finish makes a huge difference, Rich. I painted every surface (floors, walls, and ceiling) of my shop with an gloss white epoxy floor paint. Reflects light like crazy and the hard smooth surface does shed fine dust a little easier.
- Chris Moore
I am one of these woodworkers who can never find anything 5 minutes after I have laid it down or I am piling items on my work surface-I have decided a portable work bench (on wheels) works great-you can place your tools or cut material on that and have it out of your way or in a place where you can find it easier-this enables you to move the surface to wherever you are working-it can also be used for an extension table for your tablesaw or your mitre saw. It has many uses and can be made to fit your needs.
Fast walls for your shop... When we moved into our house, I didn't have time to really set up a practical shop. There were too many other "home" projects to complete. So I bought a roll of heavy (3-mil?) plastic, secured a corner of the basement, and proceeded to hanging the plastic around my "shop" from the floor joists in the basement ceiling. I created a "strip" door entrance to the area. We've been there four years now, and I still have the plastic up. It functions perfectly well - keeps the dust contained.
Questions to ask when setting up your shop:
Where would you put the big tools? I think there is a lot of utility in being able to walk up to your saw especially and use it without having to clean it off, plug it in, or position it. That tends to locate the saw centrally in the shop. Look at the working footprint of the machine when you are ripping and crosscutting a 4x8 sheet of plywood. If you overlay this onto your drawing you'll probably find there are only a couple locations for it in its operating position.
Where would you put a dust collector? The location of the DC is driven by where the saw and other tools are. Place them and the DC will sort of take care of itself. You might consider an enclosure for it to keep the noise down.
Where would a bench go? The bench is like the saw, you want to step up to it and use it without having to do something else first. The placement will depend a lot on if you need / want to use it as a support table for the saw and/or if you want to work or walk around all four sides or not. Place the saw and bench first.
What kinds of storage would you recommend for the various sundry things I'll need? Wall cabinets hung up with a French cleat system. This will allow you to move all your storage around because it isn't permanently fixed to the wall. The cleat system also makes it easy to hang jigs and other assorted shop items on the wall as well.
Would you paint the floor? What with? If it were me I would paint the floor, you can get epoxy paint for this, concrete stain might work too. I would also suggest painting the walls and ceilings white. Do all this painting stuff now before you do anything else because it is super-easy to do now and it will brighten things up quite a bit.
Anything else? Yes, after you have painted everything, put LOTS of lights in, you almost can't have too much light. As a guide, I have eight 4' twin tube fluorescent and seven 100w halogen bulbs in my shop which is about 25% bigger than your space.
Put everything on wheels. This will allow you to reconfigure the layout later and create space when you need to.
- Phil B
Measure you present tools and get the dimensions on what you are going to buy, make yourself some cutouts to scale and then just play with them. You can make all sorts of different arrangements in just a few minutes. Once you have decided on your layout you next have to think about power distribution and lighting and future equipment.
It takes a lot of thought, try to get what you want the first time its much easier that way than to have to tear something out because you forgot something or had a better idea.
Are you planning to work with full sheets of ply for example? Then you want an easy entry to the shop. You want enough room in front of and behind the TS to handle the sheets. If you are going to do a lot of work with solid wood, then you want the jointer and TS to have a good relationship. I go back and forth between those two constantly. I want them next to each other so I don't waste movement and energy.
- Lou Williams
Think of where you will want to build a lumber rack. And don't sell yourself short on space for this.
I purchased a dozen heavy duty 24" brackets from Lee Valley Tools (www.leevalley.com), rated at 600 lb. load capacity per bracket. I made the entire back wall of the shop into a lumber rack, and filled it with my coveted clear yellow cedar, along with some ruff pine and other stuff. It didn't take long before I had a load of Hemlock stickered on the floor, then another pile of 2X8 yellow cedar next to it, then came 150 BF of maple, and before too long, I was right back to where I started. It seems like every time I go to the local 'wood store', mill or the big city, I go through their supply and bring home a few more pieces of good lookin' wood, for future (yet to be thought of) projects. If your like most of us, you'll never have too much wood on hand.
(Drives the wives crazy..."You bought more wood???")
On the other hand, if your a buy-it-as-you-need-it kind of woodworker, a smaller rack will do. In either case, think about building a rack.
The best way to layout your shop is to make a scaled drawing of the space and cut out paper scaled shapes of the tools you want to use. For a table saw, include the space around it you need to use it. They just like paper dolls move them around until you like the way it is. You also might want to pre-plan before you put in the floor and run power and dust systems to the location for the tools under the floor.
- Lou Williams
When starting my new shop, I started out with the two part NYWS video of Norm building a garage workshop. While fine tuning the plans for height, depth and cabinet layout, I saw issue #54 Shopnotes with the rolling tool cart. Suddenly it hit me. I could have a truly individualized set of very versatile workspaces if I replaced all the cabinets with rolling carts. The workbench would become a series of stalls that the carts park in when not in use. So far I am very pleased with the results. I have completed the rolling tool cart, and the second cart is a rolling router cabinet. Four more carts are in the works. The next cart will be a tool chest with lots of drawers, similar to the mechanics tool chests. After that, a cart for the portable plainer, the scroll saw and a yet to be determined cart are planned. All the carts will be the same height, and surfaced with hardboard. This allows me to configure one or more smaller workbenches throughout the garage as needed by whatever project I am working on. For casters, I use four swivel locking castors from HD for each cabinet. They are easy to move, and with all four castors locked, the cabinet simply does not budge. I hope this will give you some ideas.
- Bill Endress
General tip: Make all your roll around cabinets the same height as you table saw outfeed. This way you can cut stock, slide it onto a table and roll it to another workstation (which, ideally, is also at the table saw outfeed height). This minimizes lifting and allows you to swap out tables interchangeably. Beyond that is basic face frame kitchen cabinet with wheels instead of toe kick. Not particularly difficult. Put in drawers, shelves, whatever you need. Size to your tools.
You should get a dehumidifier for the shop whether you are in the basement or your garage. Yeah it adds to the electric bill but so does everything else in the house. It'll really reduce the amount of rust forming on any of your tools and reduces the chances of molds and mildews growing and thriving and eventually giving you a nasty sinus infection. I turn mine on in April and don't turn it off until late November/early December. I live in NE PA and that is the humidity season.
Karl in PA
Start on the web and look at some shop plans and hints for starting a shop.
- Robert Walker
If your area is small (as is mine), you will have to consider "working" space. The space you will need to do actual milling operations. I solved my problem by mounting all my larger pieces of equipment on rolling bases. Since I work out of my double car garage (running out my wife's car on the weekends), I simply roll the saw, router, planer or what have you, to my garage door and make saw dust. It's much easier to clean up afterward.
Also, set up the shop power on its own electrical sub-panel. You will also want to look at some of the different ideas in setting up your shop (see Norm's ideas at "www.newyankee.com), sketch out your available space and draw in the all of the equipment you "want" to put in the shop. After developing the sketch of space and equipment, you can also see if you have room for all you desire or you may have to settle for less or buy equipment that performs multiple tasks.
- Ralph in San Diego
I have two "benches" in an L configuration in my shop. One is a 8' x 3' folding table and the other is a 2' door on some sawhorses. Depending on the type of work you do an expensive bench may be overkill. I use a routing pad to hold work in place for sanding and it works well for all but the smallest pieces. I don't do carving or hand planing so there is little need for a vice or bench dogs. A soft top on your bench is (IMHO) better than a hard one. You want the bench to 'give' instead of dinging your projects! I'm not going to make a bench out of something
I'm going to worry about. A benchtop is a *work* surface. Mine has glue spots, nicks, drill holes, stains, etc. all over it. Doesn't bother me a bit and doesn't impact
it's usefulness either. Some folks like a nice "formal" bench. They want the top to be beautiful. However if you can *SEE* the top of your bench then you're not doing much work! I run a continuous stream of projects thru the shop (typically several at different stages) and most days you can't see enough of the top to tell what color it is much less admire the finish. And I *DO* clean!