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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
- Lou Williams
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.
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
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
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.
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
on the web and look at some shop plans and hints for
starting a shop.
- Robert Walker
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.
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
- Ralph in San Diego
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!