Can a shop have too much lighting?

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Hi All,
My new shop bldg is built and now waiting to be finished. It is 25 x 30 with 10 foot walls. The shop also has 4 windows, 2 walk doors, and a 10 foot overhead door.
I was thinking (sometimes dangerous for an old coot) that 8, 8 foot 2 lamp HO flourescent fixtures would be adequate for general lighting. My electrician seems to think that is overkill. Can there ever be too much light in a shop?
TIA for any opinions.
Mike
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Old coots need more light than young farts. 4 fixtures along the 30 foot run is only a fixture every 5 feet. Not too much chance for shadows with that spacing. I would do 2 light switches. I would rather have a bit too much than not enough.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.comxxx (Mike) wrote:

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IMHO only if you need sun glasses... Otherwise the more the better. The building openings are not going to be much help at night or in the early evenings during the winter.

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Mike,
Sounds like your electrician isn't familiar with woodworking shops, he probally is conditioned to wiring by the Electrical Code which has a minimum requirement for lighting or another term is contractors grade. I'm only 52 and every year my lighting requirements go up.
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@aol.comxxx says...

I don't think you can have too much light but to put it in perspective. You can turn a light off if you feel it is too much, if the light isn't there to start with you're SOL.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
  Click to see the full signature.
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My shop is 27x27 - I have 2 rows of 8 (16 total) 8' fluorescents + 4 transom windows around the shop + a window in the front.
People come in and when I hit the switches - people comment they need their sun glasses. To me its perfect - not a shadow anywhere. Can never have 2 much light.

with 10

overhead
lamp HO

electrician
shop?
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Actually, yes, but it is hard to do.
Excess is when it is too bright for comfort or worse, glare. I'd put the lights on multiple switches.
IMO, light in the areas away from where you are working should be soft but the light right where you are should be bright and as shadow free as possible. Daylight lamps are better also, but they do cost more. Ed
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Mike: Sounds like a lot, but go for it. You won't be sorry. I work from a three car garage- about 630 sq ft. When we built the house a few years ago I had three 8' double tubers installed - two about 8' out from the house wall and one perpendicular, in the center. Also my walls are sheetrocked and white. A friend drove by one evening and said it looked like the Cape Kennedy assembly building.
If I had it to do again I would add a couple. For most things I have good light but there are shadows everywhere. I have aux lights on some of my tools (bandsaw, drill press, etc).
I also think placement is as important as quantity. Done again, I would place some tubes that parallel the wall, closer to the wall. Seems we paint the walls white, things are good, then we hang pegboard, shelves and cabinets everywhere and our tool/bench areas get darker. I would make sure you have tubes, or ends of tubes, within 4' or so of walls that will be close to workspace. If you know where your bench(s) go, hang tubes above center of the bench.
Congrats on the new shop - I'm green.
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wrote:

My shop is 20x30 and my electricians and builder both said that I was putting in too many fixtures. I put in 6 banks of 5 each 4 foot-2 tube fixtures. Guess what? There are still some places with not enough light! I agree with the comment about placement. I would also put some tubes in parallelling the walls and close to the walls.
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On 15 Oct 2004 10:25:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comxxx (Mike) wrote:

Only if your cabinet saw slows down when you turn the lights on.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Some people half my age think that my ideas of good light are overkill too. That's the key. How well do you see with the lighting?. That sounds fine to me.

with 10

overhead
lamp HO

electrician
shop?
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Mike wrote:
<snip>

In my opinion you can't have too much light. One thing I'd suggest it to use a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lights to give a more natural lighting.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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You're gonna take lighting advice from someone named "Nova?" :)
Actually, I agree a mix is good, although I prefer incandescent. I had tubes in my previous shop, and when I built my new one, I went all incandescent. Two reasons, really -- I didn't like the "color" of the fluorescent lights, and since my shop wasn't heated all the time, they didn't like to come on in the winter. They would sit there and buzz and flicker for about 20 minutes while they heated up. The thing about the bulbs, while they may use more electricity and all that --- you can easily change the wattage if you need to. So, over my bench, I sometimes plug in some 200 watters, and in other places in the shop, I have 60s.
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with 10

overhead
lamp HO

electrician
shop?
More is good, but then I'm approaching middle aged coot. The idea of multiple switches (2+) is a good one. You might also consider doubling up the fixtures and going 4' tubes, fewer shadows, easier transport, etc. Also watch out for the colour temperature with fluorescents, they can do nasty things to appearance of your finishes. Get full spectrum (daylight) bulbs with a colour temp of 6500K. Also check the Colour Rendering Index of the bulbs you buy, good ones are over 90, acceptable over 80.
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Good advise. Dave

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I have a 20x22 shop and have 8- 4' fixtures controlled by two switches. I ran 110 plugs in the ceiling and plug two in each. I ahve enough light with no shadows. I have additional light at the TS, BS and SCMS.
On 15 Oct 2004 10:25:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comxxx (Mike) wrote:

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On 15 Oct 2004 10:25:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comxxx (Mike) wrote:

I like a lot of light.. and as stated, the need seems to increase with age.. *g*
I still don't have enough light in my shop, but I have each fixture on an "inline" switch... when I hit the master light switch, whichever fixtures I had on the last time light..
Mostly because I'm cheap, I guess... if I'm spending a few minutes in the shop I don't want to fire up 10 4' tubes..
Also, if I'm at one end of the shop (2 car garage) I might only need the lights at that end, or maybe just the one over the bench..
if you have 8- 8' double tube fixtures, I'd recommend at LEAST 2 switches... department store style, where you can fire up every other one for "low light"..
A factor that influences MY decisions on this stuff is that being in California, or electricity is way over priced and I try to conserve anywhere I can..
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Mike, I put 6 each 8' 2-lamp fixtures in a 20 X 30 shop. I never felt like it was too much light. Just about right for me. With your extra 150 square feet, 2 more fixtures should give you the same level of illumination. Electricians just don't realize the level of detail we woodworkers need to see. Maybe we should call ourselves wood surgeons to get some respect.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain

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Thanks for all the input. I found it very useful. I will plan on at least 2 switches for the flourescents and I think I'll add some incandescent fixtures as well. Maybe center the incandescents over the benches and some of the machinery. Since SWMBO is buying, I will go for the daylight lamps as well.
Thanks again,
Mike
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I have incandecents on a motion detector and flourecents on switches. That way if you are just walking in to pick up something or drop something off with your arms full, the lights will come on.
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