Ramping up/Setting up Shop

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Hello to the group, Been searching the archives reading everything we can find on shop layout and setup but thought I would throw out a quick request for input as well.
We have had a rented space for our homebuilding business for some time, storage, shop, short-medium millwork runs, pre-fab'ing built- ins, and so on. All the major tools. Well, even though we are heading into winter, and the current economic climate is less than favorable, an opportunity has presented itself that is too hard to pass up. We are moving on a piece of commercial property with a 35 x 80 building on it. Will finalize in the next week or two. Wide open inside, heat, gas, city and well water, rest rooms, and a perfect office/gallery space on one end. There is a separate bay with overhead door on the other end that could double as a nice spray booth. 10' ceilings, concrete floor.
I have been reeling with layout, dust collection, sheet goods storage, product lines, and the like. Just though I would throw out this broad rambling in an attempt to tap into the collective expertise of the group.
While on the short term (2-5 years) we will be aiming to keep the place afloat with ww'ing sales combined with a hopeful ramping down of the homebuilding, our long term goal may be to add a second floor to half of the building and move it into some sort of a craft center. Multiple crafts, clinics, workshops, and classes. This would be in addition to our own work. Perhaps wood, ceramics (pottery), stained glass, beading, metal working, etc.. All on a smallish scale of course due to the building size but all areas we have experience in and yet could access crafts people to perform classes/workshops. There is nothing like this for a forty mile radius in our area so we are thinking it may be a good thing for us and the community.
Starting with a clean slate, like anyone, I am hoping to make the most of a not-so-big space with a scant eye on future public use. I am in hopes to move forward in a fashion that will prepare us for the opportunity to include the public.
In the short term we aim to install a woodstove to offset the gas heat in winter. Issues of sawdust and fumes are understood and this may be a non-option when the public comes on-line. Dust collection will be a biggie. I am not sure if a commercially available dust collector or building a chip house and extracting to it (already have big 3hp blower from other shop) would be better. Either will require drops from the ceiling. I am wondering about the best way to do this for center stations like table saws, etc.
Benches, sheet goods, lumber storage are very high on the list of needs.
Post is already too long, but look forward to any input you all may have, Thanks, Mark
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"BDBConstruction" wrote

I guess I still don't really know what you want to do. It would help a lot of you were define more clearly what kind of work that you do. What tools you currently use or plan to buy. What do you make, etc.
With that kind of space, i would definitely make some big benches. You can never have too much bench space!
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wrote:

Lee, Thanks for the reply. Currently we do not make anything for retail/wholesale. This would be a new focus of the shop in aims to ramp down the homebuilding in the future. In our current shop we make a lot of components which then go into homes/additions. Shelving units, built in media centers, vanities, and the like. We also do a LOT of pre-fab for casing and mill work in the same projects. Many of the homes and work we do use custom millwork and semi one of a kind details mainly because we design it in, are willing to do it, interested in doing it, and interested in making it. It has become somewhat of a trademark of our business.
That said, the vast majority of the contractors operating around us are more straight forward off-the-shelf types which means that a large part of our current shop work will be lost when our primary customer (ourselves) phase out of business. I am not confident this work will remain simply being installed by the surrounding contractors rather than us. This is not so say we may not retain some of this work ourselves or through other contractors but it likely wont be our major focus.
A rough general direction with regards to wood has been making a semi stock/production line of items which would be augmented (hopefully a lot) by custom orders. Yearly we make thank you gifts for customers (homes/additions) that may be sets of nesting trays, wood bowls/lidded items, dovetailed blanket chests, trinket boxes, and so on. We also give some of these items to others in the community on a bit of a random basis. These items have built up quite a buzz of requests for anything from media centers, to office units, desks, pie safes, simple storage units, dry sinks, and so on. We have a ready list of custom work at this point. In addition we have no problem with offering items wholesale to several outlets in the area. For us, taking a 40-50 percent hit is well worth it in trade for them dealing with sales tax, retail hours, customer issues (color, size, dickering), and so on.
That said, we would like to start a retail shop or gallery space that would showcase these and other items yet to be nailed down. I guess it would be a blend of stock and custom woodworking with a slight focus on free standing items (sold as is) as opposed to built-ins requiring site installation though that wouldnt be out of the question based on our past.
Tool purchases will be minimal while we heal up from the building purchase. Current tools are typical, TS, BS, Jointers, Thickness planers, drill presses, lathe, majority of small tools, RO sanders, palms, routers, belt sanders, pocket jigs, corless' up the ying yang, clamps, etc.. Basically a full shop. The only things I could think of purchasing would be a dust collector as opposed to the chip house option (heat loss) and adding to, or upgrading our current equipment. This would be additional routers, we dont have a solid router table in the shop right now, but even those are not essential. I have a hand plane addiction which would have to be kept in check.

Agreed. I am thinking big benches, casters, drawer/shelf storage below.
Mark
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"BDBConstruction" wrote

While this does not address your questions directly, you may want to consider downloading the free version of Google SketchUp, then going here:
http://www.yda-online.com/shopmodels.htm
... to get 3D models of many common shop tools, also free.
SketchUp is easy/quick to come up to speed on and is great as a shop layout aid in plan/overhead view, then hit the "orbit" button and you can walk around the entire shop in 3D.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
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Karl, Thanks for the link. I have been using sketchup almost daily for a year or more on the job. It has been one of the most valuable additions to our business. I cant even tell you. There is nothing like standing on a job working through an issue with a customer and being able to work up a rendering in 30 minutes for their approval. I can then take it to the office and work it up in detail, out to the shop, poof. I am not sure what I would do without sketchup now that I have become addicted.
mark
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"BDBConstruction" wrote

Know what you mean, Mark. I'm also a home builder and personally design/build the kitchens that go into our homes in a fairly well equipped shop. Sketchup has made that job a lot easier from both mine, and the clients, perspective. AAMOF, it is getting to the point that I can now whip up a change talked over via e-mail and send it back in few minutes for their review. I especially like the new "dynamic components" in version 7, which make changing the cabinet dimensions in a run of kitchen cabinets easily done with a few clicks, versus hours of painstaking redrawing with conventional CAD.
Even designed an addition to our lake house with the program ... from foundation, to framing, to the interior cabinetry.
Tell me SWMBO didn't love the hell out of that ... :)
Best of luck on your new shop and enterprise. While I've still got two houses on the drawing board, you never know which way the wind will blow next in a down time.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
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I hear that. We have no real signs of slowing at the moment and its looking like we will have work through the winter and summer. Even though through the years we have never slowed, I am alway generally cautious coming into winter. That coupled with the fear mongering going around out there have to make you wonder. Whats awful is we have been going ba**s to the wall for a long time now and my wife and I decided at the end of the summer that we were going to force a slowdown in hopes to give us a little time to ourselves. Then this opportunity comes up and blew that all to smithereens. Gonna be a busy winter now with work and building the shop. As would anyone be with something like this, we are both excited and nervous.
Better to be busy than idle I suppose.
Mark Mark
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wrote:

I hear that. We have no real signs of slowing at the moment and its looking like we will have work through the winter and summer. Even though through the years we have never slowed, I am alway generally cautious coming into winter. That coupled with the fear mongering going around out there have to make you wonder. Whats awful is we have been going ba**s to the wall for a long time now and my wife and I decided at the end of the summer that we were going to force a slowdown in hopes to give us a little time to ourselves. Then this opportunity comes up and blew that all to smithereens. Gonna be a busy winter now with work and building the shop. As would anyone be with something like this, we are both excited and nervous.
Better to be busy than idle I suppose.
Mark Mark
Something to consider in your shop layout is storage and handling of sheet goods and other products, In the shop I used to work in before being laid off was set up so sheet goods (Melamine) was ordered and delivered on pallets, We had a fork lift and used it to store all palliated materials on the pallets on metal shelving, similar to what the big box stores use, Heavy materials could be moved around with the lift or with pallet jacks Made life much simpler CC
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Grizzly has on their web site a nice shop layout tool. Free, easy, simple and efficient.
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"BDBConstruction" wrote:

I take it a woodstove won't be an air polution issue.

3HP is not a very large dust collector for a commercial application.
As an example, local drum sanding shop has a 20HP /w/ bag house for just the drum sander.
YMMV
Lew
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Lew, Thanks for the input. I am not sure I follow the air pollution thing with the wood stove? With regards to the dust collector, I guess I am thinking of this more as a one or two operation at a time situation though we may still fall short. It would most likely be a single major operation at a time (planer/TS/etc) and a dual operation may be TS while someone is sanding. I agree that a production shop would need a serious system and we may get there, I am just trying to get this thing off the ground.
I was more concerned with the chip house option dumping all that conditioned (heated) air to the chip house. I am not sure about this coupled with the make-up air issues opposed to a free standing dust collector. I like the idea of extracting the dust (fines) to the outside. However the heating and make-up air issues may make installing the dust collector in its own interior space, somewhat sealed and vented, a better option to get started?
Mark
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"BDBConstruction" wrote:

Don't know about your area but here in SoCal, a wood burning stove would not be allowed.
Air polution reduction is a serious business around here.

though we may still fall short.
Time to have a heart to heart with the dust collection system people.
Make up air, heat losses, dust collection, etc require an engineered solution unless you have an unending supply of money<G>
Don't have to implement the whole plan, but having it is like chicken soup.
No medicinal value, but hadn't ought'a hurt<G>.
Lew
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Lew/Phorbin, Thats what I thought, we are way out in the country so no local issues with regards to the stove. While I understand the environmental issues I think its one of those things we have to accept. I am not a fan of wood heat personally because if you factor in your time its an outrageously expensive way to heat. However, in some situations it becomes the best or in many cases the only option. We for instance live on some fairly remote property which makes it a decent choice.
Its a given that when our time (financially) is better spent making work for sale rather than tending the stove, the gas will be the option. I am mainly looking at the wood as a way to reduce overhead in the startup period and in a time when we will likely have extra time to do it.
Point taken on the dust collection, makes total sense. I will start down that path Monday. The phase-in plan sounds great.
Mark
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BDBConstruction wrote:

If you get tired of the stove, and when gas seems excessively expensive, you might consider building yourself some solar heating panels...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris, I have had that on the list for my home for several years. We live off grid, heat with wood in winter, LP Instant hot water. I cant wait to get away from the wood. With good southern exposure I think solar heating panels would be a great fit. The shop is in a less than optimal location for southern exposure. Trees, and other issues, however I have two bay doors on the southern side that we will be framing in and they would be a perfect location for panels.
You mention building panels yourself while you sell them on your site. What is the feasibility of building them vs. buying them? Plans? etc? Thanks for the info.
Mark
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BDBConstruction wrote:

A full answer would take a while. The short version is that I encourage those who can to build their own, and I'm happy to supply panels to those who can't, don't want to, and/or want the best available.
At this point I've put more man-years into the technical aspects than most DIY builders can afford to do, so my panels are probably considerably better than those you're likely to build, which isn't a put-down of your abilities - it's more a reflection of experience gained by already having made more mistakes than you're likely able to make building a single set of panels for your own use; and that I've invested in specialized tooling which wouldn't make sense for most DIY types.
I've provided enough info on my website for DIYers to build fairly decent panels - provided that [1] they pay attention and think about the info, [2] they work carefully, and [3] they don't shortchange themselves by substituting too cheap materials in order to save an insignificant amount of money.
If I win the lottery (unlikely, since I don't buy tickets), or if I land a corporate sponsor (which also appears unlikely), I'd like to make plans for my panels and solar engines available for free download - but until then I can't afford to do that.
I think you /can/ find plans at http://www.builditsolar.com - but the stuff I've seen there has been (IMO) crippled by the desire to get something together for the least possible cost.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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I've heard that buying them doesn't significantly improve your odds of winning. YMMV.
JP
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In article <bb926d00-d677-46f7-ab50-b052e3c7a6e2

Look up
http://burningissues.org/car-www/index.html
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Start with thinking about work flow.
Wood comes into one end of shop and gets stored near the door. - Sheet goods stored as close as possible to table or panel saw where hey first get broken down. - Stick goods get stored where they can fall easily onto the cut- off saw table
Machine layout

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Excuse if double posted.
Think work flow
Wood enters one end of shop and is stored near door

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