Shop lighting?

Page 1 of 4  
Are their any lighting specialists out there? I have a 39' by 13' shop and wanted some advice on how much lighting would be good. I am planning on two rows of five, two bulb, four foot flourescents strips and was thinking about some incandescent as well. What do you guys advise? Is their such a thing as too much? Would two rows of six or seven be a bit much? I don't have very much natural light as it is a basement shop. What works for you guys?
Thanks in advance,
Blair
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
From my personal view, you can't have too many fixtures. I have my shop in a two car garage with 10 four footers. I would like about 3 more. I just added the 10th one last week to cover a darkish area, and already I want to add more. Some guys will provide you with a "formula". I say put up what is pleasing to your eyes; don't follow a "rule" of lighting unless you think that's adequate. I certainly don't think lighting guidelines are adequate. The only natural light comes in through a window in a door, unless I open the main garage door and subject my neighbors to power equipment noise.
My walls are semi-gloss near-white. That helps a lot, compared to the dark paneling I had! My garage used to be a pool room back in the 70's when walnut paneling was in vogue.
dave
Blair Chesterton wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My gar....shop is 24 x 38 feet. I have fourteen two bulb flouresant fixtures and nine one hundred watt incandesants. I am getting ready to add eight or more four foot two bulb flouresant fixtures. Walls and ceiling are smei-gloss white. I have noticed as I get older I like more light. Greg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 23:20:05 -0500, "Blair Chesterton"

I'm no expert, but I've got a walk-out basement shop.
How high are your ceilings? Low ceilings require much more light, as the fixture's pattern never gets to spread out. My 20x40 basement shop has (2) 4x4' bulb fixtures and (4) 2x4' fixtures, as well as (4) incandescent fixtures with screw type fluorescent bulbs. This only lights about 3/4 of the shop, and not as well as I'd like.
My shop has a center staircase, so that may cause more problems that you may not have.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 23:20:05 -0500, "Blair Chesterton"

The more the better. I installed a row of fluorescent lamps on the ceiling, then later added incandescent task lighting for each tool station (drill press, lathe, chop saw, grinder). The inexpensive drafting lamps with the flexible arms that swivel work great and they are only $7 to $15 each. I made my own L-shaped holders from 2x4 scraps screwed into the wall.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My garage is where I perform my attempts at woodworking. Its a 3-bay 24x36 with 12ft ceilings. I have 4 4-tube T8 fixtures mounted at 12' and it is plenty of light. At 8' I would probably need 6 fixtures. I like hi-intensity task lights at the rotating equipment for additional light and it also prevents the T8's from making it appear the tools are stopped when they are actually running. I have to admit I haven't experienced this with the T8's as much as I have with T12 fixtures.
--
Erik "Grumpa" Ahrens
Apprentice Termite
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My shop is 18 X 18. I have seven, 2 bulb 4' fluorescent fixtures that hang from loose tubafours spanning the rafters. It is NOT too many.
For increased flexibility, instead of hardwiring my fluorescent fixtures, I wired 4, fourplex receptacles into the joists and use the fixtures that come with plugs. This allows me to _easily_ move the fixtures around for the best lighting when tools get moved to different locations.
Very handy and flexible touch if you have open ceilings in your shop.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 9/21/03
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Blair Chesterton wrote:

I read in one of the many ww books my library has that older eyes, in general, need more light than younger eyes. I'm (what year is this?) 44 and need more light now than I used to.
-- Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

More light and longer arms. My need for the latter kicked in at 45...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Blair Chesterton wrote:

Your shop is a tad more than twice the size of mine, and you're planning more than twice the lighting, so that's probably a comfortable minimum starting place.

Unless you have to wear sunglasses in the shop, you don't have too much lighting.
Would two rows of six or seven be a bit much? I don't
I'd be thinking more rows, maybe fewer fixtures per row. Maybe some incandescent task lighting in areas of focus. You want the light to come from as many angles as possible, so you avoid shadows. Especially in the finishing area.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My best advice is to forget the 4 footers and go to 8' fixtures. The tiny pins on the 4' tubes, combined with the crappy, pinch every penny design of the fixtures make them a PITA.
In my 22 x 22 shop I have 8 twin tube 8' fixtures and the light level is just acceptable. I would like a few task area lights. My walls are bare wood siding and my ceiling is open rafters so I do not have much beneficial reflection.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop (the old shop, not where I am now)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I built a 30x40 shop last year and use a total of 8 4' T8 fixtures to light it. I put in a total of 16 outlets in the ceiling in case I wanted more light but so far it's been plenty bright enough. I also have bright white walls/ ceiling and painted the concrete floor a very light blue so there's lot of reflected light as well. The T8 flouresent bulbs are much brighter than the older ones were.
Lance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks alot guys, you answered my question just as I thought it would be, geuss I'll be buying more light fixtures and I will be probably happy for it in the long run.
Blair

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Blair Chesterton wrote...

I am not a lighting expert, but I have done a little lighting design for my home and shop, and am pleased with the results. I spent a good deal of time researching the subject, though, and it was time well spent.
In the shop, you want every work surface to receive 100 foot candles from the general lighting alone. A foot candle is one lumen per square foot. Additional task lighting is often desirable at individual work stations.
The 100 foot candles is what you want *after* losses. The major sources of loss are fixture inefficiency, lamp age, dust on lamps, and wall and ceiling reflectivity. Together, 8-10' ceilings, 3' work surfaces, and typical values for the aforementioned losses result in almost exactly a 50% reduction in the initial luminance of your lamps.
Fluorescent tubes typically supply 60-80 lumens per watt. A 40W tube, the most common and cost effective option, typically puts out about 3000 lumens when new. Accounting for the aforementioned losses, each tube will actually put about 1500 lumens on the work surface. Since you need 100 lumens per square foot, a tube will illuminate 15 square feet.

39 x 13 = 507 sf; 507 / 15 = 34 tubes, or 17 fixtures.
By the way, 40 watts per 15 square feet is 2.7 watts per square foot. Some lighting designers use 2 watts per square foot as a lower bound, which yields 20 square feet per 40W tube.
507 / 20 = 25 tubes, or 13 fixtures.

Not enough, really. You'd be better off with at least two rows of seven fixtures, or perhaps seven rows of two.
For a rectangular area, you can run the rows parallel to the long edge or parallel to the short edge. Sometimes the choice is dictated by other design considerations, such as dust collection ducting or other obstructions. If not, be sure to consider both ways. You can often get more uniform lighting by running a higher number of shorter rows.
Two rows of nine (or six rows of three) would not be too much. Five rows of three or two rows of eight would be a reasonable middle ground.

A good idea for areas where you finish pieces that will be used indoors. Fluorescent lighting has different color characteristics, and the color of a piece can "change," sometimes dramatically and unpleasantly, when brought from the shop to it's final destination.

Yes, but it's never been witnessed. (G) Seriously, though, you probably don't want to spend more than necessary on electricity.
Cheers!
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This seems like a lot more light than what would normally be needed or used. Another way to determine how much you need to go visit some commercial buildings and find one with the amount of lighting you like. Then you can simply count ceiling tiles and bulbs to figure out how much you need. For instance, in the building I'm in now there are 3 4' bulbs every 256 square feet (every 8 ceiling tiles). That means each bulb is lighting approximately 85 square feet. As I mentioned in a previous post, I use 16 bulbs at home to light my 1200 square foot shop which means each bulb is lighting roughly 75 square feet. I also use the newer, brighter T8 bulbs at home so it's noticably brighter. Given this, I believe you could easily light your shop with 6-8 total bulbs. I think if you had 26 bulbs in 500 square feet, youd need a welding helmet to enter the building :-)
Lance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lance Spaulding wrote...

Perhaps it does seem that way, but it is the way professional lighting designers do it. I'm pretty happy with how it works in my shop, which certainly does not seem too bright. I also have white walls and ceiling.

This can be hit and miss. Many commercial places do not use the same type of lighting, many are visited only during the day so natural light obscures the level of artificial illumination. Many have adequate light for their intended purposes, when that level is less than ideal for woodworking.

Sounds like an office space, which has a much lower need for light than woodcraft.

Of course, this would illuminate the room, but will it be bright enough for comfortable work? Perhaps for some folks, but for most, it is not enough.

I have 26 40W tubes in 560 square feet. It's definitely not too much; there are a few areas where there's not quite enough light. A tour of my shop can be found here:
http://www.paragoncode.com/shop/shop_pics /
All these photos were taken at night. By and large, there is enough general lighting for me, but I still need task lighting when doing detail work, especially at the lathes and mill. The corners, especially the "cabinet corner" (http://www.paragoncode.com/shop/shop_pics/shop22.htm ) are too dark.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think there are some new bulbs that have increased light output. You might look for some of those.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't forgett that the height of the room enters into the matter. I used 3 watts psf when I figured rooms but that was an 8' room.
On 19 Nov 2003 13:45:48 -0700, Lance Spaulding

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's a good point. The building I'm in currently (with 1 4' bulb per ~85 square feet), has 12 foot ceilings (was originally designed for manufacturing). My shop at home (with 1 T8 4' bulb per ~75 square feet) has 10' walls and a 14' peek (it's a gable roof w/o trusses). It's probably a personal preference thing, but I think both are more than bright enough for me. In fact, I have the 8 light fixtures in my shop on 4 switches and often only use the two middle ones for most things. I also only have two small (3x4) windows so I'm not getting a lot of outside light. As I mentioned earlier, reflective surfaces (walls,ceiling,floor, tables, etc) really help.
Lance

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Blair

What works for you guys?
I have several ceiling fixtures and am addng more. But what It is having the fixtures split among 4 lighting circuits. Each fixture is 4 bulb and the 4 bulbs are split among 2 circuits. Real nice. I did however wire in all this when the shop was being built. Bob AZ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.