Sizing a workshop?

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A one-car garage is too small. Trust me.
DAMHIKT.
-Zzl
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wrote:

A two car garage is too small too. But then if I hada HANGAR it would likely end up being too small.
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On 1/14/2011 5:40 PM, A. W. Dunstan wrote:

Al,
Visit Swingman's web site for inspiration. Also check out "Creating Your Own Woodshop" by Charlie Self.
Enjoy designing and using your new shop!
Neil
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Make it big, insulate the heck out of it, and make sure you can afford to heat it. Compromise on big if needed to maintain the other two - not freezing your behind off in the shop is very valuable in winter, and money spent on insulating will pay back on heating (if spent intelligently).
One other factor that can have ann effect on "needed" shop size is cultivating any neanderthal tendencies you have - working on a board on a bench with tools takes a lot less room than pushing boards through machines. 10+ foot ceilings are good for not whacking boards in to the ceiling, not so good for heat.
Some does depend on what you plan to make - typical board size, etc.
The graph paper cutouts are a good idea, but you still have to have an idea of what stock you might be feeding to get an idea of needed space (16 foot boards through tablesaw/planer/jointer need 32+ feet just for that.)
Don't forget assembly and finish as things that need space but don't have machines to stake it out for them.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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AD:
I'm adding to the consensus for granting yourself the liberty of more space than you think you need in exchange for later looking back with rueful realization.
Taunton published "The Workshop Book" which you will find an informative treatment. Your climate will counsel you on which of the structural options explored are unadvisable or gospel for your situation. Check Amazon for reviews of the book and the topically associated volumes purchased by other customers.
Unless--and even if--you are a pyramid builder of the first order, it is often much cheaper to buy sound real estate than it is to oversee its construction, either in the costs of the time, frustration or money involved.
Visiting a megalopolis of a factory one time, I came upon a hall that had a 3-D scale representation of the entire facility, including the consumables, and raw materials incoming, plus the products emerging at the end of the line. Figuring what operations and machines were wisely grouped and how elements could best move in that modeled environment would have approached a pleasure.
Perhaps you can overcome wifely resistance to a suitable larger house by the personal touch of an appeal to her interests. "Honey haven't you ever dreamed of a sewing/sun/ drawing/craft/dressing/etcetera room all of your own?" And if the subject sprawling property is a proportional purchase value (with that capacious outbuilding) "Dearest, think of the return if we ever sell the place. Why, we could take a trip around _____on that kind of profit."
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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<snip>

My first was a 24' x 24' (no vehicles) and it worked well until I realized I had not thought of space for a paint booth and drying racks. Inclement weather can ruin a whole day (or 2) at play.
My second rude awakening came after I installed a huge dust collection system and sacrificed a good portion of usable floor space ...I wound up moving the DC into an overhead half-loft at one end, Compressor outside under a lean-to style shelter, and painting within mesquito nets hung from a tent frame.
I too was an amateur (still am) and didn't think I needed much more...<g>
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Al -
I am close by (15 minute drive). If you want to come look at what I did, I would be happy to arrange it.
Three things to think about in Michigan: 1) How much do you want to use it in the winter - that goes to heating 2) How much of your summer stuff do you need to store - deck chairs, mowers, etc. If you don't have storage space, it will end up in the shop 3) How many half finished projects will you have, the more, the more storage space you will need.
I built a 30 by 45 barn and split it into parts: 1) A loft for deep storage (e.g. pool stuff, winter covers, special lumber, etc) 2) A 2 car garage that holds the mower and other outdoor equipment, plus my 15 year old van that I use to go to the saw mill, etc 3) An alleyway that holds my greenhouse stuff and other tools that support my garden, greenhouse and orchard. 4) My workshop
If I had it to do over again, I probably would do it differently today. But I decided 15 years ago when greenhouses were more interesting and wooodworking less so. I made a lot of mistakes that someday, I will have to fix.
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On 1/14/2011 5:40 PM, A. W. Dunstan wrote:

Wood workers in your situation don't have garages, they have workshops. Tell your wife a heated garage is horrible for cars any where salt is part of winter.
And there's the whole issue of snow,

Salt doesn't rust stuff, salt water does. Your cars can be caked with frozen salt all winter and no rust until the salt/ice mixture thaws and turns to salt water, which rusts anything capable of rusting. Placing your car in a heated garage will cause a daily thaw cycle conducive to rust. Explain this to your wife carefully so she parks her car outside and use the garage for it's intended purpose, a wood shop. (worked for me)

I always dreamed of having a nice out building for my workshop. I'm now very happy that never happened. If you have a commercial shop, where you are forced to spend 8 - 18 hours a day in your shop, sure, good to have a separate building. If you are a hobbyist, even a serious one, having it as part of your home is super. When I was young I spent long days in my shop, now, I spend small chunks of time. I just walk down the steps to my warm shop when ever, and for as long as I wish. No need to heat it, no need to tramp though the snow to get to a cold shop. Everything is there waiting for me. I would buy the one with a huge outbuilding, use the huge outbuilding for the garage and storage of all the junk you and your family should be collecting.

A two car garage 24x24 at least is the minimum comfortable size for a complete wood shop for a hobbyist, which you certainly are from what you say. Lathe, drill press, bandsaw, jig saw can all be placed against one wall, with room for a shaper or planer on wheels against the same wall. Table saw and jointer ideally should be on same bench, on wheels.

IMO, 24x24 is minimal, and quite enough. Bigger would be nice for a crazy stuff like spray booth, storage of half built junk, odd hardware/jigs and so on, but 24x24 is a good size for the shop. Almost everyone here thinks you can't have too much room, but I don't agree. A hobbyist in a warehouse would be walking around way too much and would end up with all his tools in a small, 32x32' space anyhow. Compact is good, and I'd say for most stuff a hobbyist does, you want minimum size, plus a little extra room to breath. If you plan on commercially building house trusses for a living, or house boats, you need more room. Building kitchen cabinets, desks, end tables, book cases, chairs, and so on, smaller is OK. If I were building my own, I'd build 32x32, and put my compressor and dust collector in a separate partition/room so I didn't have to listen to them.

My suggestion on tools is get the best you can afford. If you are filthy, stinking rich, Festools and such are fine, if you are poor, or like me, cheap, look for quality used tools. Cheap (new) tools are seldom a good deal, although there are some exceptions in hand tools, I don't think there are any exceptions on stationary tools. I don't want to own a cheap bandsaw or table saw, or jointer, for example.
Personally, my most used tools are the table saw, drill press and bandsaw, and if I were advising someone on which tools to buy first, they would be the first 3, followed by a disk/belt sander combo. If your primary interest is turning bowls or pens, this would not work:-)
--
Jack
You Can't Fix Stupid, but You Can Vote it Out!
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A. W. Dunstan wrote:

I would opt for building one. Even if it is pre-fab steel.
Even if you built a garage to house all your cars *PLUS* space for a generously sized shop area, one is going to get overflow from the other. Best to have areas dedicated to one function, IMO. ____________________

Mine is 20 x 28. Works OK but could be bigger. Play with this... http://www.grizzly.com/workshopplanner.aspx
I did and wound up with this
http://mysite.verizon.net/xico/pix/shop.jpg
Everything on the left side except for the lathe are on castors as are the router table and drum sander.
The grid is 2' x 2' and things are pretty accurately sized except for the depth of the upper cabinets; they are 12-13" deep. ___________________

Depends on what you are machining. A table saw needs at least 8' in both front and back; width sufficent for what you are cutting plus room to get around it. Same for a BS but it can be on a castor base, stored against a wall and pulled out into an aisle when being used. Ditto DP. ______________________

One of the biggest suckers up of space is storing material. And jigs. Give *LOTS* of thought to that. And to electrical outlets...one every 4-5 feet is not overkill; and put them at counter height. ______________________

I use the area on the jpg of my shop where the roll around tables are for assembly and finishing. If I were spraying often I'd want an area just for that. I do have a protected but not roofed area outside the shop that I sometimes use now. ______________________

The two tools I could live without if I had to are my joiner and the drill press. I joined edges for a long time on a router table. The DP gets little use but is handy when I need it.
My most used tools are the cabinet saw and the drum sander. I use the latter constantly to plane and size rough lumber; it is somewhat slower than a thickness planer but there is never any tear out or knife marks either. For me, it pretty much replaces both a planer and joiner. The ability to sand up to 32" wide is not to be sneezed at either.
--

dadiOH
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*snip*

*snip*
I like the idea of having some nice and low (traditional height 12-14") and a whole bunch more at countertop height. That's how my garage is set up in places, and it's nice when I need an extension cord run semi- permanently because I don't lose 3' running up the wall.
I'd also suggest having some at least 52" high. Don't put them at 48", you need the extra height for getting over stored sheet goods and shelves that you decide to build at 48"... and then measure the switch height.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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When considering tools, consider their infeed and outfeed requirements. To cut a 8' sheet on the table saw, you need 8' in front of the saw and 8' behind it. One of the things I did laying out my shop was determine those spaces and put them in as part of the plan.
Dust collection and air compressors are loud noisy things I'd suggest putting behind a partition wall if possible. A big cyclone dust collector would be a good thing to have for a permanent shop.
If building, build a small building close to the house for the trash and miscellaneous garden tool storage. It can be part of the garage, if need be. Build your shop farther out. You'll be happy to walk out to the shop in the snow, but the rest of your family won't be as happy to walk past your shop to get to the snow shovel or garbage can.
One of my annoyances with my set up is there's no dust free area for finishing. If I paint or poly, I can't do anything for several hours to prevent messing up the finish. One of these days, I might build a little booth (say 8x8 or 10x10) to keep the dust out so as one project is drying I can start work on another. I wonder how hard it would be to make one that could be assembled and disassembled with only one person?
Size wise, there's usually no such thing as too much space. My shop fits into a space about 25x30, but the storage is a little disorganized and there's a bunch of other stuff on the other side of the garage. (See garden tool comment above.)
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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Puckdropper wrote:
<snip>

For me, this is interesting question in itself. Has it got a standard answer? I would (like to) envision temporary "walls" created with the equivalent of a shower curtain, except it would, I suppose, need to reach to the ceiling and the floor. Basically a dust-free (and bug-free) zone.
Bill

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I was thinking about something similar to house walls, 2x4 construction with studs every so many inches and maybe 1/2" plywood or something lighter on the walls. For something designed to be taken down after use, plastic sheeting just wouldn't hold up.
If I used screws or bolts through the top and bottom plate, then the whole thing could be stored as a compact pile of around a dozen 2x4s when not in use. Sheets or blankets could then be draped over the structure to keep the dust out. The seal doesn't need to be 100%, just enough to keep the sawdust from settling on the workpiece.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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Puckdropper wrote:

Since you are just trying to keep out dust, a dozen 2x4s seems like real overkill. Maybe if a few hooks were attached to the ceiling, tarps could be hung? I think even it it wasn't perfect, it might be pretty good. Lets keep thinking about this one.
Bill
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I have a garage door opener in the way, so I was thinking of building what amounts to a dog cage to drape plastic or tarps over. A kind of temporary "finishing room" rather than a "hat" to protect the project. Some of those finish vapors aren't fit for human co-habitation so you wouldn't *want* to be in the shop with those things drying.
The hat approach would work, though. Just a simple frame to cover the project while you work on something else. Even a plastic storage tote would work.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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Easy way to do this would be to rig a "shower curtain", the same kind of deal as the privacy curtains they have in hospitals. Won't keep all the dust out but it will stop most of it and if you can rig a (small) filtered fan to keep positive pressure in the area that should do for the rest.
<http://www.medicalproductsdirect.com/privacyscreens.html seems to have everything you need including curved tracks, if you want to do it the fancy way--note that I have never done business with that company and have no idea if they are reputable or not--I found it while looking for a picture of the sort of arrangement I was talking about.
One can probably do well enough though just hanging some conduit, bent as needed, and using shower curtain hooks and blue tarps.
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J. Clarke wrote:

I like the idea you've described. Would you mount a filtered fan designed for a computer to your "shower curtain" or did you have something bigger in mind? Nice idea!
Bill

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If your ceiling is too high to make hanging them practical, use the aluminum supports for a beach sun shade that has been abandoned, or you can use PVC pipe and fittings dry fitted (no glue) together to make a support for tarps. DO NOT use plastic sheet. Any airborn spray finish will dry on the inside of the plastic sheeting, then when the wind or your bumping the plastic causes the plastic sheeting to flex, the finish comes off the plastic in little flakes that float around the area. How do I know that? Don't ask!
--
Jim in NC


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Canvas drop clothes work great. Durable, and you can put them on the floor for painting when you need to!
See my other post about that in this thread.
--
Jim in NC


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On Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:22:32 +0000, Puckdropper wrote:

I have the same problem. I too would advocate a finishing room if building.
I don't know how old the original poster is, but at my age a toilet would certainly save a few trips back to the house. And if he's installing plumbing he might as well put in a sink while he's at it.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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