Your ideas on workshops


We are selling our house in town and moving in the country so my wife can have her horses closer to her and the deal is that I get my workshop so I can build what she will need.
I am kicking it around not sure to have a steel building built or a wood building. The workshop will be around 30' X 40' or so bigger to 48'.
If you were to build it or have it built what would you have... ?
The main expense will be a floor. I may have to go plywood till I get rich, but having horses and tools that plain is shot.
Don D.
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I would go with the low maintainence and out last you steel building.
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Big (enough) is all relative. To me, 30x40 is monsterous. I feel fortunate to have a 20x25 space. In that space I have all obvious tools (TS,CMS,18"BS,8"jointer, Lunchbox planer, 42" Lathe, Traditional bench and aux benches. I consider that a pretty full stable of the stadard tools, and not mini versions either. Sure I could use a bit more room, but it functions pretty well.
Here's what I can't do in that space (what I would do with more):
* lumber storage * finishing/spray room * bathroom, slop sink, wet area
Determining how much is enough is driven by what you want to put in that space and how you want to use it, so tell us more.
I have a painted plywood floor, BTW, and I think anything more would be a waste of money. Also standard gray is to dark, buy a can or two of white and mix it with the can of Nimitz gray.
-Steve

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Don D. wrote:

My current shop has a 3/4 plywood floor with a crawl space underneath. My previous shop had a concrete slab on-grade. I much prefer the wood floor because I can run electricity, air and plumbing anywhere I want under the floor without having cords and pipes in the way everywhere. I'm sure the wood is easier on the feet, legs and back too.
The only advantage I found to the concrete floor is that it stabilized the temperature in my shop. We live in central Mississippi, where the ground temperature stays above freezing all winter. My well-insulated shop with concrete floor would never drop below 40 degrees, even when the outside temps dropped into the 20's. My current shop, with un-insulated wood floor gets just as cold inside as outside. Your mileage may vary.
While you're planning, I couldn't be without my sink, and if I was starting from scratch, I'd have a toilet too. I'd put an electric receptacle on each stud and several in the ceiling out toward the middle of the room. I'm also spoiled by my air blowers that hang from the ceiling above my tablesaw and assembly area.
If I were starting from scratch again, I'd go for square footage at the expense of other things. Everybody I know wishes for more space. You can add other bells and whistles later, but once you're set up, it's hard to add more space. I wouldn't hesitate to use a steel building if I were in the country where things like matching the house weren't important.
DonkeyHody "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get muddy, but the pig likes it."
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Thanks for all the remarks to start off with.
I have been on half the night looking at steel buildings and found one that is manuf. in my state. http://www.absolutegarages.com/sierra.htm I was looking at the 2nd row on left pic that are in the group. I was thinking is two roll up doors to one side and one entrance door. I priced a 30x50 x 10.5 high at about 12,500.00. I will see if I can call them to get a close fig. I just got granted S.S. Disability after two years fighting and the back pay will buy most of the shop.
On one side of the shop will be for welding 15x30 while the rest 35x30 will be for a wood shop. I will see what the price will be just for a footing stemwall to put the steel building on and what the wood floor will cost compare to the create floor. I was thinking about running most everything under also but I may run overhead of just along the walls...
Still in the stage of getting the room I can afford. Like one of you said, the rest can come down the road...
More input is welcome.
Don D.

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On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:37:35 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Don

What I'd do if I had about $20k:
30x40' sounds about right.
Get a slab poured and go with a metal truss building.
Insulate it well for a truly wonderful shop.
Put in 10' high walls with high windows and skylights (+ fluors) for good lighting.
Put in a 9' wide insulated garage-style or vertical rolling door, and have a nice little HVAC system for year-round use.
Use a 200A main panel and plenty of 120v and 240v twistlock outlets at 50" height would keep them all above the tables/counters, and any stray sheet stock.
I'd have a separate area for finishing which could be vented to the outside with a high-powered fan.
If I had to finance it, I'd do the full thing (right, the only way) and use the output of the shop (plus savings on things I'd make for my own use) to make the payments.
- Better Living Through Denial ------------ http://diversify.com Dynamic Websites, PHP Apps, MySQL databases
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Can this actually be done for 20K?
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Leon wrote:

Not in the Northeast. <G>
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Well I live in Texas and had never seriously put a pencil to the paper but never dreamed it could be done that cheaply.
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I was thinking the same thing about the $20,000.00 The slab may cost 3/4 of the 20 grand.
Don D.

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I think Larry has some very good ideas here.
Based on my experience I have these thoughts:
1.Space is top priority. To determine exactly how much you should have ask other people who do the kind of work you want to do. If you build too small it'll be a pain and you'll regret it. Go for the space first and you can add other things later.
2. Put in lots of elec outlets, including a 230V supply.
3. Skylights give the best light. so if you'll do much work during the day that may be the way to go.
4. 10ft ceilings is much much better than 8ft for a workshop and they allow lots of wall space for handy storage of bulky things like jigs.
5. Wide garage-style door is best.
There are good books on designing a workshop like "How to Design and Build Your Ideal Workshop" by Bill Stankus.
quickly quoth:

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On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:45:33 GMT, "Billy Smith"

Call me weird, but I always thought higher (say, 10' vs. 8') ceilings just feel better. Power tools even seem to be not as loud when the walls and ceiling are farther away.
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wrote:

My Wife is retired from.. Alcoa Aluminum
Me... I am a retired LEGAL Drug Dealer... so take my comments with that in mind...
BUT I am a woodworker...so I like a wood...over Metal buliding, table, door, yada yada anyday of the week..
As for "my" ideal floor.....WOOD !
Bob G,.
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For those using fairly large lathes like Powermatics I wonder if it makes a difference concrete versus wood floor; or if there should be additional crawl space support and blocking? I used top price I-joists under Advantec for the house and can still feel the flexing when the rotweiller walks by.
$2.25+ /sf at 4" was the concrete price two years ago when I built this place PLUS ground/footer prep. And then what about a driveway? Be really careful about watching them do the grading and actual pour. Damn shame how many will save concrete by pouring thin once past what you'd see. Poured my garage using an "economy" price guy but who had references. I'm putting ceramic tile over his job since I can't stop the dusting. I've had lots of bad concrete stories in my career and thought I could avoid another.
TomNie

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Don D. wrote:

I had my workshop built about 6 years ago. Concrete slab, wood frame. It's 24 x 28 and the floor holds 1 large and 1 medium workbench, 8" jointer, 2 10" table saws (1 with extended fence rails), 20" planer, SCM saw/stand, 5 grinders on pedestals, 12" x 36" lathe, 18" bandsaw, horizontal 4" metalworking bandsaw, MIG welder, cutting torch, rolling toolchest, minifridge, PC, shaper, belt/disc sander on pedestal, 15" floor model drill press, 30 gal air compressor, 2HP DC and cyclone separator/can, scroll saw, 3 4' and 2 3' wide shelf units, a 4 drawer file cabinet, and a 3' x 3' x 10' stack of stickered hard maple that will eventually become a bench.
I wish it was a tad bigger, so your 30 x 40 sounds nice. Would give you a nice storage area for wood.
Suggestions:
By all means go with 10' ceilings. I'm glad I did. You can swing a long board easier. Also, if you have a garage door make it 8' high instead of the standard 7'.
Use minimum 12 gauge wire for 110 and 10 gauge for 220 electrical. Place receptacles both high and low. Mine has pretty much a high receptacle (4') or a low receptacle every 4' around the perimeter. Most duplex but some double duplex where I have benches. Put at least one 220 outlet on each wall. Put in some floor receptacles as well. I have 2 halfway back and each 1/3 away from the side, each with a combo 220/110 duplex outlet. My planer, tablesaws and shaper are clusterd around them and o cords to trip over. Put in at least one 70A outlet for a welder. Instead of ceiling fixtures for lights, I put in 5 duplex outlets in the ceiling that are controlled with a wall switch. I can plug any kind of light in I want and also they can be moved if necessary within the length of the cord. I have 5 4' double tube hanging shop lights. I've been thinking of adding some spot lights stategically above some of the equipment as well.
At least 1 window per wall.
Insulate it. I have R30 in the ceiling and R13 in the walls.
Instead of all sheetrock or panelling, mount a 4 x 8 sheet of pegboard lengthwise in each wall you can put one on. I put a layer of heavy black plastic sheeting behind it as a barrier for the fiberglass insulation.
I wanted mine to look like a freestanding garage and it matches the house. It has a double garage door, but on the inside I have 2 4' wide by 7' tall shelf units facing in and blocking off half the entry. Still gives me an 8' opening when the garage door is up. I put theses shelf units on rollers so they can be moved if necessary without unloading them. The garage door side of each has a 4 x 8 sheet of pegboard screwed to the back. Keeps stuff from falling out the back of the shelves and I also hang stuff on it, like rope, long extension cords, outdoor tools, etc. If I had it to do over, I'd put in a rollup garage door.
As you're building, take digital photos, especially of the wiring. I can look at pictures and tell where every wire is inside the wall.
Let me know if you need more info.
-jj
--
Remove BOB to email me

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JJ I do thank you for all the info on your shop and also everyone else for their input. I am chomping at the bit for the check to arrive so I can spend it. I think I will lean towards the 30 x 50 x 10.5 high. the concrete will kill me or the lump some back check. I may do a foundation to put the building up and pour the floor after when we sell our house. At least I have some place to put everything during the move from one place to another..
My head is spinning with all the what ifs. I will do the steel building for the reason of welding and grinding and being 15 miles from a fire dept.
I would like to see some pic's of shops of the same size for layout. That has been floating in my head also, what would be the best layout for space to open the floor.
Don D

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DonD
Don't forget to put in a good alarm system, especially if you are putting this shop some distance away from where you are living. A phone dialer alarm, a motion sensor, and a few entry and window switches can be bought for about $250 if you put it in yourself. After going to all this trouble to build your "dream shop" it would be a real shame if someone cleaned it out for you.
--
Charley


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