You ever have one of those moments when you wonder how you ever developed
the ability to walk and chew bubble-gum at the same time? You know, one of
those forehead slapping moments when you think, "What a dumbass I am, why
didn't I think of that before?!?!"
I had one of those tonight, and I doubt I'm going to sleep very well whilst
coping with the paradigm shift that an innocent comment from (of all people)
my visiting mother-in-law catapulted me into. She saw me working on a
space-saving mobile bench out in the cold-as-hell third bay of the garage
and said "Why don't you have the shop in the basement?" To add insult to
injury, her daughter agreed, saying "I've always thought it should be in the
basement." Having never even considered this in my new house, my immediate
puffed-up-chest response (it's too hard to take sheet stock down there) was
immediately suppressed by the total sense that it suddenly seemed to make.
I could use just half the unfinished basement for the shop and have about
five times the space as the third bay.
I'm just coming to grips with taking the TS3650 apart and toting it down
there in less than 100 lb chunks, taking down the conduit and electrical I
spent 2 days running to the garage (it's all salvageable), and figuring out
what to do with all that BIG SPACE. I've seen pics in ABPW and other places
of both garage and basement shops, but I have had neither. I don't really
know the pros or cons of either, either.
Can some of you help me out? The basement is not walk-out, but there is a
short, straight shot from an external door to the basement door and a
straight flight of stairs down to the basement. I figure the stairwell is
about 3+ feet wide and there is plenty of headroom. And the basement has 9'
ceilings. And it's always about 65-75 degrees.
What are the cons of a basement shop? Aside from toting stuff up and down,
I can't think of any.
As always, I am thankful for your cumulative wisdom.
I have a basement shop with a setup much like you're describing. I had
to frame in the room (21 x 20 .... coulda shoulda made it bigger). Also
had to wire it, but that I did right, more or less ... outlets every 6
ft around the perimeter, 8 outlets for shoplights & whatnot spaced
evenly around the ceiling, and a 220 outlet on the support post in the
middle of the room.
Dust collection is a must, and I'm working on an air cleaner (when I
was working in my garage, I'd just open the doors and fire up the leaf
blower once in a while). Noise is occasionally a problem--less so now
that the walls are up, and the floor (house floor, shop ceiling) is
well-insulated, so that helps a little.
The main problem I have is the absence of a door to the outside. I put
a new door from the garage to the stairwell so I have a straight shot
down the stairs (essential for plywood or drywall), but dang, I'm
dreading carrying my daughter's brand-new computer desk up those
stairs. And God help us when/if we move ... those boxes from Grizzly
slid down the stairs quite smoothly, but the jointer and table saw are
going to be difficult going back up.
I actually contemplated putting in a bulkhead door, but the expense was
too great, and the way our house is laid out, it would have involved
putting it in a very visible place. I'll make do with the basement
stairs for now.
I also wish I had running water in the basement ... I know it wouldn't
be hard to do, but drainage would be a problem. I'd like to be able to
rinse out brushes and wash my hands without having to traipse through
the house. I also intend to run an air line from the garage to the
woodshop so that I can quick-connect to the compressor without having
to run an air hose down the stairs through an open door.
All of that said, I'm glad to be working inside rather than in the
garage ... cool in the summer, tolerable in the winter. Good luck
getting your shop set up.
No doubt, a basement shop makes woodworking easy and comfortable year-round.
If you have forced air heat or A/C, then you will have to carefully and
thoroughly filter the air... or you will blow wood dust all over your house,
and your mother-in-law's daughter will quickly change her opinion about
where your shop should be. If you have hot water or steam heat (like me)
and no A/C, this is much less of a problem. If you orient towards the
Neander you have another distinct advantage in the basement, since you make
chips instead of dust, and you drop those chips instead of throw them
around. Normites clean up with vacuums; Neanders clean up with brooms.
Either way, make sure you have good abrasive welcome mat at the bottom of
the stairs so that you don't track wood dust or chips upstairs. For your
Usually headroom is much lower in the basement, and there is very little
natural light. The headroom is dealt with by bringing in workpieces already
cut to approximate size, the light with lots of bright fixtures and white
walls. Finishing is limited to those few finishes (which happen to prefer
anyway) which don't emit huge amounts of VOCs and can easily stink up a
two-story colonial... a stink that never, ever clears out before the wife
comes home. Noise from power tools can also be a real problem, one that can
be dealt with by insulating your basement ceiling and installing good access
doors... but mostly by running the tools when the extra noise won't be a
Since you already have the permission to expand and move, think of perhaps
of a two-part shop. A rough garage shop that spends most of its time stored
away, with sawhorses and big sheets of foam insulation for breaking down
sheets of plywood and drywall on the driveway, for running rough stock over
the jointer and through the planer, and for heavy sanding and finish
spraying.... and a fine basement shop for the remainder of your woodworking.
This arrangement has well worked for me for a long time.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI
My previous shop was in a basement, when I moved I set up a shop in a
detached garage. My garage shop is heated and has A/C.
I far prefer the detached garage shop because:
I can make noise any hour of the day or night without disturbing the family
I can paint without vapors reeking through the house and if they bother me,
I leave the garage and come into the house
Dust, welding vapor, carbon monoxide, etc does not get into the house
It is slightly more difficult for the family to interrupt me
It is slightly more difficult to shove household surplus into the garage
I can listen to any music, any time, at any level I wish
I can control moisture better in the above ground garage
I can lock myself into the garage when I need to spend quality time with my
It's funny how before we install a furnace in the garage, the idea almost
seems extreme. But... after we install one it seems so natural to just
suggest others do the same to deal with the cold. I'm in upstate NY and our
winters are both long and cold. I used just about every half baked method
of putting a little heat in the garage before I came on a 140K BTU forced
air furnace for free and installed it. What a pain it was with all those
other attempts at heating. What a pleasure it is now - just turn up the
thermostat. It's really not all that expensive to run either.
I've had a basement workshop. And, especially with taller basement walls,
it has quite a bit to offer. However, one problem eventually forced me out
of it. SWMBO just couldn't/wouldn't tolerate the various smells and odors
that waffled through the entire house, during any finishing process.
Likewise, before I built my garage, I had a corner of the basement for a
shop area. We survived quite well in that confined space, but my son and I
both joke now about the contortions we had to go through to really do
anything. Our space was really quite small, all things considered.
The whether is not that extreme around here (Seattle) so working in the shop
year round is possible but finishing can only be done at certain times of
the year. Even so, a garage shop is, to me, a better way to go.
wrote in message
There are two significant problems that I can think of about having your
shop in your basement. The first one is humidity. When my shop was in my
basement I was always fighting with tool rust and excessive moisture in my
wood. If your basement is in Arizona or someplace like that then you
probably won't need to worry about this. Mine was in NY state. The second
problem that you will have to deal with is that everything that you make
will have to fit through a 3 ft door and be light enough to get back up the
stairway. Of course, if you plan your projects so you can build them in
modules and then take them to your garage for the final assembly you can
work around this.
I gave up on trying to have a shop in my basement and now have it in a small
barn style outbuilding which has an 8 foot door, central heat/air, and is
fully insulated. I can work comfortably out there 365 days a year. Oh,
another plus for having my shop in a separate building is that I never get
sawdust in her (our) house, and she has to call me on the intercom when she
wants my attention (hence much less often). I enjoy my shop much more since
I made all of these changes to it. It isn't as big as I would like, but are
"Hedley" < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
How about when the relative humidity is reasonably low (say under 60%),
but the water table is high and the basement walls and floor are not
100% vapor resistant. THEN, which area will have the higher humidity
level; the garage, or the basement?
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.