I'd like your input on a new shop I'm having built. Actually it's a garage
but it's prime purpose will be a woodworking shop. I'd like ideas on
lighting, outlets (how far apart and the height, I also told the contractor
I want a 220 volt outlet on each wall) and anything else you think may be
important for construction. It's going to be 27 X 45 feet with an 8 foot
ceiling. I'm also looking at getting the floor painted to combat dust and
make clean-up a little easier. Any and all inputs will be welcomed. Thanks
Do you have any idea of tool location yet? You may want the 220 outlets
grouped near the tools, but having one per wall is a good idea anyway.
Potential 220 users are table saw, jointer, dust collector,
compressor,bandsaw if it is a large one.
Height should be above any benches, but 49" minimum is often mentioned so
they would be above any sheet goods you may rest against a wall.
Plenty of lights, especially over the bench. Consider using 8' fixtures.
Maybe a task light or two as you see fit after things are in place.
As for painting the floor, can it be done so soon? You will want to get a
couple of anti-fatigue mats also. Make life on your feet easier.
If it's not too late, see if you can make the ceiling nine or (way better)
ten feet, so that you can move sheet goods like 4x8 sheets of plywood around
on end without knocking the fluorescent light fixtures off of the ceiling.
Put duplex 115 outlets about every six feet along the walls, and set them so
that the bottoms are about 50" off the floor, so that if you stack sheet
goods along the walls you can get to the outlets without moving the sheet
goods. Another good thing to do is to 'hop' the wall outlets on two separate
circuits, so that no two adjacent outlets are on the same circuit. This way,
you can plug demanding tools into adjacent outlets without blowing a circuit
breaker. And wire them for 20 amps.
Put all the lighting on the ceiling you can afford, but wire it in two
separate switched circuits in such a way that you can turn half of the
lights on at a time - stagger the fixtures on the circuits so that you have
an even lighting pattern with either half turned on. Or maybe do it 2/3 on
one circuit and 1/3 on the other. That way, during the gloomiest days or
when you're working at night, you can crank up the lighting, and on sunny
days when you have the big doors open you can turn on just what you need.
If there's a crawl space underneath, that's a good place to run ducting for
a dust collector and dedicated electrical circuits for the big stationary
tools. If you put stuff like that under the floor, and you do a planked
floor instead of plywood, it's a nice touch to use square-edged boards
instead of tongue and groove. That way you can easily remove and replace
planks if you change your mind about stationary tool placement and need to
move the ducting and floor electrical outlets.
Speaking of floor electrical outlets for stationary tools in the middle of
the room, the ones that are recessed in the floor, with metal covers over
them, are less desirable than the raised 'monument' style outlets. The
recessed ones easily get filled up with sawdust, which can be conductive if
it gets damp, and the metal covers deform easily as you move heavy tools
around on the floor on mobile bases. You can get recessed outlet assemblies
with sufficiently heavy covers, but they're more expensive than the
Other than that, have a splendid time!
If you can make the ceilings higher, then do so. Sheet goods are almost
always at least 8', and most of the hardwood I bring home runs 10' plus.
Give some serious thought NOW to stock storage. Treating it as an
afterthought will lead to suboptimal conditions.
If this is really designed as a garage, the floor will slope, somehow, for
drainage purposes. Remeber this, when you 'think' you have a reference
plane for everything else.
Beyond these, and the other suggestions you'll get here, remember to budget
for wood. And, if you're equipping a shop from scratch, remember that
there is no requirement that you buy all of the tools at once. Good stuff
shows up all of the time, if you're patient. Or so I've been told.
Go with the 10 ft ceilings if at all possible. I did on the 28x46 shop that
I just completed and will never regret it. I can flip over a 4x8 sheet
end-for-end without worring about hitting the florescent lights mounted on
Also, I used a stem wall that goes about 6 inches above the concrete floor
(the floor was poured after the foundation and stem wall were in place).
This allows me to hose down the floor and not worry about getting the lumber
in the walls wet. But do have the concrete floor saw cut about ever 10
feet. If you don't allow for floor cracking it will happen and usually
where you don't want it to. When you put in the saw cuts (done as soon as
possible after the floor is cured enough that the saw can be used - in my
case the next morning after the floor was poured), the cracking occurs in
the saw cuts and you never see it. The cuts can then be filled with
caulking and scraped level with the floor. Equipment can then be rolled
around with no problem.
"patriarch email@example.comDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message
I know I am jealous at the size of that new " Garage"!
I have been working my craft in an attached garage in three different houses
now over the past 15 years. The first was a one-car at 12 x 20, the second
was a three car that was 32 x 22 and now I have reverted back to a two car
at 20 x 21. But in every shop, though they were "stock" except for adding a
220 line, I have managed to lay out an efficient work area and still park
cars in the space most of the time.
The comment about lumber storage and cut-off station near by or below is one
of the most important design and installation issues along with flat goods
storage. I love the idea of putting the wall outlets above 48" where sheet
goods will be stored.
Check out the layout of my current shop on my updated webpage. Good luck
and happy woodworking!
Everyone seems to have HIT on your 8 foot ceilings and I have to agree
9 or 10 foot would be much better...(mine ceiling heitht is only 7
foot and I would "kill" for an extra foot...sell the kids for an extra
I put my electrical outlets every 4 foot...in both my walls and in my
low ceiling and the lowest wall outlet is 4 foor off the ground...
I do not buy the 8 foot lighting fixtures but ONLY because of the
problems of of carring them home etc...4 foot are just too much easier
to "play" with.... I also prefer task lighting over cold sterile
fluroscents...most of the time I work without any overhead lighting
,,yep it is darker in my shop BUT I find that more comfortable
(relaxing) ..of course when I can not see what I am doing I flip the
switch and light up the flourscents... (put your lights on different
Wish I had a 27 x 45 foot shop... mine is only 20 x 24 and located
upstairs over one of the garages..
On Mon, 25 Oct 2004 01:48:43 GMT, "tony weikert"
Put the outlets in the walls wherever you want them. As a thought,
you may want to augent the wall outlets with a couple of those
retractable ceiling-mounted outlets. They're not good for everything,
but they sure can come in handy sometimes!
I'll second the ceiling-mounted outlets, especially in a larger shop like
yours. I use 110 and 220 v drops and coil them up when not in use, but
retractable cords would be even nicer. I like drops much better than running
cords from a wall outlet to tools near the center of the shop.
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