I am about to build a woodworking shop. Currently, I'm thinking 24' x
40' on concrete slab - no choice about the slab.
I am going to buy a Delta Unisaw, but have a few questions:
1) Other than the table to the right (52" cut) and the rear outfeed
table, do you recommend any additional surface? Maybe a table to the
left? Should the rear outfeed table be the full width of the saw AND
other tables, or just to the rear of the blade?
2) How much clearance would you like to have on all sides of the saw
beyond the tables?
3) Is it worth it to have dust collection run under the slab? What
material and what size?
4) Should I consider an alternative to running electrical under the
slab to feed the saw? If so, what is the alternative? Can the
outlets be flush to the slab surface?
I'm thinking wall-mounted metal pipe for the rest of the dust
collection - comments?
What about the Interior walls? Norm says to use wood so you can mount
anything anywhere - makes sense. What about OSB? It's cheap
(relatively), takes screws well and can be painted white. Comments?
Any other comments or suggestions will be appreciated. What do you
like best and least about your shop?
Thanks for your input,
I used OSB for the wals. I have not found any problems as of yet. 2
I cut a notch at 3-3/4" notch centered at 33 and 53 inches to allow a
1x4 belt to run the walls at those heights. If I need a stud I am not
limited to 16" centers. I can put screws almost anywhere at the two
I can't see why that would be necessary given a rip capacity larger that the
full width of a sheet of plywood. I've certainly never required one and I
think it would be in the way. I've never considered it before so it is an
I assume you mean clearance between the table edge and other machines etc...
I butt my saw almost against the wall on the right hand side (extension
table for the rip fence). With 50+ inches of rip capacity, you don't really
need clearance on that side. On all others - as much as I can get. Right
now I have 7 or eight feet on the left hand side, which is fine. I have the
same in front of the saw and more if I open the overhead door. In winter
that can get a bit tight at times but overall it is acceptable. On the
ooufeed end I have a 4+ foot extension and 4 feet of clearance after it.
That isn't enought room. 3 more feet, at least, would be nice.
I would be afraid of plugging it up should bits get caught up in it. I
prefer to have complete access to mine, even though I have never had to
unplug it. Still, last week I was cleaning up the edge of a large piece of
plywood using the stock throatplate and a surprisingly wide, and long,
sliver was almost completely sucked down. I was able to extract it through
the throat plate after the saw stopped but it could jsut as easily have
broken off and become jammed in the duct I suppose.
I have a heavy gauge cable with a twist plug on mine. It plugs into an
outlet on the wall. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I used T1-11 (or is it T-111 - I can never get that right) exterior
panelling. It looks great - especially with a nice color of deck stain on
it. I haven't stained mine but I've seen it done. Actually, left alone,
after a few years mine has a nice kind of patina on it. T1-11 is much more
expensive than OSB unfortunately, but it is tongue and grooved so it goes
up nicely and you don't see the seams.
I like my huge windows the best. I have my bench right under one of them
and I can work without lights most of the time. This shop is 20 x 20 so it
is too small. My last shop was 22 x 54 and it was way too friggin big. I
spent most of my time chasing tools and sweeping so I don't hold with the
bigger is better theory. However, I think (for me anyway) that 20 x 20 is
too small and that's what I like the least.
Wouldn't that capacity be for cross cuts on plywood? Personally my 50"
capacity never gets used and that table is almost too big for my shop as
well. But I love that fence, its dead on accurate, well last time I checked
Full width and full depth. Take your measurements from a
queen size mattress. Use the additional space below to
store cut-off sleds. Don't Ask Me How I Know This.
I've got 8'ish in the front, 8'ish in the back and 3'ish to
the left which is fine as long as I never have to rip
anything longer than 8'ish. Your Mileage May Vary.
The table on the right is shoved up tight to the wall and so
far I've found no need to play Ring Around the Rosy. Of
course we've had no plagues here of late...
I have a layer of OSB on the 2X studs and a layer of drywall
over that. Paints well and takes a screw(s) well. It
doesn't mean you can hang a car off the wall but with a
proper amount of screws I've never had anything fall off nor
do I ever need to by a stud finder.
Lights, lights, lights and when you think you've just about
got enough lights, add more lights.
<snipped>> Any other comments or suggestions will be appreciated. What do
Consider having a trough cast into the slab for dust collection... with a
ledge so 3/4" exterior or marine grade plywood strips can be placed into
them as covers as well as keeping things from falling in.
They should be large enough to accept a 6" duct... any clogs and the duct is
I shaped mine like a "T" with a 45 degree offset at the junction (as opposed
to 90 degrees like a regular "T".)
Combined with a cyclone separator and blast gates at floor level under the
saw, the system works quite well.
As to the outfeed table, I use a full size sheet of 3/4" plywood on a
shopmade frame topped with white surfaced MDF. I scribble on it, use it as
an assembly area, and have a bunch of lumber stowed beneath it (can also be
used for sleds ala Keith's comments.
I like at least 9 feet from the respective blade teeth at the front
and back. 6 feet on the left side of the blade, and the width of the
table board to the right, has been fine for me, as anything longer
than that is a pain for me to crosscut. I'm measuring from the
blade, not the table edges.
All my DC and electrics come from above, others may disagree.
Hanging pigtails from above.
Both would be fine. Slatwall is good to have in some areas.
Grats on the dream shop! I have a dream shop but its only 20x20, hehe.
Some opinions on your questions.
Table to left for large cross cuts is very handy but if you have space you
might be able to build a large work table that the saw and table fits into
so you have continuous table on the left and back of saw. Handy for laying
wood pieces etc that you are cutting or working on.
My saw/table is an island unto itself. This way I can walk around it and my
tools are in a circle around the saw up against the walls. You want
clearance to feed lumber and ply into it. I have my feed side of my saw
facing garage door so the occasional long piece I just open the door.
Definitely! I see alot of contractors pour the floor then rent a concrete
saw to cut a channel then patch it. Dont know if this is the best way but I
would run your dust collection and power for TS under the floor. I plan on
doing this some day in my garage so I dont have to step over the pipe and
cable. Right now I do like Norm does. If you use like 4 or 6" pvc pipe with
for all under floor applications I dont think you will ever have a problem
as it is very smooth. I've never had a clog on my black plastic dust
collection sys. Maybe 6" is better to keep any clogs from happening under
the floor. Even if you did have one I'm sure you could unclog it or call a
plumber and he'll do it for about $100 an hour, lol.
> I'm thinking wall-mounted metal pipe for the rest of the dust
Supposed to be the best for grounding and 6" is recomended by alot of
people. I have 4" white pvc on the ground with the black plastic flex tubes
up the walls. I have my DC outside of garage in a little lean too building
next to my garage wall. Gives me more room and less noise and dust in the
shop. Just set it up that way and works well. With a nice building like
yours you can put several doors or roll ups to get a nice cross flow. I have
only the garage door and one door to the laundry so not much in crossflow.
I have bright white block walls but would rather have wood walls with a
natural finish. I don't know if its the rustic feel or just seems more
Dont forget to design/ build a nice cabinet system. Like a whole wall of
them with a desk too. Uppers and lowers to keep everything organized. Also a
miter saw station, clamp storage rack, lumber rack, plywood rack, rolling
cart, assembly table, sink, bathroom, and tools!!!
Depends on your needs and what you typically plan to build. I don't
have a need for additional surface to the left of my table saw; in
fact, it may be in the way. I don't have an outfeed table (yet) but I
set up a couple rollers that work fine when I need to rip a 4x8 sheet
of ply. Nothing beats having a "human helper" occasionally.
At least four feet to the left, 6 feet to the right, and 9 feet in
front and behind the blade. On one occasion, I had to turn my PM66 90
degrees to cut dentils in long moldings.
Yes! Four inch diameter PVC should work.
Yes. Install a conduit from the wall to the saw location. Not
certain about your local electrical codes, but I don't see a problem
with outlets flush with the surface (I see them in the mall floor
scattered around--they have brass flip covers.)
That should work.
I have wallboard (painted white) and installed 6" base board to help
protect the walls. Before I installed the wallboard, I went all
around the shop and painted a 2" silver thin line on the floor 90
degrees from the center of each stud--that paid off later when I
mounted cabinets, supports, etc. I found my walls clean up easily.
I'm fortunate that I have natural light which makes sharpening easier
and the shop is brighter. I wish I had more space to store wood!
Sounds like you are doing some good planning based on the questions asked.
The earlier responses provide some great input. A few thoughts:
The table saw is the heart of the shop and should probably be fairly
centralized. if you think about how it will be used, it makes sense to have
either open space or table surface in a rectangular area defined by 8 feet
in all directions from the saw (or blade). Left side surface is optional
depending on your size restrictions. Also give some thought to using the
outfeed table behind the saw for under-table, drawers, storage and assembly.
I would consider running electrical under the floor. The alternates are a
long extension cord (tripping hazard) or a power post from the ceiling.
Both are a nuisance and if you are starting from scratch, why not?
Regarding dust collection, consider under floor, but not trapped. An
earlier post made a good point regarding the problems of clogging. However,
if you ran a trench, with thin side recesses for removable floor plate, you
can always get to the duct for repair or cleaning. Depending on code, you
might also be able to use the trench for electrical.
There is a long running debate regarding metal vs PVC for dust collection.
The latest I have read says their is little actual data supporting explosion
hazards of PVC ducting. There are other articles that say PVC duct can be
saftied by running grounded copper wire through the duct (does this increase
plugging?). Who knows? PVC is certainly the easier and lower cost option.
ANY OTHER OPINIONS OR DATA ON PVC vs. METAL DUST DUCTS?
Check out these photos:
Note the connector next to the school's band saw. No "power post" is
necessary. Power from above can simply come from a cable, held into a
ceiling box with a strain relief. It's cheap and easy.
If dealing with a slab and thinking of trenching, remember one point.
Equippage and layout can change, sometimes often!
Also take note of how easily DC piping can be rearranged or
disconnected to fix a blockage when suspended.
That said, shops with basements or crawl spaces are quite easy to wire
/ plumb from below, AND rearrange and repair problems.
I often wish I had more support to the left of the blade on my LT Unisaw.
The router table I built to be the same height as the saw helps somewhat,
but the outfeed table doesn't extend there. I'm left with roller stands,
or people with detailed instructions to help with the off cut from ripping
4x8 sheets of ply. My outfeed table, inspired by wReckers' projects, is
maybe 42" wide, and tilts up behind the saw when in use.
Were this a business, and not a hobby shop in a (former) garage, I would
build a larger, fancier saw table, now precluded by the need for mobility
and some sense of space conservation for other tools, etc.
I'll be building my new shop next year, 30 x 36 timberframe w/slab. There
are a lot of threads in past history detailing "things you would build into
a new shop", but rather than telling you to go search, I'll write what I'd
do. A lot of it is based on past threads and current experience.
Put as big of an outfeed and side tables on it as you can comfortably deal
with. I like the idea of six feet long outfeed table. I wouldn't go to the
left because you won't be able to walk past the saw while making a long cut.
Extend the outfeed as wide as the side table.
For me, ten feet minimum to the rear, six to the left, the right side can be
as little as zero (for a 52" table board) and beyond - up to you. My unisaw
is on a mobile base, and when I use it, it gets moved within four feet of
the garage door. That way, I have about 18 feet behind the saw (helpful
whan you have to rip a 16' 2x12) and the whole length of my driveway as an
Yes, PVC, and 4". I'm putting in 4" schedule 40 under the slab, with a
"box" and access cover at several locations in the floor. That way, no
particular machine location needs to be permanent, I can move them around
and hook up to the nearest "box" with a quick-connect. The blast gates can
either be in the box or above the floor, or even better, outfit each
termination with a cap - that way, you don't need blast gates. Probably
difficult to visualize, but you'll only need to have the cap off of branches
which have a running machine hooked up.
Same deal - box in slab with outlet inside box. You can plug it it and then
notch the cover of the box and put it back to keep out sawdust.
Alternately, put in drop outlets in areas where you might use the saw. I
don't much care for drops because things tend to get caught on them.
1/2" AC plywood, painted gloss white. I don't like OSB, but that's just me.
Even painted, it still looks like OSB. I also like a section of wall to be
white painted pegboard, since I like my tools to be visible and accessible.
Best - it's mine!
Worst - it's too small, located in the basement (which is a mildewed, humid
mess this time of year), and is used as a landfill for my family's junk most
of the time. I need 15 minutes just to make enough room to use any of my
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