Just completed shell of new shop. ( 22' X 20" ) Wood frame on slab - vinyl
siding on OSB with vapor barrier for exterior. Interior - 10' stud walls.
(2) small windows mounted high . . . Double doors to one side in front & one
side door near rear. Would have more windows for natural light, but here in
Louisiana security is a problem . . .
Shop will be well insulated . . . . .
This will be my first shop, so I'm a little unsure as to what layout will
end up being. ( Slab has was poured in 1998 ! ! ! )
I know I need dedicated 220VAC circuits for: Dust Collector, Air Compressor,
A/ C unit. Have good idea where these units will reside. .
Beyond the dedicated outlets for the above, my thoughts were to put a
220VAC & a 120VAC outlet next to each other every five foot along all the
walls. This way no piece of equip. would ever be more than 3 foot from a
Also, at least four 220/120 outlet pairs down the center of the ceiling.
This would provide a non-trip way of supplying power to table saw, planer or
a unknown piece of "roving" equipment.
Will also add extra number of 120VAC outlets near the "workbench" area.
Think I have lighting covered . . . will use ( 16 ) 4 foot twin tube T-8
fixtures . . . a couple incandescent lights for quick entry without lighting
up the world.
Porch lights, flood lights & appropriately switched exterior 120 / 220 VAC
If I have missed anything or any suggestions, please e-mail or post. I enjoy
this group very much. It has served as an excellent info source.
Even those not related to electrical are more than welcome . . . .
P.S. I have read all the books suggested to others and myself on this site
relative to "setting up shop" . . . But a hundred books are no replacement
for suggestions from experienced people that have to make a shop work on a
realistic budget . . . .
You don't need that many 220 volt outlets, IMO.
I've got, IIRC, 6 in my shop, 25' x 48', and 99 times out of 100, that's
sufficient. I will eventually add a compressor circuit...currently running a
115 volt, but have a 7 HP 220 on hand ready to hook up. Another dedicated
for the DC, and, of course, the furnace, but after that wall outlets work
for things like the jointer, planer, etc.
For the 115 volt receptacles, I'd strongly suggest leapfrogging at least
three circuits on each wall, and having no more than 4' between outlets. I
put mine in at that distance and occasionally wish I done it at 3'
intervals...but then I run studio flash units off mine a lot. By
leapfrogging the circuits, you don't have to worry about plugging a 15 amp
SCMS into the circuit, with a 7 amp jigsaw 6' away on the same circuit and a
7 amp drill in the middle. Not much chance of that in a hobby shop, but wire
is cheap (relatively speaking).
I would add to that: use split duplex receptacles, so that each of the
two outlets on a receptacle are on a different circuit. Canadian
electrical codes require both "leapfrogging" and split receptacles in
kitchens and they also make eminent sense in a shop. That way, you can
plug in two tools in one outlet and not worry about the breakers
tripping. Using Charlie's example, you could plug the SCMS and the
jigsaw in each of the two outlets in one receptacle, and the drill in
the next receptacle 6 feet away.
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
That's really not very much room you'll soon discover.
I'm betting just about everything other than a real
woodworking bench will be on wheels and normally
against the walls.
The overhead lighting seems like overkill. You'll
find that you need "task lighting" at most machines,
drill press, bandsaw, miter saw, router table,
mortising machine, lathe etc. A gooseneck or two
at each will appear eventually.
You're surely going to rearrange your shop several
times as new tools are acquired and your way of
working in the space develops. For that reason,
I'd go with surface mounted electrical - because
it's easy to change things as needed. Quad boxes
rahter than duplex boxes is handy, especially
if each of the duplex outlets is on a separate
20 amp circuit - left always circuit #1, right
always circuit #2. Put the overhead lights
on a separate 20 amp breaker so if a machine
trips its breaker you aren't left in the dark
around spinning carbide.
If you put the quad boxes at 38 to 40 inches
off the floor you can still get wall cabinets,
the ubiquitous peg board etc.
SHEATH THE INSIDE WALLS WITH 3/4" PLY
OR AT LEAST OSB. That way you can hand
just about anything you want - anywhere
you want. You will have jigs and patterns
that won't fit in a drawer or cabinet. AND
the building will get through earthquakes
better Locking wheels on "stationary"
machines is a good idea for that reason.
We had some big disk drive cabinets on
wheels do a lot of rolling during the
Loma Prieta quake in '89. Even a
cabinet saw or 8" jointer will move in
a quake. How far is influenced by wheels,
locked or not.
AND PAINT THE WALLS WHITE - actually
an off white, Navajo White and Autum
Wheet are my favorites. White reflects
light - and light in a shop is good. Go
with a semi gloss or flat, not gloss.
you want relfected ambient light, not
While overhead outlets sound like a good
idea, the reality is getting up to them to
use or stop using is not exactly convenient
Most of the "stationary" machines need
wood "alleys" and no matter how you plan
it, eventually a power cord coming down
from above will get in the way. Realizing
that in the middle of a rip in a 4x8 sheet
of walnut or cherry faced furniture
grade ply is not a good thing.
Think WALL HANGING CABINETS. Like floor
space, wall space is always at a premium.
And if the doors a 2" or so deep, you can
store tools in them and effectively double
your wall space.
If you can, run a water line and sewer
line to the shop. A place to wash up
is handy and can be used for other things
as well - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - know
what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
If you have a slab floor, epoxy paint it.
Easier to clean and cuts down on cement
dust. If you can, go with a tan rather than
gray color - again - relfected light is
Someone should write a book on all the
little details to consider when setting
up a shop. Mr. Self?
OH - and get the working surface of
tools that require seeing exactly
where you're going to cut/drill up
higher than typical counter top
height. Bending way over to see
what you're doing ain't good for
More than you ever wanted to know
Overkill??? Wait 'till you get old charlie. Comes a point when too much is
never enough. I have 15 overhead 4x2 40W fixtures in my garage (36X26) and
I don't regret that much light at all. I recently installed those lights
after having 9 100W incandescent for years. What a difference! No shadows!
Task light is still a must though. No matter what kind of lighting you
install, task lighting is a must.
I think you have a good plan. Now is the time to put in
whatever you think you will need or want. Think about
running the trunk tubing for the dust collector above the
You can look at what I built at
Sounds like you have the right idea Steve. I like to put an outlet
within 3 feet of every door opening to resist draping a cord across an
opening. Not sure how you plan your circuits, but I like
"leap-frogging" which helps distribute the power more evenly. I put
outlets near the floor, at waist height and on the ceiling. Put your
lighting on a separate circuit, light switches near the door. It
looked like a LOT when I installed them all (6 circuits, 45 outlets)
Like clamps, you can't have too many outlets.
Mine are in the wall because I need the insulation in summer. If you do
this, take DETAILED (seriously, be anal about it) pictures of where ALL
the wiring is before you insulate and seal up the walls. I can tell you
where every one of my runs is by measuring off windows, corners, etc.
I find that mixing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs throughout gives
better light than either alone. Also, make sure to divide the lights
into "zones" so you don't have to have all of them on at the same time.
Sometimes shadows can be helpful.
I don't know even it's even possible to get a T8 fixture with a
mechanical ballast, but if it is, don't do it. Get the solid state
ballast (no flicker, no humming, instant on, and works in cold
Outlets in the ceiling may be useful for some things, but plugging in a
stationary tool is generally not one of them. The cord gets in the way
of the wood you're trying to process.
Did you give yourself some lumber storage in the attic?
22 feet long but only 20 inches wide? Pretty narrow workshop, don't
you think? ;-)
DC in a rear corner. Air Comp near an exterior door so you can use air
tools on your car, air up tires, etc. without dragging a bunch of hose,
although I have seriously considered putting it outside under a small
roof. My AC is smack dead center in the rear wall.
I did something similar - an outlet every 4', but I staggered them high
and low (4' from the floor and the normal height). I put double duplex
outlets where I thought benches would reside. At least 1 220 on each
wall plus one 70A for a welder near the garage door (welding on the
Instead of wired in light fixtures, I installed 5 duplex outlets in the
ceiling. The outlets are wired to a switch at the entrance. I hung and
plugged in 5 4' dual tube fluorescants into theses outlets. They come
opn with the switch. I can disable any that I want by using the pull
chain. The fixtures can be moved easily to "fine tune" the lighting when
the floor arrangement changes. Other types of lights can be plugged in
(I've been thinking about a spotlight above the TS). If I had it to do
over, I'd run a swutch to each side of the duplex outlets (modify the
outlets by grinding the buss bar on the side.) That would give 2
independant switched circuits in the ceiling.
I also have one with a separate switch in the center of the ceiling. My
GD opener and Jet air filter are plugged into it.
Also have a ceiling fan above the workbench.
HD has a nifty duplex outlet (15A?) that provides one 220 and one 110
when wired to 220 (3+GND preferable). I have these in my floor
receptacles and on a couple outside outlets. Also put them in my 2
wellhouses, wired off the 220V pump feeds.
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