Poured a slab (7) years ago for a general purpose "shop". Not necessarily
woodworking. Never built the shop, threat of moving kept me from doing so.
Now (7) years later I want to get into woodworking & there sits that slab.
It's 22' long by 20' wide. . . Can I operate a woodworking shop without
"everything on wheels in that amount of space. Would be like to build
bookcases, smoking stands, tables of all sizes & some cabinets. Do I need to
pour more slab?
I have the following:
Table Saw - Delta Contractors with Biesemeyer 30" Fence
Drill Press - Delta 20" 70-200
Grinder on stand - Delta 8"
Air Compressor - vertical tank - Ingersoll Rand - 2HP
Hand power tools - drills, saws, etc . . (no specialized woodworking like
Will buy eventually . . . wish list to be acquired over (2) year period
Band Saw - large
Router Table ( will build )
Dust Collector - (cyclone type
Work Bench (will build )
Will it fit and work or do I "need" more slab . . . . suggestions please . .
. I figure I get one shot at this . . .
If you can afford it, I'd make it bigger--particularly, longer. But to
decide, I'd suggest taking a plan and sketching out the equipment you
have and expect to get and lay them out w/ movable outlines, trying to
see how the operational characteristic would be...particularly pay
attention to outfeed areas and sufficient clearance for sheet goods,
Just be sure when you do build to provide adequate overhead height--a
minimum imo would be 10-ft overhead clearance...
Graph paper works great for doing your layout. Gives you a good idea
for what space you have to work with and how much space your tools will
take up. You can usually get all the dimensions from a catalog or
With a little planning you'll be surprised at how much you can fit into
a smaller space.....
Don't forget to consider how much distance you need for the piece to
exit equipment as well as what you need to feed it in......My neighbor
put his jointer in a spot that I thought was crazy, there was no room
on the feed side for anything longer than a three foot board......When
I asked him to do an 8 foot board for me he saw my face, and just
laughed, took out the window and we had plenty of room....
I realize you don't want to have everything on wheels, but maybe having
one or two of them on casters would solve a problem for more of
them....being able to wheel your compressor around is never a bad
thing. Depending of course on how big it is.....
A few things I did.........I put my grinder on a fold down
table........Mounted it to a piece of plywood and mounted that to the
wall with two heavy duty hinges.....When I don't need it it folds down
and my compressor sits in front of it. I'm planning on putting a dove
tail jig on a similar set up, but instead of hinging up and down it
will pivot like a door on the wall.....When it swings into place two
drop in bars will lock it tight....finish up and fold it back out of
One other thing.........No matter how much planing you do.......It's
NEVER going to be big enough....No matter what you build you'll always
wish you had just one more foot here or there. :-)
Oh yeah......Don't spare the plugs.....put em everywhere........
I have approximately your size for my working area in the basement.
Actually, mine is a bit narrower than 20' I didn't want my tablesaw on
wheels, so I put that in the middle of the length, put against a wall.
Put the fence side of the tablesaw against the wall. Leave enough room
for 8' in front of the saw and 8' out of the saw. Ideally, of course,
more is better, but that's the minimum. Then on the outfeed side of the
saw, I built and outfeed table slightly bigger than 8' by 4'. I store
all my sheet goods below it. It's also a work table for gluing stuff
up, etc. The planer and other desktop tools get pulled off the shelf
and used on that table. I have a lathe and drill press against another
wall, away from the saw. I did put my bandsaw, jointer, and drum sander
on mobile bases.. but it's really not that much of a pain to move them
It can be done in your space. You might have to compromise and put a
few things on mobile bases though. I'd never put the table saw on a
mobile base unless I was extremely tight on space though. I'm sure it's
safe, but it's a PITA, because that's the one tool you use a lot. You
probably have enough additional space (compared to me) to not have to
put your bandsaw on wheels.
one more suggestion. If you can find a place to store your wood in an
area other than the shop, it's helpful. Even if you only have about
50-100 board feet, that's a pile that will get in the way if it's on
the floor or even on a shelf. Try to steal a little garage or basement
space for that.
Short answer - yes.
My space is 20x24 (interior dimensions) less a stairwell... it about the
same or a shade bigger. I have big item on your list except the
compressor... and I have the 50" rip capacity which takes up some extra
Do I wish I had more... heck yes, but it is not claustrophobic. I also do
not have room for much wood inventory in the shop.
As other have said, get out the graph paper and pay attention to infeed and
outfeed lanes. Share them between tool and even stack them vertically. Make
sure that your lanes don't smack into a bench. If you like your benches
high, like 36"; you had better raise up you stationary tools to at least
Cheat and use dorways or windoes as in/outfeed space. Once in a blue moon
you will want to rip a 10' board in your saw. If opening a door enables
that, it's a bonus.
As for height, I would say that 9' is the magic number. You want to be able
to manipulate sheet stock without whacking a light fixture. Of course, more
A skylight or two is really nice.
I work out of an area about that size with more than both your lists
combined and now do this for a living. That said putting wheels on
everything will be cheaper than making you area larger and will make the
area that you have seem twice as large.
FYI I used to have a dedicated 12" Delta CMS and it truly wasted more space
than it was worth. The saw now sets in the store room and I only use it on
location and never in the shop.
The first question to ask yourself is "what is the largest piece of
timber " for each saw.
If you are regularly cutting 8 x 4 sheet stock your slab is a little
undersized, or you need very careful layout.
If you typically use smaller pieces it is plenty big enough.
I like mobile bases on equipment for two reasons. First is cleaning.
Second is to get extra clearance for odd large jobs.
Paper and pencil to layout floor plan. If the slab is in place some big
cardboard boxes to simulate equipment will be a big help.
Plan carefully for access doors. I rip 10' long stock by opening the
Your slab is probably big enough with a little planning and some mobile
Consider moving the compressor and dust collection outside the shopspace in
a well ventilated addition. These items require a fair size footprint and
make a lot of noise.
Also consider a multi function pull out unit - 2'x2' workbench on a mobile
base, CMS on top with a planer underneath etc...
I'd KILL for that much space. My shop is a 12x14 shed with a 7' roof.
You can do woodworking anywhere.
Your shop size certainly seems adequate to me, but bigger is
always better - at least up to barn size :-).
40x22 would be about right. your current size is a small 2 car garage,
(I don't count the portion of the garage for the washer, drier, heater,
and basic cabinet area) which requires moving stuff around with fewer
items than what you mentioned.
I have about twice the machines in a 16 x 24 dedicated shop. Have
been getting along with that for 15 years.
However, planning a move and the next shop will be 25' x 40'. SWMBO
and I have struck a deal now that the kids are gone. New house will
be 1/3 smaller. Shop will be triple in size. Seems only fair.
On Fri, 5 Aug 2005 10:58:16 -0500, "Steve DeMars"
I was in a 400 ft square shop for several years, with all of the basic
tools, and a big lathe. It was so tight in there that I had to open the
doors to fart. When I moved, I got a 24 x 36 shop. One of my friends
told me that I would be amazed at how fast the new shop would fill up.
I told him that it would take about 4 hours. The one thing that I most
under estimated was how much room I would need for wood. I did build a
separate room for turning (about 8 x 10) and made a short ceiling, so
that I could store lumber on top. That helped. I still have jointer,
planer, drill press, small bandsaw,and drum sander on wheels. I made my
main work bench and the planer to be the same height as the tablesaw.
My next shop will be 2000 feet plus, with an out building or lean to
for logs, the compresser, and the dust collector. You will be able to
work on a few small things, or one large
thing in your shop, but not a number of things all at once.It won't be
a production shop, but you will have a lot of fun in it.
Now, I agree with that. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Being
pressed for space kind of motivates you to get things finished LOL.
I already have a set of bookshelves in one corner of the basement that
are only about 6 hours plus finishing from being done, but I keep
starting other stuff. But I will finish them after this current project
As far as shops go, bigger is always better.... but you can get along with what
you have, too..
my shop, like a lot of others here, is in a 2 car garage and shares space with a
washer, dryer & sink.. I'd love more room, but get along with what I have...
Regarding the wheels, the older I get, the more of my stuff is on wheels and as
close to the same height as possible...
Easy to roll something like a sander outside in nice weather, etc.... and you
KNOW that you're going to rearrange the tool placement several times, and it's
easier on both you and the tools to roll them.. YMMV
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