We are selling our house in town and moving in the country so my wife can
have her horses closer to her and the deal is that I get my workshop so I
can build what she will need.
I am kicking it around not sure to have a steel building built or a wood
building. The workshop will be around 30' X 40' or so bigger to 48'.
If you were to build it or have it built what would you have... ?
The main expense will be a floor. I may have to go plywood till I get rich,
but having horses and tools that plain is shot.
Big (enough) is all relative. To me, 30x40 is monsterous. I feel fortunate
to have a 20x25 space. In that space I have all obvious tools
(TS,CMS,18"BS,8"jointer, Lunchbox planer, 42" Lathe, Traditional bench and
aux benches. I consider that a pretty full stable of the stadard tools, and
not mini versions either. Sure I could use a bit more room, but it functions
Here's what I can't do in that space (what I would do with more):
* lumber storage
* finishing/spray room
* bathroom, slop sink, wet area
Determining how much is enough is driven by what you want to put in that
space and how you want to use it, so tell us more.
I have a painted plywood floor, BTW, and I think anything more would be a
waste of money. Also standard gray is to dark, buy a can or two of white and
mix it with the can of Nimitz gray.
My current shop has a 3/4 plywood floor with a crawl space underneath.
My previous shop had a concrete slab on-grade. I much prefer the wood
floor because I can run electricity, air and plumbing anywhere I want
under the floor without having cords and pipes in the way everywhere.
I'm sure the wood is easier on the feet, legs and back too.
The only advantage I found to the concrete floor is that it stabilized
the temperature in my shop. We live in central Mississippi, where the
ground temperature stays above freezing all winter. My well-insulated
shop with concrete floor would never drop below 40 degrees, even when
the outside temps dropped into the 20's. My current shop, with
un-insulated wood floor gets just as cold inside as outside. Your
mileage may vary.
While you're planning, I couldn't be without my sink, and if I was
starting from scratch, I'd have a toilet too. I'd put an electric
receptacle on each stud and several in the ceiling out toward the
middle of the room. I'm also spoiled by my air blowers that hang from
the ceiling above my tablesaw and assembly area.
If I were starting from scratch again, I'd go for square footage at the
expense of other things. Everybody I know wishes for more space. You
can add other bells and whistles later, but once you're set up, it's
hard to add more space. I wouldn't hesitate to use a steel building if
I were in the country where things like matching the house weren't
"Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get muddy, but the pig likes
Thanks for all the remarks to start off with.
I have been on half the night looking at steel buildings and found one that
is manuf. in my state. http://www.absolutegarages.com/sierra.htm I was
looking at the 2nd row on left pic that are in the group. I was thinking is
two roll up doors to one side and one entrance door. I priced a 30x50 x 10.5
high at about 12,500.00. I will see if I can call them to get a close fig.
I just got granted S.S. Disability after two years fighting and the back pay
will buy most of the shop.
On one side of the shop will be for welding 15x30 while the rest 35x30 will
be for a wood shop. I will see what the price will be just for a footing
stemwall to put the steel building on and what the wood floor will cost
compare to the create floor. I was thinking about running most everything
under also but I may run overhead of just along the walls...
Still in the stage of getting the room I can afford. Like one of you said,
the rest can come down the road...
More input is welcome.
On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:37:35 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Don
What I'd do if I had about $20k:
30x40' sounds about right.
Get a slab poured and go with a metal truss building.
Insulate it well for a truly wonderful shop.
Put in 10' high walls with high windows and skylights (+ fluors) for
Put in a 9' wide insulated garage-style or vertical rolling door, and
have a nice little HVAC system for year-round use.
Use a 200A main panel and plenty of 120v and 240v twistlock outlets at
50" height would keep them all above the tables/counters, and any
stray sheet stock.
I'd have a separate area for finishing which could be vented to the
outside with a high-powered fan.
If I had to finance it, I'd do the full thing (right, the only way)
and use the output of the shop (plus savings on things I'd make for my
own use) to make the payments.
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I think Larry has some very good ideas here.
Based on my experience I have these thoughts:
1.Space is top priority. To determine exactly how much you should
have ask other people who do the kind of work you want to do. If you
build too small it'll be a pain and you'll regret it. Go for the space
first and you can add other things later.
2. Put in lots of elec outlets, including a 230V supply.
3. Skylights give the best light. so if you'll do much work during the day
that may be the way to go.
4. 10ft ceilings is much much better than 8ft for a workshop and they
allow lots of wall space for handy storage of bulky things like jigs.
5. Wide garage-style door is best.
There are good books on designing a workshop like "How to Design and Build
Ideal Workshop" by Bill Stankus.
My Dad was a metal worker...and he retired as a Streelworker.
My Wife is retired from.. Alcoa Aluminum
Me... I am a retired LEGAL Drug Dealer... so take my comments
with that in mind...
BUT I am a woodworker...so I like a wood...over Metal buliding, table,
door, yada yada anyday of the week..
As for "my" ideal floor.....WOOD !
For those using fairly large lathes like Powermatics I wonder if it makes a
difference concrete versus wood floor; or if there should be additional
crawl space support and blocking? I used top price I-joists under Advantec
for the house and can still feel the flexing when the rotweiller walks by.
$2.25+ /sf at 4" was the concrete price two years ago when I built this
place PLUS ground/footer prep. And then what about a driveway? Be really
careful about watching them do the grading and actual pour. Damn shame how
many will save concrete by pouring thin once past what you'd see. Poured my
garage using an "economy" price guy but who had references. I'm putting
ceramic tile over his job since I can't stop the dusting. I've had lots of
bad concrete stories in my career and thought I could avoid another.
I had my workshop built about 6 years ago. Concrete slab, wood frame.
It's 24 x 28 and the floor holds 1 large and 1 medium workbench, 8"
jointer, 2 10" table saws (1 with extended fence rails), 20" planer, SCM
saw/stand, 5 grinders on pedestals, 12" x 36" lathe, 18" bandsaw,
horizontal 4" metalworking bandsaw, MIG welder, cutting torch, rolling
toolchest, minifridge, PC, shaper, belt/disc sander on pedestal, 15"
floor model drill press, 30 gal air compressor, 2HP DC and cyclone
separator/can, scroll saw, 3 4' and 2 3' wide shelf units, a 4 drawer
file cabinet, and a 3' x 3' x 10' stack of stickered hard maple that
will eventually become a bench.
I wish it was a tad bigger, so your 30 x 40 sounds nice. Would give you
a nice storage area for wood.
By all means go with 10' ceilings. I'm glad I did. You can swing a long
board easier. Also, if you have a garage door make it 8' high instead of
the standard 7'.
Use minimum 12 gauge wire for 110 and 10 gauge for 220 electrical. Place
receptacles both high and low. Mine has pretty much a high receptacle
(4') or a low receptacle every 4' around the perimeter. Most duplex but
some double duplex where I have benches. Put at least one 220 outlet on
each wall. Put in some floor receptacles as well. I have 2 halfway back
and each 1/3 away from the side, each with a combo 220/110 duplex
outlet. My planer, tablesaws and shaper are clusterd around them and o
cords to trip over. Put in at least one 70A outlet for a welder. Instead
of ceiling fixtures for lights, I put in 5 duplex outlets in the ceiling
that are controlled with a wall switch. I can plug any kind of light in
I want and also they can be moved if necessary within the length of the
cord. I have 5 4' double tube hanging shop lights. I've been thinking of
adding some spot lights stategically above some of the equipment as well.
At least 1 window per wall.
Insulate it. I have R30 in the ceiling and R13 in the walls.
Instead of all sheetrock or panelling, mount a 4 x 8 sheet of pegboard
lengthwise in each wall you can put one on. I put a layer of heavy black
plastic sheeting behind it as a barrier for the fiberglass insulation.
I wanted mine to look like a freestanding garage and it matches the
house. It has a double garage door, but on the inside I have 2 4' wide
by 7' tall shelf units facing in and blocking off half the entry. Still
gives me an 8' opening when the garage door is up. I put theses shelf
units on rollers so they can be moved if necessary without unloading
them. The garage door side of each has a 4 x 8 sheet of pegboard screwed
to the back. Keeps stuff from falling out the back of the shelves and I
also hang stuff on it, like rope, long extension cords, outdoor tools,
etc. If I had it to do over, I'd put in a rollup garage door.
As you're building, take digital photos, especially of the wiring. I can
look at pictures and tell where every wire is inside the wall.
Let me know if you need more info.
I do thank you for all the info on your shop and also everyone else for
their input. I am chomping at the bit for the check to arrive so I can spend
it. I think I will lean towards the 30 x 50 x 10.5 high. the concrete will
kill me or the lump some back check.
I may do a foundation to put the building up and pour the floor after when
we sell our house. At least I have some place to put everything during the
move from one place to another..
My head is spinning with all the what ifs. I will do the steel building for
the reason of welding and grinding and being 15 miles from a fire dept.
I would like to see some pic's of shops of the same size for layout. That
has been floating in my head also, what would be the best layout for space
to open the floor.
Don't forget to put in a good alarm system, especially if you are putting
this shop some distance away from where you are living. A phone dialer
alarm, a motion sensor, and a few entry and window switches can be bought
for about $250 if you put it in yourself. After going to all this trouble to
build your "dream shop" it would be a real shame if someone cleaned it out
"Don D." < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
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