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Thread: Ideal shop size

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    Ideal shop size

    I was just wondering what the ideal shop size is. I know we all have limitations, financial and otherwise, but what do y'all out there think the "ideal" size is for an amateur hobbyistis? Is it square, rectangular or what. I personally think something like 25x30 is ideal. I think that 20 x 40 is too rectangular and wouldn't work. Just curious., Oh well,maybe I'll win the lottery and can experiment. Than x. Anyty input would be interesting.

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    If you have a choice, I'd go 30x40. Divide the space so you have a separate finishing room, lumber storage, dust collector/ compressor room etc. But it doesn't pay to agonize over it too long, because no matter what the size, it will always be 10% too small :-) Don't get me wrong, 750sq.ft. is more space than most people will ever have, and certainly sufficient for a lot of good woodworking, but if you're starting from scratch...

    As for the shape, a lot depends on the layout. A more squarish shape means you can probably swing long boards (10ft.) a full 360 degrees, but that's not much of a consideration. A square also means shorter dust collection runs, electrical wiring etc. But a rectangular shape lends itself to easier subdivision. What sort of tools do you have, any special considerations?
    Bas.
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    Re: Ideal shop size

    The perfect shop size/shape for me is:



    The reason that this is perfect is that it is MINE, all MINE (not shared with cars, wife, or anyone else)...and it is about 4x larger than the shop in my last house :>
    Turning beautiful wood into scraps...one board at a time.

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I think a shop is like a boat, you can never have a big enough one.

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I'm thankful for my shop, it's the best one I've ever had and I enjoy working in it, it's about 22x22 or so. Alas, but I've accumulated too many toys and my shop is too small. I was thinking twice as big, roughly 24x40 would work out well with standard building materials. I would keep wood storage, compressor and dust collector outside in add-on structures.

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    Finally able to afford to build mine in 2000/2001. 35x45 and I love it, but the cars sit outside. Another bay so I could pull a vehicle in occasionally would be nice. Restrictions prevented me from building it any bigger. Would have loved to have it and the time to use it in my younger years.

    Never big enough. Never big enough. Never big enough.


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    Re: Ideal shop size

    If you could find an old abandoned chicken house, say something around 100 X 300, that'd be about right I believe!

    BUT, if you're like me, you'd fill it up too soon!

    "The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money!" Alex de Tocqueville"

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I recently was able to double my shop space. I now have 2 rooms, each one is about 10'x16' and they are connected by a 3' wide by 4' long 'hallway'. I moved all my tools around so that they each had their own home and I realized that I still don't have enough space!

    So I have to agree that you can always find ways to use more space...
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    Re: Ideal shop size

    if everything comes together for me and my brother-in-law, the plan is to make ours 30x40, 10' ceiling. My dad already has a building that size, so we went down and did some measuring. I had planned on a 10x15 area for spraying/finishing ( plan on keeping this seperate by a plastic curtain system.) Then use the other 10x15 area on that end of the building for wood storage and dust collection system.

    So that leaves a 30x30 area for everything else. If I figure out how to add an image I will show you the prelim drawings.It looks like that will provide plenty of room to move sheets of plywood around, give some room for workbench, room for extensions on the tablesaw, and room if both of us are in there working. Like you said, cost/size/etc has its limits. One half of the garage has worked well for years. But I do feel limited in project size, storage, and inability to buy the "real" tools I want.

    We are looking at putting up our own building, since my brother-in-law is a carpenter and has been building houses for several years. We are looking at a kit from Carters Lumber for around $8000. It includes all truses, posts, sheathing, shingles, felt, vinyl siding, garage door, and walk-in door (everything you need to complete it). A concrete pad should run around $1800.

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I'll throw out an alternative.

    I think a small shop is more appealing. Granted, depends on the kind of work you want to do. I'm in a 12x12. What I'd suggest, is probably 12x20. 12 wide is nice, it keeps it cozy.

    I read one of Jim Toplin's books where he lamented moving to a bigger shop. He felt the small shop forced him to be creative. He also said he could work faster in a smaller space. Things are closer, your groupings of tools are in reach.

    Jim
    Last edited by froglips; 12-01-2009 at 08:40 AM.
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    Re: Ideal shop size

    For a given area of floor space, my opinion is that rectangular is better because it will provide you more wall space for benches, clamp storage, lumber storage etc. It also affords you a line for ease of work (jointer, planer, table saw) so that materials from the previous stage are moved forward and out of the way.

    For example:

    30x30 = 900 sq ft with 120 linear feet of wall space

    20x45 = 900 sq ft with 130 linear feet of wall space

    It is also easier to section off a rectangular shop with separate finishing rooms, dust collection closet, etc.

    Just my $0.02
    J

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I think the ideal proportion relates to the tasks being performed within it. Small and large shops alike subdivide space into smaller areas for individual tasks. The arrangement of these stations can be quite flexible, the overall proportion is less important than how the pieces work together.

    For example, if I had Reggie's 100'x 300' chicken house I still wouldn't want an assembly table bigger than 8' x 8' because I couldn't reach the center of it from any side. Even with a large 5' berth around the perimeter it's maximum useful size is 18' x 18'. I might decide to add a second assembly table beside the first, but this is less efficient. Making individual stations smaller and able to serve multiple functions reduces walking. Mobile work stations improve efficiency this way, their flexibility reduces both footprint and reach to common supporting tools and stations (sharpening, clamps, work desk).

    Then after deciding the "perfect" sizes for individual functions, of greater importance is relating them all together. I have been doing a much better job of this lately and recently re-arranged my shop to better fit my process. This has been a big help! Now milling is closer to the entrance and out of the way of all the later steps. Assembly tables are in the center, displacing the table saw which is now toward one edge. It feeds away from the center and is no longer is a collection spot for tools, assemblies, papers, cut sheets, and all the other detritus that it used to collect simply because it was in the center of flow.

    So an odd shaped shop isn't a problem as long as the individual work areas are sized correctly and are properly related to each other.
    Last edited by SteveHall; 12-01-2009 at 08:44 AM. Reason: fixed math

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I have a 32 x 40 shop with 12' ceilings. Sometimes it's too big and sometimes it's too small. I believe multiple rooms are great (ie. finishing, assembly, big tool, a/c @ dust collection, wood storage) but there are problems with them also due to the amount of walking needed. For the general woodworker with average large tools (8: jointer, 15" planer, cabinet saw, 17" bandsaw, etc.) I think a 24 x 30 shop w/ seperate finishing and utility rooms and a seperate wood storage area would be sufficient.

    Includeed in ideal shop dimensions should be having tall ceilings (vertical wood storage is wonderful), and keeping it in a seperate outbuilding, among other things.

    One problem for most people, myself included, is needing the shop to be more than just woodworking such as a metal and automobile working shop.

    All in all, I've had real small shops and large shops, and larger shops are better, people who say that small shops are intimate just haven't ever had a big one to work in.

    I'm just waiting for a 2-1/2 car attached garage to make everything easier.

    Good Luck,
    Jimmy

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    My shop is 16x24 (outbuilding) which works out to 384 sq ft and I have it full of tools and benches. My wood storage is in my garage.The option I have is to add a 10'x16' addition to the long side making the shop 544 sq ft. I would like to think that this would be enough and I could move all my wood out the shop. I could also upgrade to an 8" joiner, a 15" planer and a drum sander. And then, I would have to figure out how to make the shop bigger!

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    Re: Ideal shop size

    I'm working in a 25'x40' space now that also has a small pottery studio in it and it seems plenty big enough.

    Two things that a lot of people forget to put in their shop plans: windows and a writing desk. In a very small shop the walls are going to be so full of shelves and cabinets that there is no room for windows, but some big windows make a workspace a lot more pleasant to be in. A writing desk is also something that I'm looking forward to having. I spend a lot of time planning, drawing, and thinking so those activities need a dedicated space. If the comfy chair by the window also doubles as a place for smoking cigars and sipping bourbon, so much the better.

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