planning on building soon

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RichardBlair

New User
Rick
I have the rare and awesome chance to build my own shop. I own a little less than an acre and my wife don't want it to be a huge obnoxious thing behind the house. I am thinking about the size of a 3 car garage should be big enough to put out some great woodwork and still not be overwhelming and become the center piece of the property. What I need you guys help with is. What if anything would you have done to your shop during the building process that would have made your shop a better workspace. I have this great opportunity and I wanna get everything I can out of this three car garage sized shop.:gar-Bi
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Suggestion #1 -- I would make sure those 3 'cars' were stretch limos. :rotflm:

It always helps to redefine the obstacles...

My parents and I (I'm disabled so I had to move back home long ago) have been talking about building a new shop (first floor, my lair) and greenhouse (second floor, my father's lair) as an add-on to our house sometime in the next couple years (fingers crossed).

The current thought process is something along the lines of 30'x30' with a main-shop area of 20'x30', plus a full bath, a 10'x10' (or thereabouts) finishing room with ventillation for HVLP spraying, and the remainder 10'x?? would be dedicated to wood storage. For the sake of resale value (since we already have a 2-car garage) the shop layout (including wet walls for bath/finishing room) would be built around two floorplans -- one shop layout and an optional mother-in-law apartment layout that would use the same doors, windows and wet wall (for bath/kitchen). This way the wood-shop walls could be easily torn out and replaced with finished walls for a MIL apartment.

That is about as far along as our plans are at present since this was only proposed to me a couple weeks ago. I'm eager to hear other's suggestions for your shop as I'm sure there will probably be atleast a few ideas I could incorporate as well.
 

RichardBlair

New User
Rick
I am not really interested in the mother in law apartment but I dig the idea of the finishing room. I think I may go 30x30 or close to it and have the finishing room and wood storage room. thanx
 

Joe Bradshaw

New User
Joe
Richard, I built a new shop in 2009. It is 24 x 36 with 9 ft. ceilings. I also had a 4 ft. wide porch on the front. I used a garage builder from Raleigh to put the building up and I finished the interior myself.
I used OSB for the walls and ceiling, makes it easy to attach things. I also surface mounted all of the electrical circuits(for ease in changing when my needs change). Good luck.
Joe
 

JackLeg

New User
Reggie
If you can go 30 X 40 with 10' ceilings you'll never regret it! Light colored walls and ceilings and a garage door if code allows. (With an electric opener!) :wsmile:
 

KenOfCary

Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I got rid of both garage doors when converting my garage to a shop. In favor of the extra insulation. Even after insulating the doors there was a noticeable heat loss/gain depending on season near the door. There is really nothing that you can't get in/out through a full-size 36" door. At least with some dis-assembly.

The biggest thing I wish I had now was more storage space for wood. More space in general would be nice, but the lack of a place to dry and acclimate a lot of wood is the thing I miss most.

I have wood stacked in a car-port, under the covered porch, and in every corner, nook and cranny of the shop. A loft for wood storage would be a real convenience.

- Ken.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
If you want to accommodate the standard lineup of tools (table saw, band saw, jointer, planer, drill press, drum sander), plus a workbench and assembly table, you need ~600sq.ft. Yes, you can work in a smaller space, but it quickly gets crowded. An oversized 2 car garage is ~400sq.ft., so provided you use a big measuring stick, a 3 car garage will do very nicely. Of course, that doesn't include space for lumber. It's best if the lumber storage is part of the shop, but if you want to keep the building small consider some sort of external enclosure.

Ideally, you'd have a separate area for finishing. You can do your finishing in the main shop of course, but it means a lot of vacuuming, and nothing else gets done while stuff dries. OK if you're spraying 2 coats of shellac, not OK when you're applying 6 coats of wiping varnish. So if you can squeeze in another 100sq.ft, you'll be a happy camper every time it's finishing time.

If you don't want too big of a footprint, think about adding a second floor for lumber storage/ finishing.
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
- I wish I had put plywood (or OSB) on the walls instead of sheetrock.:cry_smile
- I would pre-plumb the main air line under the floor (it's a raised floor, not slab).
- I would lower the piers 1 block so the deck in front of the double doors lines up with the tailgate of the truck.

At the end of the day though, what I have now sure beats what I had (1 1/2 car garage) :gar-Bi
C.
 

KenOfCary

Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
- I wish I had put plywood (or OSB) on the walls instead of sheetrock.:cry_smile
- I would pre-plumb the main air line under the floor (it's a raised floor, not slab).
- I would lower the piers 1 block so the deck in front of the double doors lines up with the tailgate of the truck.

At the end of the day though, what I have now sure beats what I had (1 1/2 car garage) :gar-Bi
C.

I used 1/2" plywood on the lower 4 feet of the walls and pegboard on the upper 4'. Painted with some nice latex paint.

Wish I had a raised floor instead of a slab. I'd have put air, DC and electric in the floor.

Having a loading dock would have saved a lot a back breaking work in the past.
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Lots of great advice. Here are some thoughts off of the top of my head.

+1 on Reggie's suggestion for 30 x 40.

At least one man door, and one roll-up garage door. I like the insulated doors from Haas.

10' ceiling height min.

Air/dust collection infrastructure underneath is a big plus.

Separate shed attachments that have doors into the main shop to house dust collection, air compressor, and wood storage. Insulate these areas and vent them into the main shop for climate control reasons, but baffle their return air vents for noise control.

Plenty of electric thoughout the shop. You don't have to wire all of them in the beginning if you simply run a length of conduit from the box, down thorugh the wall and below the floor into your crawl space for future access.

If possible, match the outside of the building to your house (color and style). This will increase future resale value and adds a nice touch.

By all means have water available in the shop. I use my sink several times a day. A toilet is nice, but not 100% required, but a sink and water is.

A separate, dedicated finishing room (maybe an additional shed attachment) is a great feature.

Insulate it well and install a good HVAC system.

Put in some nice, large windows to let in light as well as provide a connection with what's going on outside. Don't go overkill, as you don't want to lose too much wall space, but 2 - 3 is a nice feature. Make them large (4' wide, or thereabouts), so you don't feel like you're working in a cave.

Give yourself adequate power. A 100 amp panel is the minimum that I would suggest.

Brace the floor sufficiently in front of the garage door to allow you to drive a vehicle inside, if needed (think unloading wood from the back of a pickup when it's raining).

Good luck!
 

tkpinsc

New User
Tod Parks
I work in a much smaller space and I miss most a separate finish room and an oversize closet for dust collection and a compressor.

I went the OSB over fiberglass walls (cheap) with all wiring in exposed steel conduit (flexible layout changes). I'd want a garage door, far easier to unload lumber and tools or load a project.

A separate but handy storage room for wood, partially completed but stalled projects, supplies and seldom used tools will go a long way in reducing clutter. I use my attic for this but stairs make it awkward.
 

Mike Wilkins

Mike
Senior User
1. Make sure to insulate the walls and ceilings before installing your choice of wall covering. Don't
wait like I did and attach all kinds of cabinets, etc. to the walls, only to have to move them to
add insulation later. Luckily, I used screws to attach the OSB to the studs.
2. A minimum 100 amp electrical service. I currently have 2 240 outlets and the rest 20 amp 120.
It may have been overkill, but I used #10 wire for the 240 volt runs, and #12 for the rest.
I will always feel better safe than sorry.
3. Build an attached 4 foot deep add-on room to house the dust collector and possible air
compressor. Mine is about 12 feet long, so I can store other stuff there, like garden tools.
4. Put the lights on separate circuits than the tool circuits in case you trip a breaker. No fun being
in the dark.
5. Put the wall outlets 50" from the floor. Much easier to find than crawling behind a machine to
find an outlet. Also easier to lean a sheet of plywood against.
6. Light color paint on the walls/ceilings.
7. Some music and a small refrigerator. Got to have some liquid refreshments during the summer
months. Jazz on Sirius satellite radio to soothe the savage beast.
 

BWSmith

New User
BW
Our shop has 10' ceilings.....and really don't see that ever changing(we're moving in a few years).Its also a little too big(3k sq ft).....taxes mainly,just would prefer sumthin a little smaller.But the single biggest thing I'll have on our next shop is about half concrete and other half hdwd.....with a small basement under the wood part.It'll be the dust collection(under flr) repository and air compressor's home.Maybe hot water tank,and very sm bath.And thinking plumbing......I could not live without our shop's sink,its a wall-hung....old mop sink from the 1930's.Not a day goes by that it dosen't get used a dz or more times.BW
 

JackLeg

New User
Reggie
One more suggestion: If you're a little tight on the budget now, then by all means put in the plumbing in a corner (or somewhere) for a small bathroom.:icon_thum A lav and toilet you can add later. I promise, you'll never regret it, and neither will your wife when you aren't tracking sawdust into the house!! :wsmile:
 

JimmyC

New User
Jimmy
All good info, use it wisely. First off, spend the time to figure out the size of the building that will work out best, and by tht I mean by the way it looks and is in agreement with your wife. Remember: Happy Life, Happy Life . Work within your means and you'll never regret it, it can always bigger, or taller, or better, especially to others. Unless you buy into the bigger thr better, it's not always true, If you own a 6'' jointer, you'll eventully find a job that needs an 8", and then when you own the 8' you'll eventully find a job that needs a 10", and so on and so forth. Figure out what you'll really need ahead of time and fit the shop to those items.

If possible, take the time to get the electric, cable, phone, plumbing (?), insulation, compressed air lines, dust collection and hvac set up before moving in. If affordable, radiant floor heating is the best and most comfortable. Also try the have at least one 240v outlet in the middle of the floor.

For 90% of the people, and the work that they do, a 24'x36' shop with ceilings that are tall enough to stand up 8' sheets of plywood, and not hit lights, is more than big enough. Even including wood storage in that, it should be enough room and any thing else is gravy. I have a 32' x 40' pole barn with 12' ceilings as a shop and even though it has enough room, it also has it's problems, a/c and heating (especially with the high ceilings) being a major one. When I first started out it was all woodshop , but recently I've used only one side (22x32) for the woodworking and the other side is used for automotive and metal working. In the woodworking side I have a bathroom, and the following equipment: 10" Jet cabinet saw w/side table, router table, 15" PM planer, 8" jointer, 36" lathe, floor model Drill Press, 12" disc/48" belt sander, Dust Collector, work benches, small tools and over 1400 bd/ft.(stored vertically) of wood and it is more than big enough for my needs. Always keep all of your tools mobile, no matter how large your shop is.

Spend more than enough time planning, don't rush it and it will serve you well.

Good luck,
 
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