Setting Up Shop! #1: Introduction & Where It's At Now

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Blog entry by Jared posted 11-07-2014 02:38 PM 1553 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hi Everyone.

I’m “new” here. “New” because I’ve been a longtime lurker, checking out projects, posts etc until now. Why now? Well, now I’ve got questions and, possibly, something to contribute. I’m a carpenter by trade, still a relative pup, just about 5 years, with a large portion of that spent framing. (Work for a medium sized company, the work varies from larger houses, townhouses, to 4 story condo buildings) Some finishing work as my side business.

I’ve always enjoyed creating and building, whether it’s artistic or functional in nature, and wood has been my medium of choice. It’s why I switched career paths to carpentry. I’ve always done woodworking whenever I could, time and resources always limited me though. At the last place I lived, a rental house, I had built a small, (tiny!) 8×11 shed in the backyard to do woodworking in. Although, to be honest, I spent more time re-organizing and trying to create the space to work (as it was also a storage shed) than woodworking.

This is the setup right before we moved:

Then about 6 months ago my wife and I bought our first house, smaller, long and narrow lot with back alley access. And no garage. Perfect! It’s perfect with no garage for a few reasons. With my skillset and access to free, excess materials from the large job sites, I’m able to build my own at a fraction of the cost to others, instantly adding value to the home. Also, I can set it up how I want it. I’m a picky person, and if something I own isn’t up to my standards, or I see an error in the work someone did, it can really bug me.

I got started on it about 3 months ago, working away at it here and there. 22’x26’ with 10’ walls. I had to go 22’, as the roof trusses we given to me by my boss, leftovers from a big job. Had a delay finding someone to finish the concrete. (I didn’t want to take a chance on my pad doing that myself. I’d hate to screw up 2 grand of concrete and either live with errors, or tear it out and spend it again.) So I’m just finishing up the siding now, and figuring out my electrical layout.

Here’s some pictures recapping the work so far, soon the pictures will show the actual shop space being developed.

Using works’ bobcat, excavation and gravel packing.

Just before laying the rebar, it stayed like that for about a month and a half while finding a concrete finisher.

Pad down, walls up! Co-workers came over to help lift in exchange for beer after, hence the chairs.

Luckily we were working on a job about 20 blocks away so I could grab a forklift for loading the roof with trusses. Which was good as I couldn’t round up some extra hands the weekend I got the trusses.

It’s dark, but the only picture I took at this phase, I got the trusses up and half sheeted the day I loaded them.

And vinyl is rolling along.

And now that I’m getting closer to completion, I’m second guessing my layout of the shop area.Trying to balance space, needs and efficiency. I haven’t spent any time in a shop around this size, it’s either been my tiny shed or large production shops. Originally I had planned on doing a large corner workbench, going 9’ one way and 7’ the other. But now I’m worried I’ll limit space for machines, table saw cabinet (planning, so far, a 4’x6’ worksurface), dust collection and compressor barn and of course parking for my wife’s car. (I’m also trying to design the shop so that, if needed, I can roll any tools/tables to the sides to allow parking for my truck.)

New line of thinking is one 8’ bench along the back wall, stationary tools and wheeled units (bandsaw, planer, jointer, router table etc) along the long wall as well as extra tool storage. (I gotta find room for framing, finishing and woodworking/cabinet tools) I’m kind of thinking that if later I decide I want the L bench, I can slide the 8’ into the corner and add the other leg to it.

If any of you have experience with an L/corner bench, how useful was it? What did, and didn’t you like about it? From what I’ve seen, most people have a workbench pulled away from the wall so they can fully walkaround, but I don’t think that will work for all that I need in this garage. (But I’m not ruling it out totally)

4 comments so far

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4715 days

#1 posted 11-07-2014 05:06 PM

Welcome to LJs.

Great progress on your shop. I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey.

-- Scott in Texas

View Richard's profile


1940 posts in 3500 days

#2 posted 11-07-2014 05:15 PM

Oh Man you are just way to lucky with all that Free material and help on the job ( Free Beer can get a Lot of help )
An no matter how you layout the shop you are always going to not like something about it and either change it or work around it to get a Better setup. You might want to use the Grizzly Shop Planner on thier web site to try different layouts to get an idea of how they might work. A lot better than buildit and tearing it down over an over.
A Shop is always a Work in Progress and Never Big Enough.

And remember NO BEER in the Shop until the Tools are all Shutdown.

Have Fun with it and keep us Posted on the buildout.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30564 posts in 3148 days

#3 posted 11-08-2014 02:15 AM

New shops are great. But regardless of what is suggested, you are the one that has to be happy with it. Enjoy the journey as much as we do.

Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3814 days

#4 posted 11-08-2014 02:22 AM

Decide on your table saw placement and then determine the best flow from there. Much of it will depend on the type of woodworking you will be doing, the size of the material you will be using, will you be breaking down large sheet goods, long boards etc. Will you be using a rolling cart/table of some kind near where you are working. You should consider an out-feed table (can be multi-use) for your table saw.

Look at other shops that others have posted, use the Grizzly shop planner and you may decide you will make changes over time also to have a better working area

Oh yeh, have fun

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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