The Nehls End Workshop #3: The Electrical Journey

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Blog entry by Gregn posted 03-23-2011 09:08 PM 6312 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all Part 3 of The Nehls End Workshop series Part 4: Taking A Direct Hit »

The new shop stood idle for a year after arrival till finances allowed to do the electrical work. Now every good woodworker knows that no matter the size of the shop the electrical work is one of the major components for any shop. Being the woodworker that I am, I was not going to have an under powered wood shop. Some might say I’m overpowered for the size of building that my dream shop is. I do know that extension cords will become an endangered item in the shop with the exception for the retractable cord that will be mounted on the ceiling over the work bench. One of the first places I began with the electrical journey was the ceiling. Now the first thing I thought about was lighting. Which type of lighting to choose? Having a low ceiling means that the fixtures will have to be recessed to avoid accidental damage. Which also meant that these fixtures would have to be safe to be in contact with insulation and fit into the budget. What I chose for fixtures was eighteen 6” 150 watt recessed light fixtures. I got 23 watt CFL’s which equals out to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. I wired the fixtures in three sets of six to switches. I also installed two rows of 120 volt outlets seven outlets in a row 4’ apart, for a grand total of fourteen outlets in the ceiling. Now you may wonder why I would put so many outlets in the ceiling. It allows me to have power for ceiling hung electrical accessories such as air filter and any needed task lighting. That should cover any if not all electrical needs that I may have above me. Now that the ceiling needs have been covered its time to move to the walls, and the needs there. No dream shop should be without 240 volt power, and mine is no exception. I put in six 240 volt circuits five for tool needs and one for the air compressor that will be in a shed about 25’ from the south end of the shop. These were placed on the east and south walls. Four on the east wall and two on the south wall. They are placed 4’ off the floor 8’ apart. With one 240 outlet box on the south wall and the lead going down towards the floor to connect to the outside connection box for the underground line to the smaller shed for the air compressor. Next is the 120 volt outlets, here I installed double outlet boxes 4’ apart and 4’ off the floor. On the north and south walls are two boxes for a total of eight outlets on each wall. On the east wall I installed eight boxes for a total of sixteen outlets. On the south wall I also placed a 120 volt outlet for the A/C unit to be on its own circuit. On the west wall are six boxes for a total of twelve outlets. I also installed two outside security lights and two outdoor 120 volt outlets for my outdoor use. There are four switches by the door three for the inside lights and one for the outside lights. My 100 amp sub panel box is also on the east wall which has twenty four circuits and twenty four spaces. The power coming from the house to the shop was buried underground in conduit it took about 50’ of wire for this. I ran 750’ of 12 gauge wire for the 120 and 150’ of 10 gauge for the 240. I got to power up last night. The CFLs light up the shop perfectly.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

11 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3460 days

#1 posted 03-23-2011 09:49 PM

Wow! You bought a lot of wire & receptacles! I really like the number of cans. Looks like a 100A loadcenter. Really nice job. I know that wasn’t fun.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3750 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 10:12 PM

Yes, its a 100 amp sub panel. The price of the cans was a more affordable route to go. They light up real well day or night. Really, it wasn’t that bad to do. I did it over a couple of weeks so it wasn’t overwhelming to do and gave me time to think things through as I went.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View RJS's profile


89 posts in 3613 days

#3 posted 03-24-2011 03:25 AM

looks good, be sure to use as much power as possible. LOL!, I like the idea of having plugs wherever I need them now, and where I may need them in the future, extension cords really stink!

-- RJ

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3882 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 04:17 AM

I thought I had missed the inside building of Nehls end shop :-)
that is a great work you have made there … like it
and later a flexspot to every working station and you can´t do it better

thanks for sharing
looking forward to the next blog greg

take care

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3958 days

#5 posted 04-05-2011 04:46 PM

Very cool shop…Don’t worry a bout low ceilings, I’m on my second shop and never had a ceiling higher than 6’2”.

Very nice with all the electrical. Good luck on your build.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3633 days

#6 posted 04-05-2011 04:50 PM

It’s going to be a wonderful shop.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3750 days

#7 posted 04-05-2011 10:11 PM

Thanks Bob, The original wall height would have been that low, so I ordered the 8’ walls. Yes the electrical is nice something my other shops didn’t really have.

Thanks Helluva, it will be a nice cozy shop when its done.

Since the electrical is done and it will be a while before the rest before I can afford to get it insulated and finished I will be moving in my tools to get them out of storage. Right now I’m working on some storage type benches so I can get back to woodworking again while waiting to finish it out.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3650 days

#8 posted 04-05-2011 10:18 PM

wow, that is an impressive amount of lighting! I like your approach though, if you are going to build a dream shop, you might as well do it right though and never have to hunt for a free outlet again.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Ocelot's profile


2534 posts in 3405 days

#9 posted 04-18-2011 03:55 AM

Wow! You sure got me beat on the electrical. My shop has probably twice the square feet and 1/4 of the power outlets. I’ve got only 3 240v outlets, and a useless AC unit is plugged into one of them. Useless because I live in Alabama and the shop is, so far, uninsulated. I’ve got only 4 outlets in the ceiling and two of them are intended for garage door openers. The lighting looks good too.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3750 days

#10 posted 04-18-2011 04:06 AM

Thanks Ocelot, I have some machines that can be wired 120 or 240 that I’ve been wanting to wire 240. My last 2 shops were power starved and had to add extra circuits. Didn’t want to go through that again. The CFL’s do a good job.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4672 days

#11 posted 06-17-2011 08:51 AM

Very nice job. Very similar to what I did with all the outlets along each wall, both 120 & 240.

-- Scott in Texas

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