All Replies on Shop Lighting - Natural or Artificial?

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Shop Lighting - Natural or Artificial?

by Ron Aylor
posted 08-24-2016 01:18 PM

5 replies so far

View clin's profile


1121 posts in 1854 days

#1 posted 08-24-2016 06:42 PM

I have a lot of fluorescent fixtures (16 tubes) in a 300 sq ft shop. You must be relatively young getting by with what appears to be two small windows, the shop door, and candelabra.

Your eyes will get much worse at adjusting as you get older.

I realize you didn’t ask for advise, but it seems adding electrical would be well worth it. but if you’re sort of committed to a low tech workshop, I’d put in multiple skylights. Also, paint the ceiling white. A white ceiling makes a huge difference.

Even a lighter floor will help. Just in your photo you can see how the light comes in from the open door and hits the floor. A lighter floor will reflect this back up into the space. Only issue there is if the light bouncing up would cause your eyes to adjust to that, and make your workbench appear darker.

Basically lighter everything. You want to keep what little light you have bouncing around the shop as much as possible.

-- Clin

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1505 days

#2 posted 08-24-2016 06:56 PM

... must be relatively young getting by with what appears to be two small windows, the shop door, and candelabra.

Your eyes will get much worse at adjusting as you get older.

- clin

Clin, you are too kind … I’m 61 … been working in this particular “dark” shop for 15 years! I have considered painting the floor (perhaps a tan like the lighter portion of what’s there now) and putting in skylights. To be honest I have toyed with demolishing the old building and starting fresh from the ground up with floor to ceiling windows on at least two walls … just not there yet.

Thanks for you input!

View splintergroup's profile


4011 posts in 2080 days

#3 posted 08-24-2016 08:13 PM

Well Ron, I think you’ll find that when you have no power, and a work area like you have, you will fight for every scrap of ‘quality’ light you can get. The light entering the main doors looks real nice for side lighting, great to see how a finish is smoothing out or to check for surface defects. The windows (and candles! nice touch!) seem to be all you have for task lighting. Clin’s suggestions for skylights or other overhead lights would be well worth considering.

I’m kinda in the same boat as Clin. About 500 square ft. lit by 24 fluorescent (now LED) tubes.
I think the thing is that if you have power available you will use it. It makes a big difference when you want to work after dark or need more light than nature provides.

I do envy the total quietness you must enjoy!

View DrDirt's profile


4614 posts in 4600 days

#4 posted 08-24-2016 10:08 PM

Natural is often a bit sketchy – - just to get a ‘comfortable’ amount of light .

I find it hard to see a fine pencil line if I am in direct sunlight.

If I had to rely on natural – I couldn’t do squat – since I only have shop time at night.

LED strips would be a good choice – and since you don’t have power…. you can go battery power and either solar charge your battery or bring it back to the house to recharge.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Texcaster's profile


1292 posts in 2531 days

#5 posted 08-24-2016 10:14 PM

I designed my shed for light AND ventilation. Skylights, glass all round and large doors all four sides.

If you start a special savings account, you will be able bring power to your shed in no time. Then start saving for your power tools.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

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