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View Mrowell's profile

Wood working shop

by Mrowell
posted 07-31-2017 02:43 AM

29 replies so far

View Rich's profile


7456 posts in 1833 days

#1 posted 07-31-2017 03:10 AM

My shop is in the garage, which is the typical path we take to get in to the house. My wife was complaining about the same tracking in of sawdust, so I bought her a gas-powered blower that she uses to keep the shop floor clean. Win-win.

We are on an acre-and-a-half and have a perfect spot for a detached shop, but when the estimates came in, we decided to just deal with the dust in the garage.

I’m looking forward to hearing how yours progresses.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rich's profile


7456 posts in 1833 days

#2 posted 07-31-2017 03:11 AM

Duplicate post.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Mosquito's profile


11272 posts in 3535 days

#3 posted 07-31-2017 03:14 AM

If you’re planning on also using whatever you build as yard equipment storage, I would definitely make it separate/enclosed/isolated from the shop space if you can. Right now, we’re lacking a storage shed (or room in the car garage), so the riding mower lands in my shop until we have another place to store it. Even though I don’t do much woodworking out there at the moment (still working on finishing it), the riding mower gets covered in sawdust anyway.

As for input on a shop, a garage door is nice for getting a trailer in for equipment or wood loading/unloading, but I would only go with a single stall door if I were to be building a new shop, unless a person were more concerned about resale value. The larger the garage door, the harder it is to climate control if you so chose. You can insulate the walls to R19, but at the end of the day, an R5 8’x16’ hole in the wall is going to be the best spot for thermal transfer.

I’ve also grown fond of having taller than 8’ ceilings. Mine are little over 9-1/2’ tall (9’ wall on 8” cinder block) and I find it quite nice.

I don’t have the experience of building new, as the house we bought had a separate 24×28 garage in the back yard, but I’ve been installing electrical, insulating, and putting up walls for the past year. One thing I’ll say, is make sure your drainage and grade are squared away. Whoever built ours didn’t have a vapor barrier under the slab, and it’s also poorly graded around it, so any hard rain means the shop has some leaks at the back cinder block wall. Springtime with frozen ground and melting snow means upwards of 1/4” of water on the floor in some areas of the shop… not good.

Also, when my shop was in a spare bedroom in our old rental house, I cut and put a rug in the doorway to the shop, so that when I left I could wipe my feet on the rug. That cut down significantly on the amount of sawdust and shavings I tracked through the rest of the house.

Good luck!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View WoodES's profile


198 posts in 2934 days

#4 posted 07-31-2017 04:41 AM

Also, keep the dimensions to even foot increments, (e.g. 22×36 or 22×34) lumber, sheet goods, etc. comes in 2’ dimensions and you’ll pay for the extra foot with the odd dimension. Might as well add the space.

View OleGrump's profile


581 posts in 1588 days

#5 posted 07-31-2017 02:22 PM

Ditto the comments on keeping the yard/outside equipment separate, if at all possible. My garage is a combination woodshop/lawn equipment building, with general storage in the loft. Yep, the mowers and the grill attract sawdust like a bug zapper. BUT, the electric leaf blower sure does a good job of moving that sawdust so it can get picked up with the shop vac. BTW, the garage door is also a good idea for when you want to roll tools outdoors, like when working with pressure treated lumber, on projects making a LOT of sawdust, or just when the weather is nice and you wanna be outside.

-- OleGrump

View JohnJenkins's profile


14 posts in 1910 days

#6 posted 07-31-2017 02:48 PM

I built a similar size recently. Going from cramped to a generous space, it is impossible to create a layout that you won’t end up changing as you grow into the space. That said, plan for the layout changes. That means 110 and 220 everywhere. Also put your dust collector in the yard equipment room. I put a dust collection six inch sewer pipe under the slab to a single location where I thought it should go. If I was doing it again, I’d pop up the six inch in four locations, knowing that I’d probably not use all of them. But then I’d be good without all the overhead ducting.

Beyond all the other normal stuff, AC and a bathroom really are game changers.

-- Slow but.............well just slow.

View Robert's profile


4738 posts in 2724 days

#7 posted 07-31-2017 02:52 PM


The first question I would have is will the shop be climate controlled? If not, I heartily suggest you consider building a bench room which is insulated and air conditioned. This was the best thing I ever did for my ww’ing. No more rusty hand tools and I keep my project wood in there so it stabilizes better. Of course, this depends on your climate the type of ww’ing you do.

I think you’re best bet is keep all the noisy machines (planer, jointer, DC) in one area or even a separate room.

A separate lumber storage room is also nice to have.

The size of the shop is largely going to be dictated by the machines and large footprints like TS/outfeed, assembly tables, benches, etc.

FWIW, my shop is 34 X 48 and is too small. :-)

Once you get it done, I would consider it a woodworking shop, not a storage area or place to do oil changes.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jonah's profile


2216 posts in 4542 days

#8 posted 07-31-2017 02:58 PM

I’d build it with the header and structure for a single garage door, but frame in for a set of double exterior doors, which are far, far more energy efficient than even the best garage door. That way if you ever sell the place you can advertise the structure as a garage or auto shop. There are a lot more car guys out there than woodworkers.

I would also insulate the hell out of it.

View Mrowell's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#9 posted 07-31-2017 03:24 PM

Thank you all for the feedback! I am taking notes so I can plan accordingly when the time comes. My yard equipment will definitely be in a separate area of the building if that is the route I take. I want to make sure I think about as many different things as possible before constructing the building.

Does anyone have layouts for a shop close to this size. I would love to put my eyes on different lay outs to get at least some starting ideas for my shop.

-- Matt R

View Mosquito's profile


11272 posts in 3535 days

#10 posted 07-31-2017 03:52 PM

Since you’ve already got a basement shop, are you aware of the grizzly shop layout tool? Could be useful to help you play around with layouts with tools you’ve got. I’ve not got many, and my shop is not yet in a state of usable, so I can’t help much further than that :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2729 days

#11 posted 07-31-2017 04:55 PM

If I had a shop that size I’d try put the jointer, planer and ts in the middle as I hate to move equipment around. Then build around that.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Kirk650's profile


741 posts in 1992 days

#12 posted 07-31-2017 10:07 PM

I had a small barn built (30×40) and had 20×30 of it made into a finished shop with a/c, and a small bedroom, bathroom. So my actual shop is 20 by 20, which is enough, but I wish it was bigger. Once you put all your stuff in there – TS, BS, jointer, router table – it gets a lot smaller in open area. So, make it bigger than you think you need, add a/c, and be sure you are wired with lots of wall plugs in 110 and 220. The 110’s need to be 20 amp. And the barn half of the structure is where I do the real messy stuff, like using the planer and big router jobs.


View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 2059 days

#13 posted 08-01-2017 03:02 PM

I would suggest 24 X 36 because it is even 4 foot increments and finishing will be easier and more economical. That is the size of the shop I am building right now.

View tomsteve's profile


1182 posts in 2462 days

#14 posted 08-01-2017 04:54 PM

id suggest at least 9’ ceilings with 10’ being pretty nice

View Mrowell's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#15 posted 03-03-2018 03:53 AM

I know it’s been a while but life’s been busy!! Finally getting around to building my shop! Decided on a 24×40 (as big as my wife would agree to haha) building with a 8×12 finishing room, 9’ walls with a vaulted ceiling to gain extra height. This size will virtually leave no waste on material so it should be economical. Im going to build it on a crawl space and run ducting under the floor to minimize duct work in the shop. Having some of my suppliers pricing it up now with hopes of starting to grade in spring.

-- Matt R

View caboxmaker's profile


280 posts in 1631 days

#16 posted 03-03-2018 04:09 AM

Duplicate post.

- Rich

Rich, how did the dup happen?

View Woodmaster1's profile


1852 posts in 3830 days

#17 posted 03-03-2018 07:46 AM

I built a 30×33 detached garage because city building code limited me to 1000sqft. I used 2×6 walls and a 10/12 pitch for roof with a 20’ dormer. The dormer made for a nice area upstairs. My wife’s only request was she gets one bay for parking in the winter. Since it was detached I have separate water, sewer, and 200amp electric service. It is really nice to have a bathroom in the shop.

View AlmostRetired's profile


221 posts in 1957 days

#18 posted 03-03-2018 03:38 PM

If you want to be super jealous check out the shop that April Wilkerson is building on her Youtube Channel.


View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2900 posts in 4165 days

#19 posted 03-03-2018 10:01 PM

“AC and a bathroom really are game changers”. If you can afford this. As you age this will become more and more useful.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View wrenchhead's profile


234 posts in 4407 days

#20 posted 03-03-2018 10:14 PM

Congrats on getting the ok on the new shop! I have another year of nagging before I think my wife will cave and let me build it just so she doesn’t have to here me talk about it anymore.

-- I could quit if I wanted

View Mrowell's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#21 posted 03-04-2018 03:03 AM

Wilkerson shop is enough to make anyone jealous!!! I’m definitely putting HVAC in the shop just not sure about a bathroom at this point, maybe down the road!

My shop is currently in the basement so the noise and dust getting tracked in pushed my wife to be in favor of the shop!!

-- Matt R

View Rayne's profile


1319 posts in 2783 days

#22 posted 03-04-2018 03:21 AM

Wilkerson shop is enough to make anyone jealous!!! I’m definitely putting HVAC in the shop just not sure about a bathroom at this point, maybe down the road!

My shop is currently in the basement so the noise and dust getting tracked in pushed my wife to be in favor of the shop!!

- Mrowell

Just an observance from others when watching an abundance of HGTV, but if you can, run the plumbing to the new shop now rather than later. Probably would save you a lot of money since no demo would be involved beyond the actual install of the bathroom later in the future. Just a thought.

View Gentile's profile


370 posts in 3062 days

#23 posted 03-05-2018 04:08 PM

High ceiling, 10’, 220 electrical, a 110 plug every 4’, a few on the ceiling too, bright lights (LEDs), windows for natural light, sink and a toilet, fridge, heat/AC, dust collection, big enough doors to move stuff in and out, and a shed for yard stuff. You don’t want them to get dusty from wood working.
Lots of great suggestions here from other folks here…
You have a great wife to suggest a separate shop!

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Mrowell's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#24 posted 03-06-2018 02:02 AM


I will have water run to the shop but I want to get all my stuff moved in and get a feel for the space before I take up 15-20 sq ft for a bathroom! The sewer line runs right out front of where my shop is going so I am planning to put a sleeve through the footings so I can easily tie into it in the future.

Im going 9’ walls with a vaulted ceiling and definitely doing 110/220 plugs as frequently as possible. Getting a double 3’0”x 6’8” full height glass doors on the front (got a steal on them, $200.00 for the pair from on of the suppliers I use at work) and putting two large window units in the front also. I have also come into a nearly free mini split HVAC system that I will be installing so It will be fully conditioned! I am doing a 8×12 room with exterior access for the lawn mower and additional storage so it will all stay out of the shop space. Also going to spend a little extra to build on a taller crawl space so I can run all my dust collection under the floor and have access to change it easily later. As for my wife agreeing to a detached shop…. I typically work in the shop after she goes to bed since I get 2-3 hours less sleep and function fine so I made sure to run all the LOUD tools at night to help speed up the process hahaha!

-- Matt R

View Gentile's profile


370 posts in 3062 days

#25 posted 03-06-2018 02:40 PM

Matt- sounds like you’re on track. My comments were just brain storming of what I have and what I wish I had.
I never thought of a crawl space, for dust collection. Hanging the pipes in a crawl space is better than inbedding them in concrete. Don’t get your sewer lines mixed in with the dust collection pipes though

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Mrowell's profile


298 posts in 2383 days

#26 posted 03-06-2018 02:45 PM

Thanks! I appreciate all the brainstorming offered, no matter how much I plan someone else has had more experience or different experience then I have! I will definitely add a radio, I don’t watch much TV and it would distract me from my work if I put one in the shop haha!

Good thought on not getting the pipes mixed up haha that had not occurred to me!

-- Matt R

View Gentile's profile


370 posts in 3062 days

#27 posted 03-06-2018 02:47 PM

Matt- I like to see pictures of your progress…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View BoardButcherer's profile


144 posts in 1338 days

#28 posted 03-07-2018 03:19 PM

I would recommend keeping it simple, and keeping plenty of space around it.

That way when you inevitably want to add onto it, it doesn’t seem like too much of a hassle and you actually get it done.

A simple gable roofed barn style building is the quickest, easiest and cheapest structure to build onto. Need another 20’ on your shop? Just knock out the back wall and build it, no consideration for fancy framing needed, just copy what you already have. Need to extend to the sides? You can throw up a lean-to on the side without even pulling a permit in most places. Throw up another lean-to on the other side for an open-air drying rack for green lumber, etc….

Anticipate outgrowing your shop. It’s not a possibility, it’s an eventuality.

View Stumble's profile


7 posts in 1320 days

#29 posted 03-11-2018 07:07 PM

I would dedicate one corner of the shop to a mechanical space for your air compressor, dust collector, electrical box, basically the big tools that make a lot of noise. But I would also put a toilet, shower, and sink in it, but scavenge a design from about a 40’ boat. These small yacht bathrooms are designed so the whole room is a shower, so everything can get wet. Figure about 4 square foot of space. Mostly it will just be a toilet, but sometimes being able to wash off the dust before coming inside can be a huge advantage.

As long as you are in the construction phase I would also run 200amp electric, water and plumbing, and a large natural gas line. As well as two additional underground conduits because… well because its cheap once the trenches are already open, but a royal pain to do later.

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