Setting Up Shop #1: The Plan, Advice Wanted

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Blog entry by Rex B posted 06-14-2012 08:12 PM 3589 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Setting Up Shop series Part 2: The Tools Are Here »

So here’s the background: I bought my first house about 3 weeks ago and have been planning my garage woodshop for about a month now. I am almost ready to start moving in and figured that I can use the advise of my fellow Jocks before I dig in.

I don’t have a picture of the garage to put up, but it’s a pretty standard 2-car garage with no windows. It came with some pegboards and other built-in shelving on the walls, but I wanted a fresh start so I have been removing everything and patching the walls in my spare time between other new-house chores. It may be more trouble than some people would go to for a garage, but I bought some white paint and will paint the whole thing once I’m done patching – hopefully this weekend. I just want a clean canvas so I can create a shop that is totally customized to what I want. Once the painting is done I will move the machinery in and have an electrician come to see about wiring. This is where my plan comes in:

Here are the items in drawing:

  1. Grizzly G0715P Hybrid Table Saw with custom outfeed table and router extension
  2. Grizzly G0656P 8” x 72” Jointer
  3. Harbor Freight 2 HP Dust Collector
  4. Shop Fox W1668 Drill Press on custom workbench
  5. Craftsman 9” Benchtop Bandsaw
  6. 16” Wooden Bandsaw
  7. Flip-top tool cart with Rigid R4331 Planer and Belt/Disc Sander
  8. Toolbox on custom cart

This is the equipment I would like to have in the next 2-5 years. So far I only have the table saw, drill press, workbench, and 9” Bandsaw. But I want to plan ahead and put in enough electrical service now to last me for a while, so I don’t have to pay the electrician multiple times.

The only outlets in the garage right now are two 110V – in the ceiling and by the storage shelves. Both are only 15A (I think). My plan is to get two 220V outlets put in for the table saw and jointer, plus three more 110V outlets (two in the right wall and one in the ceiling). I will run the three mobile machines in the middle from a cord reel like this. I am thinking that I should have a 110V 20A outlet put in the ceiling, versus plugging the reel into the 15A outlet for the garage door opener. What do you guys think? This will run the planer, sander, bandsaw, and dust collector, but not all at the same time. I will ask the electrician his advice as well.

I don’t have the budget to spend a huge amount and put in a hundred outlets, but I do want enough to last me until I outgrow this shop. So keep that in mind and let me know what you think.

As for lighting, there is currently only one 100W bulb in the middle of the ceiling. I plan on installing two 2-bulb fluorescent fixtures above the shop side, something similar to this. I know many would recommend more, but I can always add more later. This will definitely be a large improvement over the current lighting.

Advise away, and thanks!

-- Rex

11 comments so far

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 3575 days

#1 posted 06-14-2012 09:01 PM

It sounds like a great plan (except for that car that’s mistakenly in the drawing!)

I’m in the middle of setting up my shop too and the best advice I can give right now is to call the electrician NOW before you finish patching and painting. He’s going to be cutting up your freshly painted drywall and you’ll feel a lot better if he does it before you get that far!

Good luck. Looking forward to reading about your progress.

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 3249 days

#2 posted 06-14-2012 10:12 PM

I bet you just cant wait to get all this done! I’ll tell ya now though, it’s never really completed, but it’s sure nice once it’s operable.

On the electrical, definitely get this handled before finishing up the walls like the other guy mentioned. Hopefully, you have a breaker panel in the garage with some open slots left. If so, I’d consider doing it yourself. Electrical has always freaked me out but my buddy showed me how to do it and it’s really quite simple. The only complication is actually getting the wires to the tools but since it’s a garage, there’s flexibility. Still, it’s nice to go through the walls instead of having wire hanging all over the place. The hanging outlet is definitely the way to go.

Just recently set up a garage shop myself and I’m now looking for a dust collector. I’d like to duct mine to the outside if possible and definitley get an air cleaner as well. Dust kills!

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View bondogaposis's profile


5949 posts in 3357 days

#3 posted 06-14-2012 10:22 PM

I like it except for the car. You know you are going to lose that in a few years anyway once you buy more tools. I would move the jointer closer to the table saw. When you bring in stock you are going to joint, rip and plane generally in that order. If you position the jointer along side the table saw you can build a plywood cover for it that brings it up level to the same height as the table saw with some of those roller bearings mounted on it and then you will have lateral support for cross cutting long boards as well as having a jointer next to the saw.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bigfish_95008's profile


250 posts in 4110 days

#4 posted 06-15-2012 12:58 AM

It is a good plan for what and where you are now. As time goes along you will see what is working for you and what is not and you WILL change it. I like that you have space for the shop dog.
We will be jumping into the ownership thing here soon and shop space or room for it is HIGH on the list.
Have fun in your new home and the SHOP!

-- bigfish "I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it." Vincent Van Gogh

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3696 days

#5 posted 06-15-2012 01:50 AM

I have outlets in my ceiling and didn’t like the cords hanging down and always getting snagged by a long board or project. My cords are now either across the floor covered with rubber mats to keep from tripping on them or plugged into a power strip under the edge of my bench. I have LOTS of flouroscent fixtures everywhere and also painted my shop gloss white. (makes it a lot brighter and dust doesn’t stick to the gloss). Those are my suggestions. Oh yeah, cars belong outside!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TechRedneck's profile


770 posts in 3863 days

#6 posted 06-15-2012 02:13 AM


Nice plan so far… Believe me it WILL change. I would put as much as you can on casters. The table saw and jointer probably not. Think now about some dust collection. Mobile at first then when you find a nice placement for the machines, pipe in a main with some drops to your machines. Put the DC unit in a corner out of the way. I worked for a couple years without good DC and the dust drove me nuts.

You’ll have a bunch of yard stuff and other non woodshop related crap competeing for your space. Build a shed in the yard for that stuff.

If the celings in the garage are high, you can hang racks from the celing. Put some cabinets on the walls for finishes and small stuff. If you want to work in colder weather, heat is nice and you may need electric or gas or something.

Make sure you can open the doors of the car with the lumber racks. I found that a mobile rack works great in my shop and tucks up along the wall.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 3257 days

#7 posted 06-15-2012 03:54 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. Mike, your suggestions are pretty close to what I was thinking. Everything is on casters except the table saw, jointer, and workbench. And my next big purchase will be the dust collector (once I’m done spending money to fix up the house…).

Some more detail on the electrical: for some reason our breaker boxes here are on the outside of the house, as opposed to in the garage like most places. So basically the electrician has to take the wiring up to the attic anyway, then drop down through the walls. He put in a 220V outlet in the previous house I was staying in, and he didn’t have to cut into the walls any, it just magically appeared :). So that’s why I’m planning to paint first, but I could be wrong. I figure it will be easier to paint before I move machines in, but then I want to move them in and figure out the exact outlet locations before I call the electrician.

-- Rex

View Shanem's profile


130 posts in 3473 days

#8 posted 06-18-2012 05:34 PM

What i had done when I moved to my new house was to draw up the shop in Google sketchup.
You can go to the 3d warehouse and import your tools to scale. Then move everything around until you get something you like. I did this and then once I had it done, went in to the shop and wired the outlets as close as possible. Worked well and I don’t have to use any extension cords.

One suggestions, split the receptacles by the bench. Have the top on one circuit and the bottom on another. That way you can run tool pieces of equipment from one plug in point.

For the few extra bucks it’s going to cost to put in more receptacles, your better off doing it now. Will be a pain later especially if you have to pay another electrician to come in.

Also, the way you have to table saw now. What is the maximum length you can rip? only looks like a few feet. If you want to rip a 8’ board you need 8’ before and 8’ after. Usually why you see a table saw in the middle of a shop (unless you put on mobile base). Just food for thought.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 3257 days

#9 posted 06-18-2012 08:17 PM


Thanks for the comments. I like the suggestion about the split outlet; I’ll ask the electrician about that. As for the table saw, it is actually facing the garage door, and I can just open it to have unlimited outfeed space. This is how I had the saw in my previous shop, and it has worked well and saved me some space.

-- Rex

View REO's profile


929 posts in 3080 days

#10 posted 09-22-2012 03:34 AM

what do you need the jointer for? I realize that it is typically thought of as REQUIRED equipment but why? if you need a large panel why not use a planer blade in the saw and edge glue from there? A piece of angle iron for an extended fence is easier to store and the single rip takes much less time than several passes on the jointer to true up an edge. You aren’t planning on using it for planing you also include a planer in your list. You have a router station use that for jointing if you must. It is also easier to lay the board down on its side to run than to keep it against the fence vertically. Save the money and the space!

I’m just sayin’


View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 3207 days

#11 posted 09-22-2012 03:42 AM

I know its probably to late now, but is there a reason why you cant bust in a couple windows? there is nothing like natural light… just wondering.. Papa

-- Papa...

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