Apartment woodworking sound issues

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Forum topic by Maverick44 posted 11-28-2017 01:47 PM 1477 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 784 days

11-28-2017 01:47 PM

Howdy fellas.

I’m currently living in a small apartment while I’m finishing up college, and I’m wanting to find a way to woodwork without annoying the neighbors. I have a full shop at home, but that’s about 3 hours away and I may get to go home once or twice a month at best. To cut down on noise, weight (I live on the third floor), and to save space, I plan on using mostly hand tools. I might get a small bandsaw and drill press if I decide I need them later, but the only power tools I really plan on having are a circular saw and a cordless drill.

The work bench is going to be heavy to say the least. Basically this one.

I’m trying to figure out a way to make it so that I’m not going to ignore the heck out of the downstairs neighbors. I don’t know how much sound is going to transfer through that bench and the floor. Should some rubber or cork mats be enough to keep the vibrations to a minimum?

Is there anything else I can do to keep the noise to a minimum?

Here’s the rough layout to my apartment. (BTW, the floors are laminate)

10 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 11-28-2017 01:51 PM

It is impossible to tell, due to the unknown construction of your apartment building.
When I lived in Shanghai, the building was concrete, and I could hold a disco dance party in my living room if I wanted to and no one would know.

On the other hand, back in the 70’s, in my first apartment, you woke people up and got yelled at by closing your front door a little too hard.

I think it is safe to say that if your building is wood frame construction, you will transmit sound vibrations from the motors of your equipment through the trusses and floor joints. It will sound like a bad hum below. I would think maybe rubber would help, more than cork. Also making sure the tools are totally leveled on the bench will help, as it will allow the bench to absorb more of any possible vibrations.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Lazyman's profile


4495 posts in 1991 days

#2 posted 11-28-2017 02:18 PM

Some dense foam floor mats under the bench like this would help considerably but any heavy pounding may still be heard. I would also put some carpet scraps, felt or even furniture leg caps under the bench legs to further dampen the sound transfer and help keep the weight from compressing the foam.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View harrison17's profile


26 posts in 845 days

#3 posted 11-28-2017 02:31 PM

I would be wary of using a circular saw indoors. Pretty noisy and I bet the neighbors won’t be having it. If you need to use the saw, can you do it outside? If you want to saw indoors I’d stick with hand saws. Plus I’d be conscious of the dust created with power tools.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1380 days

#4 posted 11-28-2017 02:56 PM

Are you serious? It’s just not meant to be. Its not appropriate to pursue woodworking in a small apartment.

Yes, you could force it by either:
1) Being an incredibly bad neighbor, or
2) Massively limiting the woodworking the operations you’ll make (i.e. planing, carving)

Neither one makes sense; you should wait until you have the space.

View hairy's profile


3004 posts in 4136 days

#5 posted 11-28-2017 03:41 PM

It can be done.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View GAwoodworker's profile


37 posts in 1372 days

#6 posted 11-28-2017 03:58 PM

Check out this youtube channel. It’s called Room for Woodwork.

He has some good ideas about what tools to use, how to minimize dust, keep noise down, and storage solutions.
I would look online and see if here are any shops around than you can use by the hour. We have one here in Atlanta and its great. Maybe take the saws outside and just let your neighbors know there is gonna be some noise for a few hours?

View Maverick44's profile


2 posts in 784 days

#7 posted 11-29-2017 07:29 AM

I would say it’s safe to assume this is a wood frame building. The circular saw would definitely be an outside thing. Most likely off the bed of my truck down in the parking lot. The drill press is not too loud, so I could probably get away with using it inside or on the patio.

Yep, I’m serious about doing this, and no, I have no intentions of being a bad neighbor (hence the thread). I’ve see this done before with stationary power tools without causing issues, so it should be doable since I will be using mostly hand tools. (I should also mention I will mainly be doing small projects like boxes and clocks.)

I’ll get a few of those mats and give them a try. I’ll also check out that youtube channel and that workshop link.

Thanks fellas! I really appreciate the help. :)

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1315 posts in 2317 days

#8 posted 11-29-2017 10:06 AM

Should be perfectly doable. What have not been discussed yet seemt to be the most obvious: talking ot the neighbours. Are there ceartain times they are usualy not at home? Which neighbour gets the most noise from your worbench? (would guess the one below) Let them know what you are doing and i am sure they will understand if they feel you are doing your best not to disturb.

Heavy bench + rubber dampers + caerfull consideration about time of day should be all that is needed.
Perhaps there is usefull information her:

Let us know how it ends, good luck!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View knockknock's profile


473 posts in 2777 days

#9 posted 11-29-2017 12:36 PM

I work in my apartment (wood frame) with hand tools. Pounding chisels really carries, so either do it at an appropriate time of day, or get chisels with handles you can push (shoulder push) and use softer woods. Depending on sound insulation, sawing rip/crosscut with large tooth saws, may not be advisable in the middle of the night (during normal hours kitchen appliances make as much noise).

-- 👀 --

View Dustin's profile (online now)


705 posts in 1345 days

#10 posted 11-29-2017 12:52 PM

Don’t forget, a small hand-made trinket as a gift can also help grease the wheels of any squeaky neighbors!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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