How much is too much

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Forum topic by bluekingfisher posted 04-05-2011 10:37 AM 2075 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4316 days

04-05-2011 10:37 AM

Most of us complain about not having enough shop space to incorporate all the tools and stuff we acquire through a lifetime of wood butchery.

So how much is enough? and conversely, can a shop actually be too big?

I have found myself wondering about my ideal shop on more than one occassion, things like what would it be constructed/made from, style/design, standalone/part of the dwelling, location, view from the windows etc.

While I am always appreciative of what I already have, I think my ideal space would be somewhere around
32×24. Of course I would need other outbuildings for stock storage and perhaps a metal shop LOL

I would be interested to hear the needs and dreams of fellow jocks.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

31 replies so far

View Rob200's profile


326 posts in 4505 days

#1 posted 04-05-2011 11:46 AM

this would be my dram shop

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 4296 days

#2 posted 04-05-2011 01:04 PM

my shop takes a corner of a large machine hangar, so my advantage of having almost unlimited space, turn into a disadvantage because i only have two walls for my woodracks, shop furniture, some stationary machines, jigs etc…
im am really happy that the windows are all verry high so i don’t lose that wall space aswell for racks and hung cabinets.

if i ever build a dedicated shop, i would want, like it is now to have my stationary machines separated from the assembly and powertool area with a door. no more dust coming from the saw etc…!!

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 4297 days

#3 posted 04-05-2011 01:37 PM

My Ideal shop was 26’ X 38’ with 10’ sidewalls fully insulated and wired with outlets every 4’. My ex-wife has it now and I got the best of the deal. A lot of weight off my shoulders.

Another is in the planning stages!

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5080 days

#4 posted 04-05-2011 02:04 PM

I have a shop that’s 24’ x 24’ and it started to shrink the minute I started moving tools in. Most of the time it’s plenty of space for what I need. I just need to get everything organized for efficient operation of it. It really should be based on what you’re going to do in it and the space required to do that comfortably.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7192 posts in 4530 days

#5 posted 04-05-2011 03:23 PM

I think I have enough space in mine…..One guy called it a “airplane hanger”....Don’t know where he came up with that one…...

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 4222 days

#6 posted 04-05-2011 03:37 PM

I think the issue with a shop that is too large it it starts to become storage for other things that don’t have to do with your hobby. I told my wife when I built my 16X18 shop that it was not storage and I have been really good about not allowing the christmas lights and what not to be stored in there.

In terms of a good size I have no issues with my current shop, I just need to keep everything on casters and push them up against the wall then not in use. I also have to stay on keeping it clean and orgnizied, sometimes when I go out there I will spend 3 hours or so doing just that.

I think a great size shop for me would be 24X24. When I buy a new place (like in 10 years) shop size or land to build a good size shop will be high on the list.

View Timberwerks's profile


386 posts in 4497 days

#7 posted 04-05-2011 03:39 PM

It really depends on the type of work you do and the tools and equipment you use. Back when I built cabinets, entertainment centers etc 3000sf was about right. Now that I build one off pieces and use primarily hand tools 180sf is just about right. Old shop:


View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4316 days

#8 posted 04-05-2011 04:21 PM

Looks like you have a dream workshop there Robert, I hope that dream comes true.

Thanks for the replies boys, Im judging a 24×24 is a good size for a shop, I take it these are (the larger ones) are commercial shops or are they all hobby shops.

Greedo, I think you have it about right, a nice cozy space in the corner and the flexibility to spread out if a project requires it. Good luck in your business by the way.

That 3000sf shop could I imagine handle just about any job although I think I would get a little lonely in something so big. It must have cost you a kings ransom to heat/cool it?

Tenon/agallant, my shop always look so much bigger when the tools are all where they should be and all the dust swept from the floor and that little bit safer too

Hey Dennington, I know how big yours is, I can’t even see to the far side of it, something to do with the curvature of the earth ;-)

Thanks again all

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4319 days

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

Ideally, a shop should be large enough to have the outfeed and infeed space for all the tools one has with the space to expand for 5 more major machines without having to move things. Unfortunately the majority of us aren’t as fortunate as those who have large shops.

Looking back at my past 2 shops, I would say that I did have an ideal shop. While they may not of had everything I would have liked they allowed me to grow in my woodworking. I say ideal because they were both spacious with storage space. I didn’t have to pay any rent, electric, heat and water. With 400 sq. ft. of working space. So for me these were ideal shops.

My new shop is not as spacious but is here at the house. I refer this shop as my realistic dream shop. While it is a stand alone building with 360 sq. ft. of space. It is mine to have the things I want in it. I am fortunate to have to small sheds for storage of lumber and items not needed in the working space. So I while I lost about 40 sq. ft. of space it will accommodate my needs. When its done I will have all the electrical and lighting I need as well as central dust collection, air lines and everything I have wanted in my shop that I didn’t have before. While I may be downsizing a bit and not have room for any expanding it will allow for me to upgrade some of the machines I have.

So depending on your situation and budget I would build it as big as you can realistically as possible to accommodate what you have and what you may want to add. Don’t forget to include space for a office, bathroom and finishing room if you desire them.

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

View CampD's profile


1833 posts in 4822 days

#10 posted 04-05-2011 04:52 PM

It’ll never be big enough!

-- Doug...

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4316 days

#11 posted 04-05-2011 04:59 PM

Gregn, My shop is hobby only and located in the back garden soi I was limited with the available land space. One day, hopefully not too far from now I’ll have the chance to expand some when I retire and find the right place. For me it needs to be a one off payment for the build. I don’t want to have to pay rent on it, other than electric bills of course. That way I can work in it when it suits rather than have to work in it to pay for rental.

I don’t really need an office or washroom although it would save me trailing dust into the house after a WW session

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7192 posts in 4530 days

#12 posted 04-05-2011 05:38 PM

David, I’ll edit my above comment on my shop. My shop is a 40’ x 50’, but as I only use about 26’ x50’ for the shop itself, I have another 14’x 50’ where I park my bass rig and tow vehicle for fishing. I fish local and other money tournaments now, but if I ever quit and give it up, I’ll probably sell my rig and gear, and open up the side where they are parked to expand my shop to it’s full potential of 40×50. It would mean a lot of work to do it, but would almost double what I’m using now. I might have to take down a wall (a load-bearing wall)?, but it could be done somehow, I think. But… more room means more work and more walking back and forth from here to there, so I don’t know if I can handle that with bad knees, bad back, and now a bad hip… I hate the thought of having to give up a craft I enjoy so much, but it may happen sooner than I want it to…..I’m holding out for something better to come along….. I wish I was 47 again.!!!! Back to the leather work…..!!!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Gary's profile


9426 posts in 4769 days

#13 posted 04-05-2011 06:33 PM

Mine is 40×50 and it’s too small. More room you have, more stuff you get and it sets wherever it first gets put. It would be huge if I kept everything put away or just used the space more economically. There are a couple of folks on the site that use closets and turn out some remarkable projects.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 4007 days

#14 posted 04-05-2011 07:26 PM

ultimately something along the lines of 20’x50’ with 12’ ceilings plenty of windows, doors at both ends, lofted storage above, a bit of yard space for finishing, and a good sized shed for stickered lumber.

a real workshop that I could spend 8-10 hour days in year round… but for my current skill level and free time the garage will do just fine.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23303 posts in 5012 days

#15 posted 04-05-2011 08:34 PM

Just enough room to be slightly crowded. Anymore will just get filledwith junk.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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