Reducing noise to certain areas and other misc upgrades

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Forum topic by Krystoph posted 04-04-2020 10:38 PM 389 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 131 days

04-04-2020 10:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: woodworking garage shop noise decibels power tools

Good afternoon. I am extremely new to woodworking, I’ve been trying to get myself set up over the last year reading and researching, And I believe I am ready to try my first basic box. I am set up out in my garage. I’m not worried about disturbing my neighbors as I am always respectful. My problem is my nephew stays in my basement, the door to the stairs down is directly connected to the garage. He hasn’t said anything but I want to disturb him while he sleeps (he works overnights). I get off at 1:30am and he gets off at 8am, meaning my prime time to make noise is 8am to Noon but I am typically sleeping then. His days off are during the week and mine are Fri-Sun. I don’t feel adjusting my schedule is fair to me either.
What options could I consider to help make any noise less noticeable? He does sleep in the far opposite end of where the garage is. Basement is full length of the house.
Would opening the garage door help with the noise? There is a big square opening to the attic in my shop as well, and windows. I understand noise isn’t likely to be eliminated, just wanting it to not be so bad for him while he sleeps in the afternoon and early evening. I can post pictures if necessary and asked. I was thinking adding a layer to the wall that is next to the stairs leading down, thicker door to the entrance, better insulation for that door to eliminate air flow, building a wall and entrance for the staircase and possibly setting up another wall and section off the area he has the bed.
Any help is greatly appreciated, and gladly consider any idea.

-- I imagine we are all but grains of star dust in the grand scope of time. But I suspect we are the universe and stars to the grains we cannot see.

6 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile


1008 posts in 2459 days

#1 posted 04-04-2020 11:25 PM

I suggest researching noise abatement, DIY , home studios etc. THere is a lot to learn and it is not intuitive. A lot of folks spend a lot of money to no avail.

Sound is carried buy air. Air can make things vibrate.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


5006 posts in 1631 days

#2 posted 04-05-2020 10:06 PM

Probably not what you want to hear, however, have you considered a good set of ear plugs… There are poopsie ones and industrial grade. While this may sound stupid and over simplistic, but if he doesn’t object to being a guinea pig, give it a try… You never know, he may get a better sleep than ever and you could save the hassle of rigging out your workshop with egg cartons…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View BlasterStumps's profile


1713 posts in 1250 days

#3 posted 04-05-2020 10:12 PM

Some of the noise might be eliminate for him if he used some sort of white noise generator while he sleeps.

-- "...I've been through the desert on a horse with no name." So name the damned horse already!

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3377 posts in 2304 days

#4 posted 04-06-2020 02:10 AM

+1 Noise control and abatement is huge topic. Lots of books, classes, online threads, and debate on what is best. Need to read a lot before you decide how to proceed, or you can waste a lot money.

Yes, Working with door open will avoid reflecting noise back inside the shop, and reduce noise at back wall. But it might allow noise to reflect down side of house onto a window near a bedroom. No way to know which is best with testing. Every sound abatement solution is unique.

FWIW: Sound is relative.
My wife says only time she hears my Unisaw running is when I cut plywood. The large sheets resonant and make much more noise. The heavier/larger cabinet saw is actually quieter than my old contractor saw. Now, when I turn on thickness planer; the dogs run/hide, and wife puts on head phones. It makes a lot of noise due cutter head spinning at 6K RPM.

If you want low noise wood working, learn how to use hand tools as much as can, and don’t buy/use power tools? :-0)

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Kelly's profile


3053 posts in 3754 days

#5 posted 04-06-2020 05:24 AM

First, EVERYTHING you can do to stop airflow between your work area and his sleeping area will contribute to sound deadening.

I helped an idiot friend put in a window for his customer. He didn’t stuff insulation in the gaps, even after I pushed it. His stance was, the guy didn’t ask for it. We could carry on a conversation between the two of us from both sides, even with the new double pane in, trim on and the window closed. On the other hand, I did a kitchen once and sealed EVERY crack and crevice I could find. Even without any insulation in or sheet rock on, you could not hear a raging storm going on outside the kitchen, though it had a French door and three windows.

By sealing off all air movement, the room was, essentially, sound proofed.

Once the insulation was in and the rock was on, the person outside had to yell to be heard.

View tvrgeek's profile


1008 posts in 2459 days

#6 posted 04-06-2020 09:38 AM

There is noise blocking, noise absorbing, active noise cancellation, noise masking, noise focusing, and noise frequency modification. All fall under “sound control”. All are done differently.

A ton of info on the WEB. Read. Educate. A lot of overpriced miracle products, a lot of simple things you can do. Especially with regards to a workshop, be considerate of fire ratings and surfaces that could accumulate dust. Also consider your HVAC, so sealing a room is not always possible. It might be easier to put the barrier on his side than your shop side. How you handle each band of frequencies differs. High frequencies can be absorbed. Very low frequencies are a real problem. Think the sub woofer in the Honda you can hear three blocks away.

It sounds like an improved door to the basement would be step one. You might consider making his sleeping area an actual bedroom with a wall built to reduce transmission. ( de-coupled sheetrock, high density fiber, sealed etc) Building codes of course require egress window, so consider fire safety for him anyway.

So, you can contain the noise where produced, block the noise at the receiving end, or reduce the noise generated. Band saws make a lot less noise than table saws. Routers are terrible as is my belt sander. Differences in cutter heads on jointers and planers, different table saw blades etc. A dust collector is not quite. My old Craftsman shop vac could wake the dead, but you can sit and read a book next to my Fein vac.

Maybe the book to read is Roy Underhill or James Krenov. I have migrated back to more hand tools. Something more “zen” about a hand cut dovetail, well planed board, etc. I have learned to do more with the band saw than the table saw.

Scheduling helps. Do your milling when it is not a problem. Then do the hand work when it is.

For yourself, ear plugs, or I prefer a set of muffs, can cut your noise by a maximum of 32 dB. My best ones were from the garden department branded Husqvarna. Better than the ones from the safety department.

Not only will you find the best DIY stuff for home recording studios, but look into designs for a SCIF. All similar looking products do not work the same. Caulking for instance. Even differences in sheetrock. Density of absorption material, glass over rock wool.

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