New Woodshop Building Design

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Forum topic by TDIce posted 07-10-2013 08:46 AM 5896 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2670 days

07-10-2013 08:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: woodshop design features construction detached heating cooling material flooring must have


I’m new here and this is my first post, so please be nice. :-)

I am in the design phase for a new detached woodworking shop and would like some suggestions on what to include.
My current plans call for a 24’ x 36’ single level stick built building with a 10’ ceiling. For the most part I will only be using the shop on weekends and I’m looking forward to spending lots of time there when I retire in 2211 days, 2 hours, and 57 minutes. I’m located in southeast PA which requires heating and cooling.
I like the idea of radiant floor heating but don’t like the idea of always having the heat on to keep it from freezing during the winter months.
I like the idea of a wood floor for the comfort of standing on it for hours on end but don’t like the idea of a flame type heater when using flammable finishes. What suggestions, comments, and ideas do you have concerning the flooring, heating, other “must/should” haves, and anything else that I should take under consideration?

Thanks for any and all input

13 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2894 days

#1 posted 07-10-2013 10:47 AM

”What suggestions, comments, and ideas do you have…, and anything else that I should take under consideration?”

If at all possible, Build it BIGGER!

For my last shop, I passed up the chance to build a 40’X40’ and went with a 30’X40’ (based on price). Found out very quickly that I wished I’d opted for the bigger place. Seems you can NEVER have enough room.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View RogerM's profile


806 posts in 3286 days

#2 posted 07-10-2013 04:12 PM

Tim – I was where you were a few years ago and have a good understanding of what you are faced with. Please view my LJ webpage for an extensive writeup of some of the details that I embraced in my effort. I have been most pleased with the outcome and find that the overall layout and design has served me well. If you would like to contact me with further questions please feel free to do so.


-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3563 days

#3 posted 07-10-2013 11:48 PM

My garage shop is 24’ deep.

I sure wish it was 30’ so I could rip a 16’ board without opening the door or flipping it.

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4464 days

#4 posted 07-11-2013 12:22 AM

I would start with what you think you want to make, that will help you decide how much equipment ,wood storage and free floor space you will need. This can help with the design I would suggest having some dust collection in the floor these same spaces can be used for electrical and air supplies also. and plan where your dust collector and air compressor will be located. Don’t forget to have plenty of outlets for both 110 and 220. It will also be a good idea to plan for wood and supply storage too. If your going to have 10’ ceilings and are going to store wood on end then your wood will have to be a little less 10’ long. You will also want to think about what kind of lighting and where you want it located. Good luck with you shop build.


View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3751 days

#5 posted 07-11-2013 12:31 AM

I’m trying to think of a scenario where I would be ripping a 16 foot long board. I’m sure
there is that possibility ,(building trim, building a house or something, but its not something
I would build a shop around. Never ripped a board that long and see no reason to.

View MrRon's profile


5943 posts in 4131 days

#6 posted 07-14-2013 06:04 PM

No matter how well you think you have designed your shop, it will never turn out the way you want. As they say, ”you learn by your mistakes”, but after the mistake is made, it’s rather difficult to correct. An 8’ ceiling is an example of a mistake that can’t be corrected. You can design and then hope for the best. Later on down the road, you will realize what else you could have done.
As far as radiant heat is concerned, I think the cost to run it is much higher than other heating methods. Don’t skimp on insulation; a 10’ minimum ceiling height; plenty of electrical outlets, 20 amp for outlets, 15 amp for lighting (only); 200 amp electric service; dedicated 220 for each machine. Don’t use propane heaters. They put out a lot of moisture. Get a good dust collector system right off the bat. Use 8’ fluorescent lighting for general lighting and LED or xenon for task lights. Plumb the shop for compressed air and provide at least a 3hp oil lubed belt drive compressor; no oil-free please. I would use a metal roof; doors large enough for handling materials and machines. Consider grade. You don’t want the shop to ever get flooded. In my shop, I installed an electric furnace/air conditioner when I replaced the one in the house with a bigger unit. Am I satisfied with my shop as it now stands? Hell, no; there are lots more things I can do. remember your priorities will change as you go through life, so the shop you designed three years ago doesn’t suit your present needs. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Always keep in mind the possibilities for a change in he future, so you can plan for it in advance.
Down here in South Mississippi, my conditions will be different from yours in Pennsylvania. I have to take into account, hurricanes and flooding in my design. Yours will be different.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3572 days

#7 posted 07-14-2013 07:22 PM

I built 30×40 finished space (30×16 “cold” in the same stucture for total 30×56). More than enough room for me so your planned dimensions should be fine. Electrical comes out from the house on a 100a breaker to a subpanel where I think I’m only using 12 slots in total (lighting, 1 120v for the cold side, 2 240v and the remainder 120v circuits on the warm side…2 circuits running around the shop through 3/4” emt and 4 outlets per box every 10 feet or so depending on bends, a 120v for the power vented hot water heater that provides the infloor radiant). Never a problem there (lights are on all the time but rarely is more than 1 tool running at the same time).

Radiant is nice…I live in Wisconsin and a closed loop system will be good to about -35F when mixed with glycol. There is something in the head that says when your feet and legs are warm, your whole body is warm. I shut the heat down early to let the slab cool before it gets hot. We have had a cold spring/summer so it is still only about 70 in the shop so far. Otherwise I open windows and doors and run a big fan.

View TDIce's profile


6 posts in 2670 days

#8 posted 07-15-2013 12:42 AM

Thanks for the replies. Good information and things to consider. As this progresses I’ll post updates

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 4434 days

#9 posted 07-15-2013 12:57 AM

We are building an 80*40 so this is an interesting topic for us. But I really don’t have much advice as of yet since we have just poured the foundation so far. We are using old oil field pipe and C purlin for structure, I beam rafter and R panel skin.

I will say that Sketchup has been my go to program for planning. It has been amazing. Hope it all goes well for you.

-- .

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3393 days

#10 posted 07-15-2013 01:11 AM

Welcome to a great site!

View billmarket17's profile


3 posts in 2124 days

#11 posted 01-14-2015 01:31 PM

This work is for two persons, therefore you should search another person to help you. People who move in new home like to change something around the house to make it more personal. But some real estate properties, like these ones from don’t need any improvement. They have an unique style and design.

View OnhillWW's profile


264 posts in 2119 days

#12 posted 01-14-2015 02:51 PM

You have gotten some very sage advice. Let me add that as others have said, your needs will evolve with time so now is the time to focus on the things that will not change and / or will be hard to change at a later date: Utilities, lighting, insulation and ventilation, do not skimp on these. Do you ever see the need for a water supply, natural gas, upgraded power, com cables etc. If you dig a trench drop in extra conduit and pipe for future needs now, it is not a big expense, stub the ends and they will always be there when the need or cash appears.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View RogerM's profile


806 posts in 3286 days

#13 posted 01-14-2015 09:05 PM

Please check out my shop write up on my LJ page. Been where you are a number of years ago and have helped a lot of locals set their shops up. Send a message if you have questions.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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