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post #1 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Suggestions on New Shop Size Wanted

I am in the planning stage for building a new shop. I have always worked out of my garage and have had to roll tools around when I needed them. I am hoping to be able to remedy that. I know there are a jillion things to consider, such as electrical, dust removal, etc etc etc. What I would like opinions on is this: What do you think is the MINIMUM size a shop should be and still be able to move around comfortably? I do not have an unlimited budget and I am NOT a pro woodworker by any means, so the tools, saws, etc are not going to be exceptionally large. I will probably have the more routine tools, table saw, band saw, plainer, drill press, router table, workbench, etc. Layout suggestions are also welcome. THANKS! sj


ps.... I already know that "bigger is better"
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrowful Jones View Post
.... I do not have an unlimited budget and I am NOT a pro woodworker... tools, saws, etc are not going to be exceptionally large. I will probably have the more routine tools, table saw, band saw, plainer, drill press, router table, workbench, etc. Layout suggestions are also welcome....
Having had many shops in many sizes and shapes, both for hobby and commercially, 1200 Sq. ft sounds like it would work great for you. 30 X 40 would be perfect for me as a hooby shop.

Several computerized woodworking shop layouts are available. Unfortunately, some of them are by tool manufacturers. You can always pack 10 pounds of **** in a 5 pound bag, but not comfortably. Most of these layouts dont give much consideration to storage or actual work space - only tool space.

Realizing that everything has a budget, this size may not fit into your budget. But this would be my minimum size if I were building.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:35 AM
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I recently moved in town, out in the country I had a 24x24 garage, keeping it clean this was a great size shop when our was dirty it was too small, Mt ideal shop size would be 32x32 I have a delta cabinet saw with a 76" fence with other hobbiest tools. This size of shop would allow me to have minimum movement but the key (and what I struggle with) is keeping the shop clean. Hope this helps
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:37 AM
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My 20' x 20' is a little small to me but it is what it is.

Bob making sawdust in SW Louisiana
with a EX-21
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:37 AM
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Really depends upon what you want to do/make in your shop. There are several shop planners out there, I believe Grizzly has one and Wood magazine might also. Or just cut out scale sized tools and lay it out on posterboard or graph paper. I work in a small 2 car garage that I lose 1 corner of for firewood/scrapwood and wood heating pellet storage.

Things to consider: lumber storage, cabinets/tool storage, finishing.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
I will probably have the more routine tools
Will have? You don't now?

There is a ton of material in the interwebs dealing with wood shop work flow, designing a wood shop, etc.

Oh and
Bigger is better.
Put a bathroom and a small kitchenette in the shop unless you fancy running back and forth.
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 12:04 PM
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My shop is 24x20 inside a building that is 24x34. I have a decent about of room with allot of planning. I really could use that 24x14 area that I currently use for exercise equipment and pool table but only to spread out and have room to buy more tools. (that would be duplicate tools though) I have one of everything with very few small tools. So in my opinion 24 x 20 is sufficient but the whole building size of 24x34 would be ideal.

I would suggest high ceilings. Mine or 9' I would have went higher but it had to attach to the house and blend in. HOA's rules
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 01:13 PM
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As the others have said, it depends on what you are going to be building. I spent a lot of time designing my current shop and built it about three years ago. It's outside dimensions are 24' x 40' and has a bathroom and mechanical closet within, so the shop floor is about 23' x 35'. I find this an ideal size for most projects as a one man shop and have room for multiple projects. It does get very crowded quickly if I am building kitchen cabinets and I have to be very creative about storing them.

My wife really appreciates me having my own shop bathroom.

I highly recommend having a 200 amp breaker panel and well insulated walls and ceiling.

Bret
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 01:20 PM
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I have a 24' by 32' shop. I wish it was bigger but it is workable. The biggest thing is to keep things picked up which I am not good at. I agree with rrbrown that high ceilings are a must. I have 10' ceilings.
Tom
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the inputs. Looks as though I might have to go with something a bit bigger than I was thinking (24x24). I am not going to be making big wood projects. Probably about 6'x6' at the max. I like the high ceiling idea. Thanks again
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 03:59 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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High ceilings 9 or 10 ft!

Here's why: Just spinning a 4' x 8' panel takes additional height if you are carrying it. Also if you stand a 4' x 8' plywood on end to flip it you will need more than 8 ft. Lights hand down below decreasing height where they hang.
Here's another metric, it takes 20 ft of run to easily rip a 4ft x 8 ft plywood or other 8 ft long stock on the table saw.
Skylights and or windows make the shop a great place to work in. The windows can be a foot or so above the bench top to allow for "stuff" on the bench.

My woodshop is about 25 ft x 29 ft and there's plenty of room
for working. Don't forget about a place to stand up longer boards and cut offs. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-29-2012 at 05:13 PM.
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post #12 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 04:35 PM
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mine is 30 by 50, it is small at times, but, I do more than just wood working in it, we have a wood heater, a little kitchen area, a deep freeze and a fridge, actual woodworking park is probably 15 by 20, in the 30 by 50 I still have to move things around cause i'll push the wood things to the side when I'm working on something else
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post #13 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 04:37 PM
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If you are asking what is the smallest, my wood shop is 22x13. I am working in a two car garage that has been framed in for two shops. The back half (22x9) is my machine shop with CNC mill, lathe, Bridgeport mill, welding table/workbench, drill press material storage.

The wood shop accommodates a cabinet saw, three work benches, jointer, router table, band saw, drill press, belt sander. All of these are floor sized tools. Dust collection and air compressor are located outside in the shed. Lumber is stored overhead with the exception of sheet goods that gets stored in the covered bed of my truck. I have 9 ft ceilings with recessed lighting but plenty of other crap hanging down including power reels and air reels.

You really need to look at work flow. I take advantage of my garage door and use my driveway as infeed space. This means I can't really work with large pieces unless the garage door is open. I live in ca so this is fine 95% of the time. I can still use hand tools with door shut. My miter saw is against the wall with a fence system. To the left of the blade is mostly outside. For sheet goods I have adopted the habit of using my festool track saw to knock full sheets down to more manageable sizes. Once setup this is almost as fast as the table saw and safer for a one-man operation. The jointer, bandsaw, belt sander are/or will be on mobile bases. It's tight but I have plenty of room to move around and good bench space. Don't know about the necessity of a bathroom but a sink is essential in my mind.
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 05:07 PM
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My only input is to say that you should build the largest structure that fits within your budget and that makes sense to you within the constraints or whatever air conditioning and heating is needed in your locale.

George
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post #15 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Here's why: Just spinning a 4' x 8' panel takes additional height if you are carrying it. Also if you stand a 4' x 8' plywood on end to flip it you will need more than 8 ft. Lights hand down below decreasing height where they hang.
Thanks... I did consider lights, but it never occurred to me that I would need additional ceiling height for carrying, or maneuvering a 4x8 sheet.
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-29-2012, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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My only input is to say that you should build the largest structure that fits within your budget and that makes sense to you within the constraints or whatever air conditioning and heating is needed in your locale.
I agree. Air conditioning is essential here in Tejas.
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post #17 of 22 Old 03-01-2012, 04:56 AM
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Sorry if this goes against the grain but......Bigger is not better,its more expensive.


Costs more to build....more to maintain....more on HVAC....and more on the all important,taxes.Not trying to bring down any ideas,just that theres more to building than just making it bigger?


I'd say first off is what the property...the community....and resale of said,will support.Building a 20k sq ft shop "may" seem like the cats meow to some?It very well could be more of a pink Elephant down the rd.


Further.....just because a person(not directed at you)can "afford" 2 or 20k sq ft shop,there needs to be some consideration to what that buys.IOWs putting up a metal building,with a very commercial look to it.....could very well be the dumbest thing to do.But,"its the biggest I could afford".Folks really need to get away from bigger is better.......quality over quanity isn't just about a resturaunt steak.It applies to architecture as well.


Generally speaking 2k sq ft makes a decent 2 man pro shop.You need to develop outside areas as much as possible.Also take an extremely hard look at inventory.....sq ftg costs,in my pea brain are way too expensive(build/main/taxes)to be utilized storing lumber.So look at your space and devide it by priority.

I'd say a very well kitted bathroom,a dedicated finishing area,along with a seperate shop sink.....throw in a,just big enough loading dock,and proper HVAC as main criterea's.Way moreso than some sq ftg number.BW

Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it.
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-01-2012, 08:57 AM
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Take as big as you think you'll ever need, double it, then add a few feet on each side for good measure.
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post #19 of 22 Old 03-01-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWSmith View Post
Sorry if this goes against the grain but......Bigger is not better,its more expensive.


Costs more to build....more to maintain....more on HVAC....and more on the all important,taxes.Not trying to bring down any ideas,just that theres more to building than just making it bigger?


I'd say first off is what the property...the community....and resale of said,will support.Building a 20k sq ft shop "may" seem like the cats meow to some?It very well could be more of a pink Elephant down the rd.


Further.....just because a person(not directed at you)can "afford" 2 or 20k sq ft shop,there needs to be some consideration to what that buys.IOWs putting up a metal building,with a very commercial look to it.....could very well be the dumbest thing to do.But,"its the biggest I could afford".Folks really need to get away from bigger is better.......quality over quanity isn't just about a resturaunt steak.It applies to architecture as well.


Generally speaking 2k sq ft makes a decent 2 man pro shop.You need to develop outside areas as much as possible.Also take an extremely hard look at inventory.....sq ftg costs,in my pea brain are way too expensive(build/main/taxes)to be utilized storing lumber.So look at your space and devide it by priority.

I'd say a very well kitted bathroom,a dedicated finishing area,along with a seperate shop sink.....throw in a,just big enough loading dock,and proper HVAC as main criterea's.Way moreso than some sq ftg number.BW
This man makes some great points as to long-term costs. While I think the standard answer would be 'every shop could be bigger,' sometimes we let dreams and aspirations leave money, time and resources on the on ramp.

The very best thing you can do is get real familiar with Sketchup. It's completely free, outside of your time. There's a decent amount of prebuilt models to download to outfit a shop. Before you get started, take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and list out what you have now, and what you'd like to have ten years from now as far as tools, tool storage and space concerns (assembly, moving full sheets of plywood, etc) go. Then virtually build your shop. If your grounded-in-reality dream shop then fits your land, then you can start estimating project costs. You'll more than likely then have to go back and see if you can chop space off to fit your budget (dream shop might be 25x25, but 24x20 gives a distinct cost advantage, for example). Be sure to add 10-15% in your budget for unexpected upgrades or cost overruns.

That's how I'd do it, anyway.
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-01-2012, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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....Bigger is not better,its more expensive.

BW You make some very valid points. I had originally considered the 'metal building' because I could get more sq ft for the buck. I realized that sq feet isn't everything so I have now decided to make it more aesthetically pleasing,,something with sort of a 'detached garage' look...with a moderate degree of landscaping around. This type of construction probably costs more per square ft, but the final product will be much nicer to look at, and will enhace the property value more. That was the reason for my initial question about minimum shop size. I have to find that balance between how much room I will actually need vs. how much I WANT. Thanks for the input.
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