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My shop is small; 12' x 20', with about a 10' ceiling. I have two windows, North and South sides. My walls and ceiling are paneled with pine (not painted). My question is this: Are two 8' strips of T5 fluorescent lighting "overkill " for this size shop ? Educated opinions please.
 

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My shop is just about the same size as yours in the basement of my house. Two smallish windows on the longest NE wall. I prefer to light specific work areas. Chop saw, drill press, band saw, carving bench, those places.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the LED lights are the way I will go = they are so intense, cheap to run, instant on/off, but initially expensive. My shop starts off really cold (50-60F) so the stupid CFL's take 5 minutes to warm up.

I bought 2 x 18W LED lights for my carving bench, it's almost like daylight. Left on, appearently they wear out in 14-15 years. Combined for brightness, they are the equivalent of 2 x 150W incandescents.
Sure, they were expensive. Yes, I'd do it again. The real down side is that these big ones are heavy, 13 oz each. Had to rethink & modify fixtures.
 

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Mine is a 15' x 30' garage workshop with 6 x 4 bulb 4' T-8 hooded fixtures with daylight bulbs. I bought them off the shelf at Home Depot. They have cages over the bulbs and start fine in the cold whether. It's bright in there. Really bright... But, my walls & ceiling are painted white. There's small windows in the entry doors, but I usually end up working at night.

I have 3 switches controlling 2 lights each - back, middle and front. I can generally see well with just the middle turned on, but it's nice that with all 6 lamps there are no shadows to speak of. I have 2 of these installed in my 16' x 16' tool shed and although bright under the lamp, only having 2 fixtures means a lot less consistency of light across the space.

I agree with davester, I'd install 6 x 2 bulb, 4 foot fixtures and put them on 3 switches. 4' bulbs are easier to come by and store. Spreading out fixtures really does help a lot with shadows and dark areas (especially with your unpainted walls). A lot of the time, you'll probably just run 1 set anyway.

If that doesn't suit you, then I'd say the 2x 8' fixtures will be good with some added task lighting as Robson Valley mentioned. I personally don't think the expense of stepping up to T-5 is worth it quite yet, but that's a personal decision.
 

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I confess that I need very bright, oblique lighting to see the tool marks in my wood carvings. Kind of a "what to do next" indicator. The LED lights are available in 3 different color (K) temperatures. I have a neutral and a warm white, the neutral is a little blu-ish, easy on the eyes, the warm is a lot like incandescent color.
I ganged 2 fluorescent drafting swing-arm light fixtures together for a 36" reach, not in the way for mallet & gouge work. In case you're wondering, those lamps were $45 each.

Did you know that you can buy LED strip lights built to retrofit fluorescent tube light fixtures?
Brighter and cheaper to operate but I hate to guess at the up-front costs.
 

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Forgot to add two things.
a) my big LED lights weight 13oz apiece. Any regular spring-arm desk lamp fixture will fall on its face.
The old tube fluorescent drafting lamps have far stronger arms and springs.
b) I got to move into brand new (but very spartan) biology research labs. We were told that the illumination was 650 lumen at the bench top. Can't see how a WW shop could be any less.
Find somebody with an "Incident" light meter and you'll know in a second.
 

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Lighting is very important in any shop so don't skimp. If you don't have the 8ft fixtures, I would get more 4ft or better yet - LED lighting. I remodeled my kitchen last year and we now have all LED cans and bulbs. What a difference and to think all that lighting is using about 4 watts. If I didn't own a box of 4ft bulbs, I would replace the shop lights with LED.
 

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My shop is small; 12' x 20', with about a 10' ceiling. I have two windows, North and South sides. My walls and ceiling are paneled with pine (not painted). My question is this: Are two 8' strips of T5 fluorescent lighting "overkill " for this size shop ? Educated opinions please.
I work for a wholesale electric company. I ran it through our lighting program and with your lights, not calculating for any daylight you have about 80 foot candles. This level is good for detail work. Ideally you should have 100fc but as I said I didn't calculate for any daylight in the windows. A good Kelvin (coloring of the lamps) for detail is anywhere from 5000 to 6500. If you do a lot of color work try to get a cri (color rendering index) in the high 90's. My analysis is a good approximate reading but not totally accurate as I would need more infor

Bob
 
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