Thursday, June 8, 2017

Steve’s Spacious Garage Woodshop

My wife and I recently finished a significant renovation on our dream home, and thankfully I got a nice dedicated woodshop out of the deal! I was lucky to be able to design this new shop from the ground up, so I thought I’d share a few pics of my happy place. I received significant inspiration from seeing all the other shop tours here. I hope these pictures give you some ideas.

My shop is a 600 sf L-shaped space, added onto the far end of our 3 car attached garage. The long side of the L, which is the outside wall, is 32′ long, and the short side, which faces the backyard, is 24′ long. Each corridor is 14-15′ wide. I took the rear half of the 3rd car space for the short side of the L, and this is where 8’x6′ double steel entrance doors to the shop are located. The doors are right in front of the table saw, so I can open them to manage long stock on the saw when necessary. There is a garage door on the other side of the shop to bring in lumber and provide ventilation. The floor is concrete, and epoxy coated, which really helps with light reflection and clean up. The ridge beam is 14′ high, so the shop feels really spacious. I find as my eyes age I need more light, so I aimed at _100 lumens/sf using a combination of 14 ceiling cans, 6 Big Ass LED garage lights, and a few task lights from my old shop. I painted the walls a semi-gloss bright white to help reflect all the light and keep the illumination distributed. It worked out great, and I love how bright it is. The space stays cool and ventilated using 4 skylights that open, a 60″ ceiling fan, and two large sliding windows on the wall facing our wooded backyard. The space is heated with a 75,000 BTU enclosed combustion heater hanging from the ceiling. My 3HP Oneida dust collector and a 20 gal. compressor are located outside the shop in a garage storage nook, which saves precious floor space and keeps things quiet. All tools have their own dust collection blast gate, connected via hard pipe to a 6″ main duct and everything either in the attic or run along the walls to avoid overhead interference. A Delta air cleaner hangs about 10′ off the floor to keep things clean when I’m being particularly messy. Compressed air is distributed around the shop walls using the Rapid Air products, with multiple drops, each with a regulator and quick connect. Multiple slab and wood storage areas are located up high where ever I could fit a rack. If there is one thing I wish I had more of, it is wood storage space. Can you ever have too much wood? I think not. All walls are covered in 3/4″ plywood to make mounting everything easy. The shop has its own 100 amp panel, and all wiring is within the walls. I have running water and a sink as well. For finishing, I plan to use the garage space and try my hand at spraying once in a while.

I spent many hours drawing layouts to maximize overall workflow efficiency. I paid extra attention to working with large pieces, since I really enjoy breaking down big ole’ slabs and milling my own stock. The 16″ Meber bandaw and 12″ Hammer A3-31 are a joy to use. Almost everything is on wheels to provide versatility. You can see in the pictures that my next project needs to be an outfeed table for my new tablesaw. Believe it or not, I have never owned a tablesaw, but I managed to build a lot of great things using my Festool TS55 and some router skills. The empty wall space located next to the clamp rack will ultimately hold a wall mounted tool cabinet for my hand tools. My recently completed split-top Roubo sits right in the center of the space. All my Festool gear is in pull-out drawers just behind the bench for easy access. I have a Norm-inspired workbench hutch that is my general purpose space, and a 6′ assembly bench below the clamps, as well as an MFT I can move around. I like having a lot of fastener options, so I filled a 5′ wall section with bins so I can find what I need quickly and keep organized. The one tool I am currently missing is a lathe, which I will find a space for in time. I am finally ready to start making a whole list of things for the new house now that this shop space is complete and everything is operational.

I really enjoyed placing memories and art that mean something to me around the shop walls. Gives the place great energy and I smile even wider every time I walk in and soak in the creative juices this space gives me. One serious highlight for me is the 40 year old stereo I had in college installed in the corner, along with my record player and all of my records I’ve been hauling around for decades. Just turning this stuff on and hearing the needle drop gives me joy. This is my happy place. I crank tunes and ruin perfectly good lumber. Life is good. Build on!

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