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Author Topic: Ponderings about a new shop next spring  (Read 712 times)

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Offline alan gage

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Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« on: September 27, 2018, 08:42:54 PM »
Wasn't quite sure which forum to use. I know the topic of "how big of a shop should I build" has been beat to death and also know the correct answer is "bigger" but I'm planning to build a new shop next spring and have a lot of thinking about what to build and how to build it. Any input would be appreciated. Just talking about it out loud (so to speak) will probably help me more than anything. I hope to get some good advice and hope others get some good out of it as well. I plan to do as much as possible by myself, which is how I prefer to work. I usually do all the foundation prep work and hire someone to come in for the actual pour. Other than that and finding some extra hands for setting trusses and long steel roof panels it's all me, which is a factor in how things are built.

My old shop (which I also built) was a 36x48 with 12' sidewalls. It was stick framed 2x6 walls with roof trusses and steel lined inside and out. When I built it I thought I'd be going into the cabinet business at some point so I wanted room for more equipment, materials, and also room to store a house full of cabinets (or two) until they were picked up. While I would still like to do some woodworking/cabinet making for profit someday I doubt it's going to be anything like a full on cabinet shop. That shop was big and spacious with room to spare (although when I got into canoe building having 3 canoes in there getting worked on ate up some real estate). It wasn't laid out real well and could have been more efficient. The space was nice but I could have gotten by with less.

Of course budget is always a concern and I'm looking at ways to save money but not take shortcuts on quality. Been thinking lately about a 30x40 with 10' sidewalls. At 30' wide (maybe 29') I could stick frame it with 16' lumber rather than trusses. Going with a structural ridge beam would give me extra head room in the shop, room for a storage loft, and eliminate the expense of ceiling joists (except for the loft). I think I could live with a few posts down the center of the shop. It would be nice to have outlets other than along the walls and would be nice for holding vacuum collector ducting as well. I think it would look a lot neater than a standard building too.

How to construct the walls is something I go back and forth on. Now that I have a sawmill and logs it would be great to cut all my own lumber but hardwoods are the only viable thing around here in quantity with most of that being ash and oak. Knotty spruce from farm groves is the most prevalent softwood. Maybe ok for posts but probably not rafters. I have a lot of cottonwood too but so far haven't had a good track record with it drying straight. Also it's hard to find very many 16' logs. Even 12' can be hard to come by. I'm thinking my best bet as far as using my own lumber would be for beams/posts rather than 2x material. My posts at 6' on center with my beams running across the top of them. The cost of framing lumber is so cheap relatively speaking it almost seems silly not to use it but it would save some money (at the cost of labor) and make me feel better (maybe). Need to do more thinking about the amount of labor by doing it with posts rather than stick framing with 2x6.

Floor with probably be a frost protected shallow foundation and concrete slab as usual. Part of me thinks of trying to save money by skipping the concrete slab and framing it with white oak beams and thick floor boards instead. I've got the wood and it wouldn't require me hiring help for the concrete. But I get the feeling that would be false economy by the time I was all said and done and maybe I'd regret having a wood floor (harder to roll things on, gaps opening up, soak up light(?), harder to insulate well, room for varmints underneath, etc. Would also be a lot of work to mill up all that wood and it would be very heavy to move and would require drilling and screwing.

It would be nice to use knotty spruce as the exterior siding or interior paneling but I don't know if I can get enough of it and while steel is a bit industrial it has its benefits as well. I'm also planning to saw wood siding for my house so I need to keep enough in reserve for that.

That's probably enough rambling for tonight. Curious to hear what others have done with their shop builds to save money or do something unique and functional without spending more money.

Edit to add that we have difficult winters here. The next month (hopefully more) will be spent finishing up projects and battening down for winter. Once winter hits I won't really be able to do things like saw logs in preparation for the spring build so all I can do is think until spring when it's time to build.

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline low_48

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 10:31:02 PM »
I've been winding down my woodworking for the past few years. First I concentrated on furniture, and for the last 12 or so, artistic woodturning. Been doing it longer than you've been alive. Hobby and then professional for total of 46 years. I operated a full time custom woodworking business for 8 years, and professional woodworker for others for 17 years. My biggest insight is that you can get by with a smaller shop, if you have the discipline to keep all the junk out. And by junk I will include all the dream wood that you accumulate that will be perfect for something in the future. I still have half a basement full of dream wood, some that I've toted around for 25 years. Wood takes up a TON of space. Then there are the cutoffs. Give that away or burn it before it chokes you to death. It's expensive to condition the air around a huge pile of lumber, and not be able to work in that space. 

Offline LittleJohn

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2018, 09:06:36 AM »
If you do plan on putting in a concrete floor, maybe consider putting the insulation and pipes in before you pour.  It might be a little pricey, depending on the brand, but I love having heated floors in the shop, it also help to have an OWB. 

Vehicles love the warm garage also, have a split garage (half parking/half wood working)

Offline alan gage

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2018, 09:35:25 AM »
My biggest insight is that you can get by with a smaller shop, if you have the discipline to keep all the junk out. And by junk I will include all the dream wood that you accumulate that will be perfect for something in the future. I still have half a basement full of dream wood, some that I've toted around for 25 years. Wood takes up a TON of space. Then there are the cutoffs. Give that away or burn it before it chokes you to death.
I can see the wisdom in that. The other day I walked into our town's only woodworking/cabinet shop. Guy has been doing it for a long time and seems quite successful. Has turned out some really nice work. I hadn't been in there before and was shocked at how small and cramped the space was. I've had that same experience before with other shops and it's humbling to see the work they turn out of such small areas with seemingly limited equipment. Makes me realize more space isn't the real answer but it does help compensate. :)
I have a cabinet maker friend in Minneapolis who turns out a lot of work. Every time I go to his shop I'm shocked at what's in his dumpster. But with the volume he's going through he'd drown in all those scraps if he tried to save them for just the right project. It's the same at our auto repair shop. We throw/give away new or good parts all the time just because we'd go crazy if we tried to keep and organize it all.
Quote
If you do plan on putting in a concrete floor, maybe consider putting the insulation and pipes in before you pour.  It might be a little pricey, depending on the brand, but I love having heated floors in the shop, it also help to have an OWB.
I'll definitely insulate under the concrete but I'm pretty locked into overhead radiant heat. Thought hard about in floor heat with my last shop but knowing I'd only be working in there intermittently (evenings after work) I was worried that by the time the mass of concrete started to warm up and put off decent heat it would be time to go in for the night. What I like about the overhead radiant is if I keep the shop at 40-45 degrees then despite the cold air temp it starts to feel warm, like standing in the sunshine, as soon as I turn on the heater. I set it up so the heater was over my working space so my tools, equipment, and floor warmed quite quickly. I'm also amazed at how evenly it can heat a space even with the heater at the far end of the building.
Our auto repair shop has un-insulated concrete floors and we always had cold feet until we switched to overhead radiant about 20 years ago. Huge difference in this old shop.
Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 09:44:48 AM »
I would haul in enough fill to get the slab up in the air a foot. Than make that area about four bigger. I have seen small garages put in with just enough room for the footprint of the garage and not set up in the air. Problems with water coming in onto the floor.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2018, 12:08:34 PM »
You are talking about a loft. 10 ft walls will not do it. We have a arch rib shop 17+ ft to the peak r20 insulatuon.  Put a loft in this year. I have 10ft to the bottom of the floor joists. Then 7+ ft at the peak and 16 ft away under 4 ft. Dont skimp on the height.
You may want to check on the clearances needed for radiant heat. I could not put one in as it was too close to the tractor when it is parked in side.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline alan gage

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2018, 08:19:32 PM »
Good point but at this point I don't envision the loft as being someplace I'd walk around but rather a large tall shelf for storing things like lumber so headroom across the entire width wouldn't be so important.

I was worried about overhead radiant heat and clearance to vehicles/tractor in my last shop which led me to install all the woodworking equipment and heater at one end so that vehicles would never be parked close to it. This building will likely not see a tractor (especially with 10' sidewalls) and vehicles are doubtful as well. Either way I'll place the heater at the far end of the shop again away from the overhead door and angled out towards the open space so it's not beating directly down on anything relatively tall. That seems to work well. A cathedral ceiling should also let me hang it higher than if I had a flat 10' ceiling.

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Ponderings about a new shop next spring
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2018, 12:51:40 AM »
I believe they hang them that way in car garage.  Kind of spread the heat more away than down.
I think that heating is got to be the most mind scrambling experience.
I am into one right now. Have not made any  commitments yet. So many variables. 
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant


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