For his first step in planning the shop, Larry took a tape measure and walked around his attached garage, which also measured 24x24'. Then he dragged tools around and placed them in various positions. "1 saw how all the tools could fit comfortably into that space," he says. "It seemed that was going to be very adequate, since I probably wasn't
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going to build huge projects." Still, the novice woodworker proceeded with caution.
"I positioned the tools using trial and error," he reports. "I had a good idea of where the tablesaw had to go—near the middle of the floor. But I really experimented with positioning the rest of the tools. ! needed to see how far from or close to the wall I could get them."
He also made several realizations about building a shop. "Two things that surprised me were the cost of concrete and electrical work," he says. "Work ing in a lumberyard, 1 did estimates for building homes, but I had been away from it for a while, and it blew my mind Lo see how much electrical had gone up. I knew concrete would cost more than other flooring."
However, he stayed with concrete rather than opt for plywood because of the frost heaves common to the region. His garage also had fared well with a concrete floor. The prospect of frost heaves also argued against in-floor dust collection. Instead, he settled on a central shop vacuum attached to most tools with a system of 2W clear pipe and hose. He also uses a portable dust collector for his tablesaw and jointer.
An electrical contractor installed a dedicated 60-amp panel that allowed Larry four 120-volt outlets on each wall. "1 wanted enough outlets so I wouldn't have cords laying all over the floor," he says. He also learned from a mistake: He didn't have an electrical panel big enough for 220-volt service. "One thing I would recommend is that when you're building a shop, the first thing you need is
A ceiling with exposed trusses allowed Larry to hang his air filtration and gas heating units out of the way but in effective locations. The 9' of space under the rafters also enables Larry to stand up tall boards, if the need arises. For visual appeal, Larry ran 8"-wide cedar fencing board all the way around the interior above the plywood.
to determine the size of the shop and have an electrical panel big enough for what you're going to do," he says, ruefully.
He is also satisfied with his choice of the Cleary prefab structure. Besides saving him about half the cost of erecting a similarly sized framed structure, he appreciates its versatility. "'What makes it nice is that it's insulated and you can leave [the building walls] bare or finish them off on the inside."
Above the plywood, decorative cedar fencing boards, attached vertically, ring the shop perimeter. Larry woodburned or scrollsawed decorative patterns into some of them.
"Exterior plywood used indoors might strike someone as unusual," Larry says. "But I like the unbleached look of the wood, and the panels are sturdy enough to hold everything I attached." Shelves and lumber racks, above, hang within easy reach.
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