ChrisLBren

Workshop Advice

73 posts in this topic

Hey Group,

 

I have contractors finishing my shop next week - its approximately 24 feet long by 9 feet wide.  I've attached a pic - they will be installing a drop ceiling as well as lighting.  I intend on installing a work bench on the wall below the window - and thats where I will place my Jim Saw, Jim Thickness Sander, Scroll Saw and Spindle Sander.  What sort of dust collection system will I need ?  Rusty has given me some ideas.  Any recos on workbenches for this space as well are appreciated. 

 

My next project will be a fully framed build - and I do intend on buying dimensioned timber from Jason at Crown.  Im still going to need to thickness sand.   I talked to a sales person at Rockler today and he was selling me on a freestanding JET 1 Horsepower system - it seems like overkill. I do need to install some sort of system to hook to my tools for dust extraction - just not sure which one.  I was also considering the JET Air Filtration system hung from the ceiling.  Any ideas ?  I've never set up a proper shop until now.  

 

On the left hand side of the space will be my main workstation (new table will be moved down from my office and the one in the pic is getting trashed) and Ill place my Jim Sander and Preac there that don't throw out as much dust that get heavy use.   I can just use my shop vac there to clean up.  

 

Thanks for any input,

Chris 

 

 

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Chris,

 

That will be a great shop when you're done.

 

My shop is roughly 10X14 which is a spare bedroom next to the master bedroom.  Keeping dust to a minumum in the rest of the house is a priority  .  Having said that... I use a heavy duty (somewhat) shop vac and it seems to work very well.  When I use a machine, I move the vac to that machine.  As space is a premium here, I can't put in a dedicated system with associated plumbing.   I also run air purifier pretty much everyday and it also traps a lot of dus

 

Here's the shop vac I use: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Shop-Vac-5-Gallon-5-5-Peak-HP-Shop-Vacuum/50159057

 

Here's the air filtration box I use:  http://www.holmesproducts.com/deals/15-off-sale/holmes-allergen-remover-air-purifier-tower-with-true-hepa-filter/HAP716-NU.html#start=5

 

I hope this helps.  

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Hi Chris, the biggest 'must do' for me is power outlets - never have enough of them- plus one at the front of the bench to plug in those hand held tool so that the cords are more easily managed/kept away from the work piece.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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1.   From my research lab days : bench space, bench space, bench space --  you can never have enough bench space.

Three walls  and you have space for 3 benches.  Have one higher than desk height.

Inexpensive flush interior doors - make good bench tops - glue on a plastic/vinyl surface.  They come in variety of widths.

The deeper - the better you will like it. Cheap cabinet units and 2 drawer file cabinets make good bench top supports.

 

The tools you have will produce a LOT of dust.

 

2.   If you can manage it - have the vac as far away ( and outside if possible )  I have no experience with Festool - but everything else

is noisy.  I have to use occlusive head phone type protectors.   You can have ABS piping in the ceiling going to the vac.  One of the guys here

has photos of his setup with the solid vac pipes - with shut off valves since he has exhaust dedicated to each machine.

 

3.  A cyclone trap in line will save you from having to clean the vac filter very often.   You will probably be glad you did, if you get a vac that is

more powerful than you think you will need.

 

4.  You can never have enough light.

 

5.  Lots of shelves - high up on the walls.

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Chris - Congratulations on your new shop.  I have most of the same tools, and have been using a shop vac for my dust collection for the last 6 years.  My workshop is a little smaller than yours, and I also have a table and band saw.  I like the vacuum because of the flexibility it gives me.  I have limited bench space, so I end up swapping tools on the bench, and also store the table and band saw against the wall and move them when I need to use them. The beauty of the shop vac is that no matter how I have the workshop temporarily configured, I just move the vacuum and hose  and connect them to whatever tool I am using, no matter where I set it up.

 

The only down side is that the thickness sander clogs the filter in the shop vac somewhat quickly.  It isn't that big a deal, but I generally need to take the vacuum outside and clean the filter after about 2 hours of thickness sanding. 2 hours is a lot of thickness sanding, so I don't need to clean it that often.  

 

Dave

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Congrats. If possible, I would also get some 220/240V circuits at least run to the shop space. If you decide to get a full size Table Saw or other full size tools, having a 240 circuit accessible without significant rewiring makes your job a great deal easier. I would also suggest having a sub-panel put into the shop for those circuits int eh shop. It makes resetting a circuit a lot easier than having to run to another part of the house to reset it. For those areas you will be installing benches, having 110v outlets above the bench level is a great option for plugging hand tools in without having to get on your knees digging around under the bench.

 

Also, there are a number of great options now in LED lighting. You might want to look at some of those options.

 

 

The cool thing about a new workshop is envisioning all the great projects to be built there!

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Why not put your bench where you intend to do your detailed hand work under the window so at least part of the time you have natural light? I find that bench top power tools work quite well with light from overhead recesed overhead fluorescent fixtures. I second having a dedicated circuit breaker box in your shop and you can't have enough outlets. On the other hand, I run a 10in contractors saw to mill hardwoods satisfactorily on 110v.

 

Roger

Canute, mischief, mtaylor and 5 others like this

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Chris: Like Jaeger, Pat, Dave, Bill, Roger and Mark said!

 

Jim's sander throws a lot of dust, so a permanent hook-up to a collection system is something you may wish to consider. A shop-vac is pretty noisy, so if it can be placed in an adjacent space for sound attenuation....

WackoWolf, Nirvana, Altduck and 3 others like this

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You can get a cyclone system to supplement your vacuum and hardly ever have to change or clean filters.

I bought a "kit" from these people with buckets, hoses, etc. https://www.amazon.com/Oneida-Molded-Dust-Deputy-Cyclone/dp/B0037MFZN0

I put the cyclone and vacuum on a handmade cart and drag it around to everything from my 10" contractors saw to the Byrnes thickness sander.  Vacuums and tools are very noisy so I always wear headphones.

Maury

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You could put that cyclone system outside and plumb your shop with PVC pipe like a central vacuum system. It is very dusty here, 'volcanic ash', When I bought my side by side utility vehicle and took it out across some summer fallow, the air cleaner quickly filled, dust got by and damaged the carburetor. It was a design flaw that I thought the factory should have payed for but it was me that bought a new carburetor. The air intake was under the vehicle, right down in the dirt, so I rerouted the intake using exhaust pipe up high and behind the cab. Bought a cyclone pre-cleaner and a larger air cleaner filter and housing. Did that because I had seen those pre-cleaners work for years on farm tractors working in harsh dust and knew they work. Your cyclone would do the same and if sized right, and vented outside, would probably only need a catch container for the solids. Sure beats listening to a shop vac or if not wanting that you could loose a lot of your hearing like I did, that doesn't help a bit either but makes a good story.

jud. :pirate41:

Nirvana, Altduck, mtaylor and 3 others like this

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Since we are on the subject of dust, there are two primary sources of dust from a tool. The dust that get's sucked down by the tool through the dust port and that dust thrown by the tool out into the air. The former would get collected by the cyclone, or other dust collector attached to the tools dust port. The other generally is a much finer dust and can hang in the air for a long time. This ambient dust is what we breath in when in the shop and not using a respirator and is a health danger. It is also what collects on everything in the shop.

 

The only way to handle the ambient dust is to change the air. This could be a strong window fan that pulls air from outside the shop and blows the dust laden air outside. His is not too practical in northern climates. However, there are a number of great ambient dust collectors made by various vendors that recirculate the shop air through filters (just like in your HVAC system. These can do a great job pulling this fine dust from the air.

Canute, WackoWolf, Nirvana and 4 others like this

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Grandad had an ozone generator that was claimed to charge or change the polarity of the particles suspended in the inside air and cause it to fall to the floor. It had about 4 or 5 hollow glass tubes that glowed, different than neon and made a buzzing sound, the visual and sound effects were there. Don't know if it worked, could always smell it when we visited and it didn't kill him, stomach cancer did that.

Snake oil, don't know, but he liked it and it was his house.

jud

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Thanks for the feedback everyone - here are some progress photos - should be done by Wednesday (I used left over Benjamin Moore Paint Revere Pewter Paint from our living room rehab).  The drop ceiling and lighting will be installed tomorrow.  I could have the contractors drill a hole in either wall on the HVAC side or the Water Heater side for hoses to install the dust collection/shop vac system away from the shop behind the doors.    Would that make sense ?  Also do I need a ceiling mounted unit to clean the air as well ?

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A few things that I have in my workshop that I like:

 

I have several switches all next to each other that are run to plugs on the workbench. One powers the mini table saw, one the drill-press, one the disk sander and the other the vacuum. I can turn on and off the vacuum and any of the other 3 tools with one hand.

 

Wire one plug above the workbench to the lightswitch, and color that plug red. Use that plug for a soldering iron or plank bender, so even if you forget to turn it off, it goes off when you leave the shop and turn off the light.

 

Have an area for painting and staining. Hang a shower curtain(s) as best you can to section off that area and have an exhaust fan sucking from that area. Keeps the fumes out of the house very well!

 

Lots of light, with one movable so you can focus it on your workspace.

 

Have a deep laundry sink for cleanup.

 

In cabinets, drawers are better than doors/shelves, and more small drawers are better than fewer large drawers. Most of the parts and tools we use are small so large drawers get cluttered fast.

 

Opposite to the previous item, thin drawers with a large footprint (think map drawers... maybe 10cm tall...) are great for storing different cuts of wood, plans, metal, etc...

 

I have a foot-switch that I plug my dremel into. The switch on the dremel is always on, but the tool only runs when I step on the switch.

 

A drying-rack made out of wire shelving suspended below a furnace duct.

 

That's all I can think of right now, but there may be more...

mtaylor, druxey, jud and 7 others like this

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If you get a dust collector unit that hands from the ceiling you will also need another fan to set up a rotation of air in the room.  I have a unit and was not happy with the dust it was missing and did some research (read several articles on dust control in woodworking magazines) and found that for optimum effectiveness there needs to be a circulation of air in the room.  The recommendation is to have the other fan blowing opposite the hanging unit on the other side of the room.  Doesn't need to be a big fan just need to get the air on the other side of the room moving.  After setting up the other fan the effectiveness of the unit increased noticeably.

Kurt

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Hey Chris, looks like you have a nice room for the new workshop.  Mine is in the furnace room in my basement, so I first hung some inexpensive fluorescents over my benches.  The nice thing about the furnace room is that it is not finished, so I could very easily run power lines and hang the lights and air filtration system (discussed below) from the ceiling joists.

 

I have the Jim power tool set, and for dust collection, I use a Fein II shop vac and an overhead air filter system from Jet that I bought from Woodcraft on sale.  Kurt has a good point about air circulation though - the Jet is supposed to circulate the air in the room a few times over, but having extra circulation is probably a good idea.  For the shop vac, I recently added a Dust Deputy cyclone system.  It's amazing how much dust gets dropped into it (i'd say 99%) which saves on shop vac bags and reduces the strain on the shop vac which should hopefully make it last longer.

 

Having a window for natural light is really nice, and something I wish I had.  One thing to consider though is that if you use woods that change color dramatically with UV (bloodwood, redheart, purpleheart, etc.), you have to be a little careful.

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To answer your question about the vac pipe -  doing it now would be easiest.  If you do not ultimately install a

remote central vac, all you will be out is the fee for the time it takes the carpenter to drill the holes and

the cost of the plastic pipe and cement.

 

I would use at least 2.5" if not 4" pipe.  Run the pipe to three locations: the wall with the window and each of the

walls perpendicular to that wall.  There will be several "T" connectors and right angle units involved but again,

now is simple, after it is finished, it can get ugly to retro fit.

Run some 12 G Romex along with the pipe.  That will make easy to supplement your power needs in the future.

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I have built a similar version of the workbench suggested by a magazine "The Family Handyman" many years ago. To this day it serves me well. It is fairly simple to build, everything you can get from places like Home Depot, it has useful features like drawers, good lighting and a simple dust collection to be used with a shop vac.

Here is a pic from that magazine, showing you the overall view.

If you are interested in more detail, give me your private email address and I will send you the remaining pages of that article.

Regards,

Thomas

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To answer your question about the vac pipe -  doing it now would be easiest.  If you do not ultimately install a

remote central vac, all you will be out is the fee for the time it takes the carpenter to drill the holes and

the cost of the plastic pipe and cement.

 

I would use at least 2.5" if not 4" pipe.  Run the pipe to three locations: the wall with the window and each of the

walls perpendicular to that wall.  There will be several "T" connectors and right angle units involved but again,

now is simple, after it is finished, it can get ugly to retro fit.

Run some 12 G Romex along with the pipe.  That will make easy to supplement your power needs in the future.

Very good suggestion from Jaager to place the vacuum plumbing and wiring in place now, even if not planning to finish the system, when or if you choose to finish, the cost will mostly be for equipment, not instillation.

jud

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I can only dream about having any sort of workshop... But there is one thing that you might consider - height adjustable table.  I was a bit reluctant to spend money on it, but once I got it - it is really a joy to use. It is super handy!

And nowadays you can buy a frame for it for quite a good price - http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50263225/#/80263224

(table top of your choice could be bought separately, or there are versions with top included). It is really steady and stable, btw. Especially if you put a heavy top on it!

I use it very frequently, basically every time I switch to another operation that requires a different height. It definitely worth it.

It would be a good addition to your shop, especially for the "clean" area, where the actual model is assembled. 

jud, Nirvana, donrobinson and 4 others like this

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An affordable alternate to the height adjustable bench is an adjustable drafting chair.  I have one for my shop and I can sit low or high depending on what I am working on. 

 

When I was doing a lot of restoration work I got a cantilever type of hospital bed table - it looks like a squared off "C": from the side and the top is height adjustable.  With the drafting chair and the hospital table I could sit at a comfortable height for any job especially rigging.  Working on the deadeyes the chair could be lowered and the table raised.  Working on the tops, the table could be lowered and the chair raised.  Put the work at a comfortable height.  I now use it for airbrushing as shown in the photo attached (in case the description of the table wasn't clear.

 

Kurt

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I agree with Mike Y that a height adjustable table (sit-stand table) is indispensable. In my work, we have motorized height adjustable at all our workstations for ergonomic reasons.  The ones we use are expensive, on the order of a couple of thousand dollars. I invested in one for my shop; I'll send a picture later. I'm glad to see that Ikea is offering a cheaper alternative; I'm surprised that there aren't more options out there.

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I agree with adjustable table or multiple height work surfaces.

I've got sitting stations on the left side, with a solid oak top desk and band saws. On the right side Ive got an oak table raised to bench height and my floor model drill press. I can switch between the two sides when my back gets sore....

 

I hate getting older.

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druxey, BANYAN, Seventynet and 11 others like this

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Hello Chris,

 

I am a bit jealous about your nice workshop.

One thing that come to mind with me is a place for your sharpning tools. If you have them ready all the time you actually use it far more and thus you work with sharper tools.

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Aactualy, I have not built anything in this shop yet. We just moved 5 months ago. It's the same setup I had in my previous shop. Worked for me in a smaller space, so I thought I'd stick with what I'm used to. The one difference is that my carpentry tools are now kept in my double garage and this space is for my hobby only. This should help keep the area clean and clutter free. Yes I'm a net freak!

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Hello Pierre,

                    Regarding you not liking getting older;  I have found that it is better than the alternative.

 

        Kind regards,

                                   Tony.

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Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone - here are pics of the shop finished.  They installed 4 bars of lights on two panels - the lightening is terrific.    Again - Im trashing that desk, and will be bringing one that is height adjustable.  Im running another work bench with all of the major dust makers and still deciding on dust retrieval - you given me some great ideas.  Rockler sales will be good for equipment thru the end of the year.

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