fireball

New Shop Size - is 12'x20' big enough?

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- When I'm buying lumber, I usually buy 50-100bdft at a time so I dedicated 10' on one wall to lumber storage. One major concern with a shop this size is finding a place to store scraps and odd boards. One option might be a wood burning stove in one corner.

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- I didn't include my drill press in the layout, but it sits on a cabinet with lockable casters. I don't really use it that often, so I would tuck it away in a corner and then pull it out when I needed it. I also have a oscillating spindle sander that would get similar treatment.

- I would plan on building storage cabinets under the table saw outfeed table, under the table behind the workbench, and on the left wall. The planer, drill press and spindle sander also sit on cabinets with drawers. Combined, I feel like this amount of storage is roughly equivalent to what I'm using in my current shop.

Perhaps the storage cabinets could also hold scraps and off cuts... I've been kicking around the idea of those plastic tubs with the lids, so they can be stacked on top of each other. I currently have a set of three for laundry and (as with shop space) find it's not enough. This also needs to be added into the layout planning.

as for lumber storage, one other thing to consider is the ability to get your wood into the storage location. I have a basement with the original coal room still present, although the chute was replaced and sealed by several different windows over the years. I thought this would be a great storage location. I forgot the door is on the long wall at the end of this room, which requires dragging the boards halfway into the basement just so I can reverse my direction and head into the storage area. And plywood simply will not enter this room unless it has been cut down into no more than 3' by 4'.

My big question, Rory, is why the decision to use a bench-top drill press instead of a full size version? I'm currently going through this question myself, and had the idea of making a smaller cabinet on casters that would sit over the base of the press unless I needed to get into that location. (say, for boring out the ends of longer stock)

The last consideration I have is for what I consider "office equipment." Your stereo/sound system, computer location, paper supplies, tape, layout materials like pencils and straight edge, and paper plans. I have a small filing cabinet that I was going to use for finishing storage, until that multiplied beyond the cabinet's capacity, but I find I can store the nail gun in the top drawer and the paper plans I have acquired / made in the bottom drawer. I have not, however, found enough room to store all the wood working magazines and DVDs in the shop; those go on three bookcases scattered around the house. (including next to the bed.)

The one constant I have discovered is nothing ever remains the same. What worked for you last year may not work for you next year, even though you haven't purchased any new equipment.

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Since we are on the topic of making small shop spaces work, I thought I would include a picture of the cabinets I built for my planer and drill press (never got around to building the drawers for the drill press). Both cabinets have a pair of locking casters and a pair of fixed casters, and they are pretty easy to roll out of the way when not needed. For the planer, I feel like this is a much better solution than killing your back lifting it on and off your workbench. The drill press is sold in both a benchtop and stationary version, and going with the benchtop version means I don't need to find a permanent home for it. I've been pretty happy with this setup and would probably buy the benchtop machines again if I was doing it over and had to fit everything in a small space.

Rory

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Well, I've been doing some more investigating and pricing and it looks like I'll either go with 12x24 or 14x24. I've got quotes on both buildings, and each structure includes 7'6" height sidewalls (standard is 7'), 3 oversized insulated windows, a 6' insulated double door and insulated floor with PT plywood.

The 12' is $5200. The 14' is $6600. The huge jump is because the 14' structure requires extra permits and such to transport and beefier trusses. I was all set on the 14x24 until I saw just how big the price difference was.

So, what do you think? What will I miss more - $1400 or 48sf of shop space???

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I've been building cabinets out of a 12'X16' shop, its not easy but can be done. I think if I was in your position, and had the money I would go ahead and get the 14X24 bld, I got the 12x16 and have wished that I got the 12x30 ever sence.

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So, what do you think? What will I miss more - $1400 or 48sf of shop space???

Easy question. You will start to forget about the $1400 the day after you spend it. On the other hand, if you make your shop too narrow, it will bother you every time you open the door.

-- Russ

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I just figured mine out, I have around 432 sq ft and I think it's too small. Mine is in the basement. I hope someday to build an external shop and right now without even figuring anything out I was think like 24'x40' or so. But I would need a spot at one end for the big commercial lawn mower and quad.

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So, what do you think? What will I miss more - $1400 or 48sf of shop space???

Two feet of extra width may not sound like a lot for $1400, but the difference between a three foot aisle and a five foot aisle could mean the difference between cramped and comfortable. Try creating a layout with some graph paper and pay attention to your aisle widths, then try to find a space in your house where you can get a feel for how wide a certain sized aisle feels. I bet the 14' width will feel a lot more spacious than you would suspect.

I'm curious what the foundation requirements are in your area? Over here, I think my options would be six inches of gravel or a concrete slab if I was putting up a shed. I'm not sure at what size a "shed" requires a more substantial foundation than six inches of gravel. Does the manufacturer have a recommendation for the foundation?

Have you figured out the cost of running electric to it and heating?

The price you are being quoted sounds pretty attractive for someone who wants to get a shop setup with minimal fuss.

Rory

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Russ - you are 100% correct! I'm pretty sure the extra 2' is worth it, it's just a hard pill to swallow that the price jumps SO much!

Rory - 6" of crush run gravel. That is a good bit of the appeal in that the site prep will be very inexpensive. The cost of the buildings are very reasonable - in fact if I would be content with a stock unit they can be had for $3500 (12x24) or $4700 (14x24).

Jim - everyone says bigger is better, and I agree. But in my situation where I have to consider current funds, and the fact that I don't know how long I'll be here it just doesn't make sense to spend all the money on site work and stick building a huge garage/shop space. I'd probably be looking at $30k+ once it was all said and done for a 30x30 building. Granted it would be awesome, but for a fraction of that I can be up and running in a comfortable space that will be adequately sized. Plus for a few hundred dollars I can have it moved later on down the line if the need arises!

As far as electric, when we bought the house we ran new service w/ a 200 amp panel. I saved the old 100 amp panel to be used in the shop. The shed will only sit 25' from the house, so adding the electric will be relatively inexpensive. I'll layout and run most of the wiring, then bring the electrician in the check over everything and handle the heavy lifting.

Haven't figured out heating yet, any ideas??? I'd like something that could keep the temp reasonable during the winter, even when I'm not hanging out there. Summers aren't too bad here, so I think the cool breezes of Anytown, USA will have to suffice for A/C!

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Fireball,

You seem to be hesitant to spend the extra $$$ for the larger building and you keep bringing up the possibility of relocating. If you really think that you will be relocating in the next handful of years, hold off and buy the smaller building. You can build big when you get situated in a house where you plan on putting down some roots. In the meantime, you can save a few pennies and have a shop, by buying the smaller unit. $1200 difference will buy a lot of extras for the shop to get it comfortable and productive.

However, if you are planning on staying a while, go with the bigger unit. It will pay for itself in the long run and you will enjoy the extra space.

You must be one motivated individual, moving a building like that can be a task, especially if you are selling a home and moving to another location. I have seen whole houses moved by pros and there is a lot of work involved. They do make it look easy enough to tackle but it gets to be a big job for one guy and a couple of buddies and limited equipment. Just some more thoughts to think about.

I am not trying to discourage the larger building, if I was spending your money, I would go big too. I am just thinking that you are not planning on sticking around at your current location for long.

Another option, that you may have already thought about, is adding on later down the road, when you find the space to be limiting. Adding an attached "lien-to" to the building a year or two later is always something to consider. You may be able to get by without a permit for something like that in your area, check first, but I personally wouldn't hesitate to do it that way.

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