Planning/Prepping for Dream Shop Build


Jonathan McCully
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Hey guys, been awhile since I’ve been on these forums. Long story short, my life has been pretty crazy/complicated over the past 18 months and I haven’t touched a tool (besides a screwdriver for minor home repairs) or a piece of wood in that period of time. In the past month, I’ve gotten out of the Army, moved to Utah, and started a new job. Next week I move into a new home with the hope that I may never move again. As I expect to be here for a long time, I’m planning to build a shop and was hoping to get some tips/wisdom from you guys. Here’s what I’m thinking.

The shop will be 1200 sq ft (30x40), wood framed, and well-insulated for A/C (it gets crazy hot here in the summer, but winters are mild). I’d like to wall off my dust collector to reduce noise and my contractor recommended having an outside door that opens into the DC room in order to better insulate the shop and reduce dust in the shop when emptying. The inside will be finished with insulation and drywall, and I’m still on the fence about whether to put the ducting inside the walls and ceiling or on the outside. Clearly, hiding the ducting looks nice, but doesn’t give me the flexibility to move tools around as easily. The other question that I have is how much space to potentially dedicate to a separate finishing room. I like the idea of having a clean room for finishing as having only ever worked in the garage in the past, I always had to do a major cleanup before finishing or end up with some dust particles in my finish.

So, the main questions I have right now are these:

1. Ducting inside the ceiling or outside?

2. How much space to dedicate to a finishing room?

3. Any other pearls of wisdom that you wish you would have considered or things that you have done in your shop builds that have made it amazing?

As always, I really appreciate you all and your collective wisdom in helping those of us who are a bit more green with this sort of thing. Look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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I would definitely put ducts on inside, once you've got your shop layout decided you can move them, but you won't want to.

Re: finishing room, hard to say, that depends on the size and number of items.  For example, you've got 12 cabinet doors to finish, you want enough room for a rack.  When I did my kitchen I had a 12x24 area and it was just about right.  So I would think 12x12 would be a minimal size.  You can't always use a turntable and need to move around a piece that takes real estate away from the shop.

My suggestion is maybe dedicate one corner of the shop and install a good exhaust fan.  Use either removable panels or zip barriers to create the room.  The way the area is available for use.  Benches or machines you have the area would be mobile.

You will be surprised how quickly 1200sf won't seem like enough!

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I'd leave the ducts surface mounted to allow for future changes. You may not think that you'll change them in the future then you want to add XYZ tool and it only fits here because of it's size. With a new shop and new layout you'll want to change things around as you live in the shop for a while. I've had my shop for 4 years now and I've changed layouts probably twice a year for the last 4 years as I figure out better ways to store tools and change around storage. Half of those shop changes resulted in modifications to my dust system. I'm also kicking around a major change to free up some room and an issue that I backed myself into. This will result in removing my entire DC system and re hanging it. If you want the ducts to blend in well like Rick points out above, look at Gee-Dub's setup. With painted ducting, it'll disappear.

Secondly this is a shop after all, aesthetics are secondary function is primary.

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I ran my main ducts in the ceiling with drops down to the tools and would have no issues doing it again. Over the 16 years i've been using the system i've reconfigured a couple of the drops but never had a situation where it was an issue, YMMV. Regarding putting the dust collector in a closet outside the shop I absolutely would do that and I would follow something like Gee-Dub's this is the single biggest thing I would change if I ever built a new shop.

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Congrats.  This is an exciting time in your life.  Your planned space is remarkably like my current effort documented here.  Goodness knows I percolated over every idea that appealed to me that I have seen over the years.  I was brutal about throwing out as well as about keeping certain ideas.  Some great ideas got tossed due to them not being a good fit for my methods or, more often, for my budget.  I also gave up some things that I wanted in order to have other things that I REALLY wanted ;-)  I gave up on upgrading a couple of machines in order to have the DC Shed.  Housing the cyclone outside of the shop was a 'gotta-have' for me on this build so I made some tough decisions.  Maybe the thread will give you some ideas and pre-warn you about stumbling blocks I ran into.

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The separated room for DC is a winner, no doubt. If your location and climate control can manage it, I would exhaust the cyclone straight outside. I also suggest putting a relatively small collection box at the bottom of the cyclone, with a 'gate' on the bottom, so you can just slide the gate open and let the contents drop into an easily movable container. Eliminates wrestling with a full barrel of chips & dust.

For sound control, build the wall around your DC with 2x4 studs on 2x6 sills. Alternate each stud as to which edge of the sill & top plate it aligns with. This minimizes the points of solid transfer between the inner and outer wall 'skins', and reduces noise transmission tremendously.

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11 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

For sound control, build the wall around your DC with 2x4 studs on 2x6 sills. Alternate each stud as to which edge of the sill & top plate it aligns with. This minimizes the points of solid transfer between the inner and outer wall 'skins', and reduces noise transmission tremendously.

I like this advice but if the extra cost is possible for exterior walls I'd modify it to 2x6 studs on a 2x8 sill. I don't think I'll ever build another building with out 2x6 or even 2x8 exterior walls. The upfront cost will easily be made up for with the decreased hvac losses. Sound issue aside it'd also allow you to insulate between the studs and sheathing which can help heat gain/loss tremendously.

If this is an interior wall ignore the above.

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I think it was a long time ago now, but I believe April Wilkerson set up the dust control at her shop outside but had the filter inside to help with the noise. If I recall she had it set up where she could switch between the filter and just running the exhaust outside allowing you to keep the AC in the building when it's really hot out and dump the air outside when it's milder.

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On 9/10/2021 at 8:48 AM, legenddc said:

I think it was a long time ago now, but I believe April Wilkerson set up the dust control at her shop outside but had the filter inside to help with the noise. If I recall she had it set up where she could switch between the filter and just running the exhaust outside allowing you to keep the AC in the building when it's really hot out and dump the air outside when it's milder.

My dust collector is in a closet with the filter on the shop side of the wall and from my experience you need to have everything out of the shop or the noise level is essentially not affected as it comes through the filter. 

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I have no option to stick my DC in a closet, so this is a completely uninformed question. Is the point to reduce the noise in the shop? I can't hear my DC with hearing protection on and quiet music playing. I have to lift an ear to verify its on. So is the goal to be able to run machinery without hearing protection? Secondly the air rushing in the port is way louder than the actual DC it's self. Do i just have a quiet DC setup? I always feel like I'm missing something when this conversation comes up. There is no way i could work in my shop with out hearing protection but the DC is not what's causing the noise.

I've lost enough of my hearing and don't want to loose more so i wear hearing protection a solid 6 hours a day now. I put it on for everything from mowing to running a hand drill. Only time i really take my hearing protection off is for applying finish. There are times i wish i could pop in hearing protection for bars.

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:18 AM, pkinneb said:

My dust collector is in a closet with the filter on the shop side of the wall and from my experience you need to have everything out of the shop or the noise level is essentially not affected as it comes through the filter. 

Most of us have heard an induction motor running while setting on the bench or simply disengaged from the apparatus it powers (belt off on the tablesaw or bandsaw for example).  That is pretty much what your DC sounds like if the impeller is not engaged.  The air is the payload for a dust collector and moving that mass makes noise.  If the motor on my cyclone made the noise that the moving air makes I would expect it to explode at any moment :D.

Since the noise moving through the machine is your noise source, moving that machine out of the shop is a win for me.  As to the exhaust, the filter acts like a bit of a muffler but, adds noise of its own as the air passes through.  I am hoping by exhausting outside with pretty much nothing in the path I will have a workable solution.  If the exhaust air is too noisy I will have to look at adding a non-restrictive folding baffle of some sort.

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On 9/10/2021 at 3:06 PM, Chestnut said:

I have no option to stick my DC in a closet, so this is a completely uninformed question. Is the point to reduce the noise in the shop? I can't hear my DC with hearing protection on and quiet music playing. I have to lift an ear to verify its on. So is the goal to be able to run machinery without hearing protection? Secondly the air rushing in the port is way louder than the actual DC it's self. Do i just have a quiet DC setup? I always feel like I'm missing something when this conversation comes up. There is no way i could work in my shop with out hearing protection but the DC is not what's causing the noise.

I've lost enough of my hearing and don't want to loose more so i wear hearing protection a solid 6 hours a day now. I put it on for everything from mowing to running a hand drill. Only time i really take my hearing protection off is for applying finish. There are times i wish i could pop in hearing protection for bars.

The Harbor Freight dust collector is far and away louder than a straight blade jointer and almost as loud as the straight blade planer. My older weaker Jet one is a lot quieter. 

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On 9/10/2021 at 4:45 PM, gee-dub said:

.... That is pretty much what your DC sounds like if the impeller is not engaged.  The air is the payload for a dust collector and moving that mass makes noise. ....

While I agree that the noise of the motor is almost nothing, it is the air raid siren impeller attached to it that makes most of the noise. Depending on how the housing directs airflow and chops the air stream up determines how much noise it makes. A lot of the noise from the blower is directed into the outlet of the blower. I was surprised at the noise reduction when I added a cyclone.

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With the 3HP Laguna DC switched on you might as well be parking planes at the airport.  Far louder than any machine I have and requires hearing protection.  

On 9/9/2021 at 8:32 PM, wtnhighlander said:

For sound control, build the wall around your DC with 2x4 studs on 2x6 sills. Alternate each stud as to which edge of the sill & top plate it aligns with. This minimizes the points of solid transfer between the inner and outer wall 'skins', and reduces noise transmission tremendously.

Ross, that's a great idea, but how do you hang drywall/sheathing?  Wouldn't you end up with studs on 32" centers?

And now back to the original question.  Put me down as "surface mount", for both DC and electrical conduit.  A well functioning workshop is subject to change.

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1 minute ago, Mark J said:

  

Ross, that's a great idea, but how do you hang drywall/sheathing?  Wouldn't you end up with studs on 32" centers?

For hanging sheet material of 4' width, studs need to be 12" OC so you have 24" spacing on each side for the wall board. Alternatively, keep the studs at 16" centers, and add horizontal perlins for hanging wall board.

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On 9/10/2021 at 5:50 PM, wtnhighlander said:

Drew, I'm guessing you have an unusually quiet system.

Based off the comments here I should be grateful for how quiet it is. Oneida Gorilla Pro with in filter silencer, if any one wants to make their pockets considerably lighter.

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