Garage Tips

Good Day Everyone
I am one of the silent ones that read the postings in this newsgroup.....I
am building my garage/shop as soon as the snow disappears.Many of you have
gone thru this..I am trying to think of what I should plan into this garage
before I build it...I am a Machinist and Millwright by trade and I also
enjoy woodworking and welding. I am open to all suggestions are a
few ...but please feel free to add more..
-what to paint the concrete with?
-what type of exhaust system?
-which is better drywall or plywood interior ?
-different hoist systems?
-what seems to be the common electrical requirements?
Thats kind of a start...but as I said please feel free to suggest things to
put in or do......I finally talked the warden into the size...She was a
tough sell but I did it.It will be 28 x 32....the only clause is to save
room for her to park her van in the winter.I would like to try and
implement improvements to my design before its built and try to have no
regrets after its done.
Thank You in advance
Reply to
Peter Corbett
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Have you priced plywood? I can't seem to find a decent sheet of plywood for less than $20. It will be 1/2" drywall for me.
240/20amp x 2 for the lathe and mill 240/40amp for the future TIG welder, a bunch of 120/20amp outlets on a GFI, and CAT5 for phone and internet.
28 x 32, you did well.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
i built one about 15 yrs. ago.. when finished i then had a place to put my lathe, the air compressor, the roll around tool chest and cabinet... and alot of other stuff like the lawnmower and wheel barrow... i make some wooden shelves on both walls and a desk/bench by the side window for light... well now after being in this house for 30 yrs and raising three kids and looking at my WORKSHOP?? i cant figure out how i am gonna get in there to do anything.. we have christmas decorations, easter, mardi gras, just about every holiday you can think of... and just about every toy that was made for kids over the past 25 yrs... everytime i look at that go cart that i paid $500 for about 22 yrs ago i want to cry as i had one ride on it... daughter cried everytime she sat on it as a kid and then later never had any interest in driving until we bought her a car some 15 yrs. later.... i have old furniture in there, some light fixtures that were replaced in the house over the years,never know when you gonna need the old ones.... i need to get some metal sheeting that i bought about 15 yrs. ago(the kind that they warehouses out of) i had it cut to 6 ft. lengths-the stuff does not rust.. i only did one side of the property with it when we first got it and figured that i would do the other side when the cedar fence would rot.. well not the fence rotted and i have to empty this workshop out just to get to the metal sheeting as its behind all the other junk in there.... i remember that when the building inspector for the local govt. came out to do a final inspection on the building that i did.. he was talking to a guy who was with him: it went like this, my brother-in-law built a shed and never had anything to put in it..... well not its packed with all the junk from the kids and wife... well now i know the feeling.. hope you dont have the same problem... remember once they get their foot in the door with just one car to park in the winter they will inch their way in and push you out.....
Reply to
Put in a 100 Amp 220VAC electrical service just for the garage. Get a breaker box with room for lots of breakers, I suggest at least room for 20 breakers, as 220 breakers use two spaces. You should figure on a 50 amp 220 circuit for the welder, but you could plug other things on that circuit if you will not run them as the same time as the welder. You could run a conduit with boxes around the wall of the shop, which would allow you to make changes later, as you get new machines. I would put a 110 VAC GFI 20 amp outlet every few feet, maybe a quad outlet instead of the usual dual outlet, but probably only put 220 where it was needed. Will you want three phase power? If so, size the conduit and boxes accordingly, and plan where you will put the converter. The 100 Amp service will be more than adequate, since you will not be running more than one (or at most two) machines at one time.
I would go for a higher roof to allow room for an A-frame hoist on wheels, but many people use an engine lift. I know one guy with a bridge crane in his shop! My dream shop would have at least one door 12 foot high by 10 foot wide, so I can roll in my dual rear wheel truck with a load in it, or a camper on the back.
You should consider a shop layout with fixed or semi-fixed equipment around the perimeter, with a workspace in the center using benches on wheels, so you can move them to park a car.
If you are going to weld inside, use fire rated drywall rather than plywood, at least in that area. Many garages are bare studs on the inside, and that is probably OK also, except for a paint booth or a welding area.
I would plan on a paint booth in one corner, a kind of clean room, with an explosion-proof exhaust fan. I would want a dirty corner of the shop or a booth for welding and grinding and sanding. I have also considered a kind of carport area, covered but open on the sides, for welding, grinding, and blacksmithing, to keep the mess away from the rest of the shop. Now I have my welder next to the door, so I can weld inside or outside. Outside is safer due to the other things in the garage.
Woodworking, which generates flammable and potentially explosive dust, is kind of incompatible with welding and grinding, I think, so that is a layout challenge.
Do you need heat? Will you pipe propane or natural gas to your shop? You might even want it for an oven or forge.
In some climates, you might want a swamp cooler for the shop, although it would increase the humidity and possibly cause more rusting.
I don't know that painting the concrete is necessary, though it might be nice if you had a paint booth. I would not want a painted floor where I planned to weld.
I would plan to extend a phone line to the shop, although you could probably just use a cordless in the shop.
A few thoughts from someone who wishes they had your opportunity. Good luck and have fun.
Peter Corbett wrote:
Reply to
Richard Ferguson
Hi Pete,
I've had two *very* nice home shops in my days. The one thing I'd suggest to you is to NOT paint the floor where you intend to do your welding. I had an epoxy painted concrete floor in the first shop and loved it, but anywhere you drop slag or spatter it burns it brown, making it look terrible in short order. Mine was painted a very nice light gray color.
I'm not nuts about the appearance of concrete, so when we built the current shop, I chose to dye the concrete instead of paint it. I use a generous amount of Oil-Dri, so my floor stays very clean, not oily. I also have a built in vacuum cleaner system so it doesn't get dusty.
If the idea of dying the concrete appeals to you, dying it gray is not very expensive, especially if you ask them to halve the lowest formulation they show for gray. It turns out a very nice light gray and doesn't cost more than a couple bucks/yard for the color. They use lamp black for gray, but other colors are made from expensive additives, so the cost could turn ugly in a hurry. Talk to your concrete supply people to see what they have to offer if you like the idea.
I heat hydronically and wouldn't have it any other way. The floor is 6-1/4" thick, so the hoses are deep enough to permit anchoring things if necessary.
Think about installing your airlines and electrical in the walls, not on the surface. That makes for much easier house keeping. I think I'd recommend copper air lines, although mine are PVC. We all know how bad that can be.
Good luck with the new shop. Be sure to post some pics for us when you're finished.
Reply to
Harold & Susan Vordos
I would go for 2 X 6 walls and insulate and sheetrock. You will want to heat the shop in the winter. Also extra high ceilings are nice if you want to put in an overhead crane some day. An extra thick floor is nice to. It only took 3 years to crack the floor all over in my old garage.
Richard W.
Reply to
Richard W.
If this is to be a heated shop for fine machine tools, in a cold climate with road salt, the van in winter is a bad combination - for both the tools and the van. If you have to do it that way, think about dividing it in two, e.g. a clean heated shop for the fine tools, and a separate air space for the van and your welding, grinding, maybe woodworking, sandblasting.
Reply to
Bob Powell
I like the idea of corrugated galvanized steel. They used that on the interior walls of the skating rink here, and it looks and performs great.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
If your neighborhood is like mine AND if you are getting a permit for this work, then you won't have any choice - you will have to put in fire-preventive drywall.
I painted my first shop's floor with expensive epoxy paint. After 4 years I wanted to repaint it - millions of chips, scrapes, dings everywhere. I sanded it and cleaned it immaculately. Then I painted it exactly to the manufacturer's spec. It PEELED. Now I'm never going to paint a concrete floor again and if I do it will be plain old floor enamel. My new floor is bare concrete and the thing I don't like about it is oil soaks in. Bummer.
I use a 2-ton folding engine hoist of a modern import design, modified to accept an 8-ton long-throw air over hydraulic pump.
I use low-profile fluorescent lighting that the garage door clears.
I do welding/grinding or woodwork outside my shop. I used to have a canopy just out front which extended the season wonderfully - I'll have to replace that one of these days. I do machine work inside. I don't paint in there either.
Oh - here's a very important bit--get a SOLID agreement with your whole family that this is YOUR space and is NEVER to be used to store things like Christmas ornaments or old toys. This will never work unless you have another space for things like that which you use in concert with a focussed plan for clutter control in your life.
I have 200 amps of power to my shop, more than I need. I have a 30A phase converter (7½ hp idler) which is wired into the system and there are 3 different "busses" of electrical wiring run around my shop - there is a 117V bus, a 220V single phase bus, and a 220V three phase bus. I have a 4-gang 117V outlet box about every eight feet on my walls, up where I can see them. The 220V single phase busses terminate in 4" square boxes, and the three phase busses terminate in small disconnect boxes.
At present I still run airlines all over my floor as needed. However, I did forge a bunch of hooks so I have biggish hooks on many studs to hang cords, welding lead, torch lead, and air hose on.
A big improvement came when I bought some real sets of sheet metal drawers. If you can, plan in a few hundred drawers - and pay attention when you buy them. The ones 18" deep are much more useful than the ones 12" deep. Buy a good labelmaker and put things in drawers as you come upon them, and label a bunch of drawers all at once. Later you can move the drawers around to get them in reasonable order. Between the wall hooks and the drawers, the clutter in my shop went down by a factor of 100 or more.
This spring I am building an outdoor undercover rack for metal stock - this isn't stock for machine work, rather for fabrication work which I seem to do a lot more of. I'm planning to cut all metal to 10' lengths when it comes in, and to have it all up on end so I can more easily remove any piece. I'm going to separate it into angle, flat, pipe, square tube, round bar, square bar. That will get me a lot more space inside my shop.
I suggest measuring the footprint of your tools and scaling them down and going onto your computer, make a scale drawing of your shop (probably a rectangle) and put all your major components in there (all drawn to scale) and then you can move them around and think about your layout. That's a whole lot easier than moving things around full scale! It's good to also start with the end in mind. Are you ever going to bring home a surface grinder? Where will you put it? A hydraulic press? A propane forge? A big belt sander?
Finally, the more I go into metalworking, the more I realize the value of one of my simplest tools - the lowly file. Think carefully about how you store your files and buy them good quality handles and keep them sharp.
Grant Erwin Kirkland, Washington
Peter Corbett wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I finally talked the warden into the size...She was a
First off you should not be negotiating with the warden you are the one that should be entitled to unquestioning obedience. Not that I was able to get that deal either, but somewhere you got to draw the line and the shop is the place.
Since your size is restricted in two dimentions, you will need to dig the basement deep enough to gain an additional floor below and then you will have to build up also. Since you also lost valuable floor space to park a van inside be sure to put a pole right where the door to the van will open. This will discourage parking the car inside so you can slowly co-opt the space you lost in negotiations.
Of course this might start an insufferable whining about wanting a station wagon so you need to design the pole to be moveable or bolt down the compressor where the door to the wagon will be.
If the butget does not allow for a second story at this time, design the building to be easily modified later.
Reply to
Roger Shoaf
Very devious and underhanded schemes. Filed accordingly for possible future use.
Reply to
Did you use a purpose-build vacuum or a modified shop-vac? I've been thinking about running 3" PVC around and connecting it to a shop-vac in the loft. Do you know if there's a place to get adapters to make something like this work? It probably wouldn't be a big deal to turn adapters on the lathe if they aren't readily available.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
3" is too large I suspect. You need to keep flow velocity up, so that sand particles (or worse, metal filings) don't fall to the bottom of the pipe and clog it.
Reply to
Ian Stirling
Unless you have a killer vacuum cleaner, I'd suggest you don't go beyond 2" pipe. 3" would likely be so large that you'd pick up items that would get dropped once they hit the larger pipe, thanks to reduced velocity of the air flow. I used schedule 40 PVC pipe and 2" ABS fittings. They are just slightly larger than the pipe supplied by the manufacturers of built in cleaning systems, but with a much heavier wall. By using both glues, or one made for both materials, the joints are more than adequate. Remember, they are under vacuum, not pressure, so the strength of the glue joint is not an issue. In the shop I terminated each of several outlets simply by using a piece of 1-1/2" ABS pipe, which I cap with a rubber cap when not in use. I use commercial hose like you find in car washes for a vacuum hose in the shop. For the house my plan is to buy the outlets that are made for homes. They include the automatic switch. I use a simple toggle switch at each outlet in the shop, where everything is in the walls except for the outlet and switch, so the installation is completely out of sight.
Armed with the idea that the vacuum we bought would be used in the house as well as the shop, which we built first, we chose to buy a large commercial sized built-in vacuum cleaner, a Vacuflo model 960. I chose it over all others because it does NOT have a filter bag, so it doesn't experience reduced cleaning ability. In place of the filter bag it is plumbed directly outside, where the finest of dust that isn't extracted by the cyclonic separator is discharged. It keeps the interior of any place much cleaner by not recirculating dirty air. The model 960 has two motors and is adequate to clean up to 18,000 square feet of area. A unit that doesn't move much air is likely to disappoint, so don't get caught up with a wimpy unit and expect great results. Many of the shop vac's I've used wouldn't be worth installing.
Try to mount your vacuum on something that won't transmit noise. I have a dedicated room for the vacuum cleaner, shared by my compressor. You don't hear anything when it runs except for the air moving at the hose. Makes it much nicer than hearing an entire building rumbling, something that you'd likely experience by mounting your vacuum on an upper floor.
Hope some of this helps!
Reply to
Harold & Susan Vordos
At worst, it's nothing more than an inconvenience, Grant. When you find a spill, wipe up the free oil, then cover the area with solvent and wipe it about with a small brush until you've dissolved all the surface oil. Cover the area with Oil-Dri, then saturate the Oil-Dri with more solvent (Stoddard, or mineral spirits). Let air dry. When it's dry, the stain is usually gone. If not, repeat. The capillary action of the evaporating solvent will draw the diluted oil out of the concrete. Works like a charm. I've removed years old oil stains in driveways with compete success.
Reply to
Harold & Susan Vordos
Yep and quit referring to it as the garage, it's the Work Shop!! That will reduce the pain with the temporary parking permit is rescinded :-)
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Reply to
Hello Harold,
Please explain for all of us over the pond. Regards GeoffH Norfolk - UK
Reply to
"GeoffH>" Hello Harold,
Hi Geoff,
I will assume that you folks have the same product on that side of the pond that we have here. If not, it is a clay product made in coarse granulated particles that are used for absorbing oil spills and also for litter in cat boxes for those that keep their cats indoors.
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I keep a generous amount of Oil-Dri anywhere that I'm likely to have any dripping, such as under the headstock of my aged lathe, for example. I also keep it around the base of my Bridgeport. Beyond that, if I experience a spill, the first thing I do is wipe up the excess oil with a rag, then cover the area that is oil saturated with solvent (Stoddard solvent or mineral spirits) and work it in with a small brush. Do not use gasoline (petrol) for obvious reasons. At that point I cover the wetted area with Oil-Dri, then saturate the Oil-Dri with more solvent. As the solvent evaporates, it draws the oil from the concrete and into the Oil-Dri. Leave the Oil-Dri until it has dried completely. By using this method you can clean concrete so well you can't see where the oil was, although if it has had time to sink in it may require a couple repetitions of the solvent application.
As stated in another thread earlier today, I have cleaned driveways that have had years of oil accumulation with outstanding results. The nice part is it doesn't require any effort on your part, the solvent does the work.
Hope this helps clear up the mystery!
Reply to
Harold & Susan Vordos
You lucky dog. With the size and sharing constraints you have, I'd do it like this. Put a 9' OH door at the far end 2' from the outside wall on the 32' side. Put another one 16" from that one. Separate them with a partition. Put a 3' pocket door in the partition 6' from the wall at the back of the garage. Now SWMBO has a dedicated parking place and room at the back for storage. For Xmas decorations, switch to Islam. For all the rest of the crap that collects in a family, put a dumpster enclosure outside. Now, for your 2/3's of the space. I wouldn't paint the concrete. I'd use a shake-on color/hardener when the slab is poured. It is shaken on and mixed into the mud on the surface with the float machine. It's about 1/4" thick when finished and wears like iron because it has iron in it.There is no dust. A sealer protects against stains and can be renewed, but probably wont have to be in our lifetimes of home use. The color wont chip peel crack or fade, it's part of the concrete. Pick a color you like. I like white or light gray. There is a large range of these available. Talk to your concrete contractor. If you do the slab yourself with some buddies, get at least two who do flatwork for a living to run the show, and know what to do. Once the mud is poured you don't have time to scratch your head, mistakes made on the slab are expensive to correct. I would probably frame the whole thing with steel studs joists and rafters. Make it as tall as codes and architectural aesthetics will allow. If you can, make your OH door 10' high. Firerock on the inside walls. 1/4" tempered hardboard 4' up to protect walls. Lots of 120 VAC outlets 4' high on walls.Copper air lines inside the walls 6' high with a sub out every 8' or so. 3 phase loop around the room 5' high with a 4x4 box every 8'. Ceiling outlets near the OH door and in the middle of the room. Air lines at those locations also. OSB sheathing on the outside. Finish O/S to suit home. Separate little room outside the building behind the dumpster enc. for mechanicals, central vac, 3 phase converter. H2O heater, beer cooler etc. zoned hydronic heat, lots of light fixtures. Thanks for the opportunity to fantasize. Tom. PS Put sign on the door "NO GIRLS ALLOWED"
Reply to
Tom Wait
Well thankyou for the input there were a lot of great suggestions....I even put my foot down and told my woman this is the way its going to be.....I now get to plan an upstairs.....7/12 pitch gives me a 6'high x 10' wide x 32' long room upstairs.....alittle heat.....a hot plate and bar fridge and i'll be ready to move in......she has promised visiting rights to my kids at Christmas.....AHHHHH bring on the construction season........
Reply to
Peter Corbett

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