Shop Question

Hi guys. First time posting here, usually hang out at rec.woodworking.
OK, looks like this could be the year I get a garage/shop up.
Primary use will be for vehicle, and other,metal projects, all involving lots of sparks.
I'd prefer a wooden shop, but with all the sparks expected, I don't wan to wind up burning one down - I'll do woodworking also, specifically a boat; so likely sawdust in cracks and crevices. So metal may be the way to go.
I imagine there's a few of you guys. in wooden shops, that make a lot of sparks. Any specia things you guys have, or do, to keep from burning your shops down? Besides fire resistant paint,, fire extinguisher, etc. Or, should I just go for a metal building from the start?
I'll be checking back. Thanks
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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Walls with drywall and all the joints mudded and taped will act as a barrier to sparks. Still, have a fire extinguisher handy for the unexpected. Grinding sparks from an angle grinder are the main concern. You will light up a piece of paper or a rag if the sparks hit it constantly. Generally remain at the area half an hour after you have finished any hot operations. This is standard practice in large sawmills. Randy

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Randy Zimmerman wrote:

You might consider using Hardiboard instead of sheetrock
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More good stuff. Some of that stuff is definitely NOT gonna get done. Probably shoulda said, I'm on a fixed income now, and this is gonna be basically a hobby" shop. It'll probably wind up at about 12' X 20' - and I know, it's not gonna be even close to being big enough, but I can't afford a shop 200' X 200'. So I makes do with what I can afford. So it won't be plumbed for water. It will have fire extinguishers, probably at least 4. Maybe a couple of those hand pump water types too. I'd already figured on using some sand in the floor paint. I'm still figuring on gloss white the interior. And, any tools will wind up painted, probably yellow, if they're a dark color. I've never been able to understand electric stuff, it's like magic to me. But one sone does A/C work, and the other does refrigeration, so they're both very knowledgeable about electricity, so I'll have them guide me when it comes to that. I figure on 110 and 220,. I'll have at least one set of outlets on each wall, but I figure on having some power cords, dropping down from the ceiling too. I'll have a MIG welder, maybe gas welder later, probably won't have enough justification to spend that much for a plasma cutter. I'm in central NC, so while I do plan on insulating, I could get by without - I'm not sure what kind of heat I'll have, at this time, but there will be some kind for sure. I don't plan on any A/C, just one or two strategically placed large fans. Oh yeah, there won't be any paper, sawdust, etc., on the floor. And I plan on a quick sweep before any grinding or welding. I really like the no welding or grinding for half an hour before quitting time rule. Might never have came up with that one on my own.
Thanks again guys. I think that should do me just fine. Now I just need my younger son to move his '51 Buick so I can get a pad poured. Damn kids. LMAO
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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J T wrote:

I have a wood framed shop with a concrete floor and I've never had a problem. I try to do welding and grinding in the middle of the floor away from the walls. Oxy-acetylene cutting is done outside. A bandsaw helps to avoid most OA cutting.
--
Gary Brady
Austin, TX
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Sheet rock works well. Makes sure that you trim out the floor to wall joints so sparks can't sneak in there. Also pay close attention to ceiling joints. A fab shop in our neighborhood caught fire a few years ago from sparks that got into an overhead light fixture. I have been welding and cutting in my sheet rocked shop for years with no problems. The framed wall/ sheet rock construction makes it a lot easier to insulate and heat and dehumidify, too. I use 6" studs and 10 to 12 inch ceiling joists, so there's room for lots of insulation. Come to think of it, my shops are in a metal building, anyway. But that doesn't count because the inner walls are still sheet rock.
Pete Stanaitis --------------------------- J T wrote:

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spaco wrote:

Use 5/8" type X a.k.a. fire code sheetrock. Only slightly more cost, a fair amount more weight and it's more durable in general as well.
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J T wrote:

Steel studs and covered with sheet rock. Make sure that there is no place a spark will travel and get behind where you can't see it and start a fire. If it can't burn it won't catch fire. I run a 20 hp snag grinder that will set a pallet on fire 20 feet away from it. Everything near is that burns is moved away from the area when we run it. The rule in the shop is no welding or grinding is done within a half hour of quitting time.
John
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Concrete slab, 1 to 5 rows of concrete block, stud wall above. Wire and insulate as required (lots of both!), cover with 5.8" fire code sheet rock. Overlap the sheet rock serveal inches over the block. Mud, sand, paint with a semigloss paint. Consider running the wiring as surface mounted conduit, much fewer holes in the wall. Sheetrock the ceiling, full mud and sand.
Figure out some way to keep EVERYTHING up off the floor, you need to be able to clean the entire floor. The sparks want to run off, hide, and do mischief in the corners.
Put a 10# fire extinguisher by each exit door.
J T wrote:

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On Jul 7, 2:39 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

I see you have included vehicles in the shop as well as the normal wood and metal working equipment. I hope you have diesel vehicles and not gasoline. Gasoline and shops do not mix. If you open the big doors to air things out before welding, etc. you should be ok. Just be sure there is no place where gasoline vapors can collect. And do not store gasoline containers in the shop. I have watched the results when gasoline for the boat was stored where the welding was done. Not a pleasant sight!
And good luck with the shop. Paul
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Hi guys:
I've read all the replies, and decided to just reply with just one rather hen each indvidally.
It all sounds like good commen sense to me. Wish I'd thought of it on my own. LOL I like the idea of a few rows of blocks. The fire code sheetrock is good -I hate to send sheet rock. Like the wiring in conduits outside the sheetrock. So, basically, I'll go with all of it.
Yes, I'll be working on vehicle in there, but plan on only grinding, welding, etc., on non-running vehicles - projects in other words - there won't be any gas in there to worry about. Later on, vehicles will be pulled in fo maintenance, et al, but don't plan on anthing tha'll make sparks.
The boatbuilding will mainly be the assembling of parts cut in my small wodworking shops, I will only have as few basic tools as I can get way with in the shop, then they'll b put back in the woodwoking shop. Basically the shop will be usd for that becase that's the only inside space I'll have to use.
Befoe I forget. I painted the inside of my woodworking shop semi-gloss whice. Seemed very bright to me. Untill I started moving in tools and stuff, and hanging stuff on the walls. DImmed up some right quick. I wasn't about to move everything out and repaint, so ive with it. I learnd from that, the inside of the shop will be pantd at least two coats of the brightest gloss white I can be find - roller is fine for that. I'll paint everything except windows, walls, ceiling, door, and either paint the floor too, or put some sort of bight finish on it. Gloss paint brightens things up considerable.
I got in te habit of painting all my woodworking power tools too. A bright yellow. Not only makes the shop seem a bit brighter, it's moe cheerful - medical fact that. http://www.holistic-online.com/Color/color_yellow.htm
So thanks guys, I think that pretty well covers it, that's exactly the info I needed.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Paint the floor white, but use a flat white - gloss finish on floors is a good way to crack your skull, especially with sawdust and machine oils around.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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On Jul 8, 5:45 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

I would also plumb water faucets in at least two locations. One by the personel door. Fire extinguishers are nice but can get empty before the fire is completely out. And nothing beats lots of water for putting out fires.
Dan
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On Sun, 08 Jul 2007 06:49:08 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@krl.org"

Amen to that - put a faucet and keep a garden hose long enough to reach around the usual work areas with a trigger nozzle hooked up. And tell the other people around that this is a fire hose, it is NOT to be borrowed to water the backyard - it'll never get returned...
Get at least two 10-pound ABC fire extinguishers, put up permanent wall hangers by the exit doors. If you weld, get a smaller BC unit to keep close by as you work - mount the bracket on the welder cart. Bicarbonate of Soda BC Compound is far easier to clean up with less corrosive potential than the Ammonium Phosphate ABC Compound.
Carbon Dioxide puts out big fires with no mess - but blows away so wood and paper can reflash again and again. Get a pressurized water extinguisher and/or see "fire hose" above.
Paint the floor with an epoxy two-part, spread some fine sand in it as a traction aid if you wish - but leave it a SOLID COLOR.
Those black and gray or multi-toned color flecks in the kits look great - right until you drop a little screw or nut on the floor and it instantly blends in with the clutter of the flecks...
Oh, and The Electrician Sez:...
Always take whatever you figure will be your future electrical and other utility needs in the shop - and double or even triple them. Remember when they thought 30 Amps was more than enough for a house? Now 400 Amp services are becoming common.
If you swear you'll never need more than 50 Amps in the shop for a welder outlet, you're kidding yourself, get a plasma cutter and now there's another 30A @ 220V to run the compressor at the same time...
Start with 100 Amps 120/240V bare minimum, and follow the size charts for voltage drop - long runs need much bigger wire, and huge wire if you use aluminum. Put in twin 2" conduits to the house (3" or 4" for real long runs for oversized wire) so you can pump 200 Amps out there if or when you need it. If nothing else, put all the stub-outs in the footing before you pour.
Plastic pipe is cheap, breaking concrete and digging trenches is not. And you always double-pipe underground power runs, because if the wires fail in mid-run they often melt into the pipe and won't pull out, and you'll have to abandon the pipe.
Better yet, if your utility will do it get a separate 100-Amp or 200-Amp service drop and meter main for the shop building. 3-Phase power if you can get it, there are always sweet deals out there for used industrial gear they can't sell because nobody has the 3-Phase power to run it.
Same for water, gas, sewer, CATV, phone, and other utilities - Plan Ahead. Bury multiple big conduits before you pour the sidewalks and driveway, better than digging later. Put in a gas line even if you don't use it now, you'll get a kiln or a forge later, or decide you really need a heater out in the shop...
Put in a 3' x 3' closet with a 32" solid core door and outside high/low ventilation - vertical air compressor. Cuts the noise.
Oh, and while you have the trench open put a 1/2" or 3/4" Copper air line to the house from the shop compressor. So when you do any construction work at the house you don't have to listen to that noisy pancake portable compressor whining away.
--<< Bruce >>--
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J T wrote:

Presume you mean "sand" sheetrock, I do too. Hating sanding is a good reason to really work on your taping technique as the pros do little sanding because their taping skills are good. When I started gutting and rebuilding my shop my taping skills got good enough that a "wet sand" with a damp semi abrasive sponge was sufficient. Also realize it's a shop and not an art gallery so it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, just good.

Yes, all electrical in surface mounted conduit. I installed sections of Unistrut at the top of the wall every other stud to secure the conduit to. I also put continuous 2x4 (4" vertical) backers at the 4' and 6' levels for easy securing of electrical boxes, shelves, etc.
You can see some pics of my shop upgrade at http://wpnet.us/Power/index.htm Power to the shop is a 125A 32 space Square D QO series panel, fed the nominal 100' of wire from the house with copper wire two gauges heavier then code minimum to limit voltage drop when the welder is hitting it hard.

Always assume that *something* will make sparks. Keep a couple good fire extinguishers in the shop as well as a cheap portable fan that you can aim at the area when you are working with gas to dissipate the fumes out the open door.

Try ultra pure white in eggshell finish. It's reasonably durable, and unlike gloss it doesn't reflect your darker tools and equipment, just the ambient light. Also be sure to install plenty of light fixtures, the T8 or better yet 8' HO flouros are good. 25W+ CFs in the cheap clip on fixtures are nice for cool efficient task lighting.

Not sure about yellow, but when repainting my stuff I go for white.
Pete C.
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Just remember that safety practices and common sense are as important or even more so than building materials. I have seen metal shops burn to the ground, too.
Steve
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