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Need input on making a shop in the basement

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  • Need input on making a shop in the basement

    Well, it looks as though our move will go through, to a house with a 2 car garage and a large unfinished basement. Our dilemma is that we've been working out of the perimeter of a one-car garage, making sure that the car would still fit in it. I'm sure I posted pictures when we did it, about 2 years ago, to get away from the dreadful, toxic community woodshop.

    We have a scrollsaw (natch), spindle sander, belt sander, drill press, SandFlee and band saw. We need a table saw (are eyeing the contractor sized sawstop) and a drum sander (Jet, probably). Might add a planer and/or jointer at some point.

    Given our ages (66 and 67) we don't want to go overboard with setting up a shop, but still need something nice. You all know what I do, and Joe builds really nice furniture. We're thinking of using one bay of the garage, because it's bright and good for photography, and also setting up a fan for ventilation for finishing (there are 2 windows). But the basement is large, dry, and completely unfinished, and would give better climate control. So, we're thinking of putting the table saw, drum sander, and other heavy equipment down there, and hooking each tool up to a dust collection system.

    We don't know if anything has to be enclosed. The walls are poured concrete, so making an enclosed shop would be a lot of work. Can we get away with just having the tools down there, hooked up to the dust collection? Do we need to partition the tools off? The oil burner and other mechanicals are down there, but it's a big basement and the tools could be placed at the other end. We'd need to hang lights, of course, and have an electrician tap into the box (for the garage as well) to get power over to the tools. The garage would need a heater (wall mounted) but the basement might be OK as is.

    We'll probably get the garage shop up and running as soon as I get the walls finished (they are taped now, but unfinished) and painted, and the electrician in. Then over the winter, we can work on the downstairs. There are Bilco doors out of the basement.

    I'd be grateful for any suggestions from those of you who have dealt with similar situations. We plan to close on the house in about a month or so, so this is a good time to start planning.


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  • #2
    I don't have a basement but one thing that helped me out in finding and placing tools in the area I had to work with was to measure and draw a scale floor plan and then measure and make scale cut outs of the tools (all from a plan view). That way I could move them around and see how things work together and if there was space.

    Not an answer to your question but just a thought.....


    • #3 happy you found a place of your own. Good luck with the move, and don't forget, lift with your leg muscles, at our age small cracks are easy to get.
      This software may be of help to you, if you can open it on your computer. -- Workshop Planner

      Rolf has his shop in the basement, I'm sure he will pop in with information for you as far as the furnace goes. I seem to recall someone posting about sawdust and the furnace filter issues, but don't recall the details.

      You did not mention if the garage was attached to the house, as you have now.
      Traveling to an outside garage especially in the winter can have its drawbacks.
      Nothing like getting a quick cup of coffee or bathroom breaks near by when the shop is attached to the house or in the basement.

      Please do keep us updated, its so exciting when someone gets their new shop together. Just remember what Carter would say......have phun!
      Gloria ............... Two memorable things to say in life, "Hello" for the first time, and "Good-bye" for the last.


      • #4
        Carole, I'm on my second basement shop. I've enclosed my work area from the rest only because of tracking sawdust all over. There is no need if you're not using the rest of the basement. Also no need to be worried about having the heating units in the same area, particularly if you're using dust collection. It hard to build up enough fine dust to cause a fire issue, so just go for it! Get lots of electrical outlets and lighting and you'll be fine.


        • #5
          Hi Carole
          Jim in Mexico

          Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
          - Albert Einstein


          • #6
            Hey Carol, To much pre-thinking always gets me in trouble. Set everything any way that looks good and start working. The better ways of doing things will start to show up instantly. Don't lock anything in stone because today's perfect is tomorrows pain. Wheels, casters and multi purpose tables and stands are a wonderful things. Just me talkin' Have a good one my friend Rob.
            May the wind at you back .....
            Not be from Lunch.

            Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

            Beauty is in the eye of the BEERHOLDER

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            Oily's Gallery



            • #7
              One thing struck me - if you or Joe will be cutting a lot of plywood or large pieces of wood on the table saw, it probably needs to be in the garage, with more of the smaller tools in the basement.

              I can't see wanting to carry large pieces of wood downstairs to be cut, then back to the garage for finishing.


              • #8

                The good news is that you and Joe will have more room; bad news is shoveling snow and cutting grass LOL. I've seen what look to be pretty good books on workshop creating at Barnes & Noble. Worth a looksee?
                Wishing you guys the best fo luck at your new abode.


                • #9
                  Some Great advice already, My entire shop is in the basement. I like Rob have my tools on wheels and the shop has been re-arranged many times. The dust collection system is a must.
                  I do have a clear plastic shower curtain between the main part of the basement and my primary workshop. I have a heater in the basement because it can, and does get down into the high 50's in the winter.
                  Lots of light and soft matts where I stand a lot.

                  All the empty space is not empty it has the washer dryer shelves etc.
                  Attached Files
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                  Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                  Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                  And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


                  • #10
                    Rolf.......When can I move in..????
                    I make a mean steak...

                    Wow, you sleep, every night, above WONDERLAND......

                    Carole, just be sure your not getting too much dust in the air down there. Sawdust can be explosive...
                    ....Just sayin'.

                    It looks like you're getting more real estate for tools...nice....!!!
                    Don't forget the pictures....

                    The limits of the imagination are imaginary.
                    No task is too tedious for Art.
                    Rock and Scroll

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                    Featherwood Woodcrafts


                    • #11
                      Joe and I don't know where to begin to thank you all for your help and suggestions. I've opened up a file for them, and Joe and I will start planning things out. As we sit here, surrounded by packing boxes, and hoping we're up to the challenge of once again owning a home, it's comforting to have so many wonderful friends to cheer us on and wish us well.

                      I'll be responding more fully later on when I have a little more time, but Joe and I wanted to get our thanks in as soon as we could.

                      Rolf, I am curious that a sewing machine is part of your shop. I've only used mine to make my shop aprons. Am I missing something? BTW, your shop looks like heaven--Jim is right!

                      You guys are like family, only better!

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                      • #12
                        When I first built my house, the whole basement was open and I took up one end of it for my shop. Fortunately I have a walk out basement, so no lugging stuff up & down stairs. Years later I did partition off a couple rooms, plus one whole end for my shop. While I lost the luxury of being able to spread out when required, having the basement partitioned does have it's advantages. The biggest is keeping all the shop stuff confined instead of scattered all over. the other is more convenient wall space. Wall space is almost as valuable as floor space for storing stuff.

                        So, even though the poured concrete walls would make it tougher, it wouldn't be impossible to build one wall across the whole width of the basement. I like being able to shut the door and close my shop off to the rest of the basement and my wife likes it that the mess and clutter is confined within the shop walls and otherwise out of sight.

                        Once you do decide on the shop space, before you move stuff in, make sure you have plenty of outlets handy. This is another advantage of the extra wall, more room to put outlets. Also, now is the time to paint the walls a light color to help brighten the space up. Add some sound deadening insulation, or maybe even a couple layers of drywall, in between the joist bays to help deaden the noise transfer upstairs.
                        Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


                        • #13
                          I'm just finishing my third iteration of a basement shop (each larger than the previous). This time around I put up a wall down the middle of the basement to section off the shop from the other things (and believe me, after living here almost 35 years, there is a lot of other things). The biggest improvements I made this time around are having the shop door aligned with the stairs (to make it easier to get materials, etc in and out) and having enough space to leave stationary tools stationary. I did my homework and planned it out on paper first using the workshop planer that WD gave you the link for. That's probably the best advice at this stage. And plan to keep things mobile ... These darn shops seem to keep morphing on you.
                          . . . because each piece will be someone's heirloom someday.
                          visit sometime
                          Hawk 220VS, Delta 40-570


                          • #14
                            I lean toward the big machines (TS, jointer, planer) in garage for breakdown and milling, and for dust collection and cleanup.
                            Steve in Richmond, VA with a DW-788


                            • #15
                              Just remember everyting is neat in a drawing. All the empty areas are filled with wood scraps etc. My biggest problem is low ceilings so wall cabinets are not an option. It is very difficult to keep my tools organized. I will tackle that issue when I retire.
                              Carole, I inherited the sewing machine from my Mom it is an industrial beast that I use for sewing my boat canvas and other tough projects. I have no other space for it or I would move it. The motor on it is bigger than on most of my tools.
                              RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


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