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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:11 pm 
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First name: Don
Last Name: Parker
City: Charleston
State: West Virginia
Zip/Postal Code: 25314
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Situation: My wife and I have a pretty large house we bought about 11 years ago. We love it, but we are now empty nesters, and it feels like an unreasonably large expense, compared to what we really need in a home. So, we are probably going to sell it and move into something smaller.

My wife and I agree that we can definitely live with a smaller living space, but we both want to keep a decent amount of working space. I sometimes work at home (lawyer), and I build guitars. I need space for that. My wife works at home a lot (pastor), and she sews and paints. She needs space for that.

We have a bit of a blank slate in terms of what we could buy to meet our respective working/crafting space needs. We have lots of choices.

The question I pose to you is: If you could choose to have your shop anywhere in relation to your home, where would you have it? In an outbuilding? In an attached converted garage? In a walk-out basement (my current situation, and my current top pick)? In a fully below grade basement? In a spare room of the house?

While my wife can make use of a spare bedroom for her working/crafting space, that is not a good fit for me. I have the full range of tools we all talk about here on the OLF: Table saw, bandsaw, router table, thickness sander, dust collector, etc. I make noise and dust. A fully below grade basement is potentially OK, but I sometimes build things larger than guitars, and I don't want to wrestle a chest of drawers up a flight of basement stairs, not to mention getting all my tools down there in the first place. An outbuilding would be great for controlling temperature, RH, dust and noise, but my wife doesn't like the idea of my being in a separate building all the time. Plus, most outbuildings would not have water or a toilet. An attached garage might work, but I would want to take out or seal up the drafty garage door, plus that takes the garage away from my wife, who likes using it for what it is designed to be (car storage).

I keep coming back to the idea of a walk-out basement being my best choice. I can disconnect the home's HVAC from the basement and install a mini-split down there, as well as a dehumidifier and a humidifier, keeping the door to the space well insulated and shut except for actual use. Walk-out basements have daylight. I can get things in and out without navigating narrow stairwells. Walk-out basements tend to have higher ceilings. Noise is not a huge concern, because I don't use the shop any more than a few hours a week.

Those are my thoughts, but I am interested in yours. If you could choose, where would you have your shop in relation to your house? What features would you want the shop to have?

Thanks for any input as my wife and I ponder where to hang our hats.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:35 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:22 pm
Posts: 55
First name: doug
Last Name: powdrell
City: hilo
State: big island
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
My best set-up to date is an attached 2 car garage (3 would be better).

Started in a converted garage/rec. room, then detached garage, then 2nd bedroom in a condo, now the attached garage. Benefits; No stairs, no worries about running back and forth from detached shop. I walk right from the shop to the kitchen, then living room.....very convenient. But then again, not sure of your weather and stuff.....aloha.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:27 pm
Posts: 220
First name: john
Last Name: shelton
City: Alsea
State: Oregon
Zip/Postal Code: 97324
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
we have a 1750 sq foot house with a 1250 sq foot unattached shop (it's designed by the architect as a two car garage with work space so we can sell it easily if we want). We spend at least half of each day in the shop and love it! The house is where you eat, sleep and watch tv but the shop is heaven. This sits on 6.5 acres with river frontage and no neighbors. I plan to live here until I die (happy).


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 1598
First name: Joey
Last Name: Holliday
City: Pamplin
State: Virginia
Zip/Postal Code: 23958
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
I'm in a 2 car garage and it's pretty decent but there are a couple things that I'm looking for in a new space (which is on the horizon). I'm looking for a detached shop with no garage door. Garage doors are nice for shop access, moving, adding large tools etc but ideally I'd like it closed off with an oversized door that is better insulated to temp and humidity. A vapor locked floor would be nice too, which I am in the process of doing here but I'd prefer sealed concrete topped with sub flooring topped with a hardwood floor and a dedicated HVAC system with humidity regulation built into it.

I think it would be easiest to find a house that you like and build a detached shop exactly the way that you want it. If I was to do that I'd have one large room for tooling, a small to medium room built specifically for finishing and another small to med room for gluing things up and keeping guitars that are in the works. The two car garage is nice but having separate spaces for the other operations would be really nice especially in terms of regulating humidity and dust.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:16 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:21 pm
Posts: 2619
Location: Alexandria MN
Detached building for sure. No dust or machinery noise in the house and you stay out of your wife’s hair.

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These users thanked the author Terence Kennedy for the post: jack (Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:41 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:19 am
Posts: 157
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
When we moved in to our place I built a detached garage, but since my wife had the weird idea of parking in the garage we added a second story that is now my climate controlled shop. I really like the detached aspect so there is no infiltration of noise, fumes or dust into the house. The one downside is the shop isn't plumbed, but then it does encourage the occasional trip inside during my shop time so my wife doesn't feel I disappear all day.

My second choice would be an isolated walk out basement with a totally separate hvac system like you mention. My last choice would be a garage with a garage door since it would be so hard to control the climate.

Kent


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 621
First name: Casey
Last Name: Cochran
City: Gainesville
State: GA
Zip/Postal Code: 30501
Country: USA
Focus: Build
If you do your own finishing, another checkmark for a detached shop.

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These users thanked the author Casey Cochran for the post: jack (Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:41 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:22 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 832
City: Escondido
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 92029
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
I too would choose a purpose built out building. That is where I work, but sadly it wasn’t built by me. There are some problems with the way windows, doors, etc are laid out. Still, I think it is by far the best.

I don’t know about basements, but it seems to me that if you are in an underground hole using power tools you aren’t really having QT with your wife. An out building can be built to have good light in winter or breezes in the summer. It can be inviting for both of you.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 777
Location: Cobourg ON
First name: Steve
Last Name: Denvir
City: Baltimore
State: ON
Zip/Postal Code: K0K 1C0
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I have a converted, oversize 2-car garage. Ply floor, insulated, heated and air conditioned.

I’ve lived in worse places.

A one minute commute.

Steve


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:10 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 188
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I’ve had 3 workshops over the years: fully subterranean basement (worst due to lack of natural light, stairs, dust, fumes, and noise inside the envelope of the house); free-standing, purpose built shop building, and my current shop which is a purpose-built add-on to the side of the attached 2 car garage. There are some advantages to the garage addition - it shares a wall making it easier to provide power and insulate. The cyclone DC is in the garage and piped through the wall. The shop has a 40 inch wide door in that shared wall, so the only entrance to the shop is via the garage. It’s easy to move materials, machines, etc. into or out of the shop. It’s built with a vapor barrier on the floor slab and a well insulated, wood-framed floor atop that. It’s very easy to heat, cool and control humidity. It has good natural light. My commute is a stroll through the laundry room, around the cars in the garage and into the shop. Never have to go outside. I initially underestimated the value of that but there are many times when it’s really useful to just dash out to the shop to do a quick task at an odd time to keep a project moving. The shop has an attic where I store lumber and other stuff. The garage is an effective buffer, keeping dust, fumes, and noise out of the house.

So ... after blathering on and on I can summarize by saying I would vote for an above ground shop with covered access to/from the house. It’s surprisingly helpful to be able to commute in your bathrobe and slippers.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:52 pm
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First name: Don
Last Name: Parker
City: Charleston
State: West Virginia
Zip/Postal Code: 25314
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
A few more specifics:

I French polish my guitars, and do not have plans to spray any finish on anything, so I don’t need to plan for a spray booth.

My wife wants me in her hair. By that I mean: I would be fine with an outbuilding, for all the reasons stated above, but my wife has told me that she would feel disconnected if I were in an outbuilding all the time. And with the way we do things right now, it is nice to be able to scoot up and down a flight of stairs just to take care of something short and quick, or yell up or down the stairs. We’re willing to put up with occasional noise and more dust migration to get that level of togetherness. What can I say? She loves me. She’s such a poor judge of character.

I would really, REALLY like an attached addition, but I think the only way I am going to be able to get that is to build it. The only attached spaces like that around here are attached garages, and my wife is going to insist that a garage stays a garage. Her only flaw as a wife. Kidding. She has way more flaws.

I appreciate the input. Lots to consider. A detached building would provide a lot of benefits . . .


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:44 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:15 pm
Posts: 5130
First name: Ed
Last Name: Bond
City: Vancouver
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Why not a dedicated outbuilding with room for you both? Artists loft!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:58 pm
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
For small things like guitars and smaller furniture, I love my basement shop. DOn't have to heat or A/C it because it is automatically the right temperature. I built the house a few years ago, so it has natural light, no humidity problem, and ready to go at all times.

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:02 am 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:06 pm
Posts: 128
First name: Howard
Last Name: Wilson
State: Virginia
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I started with a one car garage converted into a shop which was rather tight--many of the power tools were on wheels and I had to choreograph movements and placements to make it work. My wife thought any free space was fair game to store Christmas decorations, etc., so that battle went on for a while (I won, btw--opening containers for the holidays coated with sawdust assured that). I had to heat the space well in advance of any work during the winter (you need to climate control?)--made a few guitars under these conditions which turned out fine, but over time I stepped up my game.

Next space was temporary, fortunately--a basement with poured concrete walls and a small 1'x2' window up high. Never had claustrophobia before, but this sure brought that on--found I could only spend 15 minutes max at a time before I had to walk outside.

My next shop was in a walkout basement--huge improvement. Not ideal as the sounds of powertools would occasionally interrupt my wife's peace upstairs, but she said it wasn't often enough to really be a bother. Even my cussing after a bonehead mistake (and I made a few) didn't seem to rattle her. I try to be careful with dust collection--wear a respirator whenever cutting wood or power sanding, plus leave the overhead filter running for a couple hours afterwards. Just heard a little hum upstairs so not a bother. Any procedures which were smelly were done by stepping into the garage and opening the door. As mentioned earlier--rather nice to just head downstairs to check on a glue up or some other quick task. The shop had one vent from the house HVAC system with no direct return therefore I had to supply some heat during the winter (portable oil filled radiator style was plenty) and seemed to run a dehumidifier year round. I did wire for a bunch of 20 amp outlets--still could have used more.

Good luck--nice problem to deal with!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:38 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 3561
I had a room in my house converted to a shop but I also had a space outside with a roof over it to keep the power tools in. So I made saw dust outside and assembled inside. I did that for 15 years. About 3 years ago we moved and got lucky in finding a house with two out buildings, an old barn and a garage with an attached room. It took a lot of time to build up the spaces but now my wife has her pottery studio and I have my guitar shop. We hardly ever talk to each other any more :D j/k

I like having the out building shop. Overall I think its safer too. God forbid there ever is a fire but if there was it would not take the house with it. The only thing I miss is my little apprentice. She's a little calico cat that only lives inside. I've thought about carrying her out to the shop though every once in a while. =^,^=


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:50 pm
Posts: 1487
Location: Seattle WA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
First shop was in my studio apartment in a high-rise downtown. I slept on a bunk so underneath was usable workspace. Next, I moved up to a one bedroom penthouse in the same building. It was actually adequate space since it was only me, but I was limited in my machinery. Amazingly having a drill press, disc/belt sander, bandsaw, Dremel table saw, and a Ryobi 16/32, the new white carpeting was unscathed when I left.

Then I rented a friend's basement and garage which enabled me to buy more and bigger power tools which was nice. Now I'm in a house and I've converted the two car garage into a dedicated shop. It's the kind of garage that is halfway under the house and halfway sticking out. My plan was to climate control half of it. The inside half already had three sides of insulation, so I insulated the fourth side and built an insulated wall horizontally across the garage with a door. The inside portion does not share air with the house except when you open the door to come in. This configuration works out pretty good and cost probably peanuts of what a stand-alone shop would cost, although I would eventually like to have a stand-alone shop for safety and insurance reasons.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:17 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:08 pm
Posts: 2676
First name: ernest
Last Name: kleinman
City: lee's summit
State: mo
Zip/Postal Code: 64081
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
After working in too many shops and homes , over the past 43 years . The best scenario that I came too, for a good shop, was a 2 car garage and walkout bsmt . A freestanding building is next and the best for me IMHO


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:07 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 2695
If I had a choice my preferred shop would be a tropical paradise where I could work al fresco or under an open pavilion year round, with 45% R.H., and a beach with a crystal blue sea and a few Hula girls thrown in for good measure.
Oh Yeah - and not too much work to do either. bliss

I think some of you guys take this stuff too seriously. laughing6-hehe


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:31 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:06 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: Magnolia DE
First name: Brian
Last Name: Howard
City: Magnolia
State: Delaware
Zip/Postal Code: 19962
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
Depends on many things......having had my shop in my home here are my thoughts.
CONS:

How much commerce do you do from your shop? Having worked directly from my house for 7 years has shown me how little respect people have for the shop keepers privacy. That is a main reason my new shop is detached and separated.

Odors and dust are big nuisances with a shop attached or inside your home in this type work (not so much for the lawyer stuff)

Noise from saws and other tooling can be disturbing to others in the house while you are working.

PROS:
Convenient to work whatever schedule you like and take comfortable breaks as needed

No need to deal with the weather when going to or from work

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You never know what you are capable of until you actually try.



http://www.brianhowardguitars.com
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:08 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:08 pm
Posts: 2676
First name: ernest
Last Name: kleinman
City: lee's summit
State: mo
Zip/Postal Code: 64081
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
I/m 100 % with clay on this one , but sheesh where do you find a hulu girl on a loofiers salary ??


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:48 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:45 pm
Posts: 603
First name: Michael
City: Port Townsend
State: WA
Focus: Build
My wife and I live in a cottage development which consists of seven residences sitting on about 24,000 sqft of ground with a common area in the middle. Needless to say our neighbors are close. With that in mind my 700 sqft walkout basement shop has proven to be the perfect space where noise is concerned. Even with my cnc running along with the cyclone DC you can barely here it outside, and it's only really audible in our bedroom which isn't usually needed during working hour. I built the house so the basement is nice and dry. I'm able to easily maintain 42% with an average year-round temp of around 62° without supplemental heat. My wife's creative space is on the top floor and she claims she doesn't notice the noise. She's great that way! On the cave front... I know some folks require as much sunlight as they can get. I personally love being in my very well lit cave with the only natural light coming from the half-light shop doors. I do have a small spray booth that vents to the outside and I only shoot waterbase finish, so fumes aren't a problem.

Works for me! M


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:52 pm
Posts: 892
First name: Don
Last Name: Parker
City: Charleston
State: West Virginia
Zip/Postal Code: 25314
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
B. Howard wrote:
Depends on many things......having had my shop in my home here are my thoughts.
CONS:

How much commerce do you do from your shop? Having worked directly from my house for 7 years has shown me how little respect people have for the shop keepers privacy. That is a main reason my new shop is detached and separated.

Odors and dust are big nuisances with a shop attached or inside your home in this type work (not so much for the lawyer stuff)

Noise from saws and other tooling can be disturbing to others in the house while you are working.

PROS:
Convenient to work whatever schedule you like and take comfortable breaks as needed

No need to deal with the weather when going to or from work


No commerce at all. I'm an amateur. I make my living as a lawyer, not as a guitar builder or repair person.

The noise and dust issues are manageable either way for our family and for how I work. We manage those things pretty well right now with a walk-out basement. So, while I see the obvious benefits of an outbuilding on those issues, I would not make the decision just on those bases. Fumes are not a big deal; I don't spray finishes. My wife sprays more toxic finishes than I do, and she does it outside. The convenience factors, on the other hand, are a pretty big deal. This shop decision needs to fit well inside an otherwise busy work and home life. I want (and have right now) a really nice shop, but it needs to fit within a larger context of a home that works for us.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:25 pm
Posts: 120
First name: Tony
Last Name: Thatcher
City: Bozeman
State: MT
I'm currently in a small one-car garage. It's fairly well insulated and I can heat it with a single oil/electric heater. It's tight in there, but I've built three boats, some furniture, and a dozen or so instruments in it. Everything is on wheels so I can shift things around as needed. Not ideal, but it's what I have and it works. I've looked into tearing it down and building a larger shop with plumbing and a separate office space, but I think that's a pipe dream for now.

We almost built a new home on a lot we bought. Wen't so far as to have the plans drawn up and had a builder lined up. Then finances took a hit and we decided to not incur any new debt. But the design was going to be great for me. Essentially an attached 3 bay garage where the last bay from the house was a dedicated shop. Dust collection and compressor would have lived in the main garage. The garage door went right into the mud/laundry room, so perfect for dropping the dusty clothes on the floor before entering the main house. I still have the plans, so maybe we'll do it some day.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:36 am
Posts: 5310
Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
State: TN
Zip/Postal Code: 37772
Country: US
Focus: Repair
I've had shops in the basement, in the garage and in separate buildings. I do like the convenience of a shop that's attached to the house but I think there are more advantages to having a separate shop. My shop is about 50 ft from the house in a dedicated building. Since I seem to have morphed from an amateur to a semi-pro over the last 5 years or so, the separate building gives me a place to take my customers and very much simplifies things for tax and insurance purposes. I also have a spray booth so it's nice to have that away from the house. My next choice would be a walk in basement with a large enough door to get equipment into it easily (I have double 2'6" doors on the shop so can have a 5' opening).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:53 pm 
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I have an attached 2 car garage with an additional room (addition) that measures 14' X 26'- so the total is aprox.800 square feet.

Having garage doors at grade level makes it easy to move heavy equipment in and out.

I have central air in the smaller room where I do the assembly and keep the wood storage.

Having it attached to the house I can sneak down to the shop and do a quick bit of work.

The dust migration into the house is a problem, but we deal with it.

I have been very happy with this arrangement for 25 years.


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