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Most woodworkers can put their shop one of two places: the garage or the basement. If you're lucky or rich, you might have a separate outbuilding to consider.
If you're in a part of the country with basements, they can make handy shops.Basements are usually pre-wired for electrical outlets and lighting, and already have plumbing and heat. But a basement shop poses problems, too. You need to get lumber, large equipment and finished projects up and down steps. The size of your doors, the number and slope of your steps and any corners you might have to turn can make a basement shop impossible.
Another basement problem is ceiling height. Older homes may have only 6' or 7' ceilings -- less than optimal when working with taller projects.
Finally, basement shops test the patience of your family with the dust and noise. Here's a tip for quieting your basement shop: If the ceiling has drywall, add a second layer. If the ceiling is open rafters, so much the better. Add insulation, then add a layer of drywall.
If you don't have a basement, or it's already got a pool table in it, a two-car garage makes a great workshop, offering easy access through large doors, a solid poured concrete floor and a location that's unlikely to get you in trouble when you make dust.
With a garage shop, your first decision is whether the cars will stay out permanently or just when you're woodworking. If your workshop will include some major machinery, the cars will be experiencing some weather.
Other concerns with a garage shop include: upgrading your electrical system (more outlets and perhaps 220-volt service), plumbing and lighting the shop (and heating in colder climates).
A third option may or may not be available to you. If you have an outbuilding on your property (or the space and funds to build one), they make great shops without the noise and dust concerns. If you're building, this also allows you to get everything just the way you want it.
Once you've decided where your workshop will be, it's time to decide how it will be used.
Modified: Monday, 2009-09-07 15:33 PST