Workshop thoughts

Hi all. Warning! Long post ahead.

Since this is a great community, I thought I’d run my dilemma by the group and see what people thought about setting up my workshop.

I have a few different outbuildings on my property, none of which are a nice clean climate controlled “shop”. Most of them are probably at least 50, if not closer to 75 years old.

The building I cleaned out for my “shop” - I went down there yesterday to drag materials to build my X-Carve table and found it quite musty. I haven’t opened a door or window in it for about 2 months, so it would get much more use as I get to playing around down there. But it has no heat or air conditioning, I’d end up using some sort of space heater or maybe buy a small electric baseboard unit just to keep it ~50F while not in use. I’m going to take down a humidifier tonight or tomorrow and let it run for a day or so and see if things improve. Also should mention…lots and LOTS of spiders. My biggest fear down there is a big spider finding the heat of a freshly run spindle and jumping out at me the next morning…and of course issues with humidity and electronics if the dehumidifier doesn’t run, or is so bad that I can’t afford to run the thing 24-7-365. But, it’s big. Like 20x24’ big.

My second option is an old cabin. It’s the older building, but actually made to house people. No heat or air there either. Many less spiders (though they still creep in). But, being an ancient living space, the room I have available is something like 8x10’. Enough to put my workstation and X-Carve, but all material in another room. I’d basically end up coming in, starting a carve, and then pretty much walking away. That much noise in a confined space will leave me more deaf than I already am. And no room of course for dust collection. It’s less musty, but I’d still need to run dehumidifier on humid days. Also, it’s farther from the road and more “secure” from break-ins. Not that I expect any in either building, but this one is much closer.

And it’s already in Wi-Fi range, so no need to buy some kind of external wi-fi booster.

I have another 13x29’ “shed” that I was contemplating selling. It’s really just a basic shed full of crap I’d have to move out to put a workshop in. It’s right next to the musty building. It’s sturdy enough, I guess.

How big is "big enough’ to start a small shop? I’d like to eventually get a drill press, scroll saw, table saw, and router table. I don’t know that 13x29 is big enough, and the tiny room obviously isn’t big enough.

Do I have to move so I can find a bigger garage? :stuck_out_tongue:

Other pointers, tips, experiences, and overall wisdom from people smarter than I are much welcomed.

my garage is 24x28 and its pretty big but gets small quick once you get a lot of tools and benches in there. i also keep lawnmowers and bicycles and those types of things which takes up way too much space

its not heated or air conditioned and here in kansas it can get very cold in winter and very hot in summer. in fact it was 100+ degrees in there yesterday while i was working. it also has spiders, brown recluse spiders to be exact. have to double check everything before picking something up. sucks and i dont know how to get rid of them

anyways bigger is better i guess to a point. a smaller space would be easier to heat and cool but it would be a smaller space. maybe a dedicated CNC workspace in a smaller area away from the main shop would be ideal?

My older neighbor says transistor radios and/or moth balls.

I’m going to try some moth balls for my deck to try and keep varmints off my grill’s grease trap. Will see if it works any with spiders.

If that doesn’t work with spiders, I’m going to try the transistor radio approach.

I’m going to go down and double check the 13x29’ shed to see how musty it is today. If it’s nicer than the bigger shop, I may give it a whirl.

My new shop is going to be 12ft x 8ft and will be used for the X-Carve and shared with the wife for her jewellery making. So X-Carve, two workbenches, tool boxes and some power tools. Plenty of room.

It’s when you start having permanently set up tools like table saws etc. that really eats the space. I’ve never bothered, take two minutes to set up a couple of horses, clamps and hand held power tools.

Where I’ve also gone wrong in the past is storing lawn mowers, bikes etc. in the same space. That way leads to underuse.

How big is your X-Carve? My tabletop (plan) is 48"x48" to accommodate my 1000mm machine and give me a little room behind the machine if I need to run a dust collection hose out the window.

All I know is with a table that big…I have to build it in the room, and it’s gonna have to stay there…as it’ll be too big to drag out!

Ahh, yes. I’m running the 500mm x 500mm, which is obviously much more simpler to install.

I started out years ago in a 14 x 20 single car garage and my current shop is a dedicated space within our 28 x 48 garage, shop is 20 x 28.

Since I am near the Mississippi head waters cooling in the summer is not as big of an issue as heat is in the winter. That’s what the woodstove is for, as well as destroying evidence of my mistakes. (makes me look like a miracle worker)

I run dedicated tools, t-saw, b-saw, scroll saw, drum sander, miter saw, planer, router table and a 1.5 hp dust collector with overhead ducting.I have found shop setup to be an evolution of need and desire and have changed it around numerous times over the years.

I will be setting the x carve up in one corner on a dedicated torsion top table with possible dust collection to it later if needed.

I would have some concerns for each of your options for shop space, with humidity being potentially hard on electronics when coupled with dust. You mention a musty smell, i tend to think MOLD.

As for spiders, the non-poisonous variety dont raise any alarms for me but the brown recluse certainly does. Depending on your preference/tolerance for chemicals a call to an exterminator may be in order.

I went into the 13x29’ shed today. Found a hole about 2 fingers in the roof that I’m going to work on patching up over the weekend. There’s some water marks on the wall near the floor where it’s been dripping. Unknown how long the hole’s been there or how much water has been in. Will probably have to pull the wall apart to see how much yuck is in there.

The good news is, it does have an air conditioner. Didn’t notice it before (I’m rarely down in these buildings). Didn’t work…but that’s not to say it can’t work or couldn’t be replaced with one that does. It also has some foam board insulation up on the roof. It’s not 100% coverage and is kinda old and falling down…theoretically that could be replaced as well. The door had a hole where I could see the same insulation, so I presume the walls have it too…otherwise why waste the time doing the roof?

I don’t know that the other planned workshop is moldy…it’s just exposed enough with no insulation and being locked up with very little air flow in some humid weather that it’s got a funk. Might just run the dehumidifier down there for a few days, see how it feels. I did see that the cement pad is lower than the surrounding ground, so water probably channels right down into that 1 wall. If I could afford to just tear all of them down and replace them with proper buildings and correct grading, I would.

For now, I’m going to put my build on hold while I look into the 2 bigger buildings and toss the idea of working in my wife’s building in a tiny room.

Thankfully, I don’t have any recluse spiders that I know of. We did have a black widow nest in another shed that was abandoned on the property, but torched that baby once we got the shingles off.

Apparently, I live in like the spider capital of Maryland. I’ve lived in the country before, but never anywhere near the craziness it is around here.

Every morning the cars are webbed between the side mirrors and the door or an adjacent porch. I get face-webbed walking out just about any door. The porch rails consistently have webs all the way around.

The sheds and outbuildings are just constant with spiders. Many of the buildings were built back in the late 20s to support building the local dam. So many ways to sneak in there. Shed’s slightly newer…late 90’s maybe.

Crazy stuff.

I find that a fast pass with a weedburner can be effective. they cant spin webs without legs…

Surely if your X-Carve is running 24/7 then spiders won’t be a problem :smile:

Hey @AlanDyke I’m in your neck of the woods. What part of the state are you in? I’m in Anne Arundel County.

Sounds like you’ve got good potential there, but probably need to get that building weatherproofed and conditioned. At least you have the space to work with, though.

@MattThompson - I’m up on the Harford/Ceciltucky line on the Susquehanna River and Route 1.