BigFryMan

New workshop

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This month my wife and I were lucky enough to be able to purchase our first home. One of the biggest selling points was a 350sqft 12ft ceiling garage which means my wife can kick my violin making and workshop out of the house. I'm not sure who's the most excited about it!

It's currently a hardwood stud structure with vinyl siding and an open ceiling with colorbond on top. My plan is to clean it up, line it and dedicate about half of the space to my violins and the other half will be for general house things and/or audio recording space. 

We live in QLD Australia which means in general it's hot and humid and we have to deal with moisture and lots of heavy rain as we live near the coast. Because of the weather I'm thinking of using closed cell spray insulation on the walls and roof to effectively seal the space so I can manage the ventilation and humidity myself. This will help acoustically isolate the workshop also so less risk of annoying the neighbors with noise as I keep some weird hours sometimes. I was thinking of using pine linings on the internal wall surface as it's cheap and can take a few stray knocks and still look ok. An A/C unit is nearly mandatory depending on how well the insulation does it job and also helps to keep things from getting too humid.

Planning to put a few benches around the wall and put a few windows in also to increase the natural light. Most will be standing benches as my back is pretty bad. If I can keep most things around the outside of the wall it means we can still park a small car in if need be or use the floor space for other things. Planning space for a bench sander, drill press, bandsaw, drying cabinet, sharpening station (maybe even a tormek if I can win the lottery soon...). What am I missing? 

Once I rid the space of all the moving boxes and junk I'll take a photo of the space, but currently it's an embarrassing mess!

I've never had dedicated space before so any advice on how you'd set up a a workshop from scratch or traps for a newbie then shout out.

Pretty excited about finally having some real space so will be getting onto insulation quotes very soon :)

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Congrats!!! :)

There are a few "workshop" , "work space" or "bench" threads that had quite a few pictures posted. Looking through those might give you some ideas to start with.

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Be careful with the insulation , a/c and sealed spaces.  Water vapour migrates from the warm humid side to the cooler side and at some point along the way it will condense.  You need to be careful with what happens to that otherwise you can get all sorts of problems including rotting wood. Here in the UK the moisture travels in the opposite direction to where you are. In theory it should be possible to provide a perfect vapour barrier but life is not like that. I expect you'll find plenty of discussion on-line:).

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A new shop is always exiting. In a shared space, save some empty boxes to stack in the empty space you plan on using in the future. Nature hates a void. B)

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3 hours ago, Muswell said:

Be careful with the insulation , a/c and sealed spaces.  Water vapour migrates from the warm humid side to the cooler side and at some point along the way it will condense.  You need to be careful with what happens to that otherwise you can get all sorts of problems including rotting wood. Here in the UK the moisture travels in the opposite direction to where you are. In theory it should be possible to provide a perfect vapour barrier but life is not like that. I expect you'll find plenty of discussion on-line:).

Muswell,

Supposedly the closed cell foam should help mitigate this. Apparently a lot more moisture tolerant than fibreglass batts and because it seals directly to the cladding, the moisture can’t bead at the interface there. It’s a work in progress for me for sure, still researching. I’m hoping the interior pine lining will be permeable enough to let any moisture that does form breathe out into the room. 

The nuclear option would be to pull all the cladding off and wrap the garage in vapour barrier, but I don’t want to do that!

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Congrats with the new place, it will keep you busy no doubt.

A couple of thoughts:

Colorbond roofs are very prone to condensation if there's a temperature gradient and moisture around, on cold mornings it will drip like a rainforest in there. Best to insulate the ceiling well.

Hardwood studs and pine cladding sounds like a white ant picnic. In Queensland those little buggers will eat the whole thing if you're not careful. Talk to the local pest guy.

Workstations on wheels helps a lot if you want to re-arrange the layout from time to time.

If you are close to the coast then rust will be very common, protect your tools with Damprid or Boeshield.

Enjoy and post pictures as you go.

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The best way to make a work bench sturdy and immovable, so that it can withstand any amount of pushing you may exert without moving, is to fasten it to a wall.

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Plan your bench space at least in part based on which instruments you plan to work on.  Obviously, cellos and basses will require more depth.  One solution is to have a larger bench in the middle of the space to complement the benches around the perimeter which I agree with Brad, need to be attached to the wall.  There are benches on the market with wheels that drop down from the legs -- stable when the wheels are up, mobile when they are down.  That way you still could conceivably have room available at the center of the space for other objects.  

Another thing to think about: where are you going to do your varnishing and how are you going to vent any fumes.  Even if you cook outdoors, you'll have fumes to deal with indoors.

Dedicate space to specific activities, e.g. don't put your power tools close to where you plan to varnish.  And if the two are going to share the structure -- even if on opposite sides of the room -- you will want a dust collection system of some kind for your health which will double as a means of keeping dust away from your varnish.

Congrats on the newly available space and the opportunity to design it for your making needs!

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The split A/C - Heat pump units might be ideal for a garage.  Quite a bit more sturdy than window units and can be mounted up out of the way.  I don't know if you have them in AUS but we in the USA often get stuff last so I bet you do.

something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Heating-Cooling-Ductless-Conditioner-Installation/dp/B07B8K55HM?ref_=Oct_TopRatedC_14554130011_3&pf_rd_r=25PD6230QPR3A0FJWCZF&pf_rd_p=3b2e9776-e875-59b1-b85a-b9e7ba6b4117&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-10&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=14554130011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

This is just one I found in a hurry not an endorsement of a particular brand.

 

DLB

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3 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

The split A/C - Heat pump units might be ideal for a garage.  Quite a bit more sturdy than window units and can be mounted up out of the way.  I don't know if you have them in AUS but we in the USA often get stuff last so I bet you do.

something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Heating-Cooling-Ductless-Conditioner-Installation/dp/B07B8K55HM?ref_=Oct_TopRatedC_14554130011_3&pf_rd_r=25PD6230QPR3A0FJWCZF&pf_rd_p=3b2e9776-e875-59b1-b85a-b9e7ba6b4117&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-10&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=14554130011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

This is just one I found in a hurry not an endorsement of a particular brand.

 

DLB

In my old shop (studio attached to the house with a separate entrance) I used a split as described above and a separate heat source (oil filled baseboards) and a humidifier for the winter.  I was very happy with it the two systems.  It was very easy to control humidity.

When laying out the shop, my advice is to carefully consider your work flow and any natural light available.

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Rh gauges should be adjustable for when they need re-calibration.  I test/calibrate mine twice a year when I switch from using the humidifier to de-humidifier (and vis versa).  However, I'm a control freak (for stuff not people) so maybe this is over-kill.

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7 hours ago, Mampara said:

Congrats with the new place, it will keep you busy no doubt.

A couple of thoughts:

Colorbond roofs are very prone to condensation if there's a temperature gradient and moisture around, on cold mornings it will drip like a rainforest in there. Best to insulate the ceiling well.

Hardwood studs and pine cladding sounds like a white ant picnic. In Queensland those little buggers will eat the whole thing if you're not careful. Talk to the local pest guy.

Workstations on wheels helps a lot if you want to re-arrange the layout from time to time.

If you are close to the coast then rust will be very common, protect your tools with Damprid or Boeshield.

Enjoy and post pictures as you go.

Thanks Mampara,

The roof will definitely get insulated as well otherwise it’ll cook and freeze in there. 

Thankfully the garage has been constructed with termites in mind, it has a metal termite barrier between the base of the walls and the concrete slab. Unfortunately termites are a fact of life here so you just have to keep on top of them. We got the place checked when we bought and will have to keep doing regular inspections. There’s currently some old stumps down the bottom of the yard as a decoy(/entree) so they’re enjoying those instead of the new house :)

We were renting a few kilometres away so already accustomed to tools prematurely rusting too. I haven’t heard of boeshield, I’ll look it up thanks! 

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3 hours ago, Dwight Brown said:

The split A/C - Heat pump units might be ideal for a garage.  Quite a bit more sturdy than window units and can be mounted up out of the way.  I don't know if you have them in AUS but we in the USA often get stuff last so I bet you do.

something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Heating-Cooling-Ductless-Conditioner-Installation/dp/B07B8K55HM?ref_=Oct_TopRatedC_14554130011_3&pf_rd_r=25PD6230QPR3A0FJWCZF&pf_rd_p=3b2e9776-e875-59b1-b85a-b9e7ba6b4117&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-10&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=14554130011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

This is just one I found in a hurry not an endorsement of a particular brand.

 

DLB

Dwight,

One of the reasons we get things early is that we’re a small enough population that we make great guinea pigs!!

My wife and I spent 2 years living in Canada a few years ago and couldn’t believe how far behind their banking system was vs Australia. So many businesses still paying by check haha. They were still working out all the internet banking kinks with us Aussies.

There will most definitely be a split system going in once I can afford it. We have one in the house, but the second one will be a toss up between the master bedroom or my workshop :) I was planning to use the A/C as part of my humidity control. A lot of them have a “dry” setting for when you are not cooling. 

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4 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

Plan your bench space at least in part based on which instruments you plan to work on.  Obviously, cellos and basses will require more depth.  One solution is to have a larger bench in the middle of the space to complement the benches around the perimeter which I agree with Brad, need to be attached to the wall.  There are benches on the market with wheels that drop down from the legs -- stable when the wheels are up, mobile when they are down.  That way you still could conceivably have room available at the center of the space for other objects.  

Another thing to think about: where are you going to do your varnishing and how are you going to vent any fumes.  Even if you cook outdoors, you'll have fumes to deal with indoors.

Dedicate space to specific activities, e.g. don't put your power tools close to where you plan to varnish.  And if the two are going to share the structure -- even if on opposite sides of the room -- you will want a dust collection system of some kind for your health which will double as a means of keeping dust away from your varnish.

Congrats on the newly available space and the opportunity to design it for your making needs!

Julian,

I’ve recently been getting more and more paranoid about fumes and dust. Too much cancer in my family history so I need to do my best at controlling what environmental factors I can. Will be keeping an eye out for a deal on some sort of extraction. I’m hoping I can find something that’s not super noisy although I guess for the most part I’d only run it with power tools. 

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2 hours ago, jezzupe said:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Black-36-in-x-48-in-Foam-Commercial-Door-Mat-60-169-0900-30000400/206498907

I think these or something like them are nice to have as they can really save you if you drop something like the neck or something prone to breaking and they do help with fatigue

Aaah yes I had these before, I need to get a replacement. Really save your feet as well as your work!

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On 8/31/2019 at 11:07 AM, BigFryMan said:

Yes. 

If you are putting a new roof on the shop, I suggest a very simple yet effective way to increase insulation which somewhat is dependent on the type of existing roof style and framing, but, if for example it is a typical gable style roof you can do a easy foam boxed vented chute ridge roof that is super easy and worth the extra money.

assuming you have a timber framed roof, that has some type of wood decking attached to that, what you do is , instead of attaching the roof straight to the decking {with felt paper layers under the roofing} you get PT 2x4's, and lay them up on their edges, go buy 3 1/2" 4x8 foam panels and cut and box them into 4x4 sqaures with the foam sitting in the 4x4 bays. then lay 1/2 " ply decking on that, flash the edges with 4" flashing and the lay the roof on the 1/2" decking . If you then do interior insulation on the interior roof, it dramatically put an insulation barrier between the interior and the sun. Adds some labor and some k's but adds up over time in cooling costs and makes it much more comfortable. The roofing material that gets super heated does not transfer that heat right into the roof decking, it need to go through 3 1/2" foam and 2  1/2" layers of ply before it gets to the interior, makes a big difference. 

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Hey guys,

Thought I should post some before pics before I start putting everything together. We just moved in so forgive all the mess and boxes everywhere.

That's my current violin making desk in the middle there. The plan is to build a super sturdy laminated hardwood stand up height workbench that attaches to the wall at that position around 2200 x 900mm large. For reference the existing bench is around 1200 wide and the studs are 600mm centers. I found a guy selling old de-nailed hardwood reasonably cheap. My old bench there can then be moved into the middle of the floorspace. Above the workbench I am going to stagger diagonally a couple of 500mm square windows that will fit in between the existing studs to make construction easy. I'll get natural light from the wall on the right and then from directly in front of the workbench. Will likely have a sit down varnish bench in front of the existing large window. For the moment I'm only going to take up the right-hand side of the shop. Planning to use the generous height as much as I can for tool storage within easy reach.

In regards to insulation I've decided not to go with spray insulation because I just can't afford it. It was around $3k to spray just the walls. Current thinking is just to use rockwool batts and allow for plenty of ventilation to prevent moisture build up in the walls. I will line with interlocking pine boards and I might varnish the inside of them before they go up on the wall to help resist mold if the wall should get moisture in it. Will finish the walls first and at least put sarking under the roof iron. Then as funds permit I might install a ceiling including insulation.
The previous owner was nice enough to leave a bunch of daylight temperature light battens so the artificial light in there should be plenty.

Anyways, it's just a short story so far, but we're getting started!

IMG_1719.JPG

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IMG_1721.JPG

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Well - just a suggestion...

It looks like a big space, could you build a smaller, insulated workshop within it? The rest would be for storage.

That way you might be able to do it "better" and still stay within budget.

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