My Top 10 Shop Essentials
~by by Greg Nehls (nails)
Overhead lighting is a must to provide adequate lighting in the shop. The most common and economical lighting is Florescent lighting.
While there are many types of lighting this seems to be the most popular in overhead lighting.
Task Lighting was also of interest as there are many types that are utilized from Florescent, incandescent to LED lighting.
Lumber storage seems to be the biggest of storage needs due to the amount of space required to store lumber. There are many ways to store lumber from overhead racks to cut off bins and lumber carts to hold sheet goods and dimensional lumber, to storing under work benches or having a small lumber shed.
Next was Tool storage. Walls covered in peg board or slat board are a common way to store tools. As well as wall cabinets to store tools and miscellaneous materials needed. Another popular way is rolling tool cabinets.
3. Work Flow
It is essential to have a smooth work flow to go from machine to machine to the assembly area. This can be difficult in small shops. Having a smooth work flow makes working a pleasure and allows you to concentrate more on your work.
4. Dust Collection
A must for any shop, from Shop Vacs, Dust Collectors to Cyclone Collectors. I won’t go into metal vs. pvc ducting but the means by which dust is collected. Collecting dust at its source is important by which ever method chosen. The most simplest and common in a majority of small shops is going from machine to machine. With larger dust collection systems running the proper size mains and trunks to various machines makes the difference in how the system will work efficiently to collect dust in the shop. The use of Air Scrubbers is just as important in removing fine dust floating in the air, and the use of Downdraft Tables is important in controlling fine dust.
5. Climate Control
I find Climate control not only important in ones personal comfort, but essential in controlling humidity. This aids in preventing tools from rusting and for acclimating lumber to a relative humidity level. Some forms of heating may require adding humidity. Here again cooling works much the same way. In dry areas you may need a water cooler to aid in cooling and for adding moisture in the air. The use of a Humidity Gauge comes in handy for regulating humidity.
6. Finishing Area
This is an area that most small shops lack. Having a dust free environment is important. One of the ways small shops do this is to have a makeshift finishing area using pvc and plastic sheeting for a temporary finishing area, allowing the plastic sheeting to be rolled up when not in use and down when needed. Some have even gone as far as making a small room for finishing in. Regardless of the area, it should have adequate ventilation for removing fumes. An explosion proof fan should be used in this area to avoid accidents.
Having adequate electrical supply is essential to supply your power needs and prevent electrical overloads and fires. Here 120 volt and 240 volt is essential even in a small shop with at least one 240 volt outlet. Preferably a shop should have its own Breaker Box to control different circuits and prevent overloading household circuits.
An adequate Assembly area to build projects is another essential area of the workshop. Having a clear area to assemble projects and to clamp glue ups at. This may be your workbench or assembly table. This area is also use for storing clamps and glue and other items needed for assembling projects. This area should also compliment your work flow space.
9. Structural Elements
Tall ceilings, wide doors, windows and wood floors make a shop comfortable to work in. Anti Fatigue mats on cement floors is also essential in the shop.
10. Safety and Personal Area
The Safety area should contain within easy reach the Fire Extinguisher, First Aid Kit, Emergency Phone Numbers and Phone as well as any other safety items. This area can be combined with the Personal Area which contains Reading Material, Radio and any other personal comfort items one may chose to have in the shop.
A big thank-you to Greg for taking the time to compile this summary for us!
You can take your own tour - here is a link to all of our workshops.