The Basement Wood Shop

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It is likely that a large number of woodworkers started out working in their basements. That is probably the most common location for a home wood shop.
While it is a great place to work, it does have special considerations, if you have any desire to keep peace in the house. Unless your significant other shares your passion, they aren’t likely to overlook some of the little inconveniences, caused by using the space for woodworking.
One major consideration is being able to remove your projects from the work area, once they’re completed. It’s kind of aggravating when you have to remove a wall or duct to get something up the stairs. (Ask me how I know).
Little things like noise, and dust will end up being a touchy subject before long. It’s inevitable. So, in an effort to bypass the problem, there are some preventative measures you can take. As far as noise, the easiest solution is to schedule doing any loud work, like running machinery, earlier in the day or evening. This is not always the most desirable option, but it is definitely the easiest.
There are a number of things you can do to quiet the noises emitted from your shop. Insulating the ceiling with sound insulation will make a huge difference. Added to this measure, a drop ceiling will make a big difference as well. Using the standard fiberglass insulation will not help as much as sound insulation, but is often easier to find. Using the same insulation in the wall framing isn’t always possible, but if you can do it, it will certainly help. If you’re adding walls to define the work area, insulating is easy to add when building the walls.
If you have a low ceiling in your basement, you can install the drop ceiling panels between the joists. Doing it in this fashion, you won’t loose any height, which is something you need to consider.
Another benefit to adding new framing for your work space is the ability to add electrical outlets wherever you like. That’s one thing you can never have too many of. Outlets every six feet is the maximum spacing you should have between outlets. Plug mold is very handy, provided you’re not likely to overload the circuit. It the walls are already defining your space, running conduit on the surface of the walls is a simple process. Or you can feed the wires from the ceiling area, into the walls, and use an old work box, designed to be installed into an existing wall. It is best to have your wiring work done by a professional, if you are not sure of what you’re doing.
The next major area to reduce irritating your family, would have to be controlling the dust. The options here are somewhat overwhelming, as you’re not likely to know what will work best for you, until you actually install it and start using it. The best advice is to keep in mind that the machines will create both fine dust, and saw dust. Getting it under control when it’s created is much easier than trying to collect it later.
With that in mind, a dust collector system with multiple outlets can be a blessing. One outlet can be used for the sawdust from the machine, and the other left open to filter the air as much as possible. Dust collectors are generally much quieter than a screaming high pitched noise coming from a shop vac. I would bet some people would rather deal with the dust, than the noise. The ducts can be run to the various machines with either duct work, or P.V.C plastic drainage pipe. This ducting needs to be grounded, to eliminate the risk of spontaneous combustion.
Ceiling mounted dust collectors will keep the air relatively clear of dust, and protect your lungs from the fine particles floating in the air. This floating dust is very fine and is more of an annoyance in cleaning that the larger sawdust at the back of your machines. Using flexible ducting at the machine hook up, along with a blast gate, which is essentially a sliding plate to close off the duct, until you’re ready to use the machine.
Machine choice and layout is normally determined by the amount of floor space you have to work with, as well as your budget. If the space is small, you might want to consider a 5 in 1 type of machine, like a Shopsmith. While these machines aren’t as convenient to use as dedicated machines, they are capable of very fine work, provided they are set up properly. I used one of these machines for a number of years, and with good success. The attachments for these machines, such as the band saw, or jointer, or sander, can be set up on separate stands, saving you the trouble of hooking it up to the main machine.
These machines are often available used, and at a fraction of the original price. Many people buy them, and then don’t use them, much like exercise machines. I’ve helped set up some of these for friends, and they were obviously used very little, if at all. Certainly worth considering this as an option.
If you do opt for dedicated, or separate machines, it’s best to plan the machine layout based on the expected work flow. This can be difficult to do, if you don’t know the type of projects you’ll be doing. There are standards though. For example, you’ll want a jointer near the table saw. And if you have a planer, you’ll want that close by as well. Much of the layout is just common sense, based around typical woodworking procedures. These machines can be on a mobile base, and rolled into place as needed.
An assembly area, with a bench, clamps, hand tools, portable power tools, as well as an electric outlet should be planned for. Many of these tools can be kept in a tool chest, or a cabinet on wheels. This will make things much easier for you. It’s surprising how much space is required for assembling your projects. It’s also important that your bench be level. If it is racked, or twisted, getting square glue ups will be very difficult. 
You’ll also need to have a finishing area. This could be the same space as the assembly area. It’s best to have your finishing materials in a combustion proof cabinet, if you plan on using oil based products. The same is true for used finishing rags. They need to be disposed of properly, as they are capable of spontaneous combustion. This is something you need to pay careful attention to.
With some careful planning, setting up a basement wood shop can be both fun and rewarding.

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Thank you for reading the article above. Many important points you need to know.
Have you ever:
– Wanted to build something, because you cannot find it “retail”?
– Thought of making something custom for a specific need?
– Struggled to find detailed plans to build your dream project?

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects