Category Archives: Woodshop

Woodshop progress: Passed electrical inspection this morning!

A milestone! I finished the rough-in electrical last night and had the inspection this morning. Yes … was a bit nervous … I’m not an electrician. I have some experience over the years … but still I get concerned about nuances of code, when the inspector is on his way. I shouldn’t have worried. I knew that it would go well when we walked up to the door and the inspector said, “That’s a beautiful door!” I gushed … “gee thanks I made it of cherry and walnut”. He barely glanced at the wiring, and passed it all off.

None too soon! It’s cold, and I had to get the electrical inspected before I could start insulating. I haven’t dared to put a thermometer out there, but with full ventilation and no insulation, I don’t think the woodstove raises the temperature more that about 15 to 20 degrees.

Here’s the details on the electrical: The sub panel is fed from an 80 amp breaker at the main panel/meter box on the house. The panel is a 200 amp panel. Formerly, it had 2 100 amp mains. I down graded the 100 amp mains to 2 60 amp mains for the house, then added the 80 amp main for the shop. As you can see below, I built lots of diversity into the shop circuits, especially since it is a one-man shop.

Circuit details for the shop:
30A 220: Planer
30A 220: Dust collection
20A 110: Perimeter outlets A
20A 110: Perimeter outlets B
20A 110: Table saw
20A 110: Jointer
20A 110: Attic outlets
20A 110: Storage outlets
15A 110: Shop Lighting A
15A 110: Shop Lighting B
15A 110: Storage/Attic Lighting
15A 110: Swamp Cooler
15A 110: Garage Door opener

Lighting for the main shop will be 15 8′ 2-lamp T12 fixtures that I picked up used at a good price.
Electrical panel

Electrical panel

Door and panel

Woodstove for the woodshop

I got out to the shop early this morning to work on wiring. But it was about 37 degrees, and hmmm, my priorities shifted. I got to work on installing the woodstove. I first had to do some work on the manufactured chimney. I’d placed it temporarily for the roofer, but hadn’t installed the ceiling flange. The chimney needed to drop down 6″ into the flange, and unfortunately the roofer — absent my direction sealed the chimney into the roof flashing. I had to undo that, and to seat the chimney pipe in the ceiling flange.

Then it was off to Lowes for another section of chimney, cinder blocks, stove pipe etc. So now the bill for chimney, etc is about $400, but I got the stove for $50. Hah!

By 3 pm, I had the inaugural fire going, and tomorrow morning the temperature will be right for wiring. I don’t know about you, but without a woodstove … well it didn’t feel like a woodshop. Now it does!

Woodstove for the woodshop


Woodstove for the woodshop

The shop is closed in!

Well, the door is hung, and winter can come. I just need to do the weather stripping, and we really are ready.
Woodshop door
Next up is the gas line for the radiant floor heat. I’m digging the trench for the gas line right now. Should have the gas supply done in a couple of weeks. Then we can do the 4-way inspection and start installing insulation. After the door was up — even without insulation — I noticed the building was warmer than the garage. The south windows are providing good solar gain.
Shop door and gas trench in progress

A door for the new shop

I figured that the new shop should have a fine door that speaks to what goes on inside. Sometime around 1992, I acquired some walnut from an old woodworker in Pleasant Grove, UT. The walnut had grown in his yard, and he’d had it sawn into 12-quarter planks. Well it’s 2008, and that walnut was still waiting for a project so it has found its new purpose. It’s been a rewarding project. I haven’t applied woodworking skills at this level of fussiness for quite some time.

I like to make a connection to the wood I am working. That connection is always special when the wood has both a story from the inside and from the outside. Wood, of course, is a contankerous medium. It always has a story to tell from the inside, and sometimes it expresses itself at the worst possible moment … almost always when you ask it to do something it didn’t want to do! But on the other hand the wood may also have a story from the outside. And that’s the case here. I wish I could remember Stan’s last name, but after 16 years, it does escape me. He was a member of my barbershop chorus, and about 80 at the time. He’d reached the point that he realized his stash of walnut was probably not going to be used by him. He was pleased to pass it on to me (and accept whatever cash was involved at the time). But more than the cash, he was happy to see that precious walnut go to a fellow who would appreciate it. Some of it went into bench top for an organ bench at the ML Bigelow organ shop where I was working as a craftsman at the time. Stan — the musician — was excited to hear about that. I have a feeling he’d also be mighty happy to see his walnut in this woodshop door.

Here’s the door after the first coat of finish:

Woodshop Progress

To complete the exterior, we just need the overhead and entry door. I’m working on the entry door today, and the overhead door will be installed Wednesday. I’m really pleased with the way the building integrates with the site. When we’re done it will definitely look “original”.
Shop with rock and stucco complete
Street view of new woodshop

The workshop progesses

The permit was issued, and last week, the site was excavated and footings where poured. The coordination between excavator, footings contractor, and foundation contractor has been great. We have made quick progress at the start! Currently the foundation forms and steel are set. We anticipate pouring the foundation walls tomorrow.



New Woodshop: Getting closer

I had once dreamed of building a timber-framed woodshop, but time and locale prevent it. Design for a residential class framed shop are complete, and plans have been submitted for building permit approval. Yes, this will be my largest building project to date! Features:

  • 30X28 work space
  • 14X28 storage space
  • Lots of south window light
  • Exterior complements existing house
  • Radiant floor heat
  • dust collection system
  • 11′ ceiling height
  • Usable attic space above

Timber Frame Workshop

In September, I posted here observations about a barn in Menlo, and the thoughts it spurred in me. Mostly it reminded me that my woodworking and construction projects of a lifetime have been on a small scale and it got me to thinking that I need to jump out and do some larger projects. As the thought progressed, somehow I moved into thinking about timber frame construction as a mode for the the project. Timber frame construction is traditional post and beam construction in which all joints are crafted of wood and joined with hardwood pegs. As the thought progressed, I realized that the project would follow this path:

  1. Buy a portable saw mill
  2. Buy some logs
  3. Make some lumber
  4. Build the frame
  5. Erect the building

Wind River Shop

The Wind River Timberframes Shop

Quite non-traditional and very exciting.

Yesterday I attended the Log and Timber Framing Expo in Sandy, UT. I came away with some valuable contacts and information. Represented at the show were two small firms from the region:

Chuck Brainerd and Dale Covington (Barn Owl) and Alan Bernholtz (Wind River) generously shared their thoughts and enthusiasms for the art of the timberframe. Chuck has built an impressive home for himself in Utah from a barn he salvaged in the midwest. Alan has completed many masterful homes, and his new workshop is a beauty in itself. I can’t expect to build anything of that scale, but it is an inspiration.