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Thread: Building My Basement Shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Southern MD
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    Building My Basement Shop

    Prelude

    I had a half of a two car garage shop. It wasnt insulated and I would heat it with a kerosene heater during the winter. An impending layoff forced me to find a job. After some discussion, my wife and I agreed that getting out of the DC suburbs would make our life much better, even if it meant a pay cut. I eventually found a decent job in Southern MD and we sold the house. We contracted a new house to be built and most of our stuff (including my shop) went into storage for 6 months.
    I speced the house with 9 basement ceiling height so part of it could be used as a shop. I also had a 7 wide stairway built with 6 French doors into the basement. We moved into the house in early October 03. By Christmas time, I had done all the stuff necessary to keep the family happy (hanging curtains, painting etc.). So, it was time to start on the shop. I knew I would want to use some nail guns, so I picked up a 60 gal air compressor and installed it into the garage. No worries, it would be reinstalled later.
    My priorities were to have a decent sized shop, but still leave enough room to have some storage, a rec room, and maybe a small office in the basement. I wanted to be sure that there would be no dust penetration from the shop into the rest of the basement. That meant my construction had to ensure a good seal, and I needed a good dust collection system. After some discussion with Oneida, I ordered a 2HP commercial cyclone.
    I decided to use an L shaped portion of the basement that included the French doors and another window. There is a 32 wall and a 24 wall, but a cutout about 10x17. Total finished space would be around 580 sqft. In the corner near the doors is the sump. I decided to make a closet there that would contain the sump area plus my cyclone. My theory being that noise in the shop would be reduced. I also wanted to put in some sort of noise barrier so my work wouldnt bother those upstairs. While the house was being built, I researched soundproofing and how to apply it to my application.
    These two pictures show the space before construction. You can see the insulated concrete walls with a 1 knee wall above to make up the 9 basement. I do have a beam across the L area and large ductwork along the 32 wall. I mounted some 2x6s to the cement wall and attached the cyclone brackets. That allowed me to put the insulation back between the cyclone and the wall. I figured mounting the cyclone to the cement would keep it from vibrating the wall. Wound up working well.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  2. #2
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    Phase 1, Framing

    I started framing in early December. The first time I fired up the miter saw, I woke up the baby sleeping two floors above. Yep, I definitely would need some sort of soundproofing. I soon got the FWW tools and shops issue which detailed the process I had determined I was going to use. Hmm, I guess my research was good.
    Most of the framing is typical 2x4 studs. I built them over top of the already insulated concrete to save some money. For noise reduction, I knew I needed to keep sound out of the other part of the basement. Otherwise it would travel from there right on upstairs. I built a 6 wall with staggered studs to split the basement. I also had part of my shop that runs along the stairway. The way the stairway was framed made it such that I built another wall butted against that one. That helped both with some framing details and soundproofing.
    Framing went pretty quickly. Boy, I thought I was ahead of schedule.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  3. #3
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    Phase 2, Electrical

    Outlets:
    I wired the shop with 3 20A 110V circuits. I put an outlet every 3 studs on the walls. Every other outlet is a different circuit. I also put in 2 30A 220V circuits. A total of 6 220V outlets around the shop for large tools.

    Lighting:
    I decided that I wanted a flexible overhead lighting system. So, I wired switched outlets into the ceiling and used plug in fixtures. That way, if I need to re-route my dust collection ducting or get better lighting over a particular bench or machine, I can simply move the lights around on the ceiling. I dont have to worry about installed wiring.
    Under the duct work buildout, I wanted some lights. But, I was worried because the ceiling height was just shy of 8 and didnt want lights sticking down. So, I decided to use recessed lights. I used the kind that can touch insulation so I could put a piece of insulation over it for soundproofing.

    Dust collector and air compressor:
    I ran a dedicated 30A 220V circuit to the DC. I had already run one to the garage for the air compressor.
    I decided I wanted to be able to be able to turn on the air compressor from either the garage or basement. So, I ran a 3-way switch to an outlet in the garage. Each switch has a small light to show if the compressor is on. I bought 2 110V switched relays to control the compressor and DC. The 3-way circuit controls the relay for the compressor.

    PIC - Air Compressor Switch showing my 3-way lit compressor switch

    For the DC, I decided to use the Long Ranger I already owned. The Long Ranger now controls the relay to start the DC. I had some problems with my old DC turning itself on during the day or in the middle of the night. Something about the Long Ranger got false signals every so often. So, I connected it to an outlet controlled by the main shop lighting switch. When the lights are off, the DC cant go on.

    PIC2 DC Circuitry

    The wiring took me about another month of weekends. The main wiring went quick. It was rerouting the current basement wiring and fishing the compressor wiring that added lots of time. I spent an entire weekend on the slick (if I say so myself) 3-way air compressor switching mechanism. Pulling the wires into the finished garage walls was painful.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  4. #4
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    Phase 3 Soundproofing

    I actually dont call what I did soundproofing. I call it noise reduction. I didnt really use the practices that a studio would use as it would be ridiculously expensive. My goal is to keep the noise upstairs such that someone directly above can reasonably watch TV. The noise should also be quiet enough that my family can sleep two floors up no matter what Im doing downstairs. Soundproofing would have involved keeping noise from going outside the house also. I wasnt worried about that at all.
    I installed 6 insulation in the joists overhead. I installed resilient channel (RC) to mount the drywall. Since the joists are 8, that leaves some airspace, which is important. The RC keeps the vibrations in the drywall from getting to the joists.
    I insulated all the walls that lead to other areas of the basement. I also put some insulation in the closet to keep DC noise down both upstairs and in the shop.
    I wrapped all ductwork with insulation to keep the thin sheet metal from vibrating and transmitting the sound upstairs through the vents.

    PIC Resilient Channel Overhead
    PIC2- Insulation in Staggered Stud Wall
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  5. #5
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    Phase 4 Drywall/Tile

    It was now pushing into March. I was getting tired of spending all my weekends working in the shop. So, I hired out the drywall. Boy, that was nice. No drywall one weekend, painting the next. They did a good job. They knew about RC and soundproofing and did everything properly. 7 gallons of paint/primer later, and the whole place was satin white. The following weekend I cleaned the floor and installed around 600 sqft. of VCT.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  6. #6
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    Phase 5 Finish

    I started to have other things to do on the weekends and wasnt able to dedicate the time to the shop that I was. I wanted to be able to access the duct run so I could run additional wiring to the garage in the future and be able to add bigger circuits to the shop if necessary. Since I didnt have it drywalled, I used MDF. That gave me some soundproofing. I cut 4 panels and screwed them into place. They can be removed with some hassle. I put in additional insulation and built little insulation teepees over the recessed lights.
    I ran copper from the garage for the air compressor. So far, I have put in 2 drops with filter/regulators.
    I used 6 PVC for my DC ducting. I built my own blast gates using a combination of designs from Bill Penz and Terry Hatfield. They work quite well and also serve to support the drops from the wall. The PVC was a bit frustrating. Figuring out how to transition from 7 metal and then to various other sizes took some creativity and effort. Its also pretty heavy. I couldnt hang it into studs as the soundproofing would be compromised. The quick screw in drywall anchors are not capable of supporting weight that attempts to pull them out. So, good drywall anchors were a must. Plenty of cursing occurred when hanging the pipe. 6 PVC is also difficult to cut. My miter saw was much too small. The sawzall would just spin it around. I finally built a little fixture out of 2x4s to clamp the pipe into for cutting.
    Jay St. Peter

  7. #7
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    Southern MD
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    Results/Tour

    Just over a year after disassembling my old shop, I now have a functional shop again. The noise suppression works great. You can tell the planer is running from upstairs, but it isnt loud at all. Its not much louder than a buzzing bee in the room. When the DC system is on there is a slight hum. But nothing is annoying exactly as I hoped.
    The layout of the shop didnt work out as I had originally planned. I had to move it around some, but it should work out OK. I am unhappy with the inexpensive light fixtures I used. The noise suppression sort of ate up the budget that was allocated there, so Im happy with the compromise. But, they buzz and dont work as well as they could. Two of 18 fixtures were DOA.

    The first two pictures are of a shop overview.

    PIC Shop from Door
    PIC2 Shop from TS location
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay St. Peter

  8. #8
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    Starting near the door, you see my Unisaw and bench. This bench was free and is starting to show its inadequacy as I do a little more hand tool work. I need to build a new one soon. The shelf with the receiver is cut off from an old router table top. Beware of Rousseau inserts. Thats one expensive stereo shelf .
    For safety, I have a removable splitter from Delta, and an overhead guard from Excalibur (although it is the old model that became the Exaktor). I was hoping for better DC from the overhead guard. But, the saw still spits plenty of sawdust at me.
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    Jay St. Peter

  9. #9
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    Heading around to my router table and super accurate miter station. This miter station was used for the construction. I am currently working on a new 14 one with storage underneath to go in this space. The router table is usable, but incomplete. I need to build some drawers and connect the top to the carcase. I used it this way for around 6 months before I moved. I wonder how long Ill use it before finishing it. At this point, its already looking to be a 2 yr. project. Because my old shop was so small, it was originally planned to be a multi-use table. It has a spot to mount a small vice. There are plenty of stains from it also being a finishing area. I dont quite need a 30x48 router table anymore. Ahhh, what the heck, I guess Ill just build another one NOT (this is table #4).
    The router table uses a Woodpeck plungelift with a dedicated Hitachi M12V. I have a Jointech cabinetmakers system attached to a sliding platform. While the Jointech only has 12 of travel. I can move that 12 wherever I want, up to 38 away from the bit center (dont know what Id use that capability for, but Ive got it).
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    Jay St. Peter

  10. #10
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    This picture shows the drill press and cyclone closet. Thats the 2HP Commercial Oneida cyclone with the big filter. The closet has peg board along the inside to help with hanging storage. I kind of wish I had put the DC elsewhere. This would be a great area to fit a nice bench near some natural light. I couldve put it outside the current shop near the door. Its kind of a wasted corner on the other side. Maybe someday, but for now Im done. The drill press is a 14 Delta with a drill press table made from the Peachtree kit.
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    Jay St. Peter

  11. #11
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    Continuing around to the L shows my Grizzly 17 bandsaw and panel sizing table. This area will be reworked eventually. I want to put a lathe in the corner and rework the panel sizing table to fold away. I left a dead-end in the DC plumbing planning on more equipment in this area eventually.

    PIC Bandsaw/Panel Sizing table

    Working back around toward the door, you see my Grizzly 8 jointer, Ridgid planer and some shelves. Those shelves were my old lumber storage. They will be that again for current project lumber. I have some additional lumber storage in the shed and will expand into the garage. Sheet good storage is still a problem. Something else to eventually work on.

    PIC2 jointer/planer/shelves

    Overall, this was a good project. It took a little too long and my cost estimating was pathetic. I wish I couldve fit the cabinets and Miter Station into the moving truck at the old house. Id have much less to do here. But, Im very happy to have this much more space and some fun projects to look forward to.
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    Jay St. Peter

  12. #12
    Jay,

    That's a heck of a lot of progress you've made. I am simply amazed at people who can get all that done. My lamp went out in my bedroom and for the life of me can't figure which wire got shorted ! Kudos to you. Great job on deadening the sound. It should be one real nice shop when done.

    Bob
    bob m

  13. #13
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    Mar 2004
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    Hey Jay, your shop looks even cleaner than Terry Hatfield's.

    I have browsed through your text and pictures and will go back and read things more thoroughly -I am certain to learn things that I can apply to my shop.

    If I had done anywhere near as good a job when I built my basement shop about 30 years ago as you are doing now, I am sure that my wife would not be evicting me to my back yard.

    Jay, how big is the closet for your dust control unit? I will be getting the same unit and would, if I can afford the space, like to put it into a closet.

  14. #14
    Very nicely done... I am still in the garage for my woodworking... For me is it not heating that is a problem... it's cooling and the monsoons are starting to roll into Arizona *UGH* Congrats, ( I probably missed it ) what is the final dimension of your shop?
    I can pay retail anywhere, so how's your service?
    Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory one project at a time
    Maker of precision cut firewood


  15. #15
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    Bob,

    Thanks. I doubt it'll ever actually be done. But, the construction part is done.

    Frank,
    My closet is around 5.5' wide by just under 4' deep. The cyclone is pretty streched out in there and includes the first 2' of pipe to get to the outside of the closet. I also have the sump in there, plus around 2'x4' of open floor space in the front for a shop vac. If I was you, I would get the unit and build the closet around it. That's what I did. I reconfigured the intake vs. filter relation a bunch of times before ultimately deciding on the final layout. I would say that 3x4+ would be the smallest closet it could fit in. BTW, if you saw my shop today you would know that I'm not in the running for cleanest shop

    Michael,
    It's 580 sqft. including the closet. It's L-shaped overall 32'x24' with a 10'x17' cutout.

    Jay
    Jay St. Peter

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