Raiders of the Lost Weekend

It’s a nonexistent week at the shop. Due to the 4th Holiday, I wasn’t able to procure materials to finish the other pantry door. Or work on the now screwed-up router table. Frankly, outside of Monday afternoon, I didn’t have the time anyway. There is going to be a lot of new developments this weekend, though. I think. But that’s later.
 
For now I’m going to allow myself a flit of imagination. Or several.
 
I was thinking what I would want in a shop if I had unlimited funds. Of course, I’d probably pick a shop the size of a carrier elevator, with three levels and a beer fountain. But that’s just ridiculous: a carrier elevator might be too small. So I’m taking this entry to fantasize about what I would do at my current location with unlimited funds all the way to something practical with potential funds.
 
The unlimited vision
 
Under the ‘no holds barred’ scenario, I’d be doing some massive earthworks. I would situate the shop behind the carport, and turn it 90 degrees to face the street. I would dig out the earth to a level 1 foot under the current driveway, and fill and level with suitable materials. The first floor (oh yeah, I went there) would be a conventional one car garage, with about twenty feet further back for tool storage if I had to bring a car in, and an additional five feet of lateral room. Otherwise, I’d have tons of room to set the shop up with a cabinet saw, dedicated miter saw/cabinet wall, a couple of heavy duty workbenches and etc. The shop would be powered on its on dedicated circuit, with plenty of 110 and 220v outlets. I’d have dedicated dust collection and a huge compressor outside in a muffled room. Dust collection and air would be available at several points from the ceiling, and there’d be a ton of natural light.
 
The upstairs portion would be an apartment, either for someone to permanently live of to be a hangout. I’m sure the kids would enjoy that as they got older.
 
But, like I said, it’s a flight of fancy. I’m sure you’re looking at 40-50k to do that, and that makes no sense for this house.
 
More sensible
 
A plan more in line with reason would be to build a new shop, just not as ostentatious. I’d orient the shop the same way as it is now, but on the other side of the yard after it got graded appropriately. It would have a sliding barn door, be about 16×24, and have it’s own ‘crawlspace’ storage underneath on the low side of the hill to put the yard equipment, and a riding lawnmower (hey, I can dream). Maybe a porch on top. It would have the same power and dust requirements.
 
Realism
 
I think I’m going to have to live with certain realities with this place. I could possibly add a lean-to on the back either to expand the floor space, or to store the mower or bins. I don’t think dust collection is going to happen, due to the large amp draw it carries, and it has to be on its own circuit. I think realistically the best I can hope for is a single 20A line ran out there. That would power one tool and some lights, but nothing else when it comes to high amp draws, like the table saw and miter saw. The vacuum would still have to be run off another circuit, probably run by a power cord. It may, MAY be possible to modify the rafters to get a little bit of storage where the ceiling is now, but I’m not counting on it.
 
Reality
 
For right now, I think I’m going to wire up a couple of outlets on the inside when I replace the walls, and connect them to an inlet near the door. This way, I could keep the stationary tools plugged in and just hook up the extension cord in when I go in and not have to constantly unplug or move stuff around. I’m going to have to grade the hill in front of the shop to have a safer space to work. Pavers would be nice, or a deck would work, but concrete sure is cheap. With a deck, I don’t have to grade the hill. Tough choice.
 
That was only slightly depressing. I’m thankful I have what I have. I’m hoping to have an estimate on power sometime this fall, and that will determine a lot of what my future plans are.

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