I had a post awhile back when the lottery was at a peak number about a dream shop. I went through the whole shop, with nothing but the best of the best. Powerful machines, great views, a spacious shop and all the amenities. I got to thinking though, what could be a more realistic dream shop? One that fits my current home situation and with an eye for a bit more prudence toward the budget. For as much as I am coming to appreciate my space, it does have some serious issues that will require replacement at some point.
I think I have space for a 16×20 building, which would give me enough room to do everything I want. 16×24 would be better, but 16×20 is a very workable space – much larger than my 12×12. I would run 110v and 220v so that I could have a cabinet saw and a true resaw bandsaw. I don’t know if a whole lot else would change tool wise. I could have an outfeed/assembly table and I’d have room to run a second router in the right wing of the saw plus my offset router table – that will help a lot with complex profiles like molding or picture frames. I don’t know that I would bother with a lift in the saw and use my Rockler plate I have now. The biggest change would be storage. My miter saw bench could be longer and provide more storage there, the outfeed table would give storage, under the saw wing would give some storage…plus all the extra wall lengths would be great.
Another big change would be the inclusion of an approximately 4×4 storage room on the back for a true dust collector and a much bigger air compressor. These would be routed through the wall for use in the shop. I would have probably 4″ duct under the floor or in the ceiling. I’d rather it be under the floor for the table saw, but it’d like to retain access in case of a problem. Removable panels in the floor? Sheet goods storage along one wall or in a loft area would be awesome – going and buying it is a pain without a truck, however it can see my consumption reduced once all the shop fixtures are done.
For the table saw…as much as it conflicts me to purchase a product from a person I don’t particularly like, I would probably buy a Sawstop. I want a powerful saw that I would keep for many many years to come, and it might as well buy one that will help me when my reflexes and senses start to go. Plus, it would allow me to start letting my kids help out on projects and the table saw wouldn’t be so out of bounds. For the bandsaw, I would probably go with a 18 or 20″ model. I’d like to have two, but at the smaller workshop size I don’t think I can. I’m happy with all my other tools for the foreseeable future. I may upgrade the lathe to a nicer unit at one point, but it is more than capable right now and for years to come. My router will be 3HP with a lift and a great fence, I love my miter saw and drill press. I will add some smaller tools like sanders, a track saw and perhaps a Domino.
Finishing equipment will also be bought, perhaps before the new shop comes about. I was thinking about an Earlex if funds become available. I obviously don’t have room for a dedicated finishing room, but I could easily use the assembly table and cover the saw for brushed finishes. For air, I would like to have a short deck outside to setup.
That’s my more realistic, but still dream, shop. It will take a ton of money, and I have other responsibilities first. Perhaps by the time I’m 50.
Edit – after thinking on this post for a couple of weeks, a 16×24 shop should really be my goal. I’ll be playing around with Sketchup during some down time and lay something out. Even then I find I could use more space. Funny, coming from my current situation.