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Setting up my workshop

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DutchDan31/01/2022 10:58:31
49 forum posts
16 photos

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forums. If this is not the right place for this, please let me know. It's not exactly model engineering, but a bit of a prelude.

Having purchased my first house in 2020, I've finally gotten to the point where I can turn the large-ish (~3x2.4m) shed it came with into a proper workshop. The shed was damp and subject to massive temperature swings, so before getting any proper machinery in there I decided to insulate it all. Building materials are currently as pricey as they've ever been in recent history, but life is short, so I went ahead...


This is the shed when we moved in. Having been in an apartment since I moved out of my parents' house I was very happy.


And soon put it to good use. It's only this messy whilst actively using it!


Drew up plans to make sure everything will fit. The green box is where the lathe will go, space for a mill at a later point has already been reserved. The red box at the right front is the (huge) mitersaw folded down, to more effectively use my limited space. All the frames will be welded mild steel 25x50x2.5mm. The worktops will be made (as far as material goes) from out old flooring I had to sadly rip out due to some water damage. It appears to be some type of hardwood so should make a nice heavy benchtop.


The first step was to stud out the floor to make sure there's proper support under the bench stands, and insulate in between. 18mm OSB over that to be finished later with vinyl flooring. The existing shed floor is quite densely studded on top of a concrete slab, so should be fairly strong and solid.


Then insulated the walls and ceiling. There is expanding foam in all the little nooks and crannies.


And clad everything in OSB, filled some more gaps (nothing was straight in this shed!) and puttied the seams.


Added a lick of paint to keep everything nice and bright and bright and started on the electrics.


200kgs of steel for the workbenches was delivered. No covered space for the 7,5m lengths so they are under a tarp for now...


Interior now mostly done. Put up temporary supports for the shelving so I can have some light as I manufacture my benches. The LED strips are very bright, should be nice to work under. Note the green tape is the future supports and worktop placement.


Finally put some tools back in place.


And manufactured some custom mounts for my hodgepodge of clamps and a door handle.

I'm currently in the process of laminating old floorboards into a worktop which is a lengthy process. That'll free up some space under my awning so I can get started on the steel after. I'm hoping to have the first bench in somewhere in March so I can order a lathe for my 32nd birthday.

I've got a google photo album with more/bigger photos here for those interested.

Former Member31/01/2022 11:16:13
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Brian H31/01/2022 11:27:42
2312 forum posts
112 photos

Excellent job Dan, and that even looks like a Dutch roof! You'll soon be in production.


Thor 🇳🇴31/01/2022 11:48:04
1656 forum posts
46 photos

Well done Dan, you have got yourself a nice workshop.


DutchDan31/01/2022 11:59:26
49 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks everyone, it is getting cosy in there.
Brian, I do believe it's called a Dutch barn style roof, but named after the Pennsylvania Dutch who are actually German dont know

Ady131/01/2022 12:36:42
5159 forum posts
738 photos


I think you should give up model engineering and build workshops for model engineers

SillyOldDuffer31/01/2022 13:01:40
8857 forum posts
1994 photos

Excellent job!

One small comment, I have what looks like the same bookcase:

Mine isn't quite strong enough for books - took about a year for the shelves to sag and the frame to go out of square. If yours suffers under the weight of tools, steel shelving isn't too expensive. Available from Screwfix and similar. Look for units that quote a per shelf carrying weight: they're much stronger than the wood and plastic affairs intended for bedrooms and greenhouses.


DutchDan31/01/2022 15:17:25
49 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks Ady, I haven't really started with the model engineering yet, so it's good to know I have a backup hobby haha.

Dave, it's an IKEA Billy, so probably the same. It is proper wobbly, and the back has already been disposed off as it looked like blue cheese. Once I have my benches built it'll be taken to the tip, and storage space under the benches used and the shelving (once resting on the steel supports).

If I need any more space I may see if I can put some sort of shelf up above the door. Probably supported by steel as well since the span is about 2.4m.

The alternative is getting rid of tools and we all know that's not an option.

Nigel McBurney 131/01/2022 15:59:55
1004 forum posts
3 photos

consider making it a bit more burglar proof ,bars on windows,and make the doors and hinges a lot stronger,line the doors with plywood,its tougher and stronger than other composite boards,lot of shed theft around our way,its easier nowadays to break into a shed than a house.and use close shackle padlocks.

DutchDan31/01/2022 16:07:41
49 forum posts
16 photos

I've been having a look at getting some heavier hinges with security bolts on there. And mad weld up some bars for the windows. The windows are multi-layer polycarbonate so shouldn't be too easy to get through. The doors are now clad in OSB so should be plenty strong. Hinges are just screwed in on the outside so pretty useless there.

Having no direct access to the garden, however much of a pain when getting materials in, helps here. They'd have to go over my neighbour's wall and then the fence between our gardens. I've now installed a security light as well.

That being said, I will be taking some additional steps.

Gerhard Novak31/01/2022 22:04:47
109 forum posts
114 photos

Workshop looks great! Like the size of your vice.

I had my workshop in the shed (or rather summer house) until very recent when I moved into the garage of the house. Reason was a) that I was allowed to so by my general manager and b) that it is warmer in the winter. I have a massive 3kw radiator in the garage which runs with the central heating, so it is much cheaper than heating with an electric radiator in the summer house. Only thing is I have to be more tidy as my dog has a flap into the garden from the garage, so I do not want to leave it in the evenings with lots of shavings on the floor. I used kitchen cabinets for my machines, they are strong enough, especially when bolted to the wall (which they were in the summer house, and they are now in the garage).


I have window and door contacts in the summerhouse, connected to the house alarm. I had movement sensors at the beginning, but a few false alarms made me change that into door contacts. (even a sturdy summerhouse lets enough air in so that objects hanging from the ceiling (some of my model aeroplanes) start moving in a storm. And they do that when you are on holiday of course...

I also modified all hinges replacing some of the screws by coach bolts which went through the wall. Originally all hinges were screwed on from the outside. I don't know why the manufacturers of summerhouses do that,
it is an invitation for intruders.

My new workshop-clean as it was last week...

new workshop 7

new workshop 5



Edited By Gerhard Novak on 31/01/2022 22:05:36

MikeK01/02/2022 00:17:10
226 forum posts
17 photos

Nice workshop, Dutch.

PatJ01/02/2022 03:09:02
502 forum posts
769 photos

That's not a workshop.......its a "man cave".

Is that a beer tap protruding up above the tabletop that I see?


norm norton01/02/2022 10:18:44
187 forum posts
9 photos

I do like seeing pictures of recent workshop builds and admire both the examples shown above. Well done.

But it made me think of workshops of old, and the ones I love to see re-created at industrial sites, and I used to play in at my grandfather's business in the 1950's. Carpenters shops ankle deep in chippings from a planer, a blacksmiths forge with earth floor, black dust and metal fragments everywhere, a machine shop with overhead line shafts and oil dripping over the lathes. Those are the places I am sure that many of us love to see and visit, but we don't want to work in them do we?

The one thing I would find essential any new workshop though is a 'dirty area' and fume extraction. A shiny, white workshop will soon look different after a couple of years of welding, angle grinding and paint spraying; or do people not undertake those techniques any more?

DutchDan01/02/2022 12:34:45
49 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks Gerhard, I am very pleased with the vise. it has a nice story as well. I got it off someone who got it from their grandfather (he only sold it because he also had another vise from his grandfather.) Said grandfather got the vise when the Swindon railroad works closed where he worked as a pipefitter. So I have a bit of local history in my shop. Your shop looks brilliant by the way! Hopefully one day I'll either have a (double) garage or a proper outbuilding.

Pat, afraid not, maybe I should get one.

Norm, I think people that worked in those types of shops would have loved a bit of comfort. But I get the nostalgia, the smell alone of a proper workshop is just lovely. As for the dirty areas, I definitely do angle grinding and welding, but those happen outside as I reckon my shed is a little too flammable for that. I did build a large awning because I got tired of running all my stuff inside when it started raining. As for the being ankle deep in wood shavings... I did have to plane ~4mm off of all the studding I sued for the floor to match the height of the ones already there.


Edited By DutchDan on 01/02/2022 12:35:50

Samsaranda01/02/2022 13:29:08
1465 forum posts
7 photos

I would love my workshop to be as clean and white as those featured but once you get a couple of large stationary engines in various stages of dismantling (restoration) , and add into the mix numerous days of machining cast iron castings etc. the only white object in the workshop is my white deaf Turkish Angora cat who follows me everywhere and when I am machining he loves to sleep on the bench next to me. Dave W

ega01/02/2022 14:58:52
2564 forum posts
203 photos

Apparently, Charles Dickens had a deaf cat which sat on his desk as he wrote.

I hope you are saving the cat hair for a sweater!

Howard Lewis01/02/2022 15:02:57
6295 forum posts
15 photos

A splendid job!

All in favour of insulation. Stops or minimises condensation and keeps the place cosy.

My shop is about the same size and a 2 Kw fan heater soon brings it up to a comfortable temperature.

It was painted gloss white when first built, walls and ceiling, to make it as bright as possible.

It may be a good idea to put in a couple of small floor level m,vents so that moist air can exit, rather than accumulate.

I also have a 6" intake fan, mounted high up, when additional ventilation is required . The exterior vent has a long, downward pointing, hood to prevent ingress of rain.

Internally, it now has great similarity to Rubik's Cube.

Power is supplied from a RCD in the house, to a ring main above the bench, feeding no less than eleven double metal clad sockets. The one supplying the VFD for the lathe is a suppressed one, to prevent any nasty "spikes" being fed back up the mains to the detriment of our house and any other on the same phase.

One day I should fit a proper Garage unit to supply the lights and sockets; but tomorrow never comes!

Lighting in addition to the work lights on the machines, and above what little of the Fitting bench and Vice can be seen above all the rubbish, is by two individually switched 4 foot 60 / 85 watt fluorescent tubes.

Should really replace with LED tubes!

Security is important. You do not want the damage caused by breaking and entering, or the loss of items which have cost a lot of money and / or time.

Make sure that the doors are sturdy and not easily distorted.

If need be, have two hasps, or bolts, at the upper and lower quarter height points of the doors, that can be fitted with good quality padlocks.

Use coach bolts, with domed heads outside, so that they cannot be gripped and turned, with the nuts inside; to secure the hasps or bolts, and the hinges..

Fit hinge bolts to both doors. I made mine by turning off the heads of substantial woodscrews, and used a drill chuck to fit them (2 per door ) to the back edge of the door, so that about 12 - 15 mm protruded. Trying to close the door marked the post where a hole needed to be drilled, to accept the hinge bolt.

In this way, once the door is closed, driving out the hinge pins still will not allow the door to be lifted out (My door is actually a fire door with a 6 lever lock! )

With regard to windows, my shop has no windows, allowing full length be fitted, to maximise storage space, My shelves had been the bargeboards for a neighbour's house, so can carry the weight of what is placed on them..

It might be a good idea to have internal removeable shutters for the windows, so that when the shop is shut, prying eyes cannot see what is inside to be stolen!



DutchDan01/02/2022 17:00:29
49 forum posts
16 photos

Samsaranda, I have no illusions about the workshop staying clean. I have a huge desk with a similar lighting setup in my study that is reserved for work that needs cleanliness.

Ega, not for me please, I'm quite allergic so that sounds like an absolute nightmare.

Howard, I do need to have a look at ventilation. I have a dessicant humidifier in there so not worried about humidity. But air quality is an issue as the shed is practically hermetically sealed at the moment.

Power right now is using a line that was already there that was obviously put in by a sparky. It does seem to be spurred off of the ring main for the downstairs socket, so I will be putting a dedicated line in at some point and have a sparky sign off my work (well, that is the plan). But as it's fused at entry and once outside I'm not concerned with safety now. I've worked under an electrician in the past so am confident my wiring is safe.

The windows are impossible to see through, it is 4 layer "multi-wall polycarbonate". Insulating as well. I didn't want to close them up entirely to let natural light in, but I'll probably put shelving up over it. If I put a beam across bolted between the upright that should prevent anyone from crawling through.

I've been looking at ways to secure the doors more. Will definitely start with beefing up the hinges and putting coach bolts through. Great idea to put hinge bolts in as well! Will definitely do that.

Maybe I should run some metal mesh hooked up to the 230 in the door as well. That'll scare of any cheeky burglars taking larger tools to the door laugh (dear police, this is a joke)

Samsaranda01/02/2022 18:10:57
1465 forum posts
7 photos


You joke about wiring up the door to 230 volts, many years ago a friend of mine did just that. He had his workshop broken in to and all his tools and models were stolen, he was devastated and vowed it wouldn’t happen again, he wired the door knob of his workshop entrance door to the mains with a hidden isolating switch so that he could get in. I don’t know if he “caught” anyone with his security measure, suffice to say that to my knowledge he was not broken into again. Definitely not to be used as a security measure, you could be facing a manslaughter charge, however nothing to stop you using an electric fence apparatus, I once had trouble with seagulls raiding my ponds and rigged an electric fence around the ponds at seagull height, they soon stopped raiding the ponds and even when the fence was switched off they wouldn’t go near it, they had obviously had a belt from it. Dave W

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