00 Building the shop (Part II)

This entry is part 13 of 28 in the series 00 - Prep/Logistics

Once it started warming up, I was able to install the hundreds of feet of conduit for the electrical. Interesting thing about where we live; even residential structures are required to have conduit. Which means no Romex. I could have wired the entire garage in a weekend. But because of the conduit, it took me a couple of weeks. That said, I really LIKE having the electrical in conduit. If you ever need to run a new circuit, all you need to do is push a couple wires through the conduit and you’re all set. And you don’t have to worry about grounding wires. Once the conduit was done, the insulation went in. I wanted a well insulated structure so I have 6″ of insulation in the walls and up to 18″ in the ceiling.

Because of the delay (and because I ABSOLUTELY HATE mudding drywall), I decided to contract the drywall work out. The drywall crew had the sheetrock up, taped, mudded and sanded in less than 4 days. It would have taken me a month to do that. They also agreed to leaveĀ  their scaffolding behind for a couple of days to I could paint, install the lights and ceiling fans.

Here, I’m preparing one of the SIXTEEN fluorescent light fixtures.

I’m really glad I got the drywall crew to leave the scaffolding. It was a bit unnerving installing 8-foot light fixtures while standing on wobbly scaffolding 12 feet up by myself. I don’t even want to think about doing it without the scaffolding.

This is a picture that I took just after I returned the scaffolding.

The small wood box in the corner is the manifold for the radiant heat water tubing (boiler and pump aren’t in yet). Also notice the quad outlet boxes (gray) every 6 feet. I have read, and agree, that you can never have too many outlets. Each wall is on a separate circuit. It is also said that you can never have too much light. Hence the four rows of 6000K/94CRI fluorescent lights. (basically that means bright and white!)

I wanted a floor that would be easy to clean and would also make it easy to find any small screws or parts. I went with a 2-part epoxy designed for garage/hangar floors. It’s a real pain to apply. You have to acid etch the concrete, then neutralize it, then rinse it. Oh and don’t forget the walls are finished so I had to cover the bottom four feet of the wall so as not to damage it with the acid/neutralizer/water. Then once the paint is mixed it has the consistency of honey. So spreading it is a challenge. And since it’s an epoxy, you have a limited time to get it down. Oh yeah, you also have to apply two coats. But once it’s down, it looks real nice… Except that it makes imperfections in the concrete very apparent. In the upcoming pictures, you’ll notice it’s very shiny.

The garage door was another area I obsessed over. I went with an 8 foot high door instead of the typical 7 foot door. Then there was the issue of heat loss. 128 square feet is a lot of potential heat loss. So I got the highest R-value door I could find (R-10). I figure if I lose too much heat through the door, I’ll build a temporary wall out of 3-inch foam in front of the door. The other problem with a garage door is the rails that the door follows when you open it. The horizontal portion is typically the same height as the door opening. In a normal garage, this is fine. But the ceiling at the rails in this shop is going to be about 11 feet high. That’s three feet of wasted headroom. So I got a larger radius curve for the vertical to horizontal transition that put the rails just below the ceiling. No wasted headroom now.

This is about halfway through installing the door.

The last garage door I installed was in 1982 and I didn’t remember much so this was all new.

The moment of truth. Just a slight lift and it effortlessly rolled open! I love it when plan comes together.

Once the door was in, it was move it day. Some of my tools hadn’t been touched since I moved them into the existing garage back in 1999.

Along the back wall are all my stationary tools (tablesaw, drillpress, radial arm saw etc.). Because space may get a bit tight, I’ve got all my tools on mobile bases that will allow me to move them around when needed. In fact, just about everything in the shop is on wheels. Don’t forget to notice the nice shiny floor!

Here’s the heating system. Flash boiler on top, the control unit, pump and expansion tank in the middle and and the manifold in the wooden box on the bottom. The flash boiler is really amazing. These are becoming more and more common in houses instead of traditional tank-style water heaters. Instead of heating 50 gallons of water and keeping it hot all day, whether it’s needed or not. These flash boiler (also called “tankless water heaters”) instantly heat the water on demand. The initial numbers are encouraging. It looks like it’s going to be less than $10 per month to heat the shop.

Finally some finish pictures. This is after landscaping.

Yes, that’s a propeller over the door. Since I’ll be building an airplane here, it seems appropriate. Besides, there’s a story behind this particular propeller.

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