New Shop Journey

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Permit Requests submitted in early February. Estimated turnaround time, 4-6 weeks. Just got the approved documents yesterday!!! . . . sorry, I had to backspace over short rant on bureaucracy and job justification delays at the City Offices . . . let's keep this upbeat :)

This is what it looks like now more or less. This picture was taken months ago but, shows the progress since that time. :mad:
New Shop 1.jpg
30 x 40 x 10, 2x6 construction on a slab. Here's the general idea but, it keeps morphing. I will say that the delays have led to me percolating on things and making many small improvements that I might have missed if those delays hadn't occurred.

Here's a rough idea.
New Shop 2.jpg
The partial walls in the 'plan west' area are only 8' so although that area is cordoned off it is not separate as far as environmentals are concerned. Things like doors, DC, lighting, electrical, HVAC and large machine locations are pretty well set. I have quite a few "ideals" that I am shooting for. We will find out together how close I get. One of my top-of-the-list items was a small spraying / finishing area. Nothing fancy, just a 2" foam board construct that will peg together somehow. The door in that location is 4' x 6'7" and opens out 180 degrees. I plan to build a fan-filter-door fixture that will swing in and and out of position. The foam board walls will collapse and store behind it when not in use.
New Shop 3.jpg . New Shop 4.jpg

There are other niceties that I will ramble on about over the 'however many months' it takes to get through this. The California desert basin is a far cry from the Florida pan handle or the farmlands of Nebraska so my requirements may seem odd to some. Skills learned in my previous smaller work areas mean that 'a place for everything and everything in its place' will be the target I shoot for. Sometimes my aim is better than others but, that's the goal.

I wanted plenty of power, headroom and dedicated open space for assembly and construction. I've paid my dues in using tool surfaces with drop cloths for work surfaces, having machines on rollers so I can store them three deep when not in use and grabbing a ladder to climb up into the rafters for things that lived there since I just plain ran out of room to store them them :D. I've worked since high school, saved my pennies and planned carefully for retirement. Let's see what happens ;).

Please feel free to ask questions along the way. Most of the ideas I built into this thing I stole from someone else. Your questions may lead me to yet another 'face-palm-why-didn't-I-think-of-that' moment . . . and that's a good thing. I've certainly had plenty of them over the last year or so while dreaming this thing up.
 
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Darren Wright

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Totally stole this from Brent, but appropriate...
giphy.gif
 

glenn bradley

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Concrete guy I was working with is booked out 4 - 5 months. Actually had to cancel the jobs for this weeks as there is an apparent concrete shortage, he can't get enough product. The guy was very professional about it; no sour grapes there. Just unfortunate. Time to start shopping for alternative contractors.
 

Darren Wright

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Concrete guy I was working with is booked out 4 - 5 months. Actually had to cancel the jobs for this weeks as there is an apparent concrete shortage, he can't get enough product. The guy was very professional about it; no sour grapes there. Just unfortunate. Time to start shopping for alternative contractors.
Seems that is the case for here too, just a high demand for it. Also for getting deck/building supplies. We've decided to put off the deck replacement until next spring now.
 

Darren Wright

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So from an earthquake point of view, are they making you do anything special in the construction of your shop? I'd assume it's just needing to meet the standard building codes, but didn't know if you had to disclose the purpose of the building or anything like that since the approval took so long.
 

glenn bradley

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No delays due to any special requirements. It kind of goes like this . . .
- Submit request for permit with CAD plans standardized by Tuff Shed for similar structures built (erected) in my area. ETA = 4 to 6 weeks.
- At week 6 find out it is "somewhere" in the process. This building houses about 30 employees, how far could it go? ETA = 1 week.

I forget exactly but, somewhere around week 7 of the Silence Heard 'Round the World I exercise my Google-Fu and find out who works for who and does what in that building. I send a polite, calm, factual email laying out who did what and said what and when. I get a call from a Special Projects Coordinator who apologizes profusely, promises to expedite the request. ETA = 5 weeks!?!

Somewhere around 90 days I get an email!!! Hooray, I got an email! All my troubles are over.

- Submit $848 to the Fire Marshall to check a box on the form that says standing a 1200 sq ft building in the middle of half an acre in the middle of a neighborhood will not place an irreconcilable burden on the Fire Department should they need to drive through the area. ETA = 15 working days.

Day 15, I get an email!!! Hooray, I got an email! All my troubles are over. The Fire Marshall has decided that they need to perform a hydrant capacity test. At this point I am wondering . . . If the hydrant 100 feet from my house isn't capable of handling an emergency, shouldn't you have known that and taken care of it a long time ago? $50 to perform "the test". Here's the really good part . . . "There is no test". I say that in the same way that the young boy in the Matrix said "there is no spoon".

For my now, nearly $900, a clerk will sit up a bit straighter in their chair, open the database record for my part of the hydrant grid, look at the numbers that are put there automatically by some sensors, and the computers they connect to, write those on the form and stamp it with their magic "seal". ETA = 15 working days.

Day 15, I get an email!!! Hooray, I got an email! All my troubles are over. The Fire Marshall has decided that they indeed do have enough water to put out a fire even if I build my outbuilding. They will route the documents to the City and then I should get my approval.

I did finally get the approval as mentioned at the beginning of this thread. Longest 6 weeks of my life. I contact the electrician and email him the approved permit request. He goes to the City and gets his permit approved right at the counter using the same plans. He is raring to go!

Then the concrete fiasco began. I have a lead on an alternate concrete guy. Hope to find out tomorrow . . . . or in 6 months :mad:
 

Bill Satko

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Methow Valley
So Glenn, how about windows and natural light? I think I identified your hand tool area (the bench) but could not see if the exterior wall had a window there. Personally I would go nuts if I didn't have plenty of windows for natural light and also to see out of. I hate the feeling of working in an enclosed box.

I am in the process of having a woodworking shop/pottery studio designed and am interested in how you approached the aesthetic aspects of your shop. My wife and I have both expressed to our architect the importance of natural light and the ambiance of our work space. By ambiance I mean the character and atmosphere of the place. This is hard to express but I see many woodworkers approach their shop as just a box to house their tools while others look it as a space that needs to help inspire them. The former tend to build their shops like a commercial space while the later tend to build their shops like a comfortable room in your house. What was your approach when you designed your shop? What does the exterior look like and what does it say? Does it have curb appeal? Was that important to you?

I am curious as whenever I see posts on shops, it is always about where should I place the jointer in relation to the planer or something like that. Seldom do I see anyone mention the aesthetics of their work space. Which is ironic as we all want to create items with function but also fine form. So wouldn't we all want to work in a space that has both function and form?
 

Chuck Ellis

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Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Bill, I understand where you are coming from... when we order my shop building (a prefab 12x24 ft metal building) it came with 2 windows included... for about $60 more each we could add additional windows.... I opted for only the two windows, but wish now I had put in at least 2 more... the way it sits I can look out over the back yard, but that mostly a hill and some woods... wish I put one on the end facing the road across the front yard and one over the work bench facing out to the woods. The back wall is against a berm that is mostly brush and would face the neighbor's driveway. I have plenty of lights, but if I think about it, it is a little claustrophobic.
 

Ryan Mooney

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One of the nicer shops I've been in had really tall walls (20' maybe, it was an old brick building) with fairly substantial windows put in quite high all around the top couple feet. The indirect diffuse light coming from all directions was really nice.
 

Frank Fusco

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Mountain Home, Arkansas
I'll refrain from typing my thoughts about California. Glad I live where I am. In many areas restrictions and nearly non-existent. And, I am on the County Board that writes restrictions. Last year we nearly got publicly hung when word got out we were considering writing some. Our Board was divided. I convinced them it was not worth getting our necks stretched.
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
First, thanks everyone for the camaraderie so far. It has been more of a journey already than even I expected; I tend to plan pretty harshly (read realistically). :D

I am curious as whenever I see posts on shops, it is always about where should I place the jointer in relation to the planer or something like that. Seldom do I see anyone mention the aesthetics of their work space. Which is ironic as we all want to create items with function but also fine form. So wouldn't we all want to work in a space that has both function and form?

Well said Bill. Where I live horses and people both walk the streets. Really nice RV's stand next to loafing sheds and folks are friendly. My approach on the design was as large as I could afford/get away with and small enough to blend in with the existing lay of the land. The building will match a couple of other outbuildings I have dropped on the property. Color scheme will match the house and other buildings. A long wall will face the house.

I plan for a patio cover on this long wall with conversation and dining seating. There may be a BBQ area but, I won't go so far as to call it an outdoor kitchen. There will be a similar cover on the house wall facing the shop to tie things in aesthetically. Between these will be a play-pit for the grandkids (Jungle Gym build with my son-in-law is in my future) with the balance being a general activity area for grown-ups. Being the part of California it is, a few low water desert plants here and there in containers will be the rule versus any sort of lawn or water thirsty landscaping :)

I will not have any windows in the workshop building and will rely on artificial light. I do find beauty in shops with large or numerous windows allowing lots of natural light; they look great. However, I find peace and solace in the heart of the workshop. I enjoy being immersed in and among the tools, materials and partially completed works. This may stem from the fact that I am a socially awkward creature who would make a first class hermit. I give thanks every day for my amazing wife who somehow manages to pry a little decency from my naturally curmudgeonous shell. If not for her I would have retired to a shack somewhere like Double Tanks, Arizona never to be heard from again :D

I will have creature comforts of a sort. HVAC to combat our toasty annual climate and 43-day-long winters ;). I am making peace with the idea that the first 6 months or so may be spent on wiring, DC ducting, walls and ceilings and moving in tools and materials. It will only be about 50 feet from the house but still a world way.

I hope to strike a balance with this thread between sharing the adventure (y) and belaboring a slow, drawn out process :sleep:. Turns out I have a neighbor who's son is a general contractor of some sort. His outfit has done work for some other folks in the neighborhood. I have left word that I am in need of some concrete work and I am hoping to hear something soon.
 
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Well Glenn, this is the first I have read this thread. Congratulations on jumping a few hurdles and hitting the ground running. I also opted for no windows in my shop except for the door. I to am a hermit by choice and my wife drags me kicking and screaming off of the farm every now and again. Will closely follow along on your journey.
 

Darren Wright

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My shop has 3 windows in it, one in the office, two in the shop area. They are all covered with blinds, but other than occasionally opening them to allow some breeze through on a hot day, they never get opened, even for light. I'd much rather have the wall space real estate they occupy. I do tend to work near the front garage bay most of the time with the door open when it's nice and would use an outdoor space if I had one here.
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Update from the concrete guy. Looks like they may be able to start excavating in mid December :). Glad I hadn't found someone else already since this guy has done work for some acquaintences and comes highly recommended. He has moved my bid into the active pile and I will go into the schedule . . . . we'll see how that pans out.
 
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