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New workshop - priorities?

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The Admiral09/02/2014 20:37:06
12 forum posts

I am potentially in the fortunate position of having a 24 x 12 workshop at my disposal, and I would welcome a bit of insight into what people think would be a good investment in terms of machinery.

The workshop is part of a house we are hoping to buy, and if we can do the deal, I'll be fitting out parts of the house with bookcases and cabinets etc. Material will generally be ply or MDF, and I'm thinking of perhaps a decent table saw, which will mean I can rip down sheets myself, rather than pay the yard to cut it for me. I'd rather buy one decent bit of kit than 3 poor ones, and I'm happy going down the second hand route - from a forum such as this. Budget would be a maximum of £1,000 - which I have managed to convince my wife represents the saving on paying a tradesman to do the work(!). It will get use from there on, so something of a serious hobby/ light trade bit of kit would be the idea.

If anyone thinks I could go beyond one machine with that budget, I'd welcome views on what next. I also need to think about dust extraction and any suggestions on that would also be welcome.

Thanks in advance.


Simon Reeves10/02/2014 13:10:35
622 forum posts
227 photos

I was in a similar situation several years ago, and managed to build a 28 x 16 ft workshop across the bottom of the garden. If you take a look at my albums you will see a few photos, which give a good idea of the general layout.

Ref the machinery, it really depends on what you will be making, but for any kind of accurate panel work, a table saw is pretty much essential. Of course, you can achieve similar results with a circular saw plus guide fences, but somehow it's never quite as good IMHO. In addition to the table saw, the machines I probably use most are bandsaw, drill press and chop saw. One other that I use less but which is EXTREMELY useful is a disc/belt sander.

In the album photos, you'll see that I also have fixed (Axminster) dust extraction arranged for the bandsaw, chop saw and lathe, plus a mobile Record extractor for the table saw, jointer, thicknesser and disc/belt sander. I also have a Microclene air filter near the dust producers. It's amazing just how much fine dust this removes!!!

A budget of £1000 would just about get a basic table saw from new, but if you wanted to get kitted out with more, the second hand route would definitely be the way. You'r also likely to get more for your money that way.

Good luck with it all, and don't forget to post some photos.


The Admiral10/02/2014 20:39:15
12 forum posts


Many thanks for taking the time to reply, and I've had a look at your pictures of the workshop : very nice, and well organised. Could I ask you how you lined and insulated it please, as the workshop I'm looking at is a simple frame covered with heavy duty t and g, and it will need some finishing internally to make it comfortable year round? Thanks for the view on the machines too - any thoughts on manufacturer when you refer to just getting in under the £1,000?



Simon Reeves11/02/2014 13:18:23
622 forum posts
227 photos

My shop is the same basic construction as yours, but it has tar paper on the outside of the frame (i.e. underneath the T&G, so it's reasonably waterproof. The roof is OSB panels nailed to the roof trusses with Onduline roofing on the outside of that. Walls are 4" deep, and are lined with fibreglass then clad with half inch ply. The ceiling is also insulated with fibreglass, but only clad with 4mm ply. The floor is a 9" thick, steel reinforced concrete slab, also insulated (can you see a theme here??).

I bought some sealed PVCu windows from B&Q when they were on offer (less than half price), and also 3 cheap oil-filled radiators just to provide a bit of background warmth. Even in the coldest weather we've had so far, the temperature didn't drop below about 10 degrees, and it stays cool(ish) in the summer.

My table saw is the SIP 10" cast iron version, which was just under £600 when I bought it. Not the best, but more than adequate for me. Nowadays it's almost £1000 - eeekk! Obviously you would need to look around for machines such as this, but I would recommend buying the biggest you can, as it's all too easy to grow out of the first one you have. Scheppach and Record all do saws that would do what you need, but for full size panel trimming you would need to either make some infeed/outfeed supports, or resort to the circular saw for rough cutting and the table saw for the final cut.


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