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Critique for my shop layout?


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Hi everyone! I'm really excited because I'm almost finished with my new shop.

The good news is that It's 12'x20' and I've got more than enough room for all of my equipment and even room to add new things like eventually a forge press or power hammer etc. It's built like a small pole barn and the floor is just dirt.

And before I move in to the new space, I want to make sure I have a plan on how to use the space as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

This is what I've got drawn up so far. I'm thinking I'll try to keep all of the hot and dirty work on the west side, and the cold work and woodworking tools on the east side. I'm sure I'll end up with a few tool carts as well.

Edited to add: each square is six inches, if that helps.

cc4dae4f-5ecd-423a-aad7-63990669df74.jpg

Thanks!

Edited by Collin Miller
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I'm interested in seeing what others say.
I did not set up my shop correctly and its a logistics nightmare.
If I were to alter your drawing I would put the forge, PH and anvil and vice in the upper right hand corner.

Take the right side work bench and make it an L with the left side work bench
I'd have as much open area in the center as possible with a layout table or bench that you can walk around and work from any side.

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Id be tempted to cram all the hot stuff in the top right and put a partition up on the south side giving u storage for grinder belts or what have you, and flip flop the grinder down near it. The partition so you can darken the area when needed. I really have to wait til dark before i can do a lot of things in my garage, due to the exorbitant amount of natural light i get. But ive never designed or worked in a pro shop so idk what im talking about at all :P

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I'm interested in seeing what others say.

I did not set up my shop correctly and its a logistics nightmare.

If I were to alter your drawing I would put the forge, PH and anvil and vice in the upper right hand corner.

 

Take the right side work bench and make it an L with the left side work bench

I'd have as much open area in the center as possible with a layout table or bench that you can walk around and work from any side.

 

 

Thanks! I definitely like the idea of having a table I can work at from all sides.

 

Id be tempted to cram all the hot stuff in the top right and put a partition up on the south side giving u storage for grinder belts or what have you, and flip flop the grinder down near it. The partition so you can darken the area when needed. I really have to wait til dark before i can do a lot of things in my garage, due to the exorbitant amount of natural light i get. But ive never designed or worked in a pro shop so idk what im talking about at all :P

There aren't any glass windows, but there are large panels on the walls that open and close to provide airflow and natural light. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but basically I can make it super dark in there anytime I want!

 

I would move the forge setup over to a corner and near to the wall, it would open up the room Speaking of forges, I don't see a gas forge, not going to have one?

Thanks Gerald! I don't have a gas forge right now... Just never really felt the need for one I guess. I'll probably end up making one as soon as I get a press or hammer so that I can soak larger billets and heat more area at a time.

 

So considering all of this, I've made a second drawing. What do you guys think?

 

1f251b95-5109-46d2-89f4-ea863d4bd29f.jpg

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I think this is a lot better.
Another thing I will suggest based on my experience is you need lots of storage and it needs to go as high as you can make it.
So under the bench and racks above the bench.
You need racks for steel, wood, tooling and tools, abrasives.
Tongs, hammers, hardy tools, smithing magicians etc. Build a rack that sits near your hot work area.
The best I've seen was two tiered and had a square center post with a double set of rings around it,
The handles to everything fell between the two rings. You can do this square also.
Depending on the depth of your bench you can put the top drawer set up of rolling tool boxes.
Label everything.
Anything you don't know what to do with put in a bin.
You can also put your welder, torches, clamps etc under or hanging off the center table if it is an acorn table or a metal layout table.

Also, if you can build two stories do it!!!
Even if you don't finisht the second story yet it gives you the potential of double the square footage with no larger foot print.
Again, learned via experience.
As far as the floor goes there is a material they use for horse barns that is a hard pack and you can use that for dirt floored shops.
Its a clay mixture of some sort and will pack down to be very stable.
dirt is well dirt and it moves. So the anvil stand is always going to have to be filled in underneath, power hammer will need a pad poured for it etc.

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I should have asked in the beginning, what are you planning on doing in the shop? If blades and small stuff, you have already have twice the room you need, I have worked quite well in a open ended shed 8 by 6. When I build my next shop, I'm going to make it long and narrow, with individual rooms for each process: Forging, grinding, finishing, and storage, with and outside area for chemical work.

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I think this is a lot better.

Another thing I will suggest based on my experience is you need lots of storage and it needs to go as high as you can make it.

So under the bench and racks above the bench.

You need racks for steel, wood, tooling and tools, abrasives.

Tongs, hammers, hardy tools, smithing magicians etc. Build a rack that sits near your hot work area.

The best I've seen was two tiered and had a square center post with a double set of rings around it,

The handles to everything fell between the two rings. You can do this square also.

Depending on the depth of your bench you can put the top drawer set up of rolling tool boxes.

Label everything.

Anything you don't know what to do with put in a bin.

You can also put your welder, torches, clamps etc under or hanging off the center table if it is an acorn table or a metal layout table.

 

Also, if you can build two stories do it!!!

Even if you don't finisht the second story yet it gives you the potential of double the square footage with no larger foot print.

Again, learned via experience.

As far as the floor goes there is a material they use for horse barns that is a hard pack and you can use that for dirt floored shops.

Its a clay mixture of some sort and will pack down to be very stable.

dirt is well dirt and it moves. So the anvil stand is always going to have to be filled in underneath, power hammer will need a pad poured for it etc.

 

 

Thanks for the advice! The ceiling is 8ft on the tall side, so two stories is probably not going to happen :rolleyes: I'll look into the clay flooring stuff, though. Sounds like it'd be a lot better than just dirt.

 

I should have asked in the beginning, what are you planning on doing in the shop? If blades and small stuff, you have already have twice the room you need, I have worked quite well in a open ended shed 8 by 6. When I build my next shop, I'm going to make it long and narrow, with individual rooms for each process: Forging, grinding, finishing, and storage, with and outside area for chemical work.

 

I plan on doing basically everything in there. Knives, swords, axes, woodworking, forging tools for myself like hammers and tongs and such, nonferrous work and eventually casting... no architectural blacksmithing or welding though, so yeah mostly small stuff, like you said this shop should be more than enough for that.

I like your idea of having separate rooms for each process, sounds like a great way to keep things organized or even small scale production work, if you have a guy in each room.

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Greatest shop improvement for the effort invested has been to close off my grinding area with enough room for my abrasive chop saw, and room for using angle grinders. I located it in the corner of the shop with two windows with two fans, one blowing in, the other blowing out. The amount that this cuts down on air born particulate is amazing, and as one friend said, "it is the nicest grinding room I've ever used. When you have a smaller shop and desire to do everything, the ability to try to keep one area "clean" for finishing and detail work is a major asset.

 

Only other comment would be in your first layout you have the ability to work significantly longer pieces in your forge than in your second. Also further away from the walls which will mean less ambient heat impacting your building.

 

Personally my next round of improvements are going to take a look at ways to cut back on ambient heat coming off heat generating tooling. In the few tests I've done this can cut back on operator fatigue in a significant significant significant way. I'm talking finishing an 11 hour forging session and still having more than energy to enjoy life, and waking up refreshed and ready to go the next day.

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My forges (yes there are two of them in the shop) are up against a roll-up door. Forging is done with the door open. Ventilation and combustion air are requirements for fuel burning appliances (hey, I'm a building code professional) and you want to limit the amount of heat you impose on the structure as Michael noted.

All of my forging equipment is within roughly a 12 ft by 8 ft oval. That's two forges, three anvils, post vice, power hammer, press, cone mandrel, swage block, and various tool racks. Limit the number of steps you take from forge to the piece of equipment you will use.

Collin, you mentioned getting most of what I have in my forging area, so plan ahead. Don't over build a lot of benches that can't be easily rearranged. Go with benches that have a smaller footprint and multiple levels as JJ suggested. Leave yourself some room. Redesign your layout with the anticipated growth items located where they will eventually be. Plan to expand.

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Greatest shop improvement for the effort invested has been to close off my grinding area with enough room for my abrasive chop saw, and room for using angle grinders. I located it in the corner of the shop with two windows with two fans, one blowing in, the other blowing out. The amount that this cuts down on air born particulate is amazing, and as one friend said, "it is the nicest grinding room I've ever used. When you have a smaller shop and desire to do everything, the ability to try to keep one area "clean" for finishing and detail work is a major asset.

 

Only other comment would be in your first layout you have the ability to work significantly longer pieces in your forge than in your second. Also further away from the walls which will mean less ambient heat impacting your building.

 

Personally my next round of improvements are going to take a look at ways to cut back on ambient heat coming off heat generating tooling. In the few tests I've done this can cut back on operator fatigue in a significant significant significant way. I'm talking finishing an 11 hour forging session and still having more than energy to enjoy life, and waking up refreshed and ready to go the next day.

Yeah, I'm pretty torn on where to put the forge. It can move around, but I'm planning to make a permanent concrete stand for the anvil, so it's petty important to get it right on the first try. If I'm doing something that needs to be absolutely clean, I could do it in the garage or even my house, but it would be nice to use the new shop for everything.

 

 

Giant shop fan... get one, use it, point it at you when you're forging, will make you feel 20 degree cooler

I'll have to do this, the heat is my worst enemy. I enjoy cold, dark, quiet, and dry.

 

 

My forges (yes there are two of them in the shop) are up against a roll-up door. Forging is done with the door open. Ventilation and combustion air are requirements for fuel burning appliances (hey, I'm a building code professional) and you want to limit the amount of heat you impose on the structure as Michael noted.

All of my forging equipment is within roughly a 12 ft by 8 ft oval. That's two forges, three anvils, post vice, power hammer, press, cone mandrel, swage block, and various tool racks. Limit the number of steps you take from forge to the piece of equipment you will use.

Collin, you mentioned getting most of what I have in my forging area, so plan ahead. Don't over build a lot of benches that can't be easily rearranged. Go with benches that have a smaller footprint and multiple levels as JJ suggested. Leave yourself some room. Redesign your layout with the anticipated growth items located where they will eventually be. Plan to expand.

I can open my hatch/window things when I'm forging, so that won't be a problem.

When you put it that way, I just realized all the work I've done to date has been on about two feet of work bench, excluding the vice, grinder, drill press, and wood cutting band saw. building like 30 feet worth of work bench seems pretty silly, doesn't it? :lol: I'll rethink the plans and draw something else up.

 

Here's my window things, I thought I'd take some pictures because I just put the trim on and I've probably got you all confused. I have these on both sides.

 

Closed

unnamed.jpg

 

Open

unnamed (1).jpg

Edited by Collin Miller
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Hmmmm.......no building codes where you live eh?

 

Anyway, there is a pretty cool thread on this site called "Shop Photo" where folks have put up pics and vids of their shops and you can get a good idea of how other folks have laid out their shops. Give it a browse.

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=32847&hl=%2Bshow+%2Byour+%2Bshop#entry317578

Edited by Joshua States
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