Shop Size and Lighting

Q: I am about to build a shop, and my main concern is that it might not be big enough for me. It is going to be about 20’x 28′ with a 12’x 15′ finishing room addition. I don’t know if this will be big enough or not. Also, I am questioning what lighting should be used because I know natural light is about the best you can get, but this building is going to be inside of a building so I won’t get much of that. I am trying to go with low cost here since I am only 15 and still in high school.

Chris Marshall: Wow, 15 years old and already building a shop! That’s quite an accomplishment in itself, and good luck to you! In answer to your questions, many woodworkers have smaller shops than yours and do the highest quality work. Really, the amount of space you need depends on how many and what sorts of machines you buy or whether you will do much of your work with hand tools. 20 x 28 ft. is bigger than most two-car garages and is a nice-sized shop for general power tool and machine use (not even considering your finishing room!). Fluorescent lights are a good way to get long bulb life and even lighting for very reasonable fixture and energy costs. Don’t skimp on the amount of lighting you put in your shop; I believe you can never have too much light for woodworking.

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