I just went through this....

by Russ Kepler

Some years ago I looked around to plan for retirement. I knew that I needed some acreage (just to keep the neighbors a decent distance) but also wanted access to a city. I ended up purchasing some acreage 20 minutes south of Albuquerque, choosing this more expensive land over much cheaper land elsewhere to keep access to good medical services.

At the time we planned a house with a nice upstairs for my office (I was working at home a lot at the time) and a full suite for our visitors - 2 bedrooms & a full bath. I'm still working in the office part time after 'retiring' last September.

The house has a lot of storage with a 3 car garage with an attic built with attic rafters. Storage in the house matters since that reduces the temptation to store stuff in the shop.

The shop is an insulated metal building 30x60 with 14' walls. The front has a 12x12 rollup and a man access door. The interior is split into 2 main sections - the 'garage' side and the 'shop' side. The 'shop' side was framed out with 2x6 with a 9' ceiling under floor rafters, so the top serves as a mezzanine for storage. Accessing the shop from the garage is a 7x8' rollup (builder ignored my 8x8 spec) and a man door. The shop has added insulation and HVAC, so it's comfortable all seasons. With 4 windows it doesn't feel like a cave at all, and 2 of my workbenches and my desk are against windows affording a good view. In the shop I have 2 lathes, 3 mills, a shaper and all of my precision tooling.

The garage side has my welding and fabrication stuff (and oddly, my electronics stuff). One corner was carved out for a 3/4 bath accessible from the shop. I have a 3T gantry, a 5x8 fabrication/welding table and a bunch-o-workbenches. The compressor is in there along with a surface grinder, bench grinder, sander, media blasting cabinet, etc.

There's shelving in both the garage & shop, more in the shop. I'd like to get rid of most of it in the shop and hope someday to have better access to the mezzanine so I can move things up there. Maybe some sort of hoist - right now I have to use a Presto forklift thing and climb a ladder to roll things off with a pallet jack (I leave it parked up there for convenience).

I built the east side of the shop with a 10' shed roof so I'd have a bunch of outside storage, and it's used up for rails and ties (I do 7 1/2" gauge train stuff as a hobby) and the track jigs but it'll be clear in a year of so. If I'd had been smart I would have built something similar on the west, I may do that if I can get someone interested in doing it (our occasional 100 mph winds make the engineering ineresting). I definitely want to do it in front of the 12x12 rollup so I can move the gantry outside as that would free up a lot of space. If I can find a 4000# lift forklift at an affordable price I'll get rid of the Presto lift and park the forklift outside with the gantry to free up more space.

If you do woodwork I'd suggest more room, more lighting and more outside storage. Work out your power requirements, I only have 100A and that's not enough but I can't get more from the power company, not even a new 200A service. Check on 3 phase power in advance of buying the property, it turned out that I'm a mile from 3 phase and it'd be $30K to get it here.

Posted on Mar 2, 2017, 6:09 AM

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  1. I hadn't considered power. MarkT, Mar 2, 2017
    1. The way I figured it.... Russ Kepler, Mar 3, 2017
      1. On lights.... Doc Nickel, Mar 3, 2017


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