A shop of new beginnings
When Rob Daniels relocated to Florida from Oregon, he was hoping the move would help him recover from stressful family and medical issues. He started over with a smaller house than the one in Oregon and took the opportunity to build his dream shop from scratch. He hoped that spending time in the shop would bring much-needed emotional healing and stress-relief.
The 24×36' steel building he erected for his shop features a raised 3⁄4" plywood floor. It's comfortable to walk and stand on, Rob says, and provides a pathway for the 4" dust collection ductwork that runs beneath it.
Rob insulated the shop walls and lined them wih a 4'-tall wainscoting of 5⁄8" T1-11 siding panels, with oriented-strand board (OSB) above for wall-hung storage. To hide the seam where the two intersect, he installed a wide, decorative French cleat.
Because his house has 200-amp electrical service with plenty of capacity, Rob ran a line out to the shop and installed a 100-amp subpanel. While he was at it, he added cabling so he could reliably connect to the internet from his shop.
To keep the shop cool in the Florida weather, Rob installed a 15,000-BTU window air conditioner in one end and uses ceiling fans to help circulate the air. An 8' roll-up door at the opposite end of the shop makes it easy to get materials in and finished projects out. On temperate days, Rob leaves the door open to provide fresh air and lots of natural light. Windows and LED ceiling fixtures provide additional lighting.
Tucked into one corner behind a 3' stub wall, Rob built a desktop and a workbench that serves as a home for his computer and CNC router. He installed a webcam so he could keep an eye on the CNC machine without having to be in the shop. In contrast to this high-tech tool, Rob proudly displays his hand-tool collection in a custom cabinet on the adjacent wall.
Rob takes great pride in the workbench he built during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020. As a retired graphic designer, he put a lot of thought into the design. The solid base features split turnings applied to 4×4 western cedar legs. The 3×4 yellow pine frame trimmed in eastern cedar and oak contributes to the bench's rock-solid stability. The sunburst applique on one end started out as an old scrollsaw pattern he enlarged and cut with his CNC router.
For certain, Rob doesn't need an excuse to spend a lot of hours in his insulated, air-conditioned, well-equipped, and roomy shop. He gets to spend that time designing and creating, forgetting about the world outside his shop doors.