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where to put outlets in a new workshop

I am building a workshop in my basement. I am having an electrician come out next week to give me bids. If codes don't prevent me from having a choice, is there a preferred height/place to put my outlets for my ***** tools? Is it safer/easier if they are high up on the walls, low on the walls where outlets are normally located or even in the ceiling? I am in the planning stages so I want to do this right. One consideration is that I am only 5 foot tall so ceiling ones would require a step ladder.

Also, does anyone know how to find articles from TOH magazines? I have the last 4 years or so and would like to find articles about setting up a workshop. Thanks.

A. Spruce
Re: where to put outlets in a new workshop

To my knowledge, there's no code for height on outlets, they've been installed - legally - in baseboards, 16" from the floor, and 48" from the floor.

What I would recommend is to layout your work space according to what you'll be doing in it. IMHO, you can't have too many outlets around a work bench because generally you've got chargers, radios, fans, etc that need a place to live. If you're going to have a primary work bench that you will stand or sit at, I recommend at least double outlets on either side of the work space, and a single outlet in the front of the bench/cabinet on either your right or left, depending on your dominant hand. From there, I'd have another outlet at least every 4 feet along the wall across the top of the bench. While this sounds like overkill, trust me, you'll be glad you did when it comes time to find ***** for whatever tool you're using.

As far as outlets for the rest of the space, again, it depends on what the space is being used for. I would recommend outlets ever 6 to 10 feet around the room, placed at whatever height is convenient for the purpose of the space.

Don't forget about lighting!!!!!!! Have your benches and work spaces laid out so that lighting can be placed directly over the work surfaces in sufficient quantity so you're not working in bad light or shadow, particularly if you're using things like woodworking equipment.

As to finding back issues of the magazine, there may be some ****** here, I don't know. Your local library would probably be the best resource for an archive. To be honest, it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing with their space, what matters is that YOUR space is set up to suit YOUR needs.

A few tips, you may want to consider bench tops that are 3 feet deep. This allows for tools and miscellaneous things to be stored along the back of the bench, yet leave ample space for working. Putting work tables and equipment on casters will allow you to move things around as needed, or store them out of the way when they're not.

I use standard kitchen cabinets in my shop. They're fairly cheap, easy to come by, and can be arranged to provide the storage you need, both above and below the bench. When I built my shop, I left a space in the middle of the bench open so that I can sit comfortably and work. There are spaces at each end under the bench for the storage of large castored tool bins.

Again, no one can tell you how you need to set up your shop, you have to figure out what your needs are and do what's best for you. I hope these ideas have been helpful. :cool:

Re: where to put outlets in a new workshop

I find that having a cord hanging from the ceiling in the center of the work area can be quite useful. It is often much more convenient and safer than running an extension cord, and having to constantly drag the cord around.

Ask your electrician to install a "pendant receptacle" or two.

Re: where to put outlets in a new workshop

if you already have most of the tools which you will be using in your new shop, do up a layout drawing and where specific tools will be located, this way you can easier locate where the outlets will be. on smaller counter spaces its a good idea to have one outlet every few feet so you can plug in battery chargers, then near your workbench have a 4 gang outlet so you can plug in sanders, routers. on another wall dedicate it to your miter saw. then in the middle of the room you might need a 220 outlet for your table saw, planer or jointer.

there are several woodworking magazines which put out special issues specifically talkking about setting up home workshops. WOOD magazine, SHOPNOTES, POPULAR WOODWORKING are just a few. the taunton press who publishes FINE HOMEBUILDING and FINEWOODWORKING has multiple books out which are about the same things

Re: where to put outlets in a new workshop

One thing I did in my shop was to alternate the outlets that are on the wall on two separate circuits. I used two colors for the outlets white and black so I can easily tell which is on which circuit. I plug shop vac in one circuit while running the tool in the other.

I also have a couple outlets in the ceiling and LOVE it. I use a retractable extension cord and it is nice to have the cord out of the way, yet still within reach and not have to trip over it.

Re: where to put outlets in a new workshop

I agree with everyone that posted too!! you can never have enough outlets. retractable pendant plugs are also very nice and keeps a work space tidey and neat!! When in doubt just put an outlet there, if ya dont use it right now so be it.. You might use it in the future! The part about multiple circuits is also a good idea

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