Author Topic: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions  (Read 15525 times)

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Offline Steve-CO

  • Posts: 787
Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« on: February 03, 2011, 01:27 PM »
As I mentioned in another thread back in Dec, I'm in the process of going through a divorce.  I've started looking at houses and have decided I want a 3 car garage, 2/3 of which will be converted into a shop.  I currently am in the corner of our basement, every time I want to do something I have to get a tool out (most of my tools are on mobile bases), use it, put it away, repeat over and over.  It's takes away from the overall enjoyment of WW'ing.  Anyways, those that work out of a garage any suggestions, from flooring, finishing the walls, electrical, heating/cooling, etc.  I'm in CO, dry heat, but it still gets plenty hot in the summer.  In addition to what you have found that works, what didn't work for you? Thanks in advance.

Offline Jeff Hein

  • Posts: 124
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 02:06 PM »
I have a dedicated workshop in a 2nd garage.

Here is what I have done so far, and it works pretty good for me:

Flooring: I have 2x2 foam rubber tiles over most of the floor (cut around workbench/saws/ect) that I bought all of mine from Costco.

Walls: All of my walls are 1/2" OSB (painted white), all seems were caulked. I like using osb (or any other wood product) as I can put a nail or screw anywhere and I know it will hold.

Ceiling: Also 1/2" OSB (all seems caulked). I was going to initially do drywall, but I am happy I went with OSB... I have had several instances where I was moving large boards, and smacked the ceiling. No damage to the OSB, but I don't think drywall would have faired so well.

Heating: I have a natural gas shop heater... it hangs from the ceiling and was rated for a 2.5 car garage. It does a good job of keeping my shop warm in winter

Insulation: All walls are insulated to R13, and my attic is full of blown in cellulose. I bet I have it at about R60 up there.  The shop stays pretty warm in winter, and remains pretty cool in summer (as long as I don't open the doors) I tend to open the shop up in the evening as it cools down, and I keep enough cool air in the shop that it is very comfortable throughout most of the summer.

Lighting: I have 10 fluorescent light fixtures (Each holds 4 - 4' bulbs)... Everything in the shop is nice and bright!

Electrical: I have a 60amp service running to my shop, and so far it can keep everything I have running no problem (Large cyclone dust collector, 80 gallon Air compressor, all lights on, table saw, radio all can run at the same time with no problems..)

I also have 2 large ceiling fans that I can turn on if it starts getting too warm.

Good luck with your build-out!

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3788
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 03:07 PM »
I have a dedicated workshop in a 2nd garage.

Here is what I have done so far, and it works pretty good for me:

Flooring: I have 2x2 foam rubber tiles over most of the floor (cut around workbench/saws/ect) that I bought all of mine from Costco.

Walls: All of my walls are 1/2" OSB (painted white), all seems were caulked. I like using osb (or any other wood product) as I can put a nail or screw anywhere and I know it will hold.

Ceiling: Also 1/2" OSB (all seems caulked). I was going to initially do drywall, but I am happy I went with OSB... I have had several instances where I was moving large boards, and smacked the ceiling. No damage to the OSB, but I don't think drywall would have faired so well.

Heating: I have a natural gas shop heater... it hangs from the ceiling and was rated for a 2.5 car garage. It does a good job of keeping my shop warm in winter

Insulation: All walls are insulated to R13, and my attic is full of blown in cellulose. I bet I have it at about R60 up there.  The shop stays pretty warm in winter, and remains pretty cool in summer (as long as I don't open the doors) I tend to open the shop up in the evening as it cools down, and I keep enough cool air in the shop that it is very comfortable throughout most of the summer.

Lighting: I have 10 fluorescent light fixtures (Each holds 4 - 4' bulbs)... Everything in the shop is nice and bright!

Electrical: I have a 60amp service running to my shop, and so far it can keep everything I have running no problem (Large cyclone dust collector, 80 gallon Air compressor, all lights on, table saw, radio all can run at the same time with no problems..)

I also have 2 large ceiling fans that I can turn on if it starts getting too warm.

Good luck with your build-out!

Concur with Jeff's comments.  I'd add that you might consider epoxy-painting the concrete floor before you move in and start setting up machines.  Here's one link that I've found on that subject (http://www.epoxy-coat.com/).  As for ceiling fans, I can recommend Big  Fans (http://www.bigassfans.com/) as being some very serious air movers.  Please know that they're VERY heavy and will need substantial support due to the weight.  I know your climate well, having lived there not long ago, and know that the heat can be substantial, but it's dry, so moving a large volume of air will go a long way to make the garage comfortable. 

 [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline AdamM

  • Posts: 137
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 03:22 PM »
I agree with Jeff's comments as well. 

For lighting I opted to just install outlets in the ceiling and get 4' shop lights that that hang from chains.  That makes it easy to adjust things if I decide I want to shift the lighting around some.  I also went with the 'daybright' bulbs or some similar name.  I think they were a little more expensive, but I like the color of the light a lot more.
Kapex, Domino, TS55, CT22, MFK700, MFT 1080

Offline Wood_Junkie

  • Posts: 1313
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 03:23 PM »
I can seriously sympathize.  I worked for 2+ years in a 11x16 basement workshop, with 73” ceilings (I’m 6’1”).  Had to rearrange to do anything, and the tablesaw outfeed table was also the assembly table. 
I had machines crammed in there:  Tablesaw w/ router extension, drill press, planer, jointer, midi lathe, dust collector, air cleaner, mortiser and 10” bandsaw.


This past fall I took over the garage.  It is a 2 1/4 stall garage, and cinderblock.  It had a preexisting 30A service with a small sub-panel.

First off, electrical is so key!  Breaker trips, brownouts, and inaccessibility are so tiresome.
I double and tripled checked the specs, and turns out the wiring was sufficient for 40A.  So I upgraded the breaker on the main panel, and planned various circuits for the garage.
Isolated circuits:
1)   Garage door openers, and attic/loft power & lights
2)   Overhead lights (I put in a dozen, two bulb T-8s)
3)   20A run for outlets  (I used white outlets).
4)   Another 20A run for outlets  (I used brown outlets)
5)   GFCI outlet at the sub-panel  (required by code)

I ran 12 gauge wire throughout, knowing these would be 20 amp circuits.  For the small cost difference (vs 14g), having the 12g everywhere is well worth it and you can do pretty much whatever you like with 20a circuits.
I used 15amp outlets at each drop, because they’re $0.49 each and there’s no really benefit having individual 20A sockets.  The drops are 2-gang boxes, so I have one of each outlet—thus both circuits are available at each drop).
This was so I could put my dust collector, heaters, or whatever on one circuit, and tools and such on the other. 

Because my walls are cinderblock, I couldn’t do wiring through studs.  So I ran it in Sch80 conduit, about 42” off the ground.  This puts it higher than cabinets, worktables, tools, etc.  And I don’t have to pretzel-twist to plug something in (if it were lower to the ground and behind a machine).  Also used conduit to run to the overhead lights.   There are a few outlets higher up along a central beam and for the garage door openers.

Lighting is the second consideration.
Tons and tons of light.   I went (almost) overboard, installing 6 two-tube fluorescent T-8s on each side, for a total of a dozen.  It is niiice and briiight.  I have not regretted the pricey soluation, because it is plentiful light.
The lights are on separate switches (one per bay), but the same circuit.   I thought I would save power by only turning on one side when doing specific work.  But I almost always turn both sets on.


Walls:
I put in 1.5” foamboard, with all seams taped, to help insulate, between 2-by furring strips (Tapcon and glue to secure it to the cinderblocks).  I wanted to be able to hang anything, anywhere, so I mounted ¾” plywood all the way around, floor to ceiling.  I wanted to put plywood on the ceiling, but for reasons related to fire code or something, I had 5/8” drywall installed (this was the only task I contracted out).  I put in R-13 faced insulation in the ceiling.

The plywood walls has paid off many times over.  As I work to get my shop fully setup and arranged, I’ve been moving things around.  This has involved a few instances of mounting something, then moving it and mounting it elsewhere.  There are literally no limitations on wall location.  This is awesome.

I went with 3/4" over 1/2”  because I knew I would be hanging a lumber rack, some heavy clamp-racks (clamps) and so on.  Eventually I will also have some wall cabinets


Climate:
Although the foamboard, vapor barrier and are good additions, my shop is not warm.  I still need to use one of the garage doors (to get the snowblower in an out), and it leaks quite a bit of air.  The other garage door I sealed up with clear weather stripping sealant.  This means I cannot open it.. but the sealant is removable if we sell the house.
The floor is concrete, so it is COLD. 
I have a little oil filled radiator, and a radiant heater.. but they are just barely adequate.  The conundrum I have is that an adequate heater would require 220V, and take up about 1/2 or more of my electrical capacity.
Or I could get a gas/propane/kerosene heater, but almost all of them require active ventilation (e.g. open the doors), which just seems silly to me.  A wood stove would require a 4”+ hole in the wall for a vent/chimney, but there isn’t a good location for this.  Finally, there are vent-less gas heaters, but the trade off is they produce a lot of air moisture.  I’m not sure I’m ready to put a ton of effort into rust maintenance.  As it is, I wear a cap, a fleece, and flannel lined jeans, and I’m pretty comfy.  With both little heaters going the shop comes up to about 50o.

In the summer it can get hot in there.  In past years I’ve just had a box fan, since I was only partly working out there.  I anticipate my first summer in the full workshop will require some additional cooling.


Layout
Take some time to measure (your space and your machines) and get a solid layout plan.  Factor in doors (for in/outfeed), where to put your power drops, and workflow.  Mobile machines still make sense, but aim for the majority of them to stay in place most of the time.  You cannot have too many work tables.  Especially for assembly and finishing, and having more than a single project going.  I think the MFT800s are superstars for frequent, but not permanent, use. 



Things I would do differently:
> More climate control

> I should’ve covered the concrete floor.  There was a great article in FWW about 3 months ago, which had a lot of info about setting up sleepers, vapor barrier, and 3/4" floor.  One interesting possibility of doing this is putting a run of electrical, and having a floor outlet (next to your tablesaw, for example).  Also, concrete transmits moisture, so boards leaning/laying on concrete will become damp.

> More storage!   Someone said woodworker’s storage is about square feet, not cubic feet.  All the jigs, doodads, measuring and layout tools, etc, etc etc require a spot., but not always a lot of space.  I’m in the process of building some more Sys-port-like cabinets, and will likely put a lot of that stuff into Systainers.

> Kick out the BBQ, snowblower, and lawnmower.  Although I put up a small shed wayyy in the back yard, two of these three things will probably always be housed in the garage part of the year.   [mad]   Collectively, they take up about 20 sq. feet.


Offline TJ Cornish

  • Posts: 96
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2011, 03:36 PM »
As I mentioned in another thread back in Dec, I'm in the process of going through a divorce.  I've started looking at houses and have decided I want a 3 car garage, 2/3 of which will be converted into a shop.  I currently am in the corner of our basement, every time I want to do something I have to get a tool out (most of my tools are on mobile bases), use it, put it away, repeat over and over.  It's takes away from the overall enjoyment of WW'ing.  Anyways, those that work out of a garage any suggestions, from flooring, finishing the walls, electrical, heating/cooling, etc.  I'm in CO, dry heat, but it still gets plenty hot in the summer.  In addition to what you have found that works, what didn't work for you? Thanks in advance.
High ceilings - 9'+ if possible
Make everything white - makes the light go farther
A tall garage door

If you're building new, there's no reason not to go with a 200A main service and a bunch of 220v taps in strategic places.  I ran 8-ga wire to mine so I can support 40A machines (7 - 10HP).
I didn't do the epoxy floor originally, but wish I did now.  Be careful about the kind of finish you get - too polished and sawdust will be slippery.  Too rough and it will be impossible to sweep.

Insulate the heck out of everything.  This helps with shop noise and temperature.

I built an insulated closet to put my cyclone in - this made a tremendous noise difference.  May want to plan for that with your DC.

If you do a lot of finishing in the winter, you may want to look into an explosion-proof heater, or at least a separated combustion heater.  Mine is north of 80% efficient which is pretty darn good for a garage heater.

For lighting - more is better.  My shop is 21 X 30 and I have 15 2 bulb T8 fixtures.  Mine are switched in two banks and I can say that if I'm doing real work there, I turn them all on.  Mine are recessed into the ceiling so if I swing a board around I'm not going to smash a light off.  Since I have house above the shop, I had to build a drywall box above the recessed fixture to maintain a firewall, but the work was worth it.

As to drywall vs. OSB - I prefer the look of drywall, but can understand the desire for toughness of something else.  Someone was using a little portable table saw during construction of my shop and had a kickback that put a dent in the drywall.  Since I've gotten a real table saw with a riving knife, I haven't done anything that has damaged the drywall.

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 05:55 PM »

I didn't do the epoxy floor originally, but wish I did now.  Be careful about the kind of finish you get - too polished and sawdust will be slippery.  Too rough and it will be impossible to sweep.
 

TJ Cornish reminds me of another point.  If you do the floor epoxy, I'd suggest that you NOT sprinkle the color flecks that many vendors provide.  First, they tend to conceal sawdust and other stuff that one doesn't want on the floor.  Second, if you drop a small part, like a spring, you'll pay merry heck finding it in the color flecks, as contrasted with a light-colored plain floor finish, like a light gray.  

 [smile]
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 06:15 PM by Sparktrician »
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Tim Raleigh

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    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 06:06 PM »
This past fall I took over the garage.  It is a 2 1/4 stall garage, and cinderblock. 

Wood_Junkie:
Great rundown of do's and don't's, thanks, I will be taking your advice as I plan my space.
Thanks for sharing.
Tim

Offline cdconey

  • Posts: 96
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 06:21 PM »
As I mentioned in another thread back in Dec, I'm in the process of going through a divorce.  I've started looking at houses and have decided I want a 3 car garage, 2/3 of which will be converted into a shop.  I currently am in the corner of our basement, every time I want to do something I have to get a tool out (most of my tools are on mobile bases), use it, put it away, repeat over and over.  It's takes away from the overall enjoyment of WW'ing.  Anyways, those that work out of a garage any suggestions, from flooring, finishing the walls, electrical, heating/cooling, etc.  I'm in CO, dry heat, but it still gets plenty hot in the summer.  In addition to what you have found that works, what didn't work for you? Thanks in advance.

Avoid a north facing garage.  Watch the slope  of the pad in the garage.
The dangers of cut & paste.....

Offline Kevin D.

  • Posts: 952
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2011, 06:33 PM »
I have documented a lot of shop set up ideas in my gallery section on another WW forum here:

http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/vbpicgallery.php?do=hall&u=867

Mt latest space saver is still in progress, but here's a sneak peek of what I'll probably end up putting up a more extensive thread of in the not too distant future.

31273-0

Kapex, CT-SYS, SYS-Cart, Pro 5 Sander, CT36AC, TS75, MFT 1080, MF-SYS/2, PS300 EQ-Plus, Parallel Guides Set, LR32 SYS, RO 150FEQ-Plus, OF1400 EQ Plus, DOMINO 500 Q-Plus,  Domino XL, MFK 700 EQ-Set, FS-SYS/2, CT22 w/hose storage, D36HW-RS-Plus, FS 1900/2, FS 3000/2, FS 1080/2-LR32, FS 1400/2-LR32, Gecko, Festool Floor Mat, Festool Stein, Multi-Tool, tape measure, large and small Festool floor mats (foam rubber).

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 815
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2011, 06:39 PM »
I expanded my shop from 20 x 20 to 32 x 32, some upgrades were provision for in floor hot water heat with supplemental gas heat, heavy insulation including R18 garage doors with R60 in the roof. Garage already had an eleven foot ceiling so that worked great. Decided to band the shop with 3/4 plywood top with a band of slot wall for extra storage capacity. I use soft foam 24 x 24 interconnecting mats, around works areas, they're easy to change if you decide to change. The mobile rack is one of the best things I've bought to conserve space. Before reconstruction did a layout in Sketchup, it helped immensely for machine, dust collection, lighting and electrical layouts. Happy to share the Sketchup layout with any one interested, just PM me.

John

31275-0

Online Peter Halle

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2011, 06:39 PM »
Kevin,

I love that!  Is the side we see "empty" and waiting.

Peter

Offline Kevin D.

  • Posts: 952
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 06:56 PM »
The boys in blue have a home waiting for them.  Their grey brothers (including greying me) can't wait their arrival.
Kapex, CT-SYS, SYS-Cart, Pro 5 Sander, CT36AC, TS75, MFT 1080, MF-SYS/2, PS300 EQ-Plus, Parallel Guides Set, LR32 SYS, RO 150FEQ-Plus, OF1400 EQ Plus, DOMINO 500 Q-Plus,  Domino XL, MFK 700 EQ-Set, FS-SYS/2, CT22 w/hose storage, D36HW-RS-Plus, FS 1900/2, FS 3000/2, FS 1080/2-LR32, FS 1400/2-LR32, Gecko, Festool Floor Mat, Festool Stein, Multi-Tool, tape measure, large and small Festool floor mats (foam rubber).

Offline Kodi Crescent

  • Posts: 778
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 07:09 PM »
How about a walkout basement instead of a garage?  Many of those basements are plenty large.  Should be plenty of houses with those in CO.  Add some double french doors and a way to transport materials from the driveway down to it.


Offline RL

  • Posts: 3040
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2011, 07:55 PM »
I have documented a lot of shop set up ideas in my gallery section on another WW forum here:

http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/vbpicgallery.php?do=hall&u=867

Mt latest space saver is still in progress, but here's a sneak peek of what I'll probably end up putting up a more extensive thread of in the not too distant future.

(Attachment Link)



Just one small detail- I would want my MFT edges to overhang the base so as to be able to clamp things vertically along the side profiles at least on two sides, which would mean off-centering the MFT.

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2011, 08:08 PM »
Lots of good info and advice guys.  I'd also like to add some important points.  Heaters used in an enclosed area that's sealed pretty well and take their air input for combustion from within the room are using up the oxygen from that enclosed area.  So, if you want to really seal up that space, make sure your heater has an external fresh air intake, and have some kind of air exchange and warning system for the room, for both carbon monoxide CO and carbon dioxide CO2.  CO2 is also a product of combustion and has the same deadly affects as CO, but it takes a higher level.  I know since I once got CO2 poisoning.  High efficiency furnaces produce a lot of water vapor and high CO2.
I also would not recommend a kerosene heater in the shop as the little droplets of kerosene residue from burning land on everything and you'll hate touching stuff with that on it not to mention having finish problems on your wood.  Go with propane, infrared electric or gas, natural gas, hot water or forced hot air.
Hazardous location heaters and fans are quite expensive, however, what's the price of your safety worth if you're combining sawdust and/or solvent based finishes around a flame or very hot heating element.  Not to scare, but hope you'll think about it.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 08:36 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline Steve-CO

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2011, 08:54 PM »
Thanks for all the great input.

Offline Wonderwino

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  • That Green Koolaid causes mutations.
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2011, 09:07 AM »
Some simple suggestions about building a shop:

1.  Whatever size you are considering, double it.  You may be able to delay future expansions.

2.  Concrete slabs should be insullated below and poured with floor heat coils in them.  This is your only chance.

3.  200A service at a minimum and put all wire in conduit or armored cable per commercial code, even if it is a hobby shop.  You insurance will be less.

4.  Insullate you side walls and roof as appropriate for your location.

5.  Use fireproof or fire resistant suraces as much as possible.  Your insurance will be cheaper.  (Cleats in the walls for heavy objects should be plannned and incorporated before closing the walls.)

6.  Overkill is always good in the long run.

 [big grin]
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 09:23 AM by Wonderwino »
Water separates the people of the world; wine unites them.

Offline David

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2011, 01:03 PM »

6.  Overkill is always good in the long run.

I've tried to live my entire life this way.  [cool]
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline Wonderwino

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  • That Green Koolaid causes mutations.
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2011, 03:19 PM »

6.  Overkill is always good in the long run.

I've tried to live my entire life this way.  [cool]



Right on, David!!! 
Water separates the people of the world; wine unites them.

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2011, 11:22 AM »
 I'd also like to add some important points.  Heaters used in an enclosed area that's sealed pretty well and take their air input for combustion from within the room are using up the oxygen from that enclosed area.  

Anyone one used a Fujitsu Ductless wall mounted system in their garage shop?
I am thinking about specing one for my shop and am interested in any comments...speaking of overkill....
Tim

Offline WarnerConstCo.

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2011, 12:09 PM »
 I'd also like to add some important points.  Heaters used in an enclosed area that's sealed pretty well and take their air input for combustion from within the room are using up the oxygen from that enclosed area.  

Anyone one used a Fujitsu Ductless wall mounted system in their garage shop?
I am thinking about specing one for my shop and am interested in any comments...speaking of overkill....
Tim

Is that like a P-tac unit?

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2011, 01:16 PM »
Is that like a P-tac unit?

Warner:
Yes, thanks for identifying the class.
I saw the GE units as well.
I have used a Fujitsu recently in a garage I was doing some (waterborne) spray finishing and it heated the space up very effectively.
I did turn the unit off when I was spraying however.
Tim

Offline quietguy

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Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2011, 12:38 PM »
Quote
Anyone one used a Fujitsu Ductless wall mounted system in their garage shop?
I am thinking about specing one for my shop and am interested in any comments...speaking of overkill....
Tim

I will be ordering mine in a few weeks, and will let you know. 

Offline Tim Raleigh

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    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Garage Shop Ideas/Suggestions
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2011, 12:21 PM »
Quote
Anyone one used a Fujitsu Ductless wall mounted system in their garage shop?
I am thinking about specing one for my shop and am interested in any comments...speaking of overkill....
Tim

I will be ordering mine in a few weeks, and will let you know. 

Nice!
Thanks
Tim