My Workshop - Part 1 - The design and starting out

I have blogged about my workshop at other places, including a blog I have at a woodworking forum, but I really haven't talked too much about it here.

My husband wanted a garage for car storage and working on cars and I wanted a workshop for woodworking. We decided on a 40’ x 40’ building with one half for him and one half for me. It was my job to sketch up a rough version of what the building would look like. The plans were drawn by both of us and an architect was needed, according to the by-laws in our township, to design the floor system only. All the building was done by us except the laying of the cement floor.

We live on 8 acres of land and chose a spot we could clear of trees and debris that was conveniently close enough to the house and the driveway. In September of 2007 my husband rented a backhoe and began clearing the spot. It was full of trees he had to remove, as well as huge boulders and a lot of tree roots and branches. Here it is cleared:

We put weeping tiles on top of this, to allow for draining and then it took 20 loads of gravel to fill in the spot enough to bring it up to level.

The last photo was from Sept. 16, 2007. We waited over the winter for the snow to come and go so that it would settle enough for us to begin building in the spring of 2008.

In May 2008, after a long winter and very wet early spring which delayed construction, we dug the trenches for the forms and the footings., then Styrospan had to be laid under the cement foundation.

We decided to heat the whole garage and shop floor with in floor heating which would be heated with the use of an outdoor wood stove. Since our home was already using hot water heating, the house was piped and ready to be switched over from the oil-fed system to the new wood stove.
Rebar was needed around the perimeter and up the middle trench. Wire mesh was put over the whole area to enable us to use it to attach the piping that would heat the floor.
In June 2008 it was time to start getting the in-floor piping and the electricity hook-ups into the foundation before the cement could be poured.
The wood stove that will heat the new workshop as well as our house will be placed in between the two buildings. It will sit at the side of the driveway approximately 50 feet north of the house and 75 feet south of the workshop. Since our hookups will need to be at the farthest side of the house, a trench needs to be dug about 75-100 feet each way from the wood stove location. This trench will house the piping that runs the hot water as well as electric wire from the house to the shop and another wire from the house to power the stove’s electrical needs.
This is the piping that takes the hot water and the corregated piping that holds the wire to supply power to the shop. The smooth 5” diameter pipe is insulated and carries two 1 1/4” diameter hot water pipes inside it (one takes the hot water to the workshop and the other returns it). So from the wood stove we have to send out the insulated piping two ways, north to the shop and south to the house. This is the trench towards the workshop, partially filled in:

All the piping had to be laid before the cement floor went in. There are six loops, three heat the garage and three heat the workshop. The piping is attached to the wire mesh grid with plastic ties.

Here is the piping coming out of the foundation area, ready for the concrete to be poured, after which point it will be connected to the manifolds, pump and control system.

The next step was getting the floor poured, I'll continue in my next post.