Cabinet Shop Lighting

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Pros share advice on bulbs and fixtures for bright, even light. May 10, 2005

I am in the process of constructing a cabinet shop. Does anybody know of a good lighting system that would be explosion/dust proof? I have researched and all I get is lighting for a spray booth.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
I am using metal halide in my new shop. I have had the place full of lacquer fumes and I ain't dead yet. I took the glass lenses out, though, because they got covered with dust and fried bugs. Sometimes big warehouses change out all their lights for the next generation of halide that uses less power. The electricians that take the old ones out often sell them fairly reasonably.

From contributor H:
I used metal halide for my new shop, which has an 18' ceiling. They were 90.00 each at Grainger and are great.

From contributor F:
The post above brings up a good point about ceiling height and metal halide. My ceiling is 12 feet. If you want to use them, check into minimum ceiling height. Mine cost $45.00 each used with bulbs.

From contributor T:
The metal halide are the best so far, but there is a minimum ceiling height and you do have to keep the tops free from the buildup of dust before the inspector finds it. I have been told that they are cheaper to operate.

From contributor B:
I have had metal halide lighting for over 12 years now, and a few of the original bulbs are still in service. They are less expensive to operate, but you have to keep in mind that you need good lighting in certain areas, and with metal halide lighting, you typically will use less fixtures placed systematically throughout your building. This can cause shadows, so we have a few fluorescent task lights in critical work areas. I put fluorescent fixtures in my first building, and the overall lighting was more consistent, but the ballasts and bulbs run us crazy trying to keep all the lights working.

There is a low bay metal halide fixture for lower ceiling height applications, so make certain that your electrician knows what he is providing is right for your application, or if you are purchasing used fixtures, you donít end up with the wrong fixture type for your application.

From contributor L:
Use a mixture of metal halide and low pressure sodium vapor. The MH have no red light and the SV have no blue light. With both, you will get a good approximation of true white light. Also, work areas should have a few fluorescents for a softer lighting without the harsh shadows that the others provide.

From contributor A:
We use 400w MH in warehouse areas and rough machining. Cheap running, long lasting, but too many shadows for fine work. They are mounted at 18' high, 20' o.c. We have two tube, 8' FL strips at 10' O.C. for all other areas. Use the green low mercury lamps to avoid disposal costs. They burn out too often and the lousy ballasts are a constant hassle, but the lighting is even. They are mounted at 16' high.

From contributor W:
I have seen the new T12 fluorescent fixtures in a competitor's shop. They make the other lights look sick and the color is very natural.

From contributor T:
The new T-8s (24 - 4 ft/2tube fixtures in a 25x40 shop, rake ceilings 10' - 12'6") are working out great for me. Low initial cost, not too expensive to run, good even light.