I typically build trim, picture frames, mirrors, bedroom sets, kitchen tables and the occasional cabinet or vanity. I am finishing my new 24' x 30' shop, located under my attached garage. The shop is separated from the basement of the house by a 12" insulated concrete form wall (2" of extruded polystyrene insulation on each side of a poured 8" thick concrete wall). I installed a separate furnace with heavy-duty filters and its own exhaust and return air, so as not to contaminate the house air. I have the basic idea laid out for dust collection and air filtration.
What is your favorite thing about your shop and what is the biggest pain in the butt, as far as placement of machinery, layout, etc?
My favorite in my shop is my bench top rollovers that I designed for my smaller machines. Simple, fast, easy to rollover. The worst thing I had in my shop was my furnace - somehow dust was still getting inside no matter what I did or bought, until I bought an outside hardy wood burner and put radiant heat in there. Now I'm a happy guy.
I built 6 sections for my daughter's place and it really works great. With the stock design, you can lag bolt it to about anything and at any height. You might consider building a rolling work table about 4' x 7' that would partially slide under one of these units.
I also suggest putting your air compressor in a small shed. This keeps the noise/vibration down and allows you to play some games to get a drier air supply in the summer.
I had a shop with a bench bolted to the wall. The only good thing about it was it made a solid place to bolt my metal vise. It was not a woodworking bench. I have always had a shop-made traditional bench that I use a lot.
My suggestion is to use the walls for storage. Above waist height, hang tools on pegboards, below cabinets with doors. Mine don't have doors and are collecting dust very nicely.
My favorite piece is my assembly table. The top is 60" x 36", part of a commercial fire door. The door is about 2" thick covered with a high temp 'formica'. Cleanup is easy. It is 24" high on a heavy open frame with heavy-duty casters. I don't have stops on the casters but they might be handy. On the bracing of the table I hang/lay my clamps easily at hand.
I'm still not happy with my wood storage and scrap handling.
Organize your tools. This saves me a lot of time when I work on a project. Categorize your tools and put them in associated groups and containers. I also have a container near each machine for the tools necessary for adjustments and blade changes for that machine. This saves a lot of time.
Get good lighting. This is needed to make accurate adjustments, measurements and layouts. Florescent is okay for general shop lighting but I also have 150 watt halogen lights from my hardware store. The ones I use have a small stand made from 1/2" tubing. I use a 1/2" conduit brace to attach them above each machine and bench.
I built a large closet for my dust collection system. It is airtight and lined with plastic except where it is vented with a hole, where I have a large furnace filter (a good one). If you do this it will cut down on noise and you will not have to spring for the 1 or 5 micron dust collector bag filters because it is all contained.
Comment from contributor A:
I picked up an old heavy duty drafting table to use in the shop. The great thing is there is a foot pedal at the floor that can lower or raise the table height (great for my sore back). Also you can tilt the table almost all the way to 90 degrees vertical. I added wheels to it with locks to move it anywhere in the shop (outfeed table). I just thought it was a great buy "free." Very few architect's offices use these anymore since everything has gone to CAD.