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George N. M.

Shop floor

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Dear All,

We are moving to Laramie, WY.  The new property has a horse barn on it that I plan to use as my blacksmith shop.  The building has a 7'x24' finished tack room which I will use as an office, design area, and small scale bench work area.  The main part of the building (24'x24') is divided into two 12' square horse stalls and a 12'x24' open area.  I plan to use the stalls as storage and the open area as my shop.  The open area and the stalls presently have a dirt floor, somewhat level but with some variation.  I am trying to decide what to do (if anything) about the floor.  All my previous shops have had concrete floors.  I got one estimate for putting concrete into the open area of $3,000.  I'm starting to feel that for that price I could learn to live with a dirt floor.  I'm also thinking of adding something like fine pea gravel to fill up the low spots in the dirt floor.  One advantage of a dirt/gravel floor is that if at some future date I want to install a power hammer or other large machine and need to excavate to pour a base it will be easier to dig down rather than having to cut/bust through a concrete floor first.

Does anyone have an thoughts or ideas?

thanks.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

 

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ph. pics incl. 2526 8.20.18 394.JPG

ph. pics incl. 2526 8.20.18 401.JPG

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 How about ag lime or brick dust for a floor?                              Dave

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That sounds kind of dusty and is "ag lime" crushed limestone or some sort of powdered lime like quick lime?  that sounds like something you should not be breathing into your damp lungs?  Where would you buy brick dust?

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I'd suggest limestone crusher fines, you water it and over time it compacts and welds into a pretty solid floor.  If dust is a problem---water it more!

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This may sound foolish, but dig a couple small test holes in your dirt floor to verify there is nothing underneath.  Dirt in second picture appears to be level with top of sill plate.

Simply using a plate compactor on your dirt floor and filling in low spots would be my suggestion if you don’t need a concrete floor.  

Ag lime and crusher fines are typically very cheap.  However, depending on your proximity trucking may not be and the labor to spread and compact may leave you feeling $3,000 wasn’t such a terrible investment.  Also, there is a difference between ag lime and limestone crusher fines even though they are both limestone products.  Crusher fines are more widely available - both would work just fine.

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Crusher fines tend to be a "waste" product and so getting people to pay to haul it off is considered a miracle!

Where I am in the high and dry, I ran pressure treated boards around the posts in my "post barn" and leveled them and filled with sand/fine gravel/clay from the local arroyo.  After a decade it's about time to rerake it and add/subtract as needed. A lot easier on the joints/back than standing on concrete. (The clean 1/2 of the shop has a concrete floor.) 

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Depending on your local climate and the equipment you plan to put in there, I've seen a lot of guys say that the dirt floors result in a lot higher humidity in the shop- mostly an issue for transitional times of the year when you don't want condensation all over your mill or lathe (should you have that kind of equipment). 

Having just added a lean-to to the rear of my shed and used it as a top coat, I'd say you'd do just fine with crusher fines (or 'stone dust' as some might refer to it). once you do the initial wet-down the dust isn't much of an issue.  Only ~$20 a ton, too!

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