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It's great your setting up your new place.  Having a good work space that gets organized and setup the way you want inside will open up so many doors.. 

I'm excited for you.. 

As for expenses and keeping things above board..  Sheeessshhhheeesssshh    It's amazing how quickly things for electrical, wood, construction add up..    The potential is only limited by funds..  And sadly the minimum of code can sometimes push the envelope of what is pocket cash way down to the lint and that hole in the corner.. 

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I'm very excited to have it done and ready to go. It's been a long time in the works and now it's finally sort of starting to come together. At the very least most of the tearing things out is done. I think.. 

I totally get what you mean (at least to some extent). I need to win the lotto or something so I can pour a new slab, put in a new garage door, a man door, etc. etc. and all that is coming alongside everything I have been doing inside the house, which is a whole other animal. But, that's part of the fun of buying a fix-er-upper. The housing market is insane right now. I was able to avoid overpaying by going with a house that was structurally and mechanically sound, but in need of a lot of TLC. A coworker of mine has been looking for a house for a few months and just lost to an unlimited offer where the person also waived the inspection. I can't imagine how desperate someone would have to be to sign that. That's the way things are going around here. Everything sells for 20-40k+ over asking and is gone before the ink dries on the listing. 

Luckily I closed in the winter so some of the lunatics went into hibernation for a couple months there.


You're not kidding. I'm sure you have gone though a great deal of this with the construction of your learning center -- more than my mind can fathom given my admittedly limited experience.

BTW, I think the code office might want that lint too, and the hole with have to be double stitched with kevlar thread (by a licensed tailor, mind) before they'll sign the final inspection of your undergarments :D

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Re shop wiring: ALWAYS a good idea to have the lights on a separate circuit; nothing like using a cutting tool, having it bind and blow the breaker and then be wrestling a wild flesh eating tool in the dark!

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Very good points. Fortunately, that is the way we did it. The overhead/exterior lights were kept on the same circuit that the whole garage -- and other parts of the house -- was on when we started (via the 14g BX cable). The subpanel goes down into own breaker on the main panel. Fortunately, there was an abandoned 240V 50A breaker taking up space on the panel. That was removed to make way for the new 20A one. 

This way I still have 8 empty spots on the panel. B)


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200A to just your shop? Nice. Can't complain with that. My house is about 1100 sq ft. so it's relatively small. In my case, 200A is actually overkill .

Of course I haven't had long enough to collect all the toys that might require a larger feed going out to the shop. Yet..

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Here any new main panel install has to be 200amps at a minimum.. 

A septic system has to be sized for 4 bedrooms even if you only have 2.. 

If within town limits (certain distance from main road) you have to have town water. 

To pull and electrical permit you have to be a licensed Electrician.. 

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As far as pulling an electrical permit, the same is the case here in NY. However, you do have a fair bit of freedom with respect to working on you own house. You can do the work yourself and then are supposed to have an inspector come to check that it was done properly. Many people, understandably, "forget" to follow through on the last bit.

As to your other points, I don't have any experience with them here in NY, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar regulations. 


I spent the weekend cleaning out the clutter in the garage. I recall a time not so long ago when I said, "most of the tearing things out is done". Well, I called around and got a few quotes on pouring a new slab. The existing floor has heaved, resulting in cracks in all the least convenient places. I figured I would make do. After calling around, it turns out that if I do all the prep myself where the guys just have to back the truck in, pour the slab, and smooth it out, the price is actually somewhat reasonable. I think this will save me a ton of headache in the long run.

Plus I think we can all agree that controlled demolition and power tools are fun. So let's have at 'er.

Pictures of the shop after relocating and/or trashing all the stuff I didn't need in there. As you can see, the floor has seen better days. I wouldn't be surprised if it was original to the structure itself.


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It has a lot of character. 

At the moment I didn't plan on it. The plan is to hopefully pour a 5" slab. IIRC, for a power hammer it is recommended to have at least a 6" base? I could probably make one area a little thicker by leaving a low spot in the crushed stone.. I won't know how thick I can go until I see what's underneath the existing slab. Because cost and time are factors here -- the chimney components should be here in 2 weeks -- I don't want to dig any further than I have to.

Hopefully I'm not opening up Pandora's box here by tearing things up, but I'm just going to deal with things as they come.

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Thats a great way to go.  Its how I have managed to maintain some form of sanity while building the school.


I spent a bunch of time looking at the floor plan  and then looking at areas.


If you already have a shop and powerhammer it's pretty easy to plan location once you work on it for a few months.  


But going into the space blind there has to be some sort of flow dynamic.


For the expense of another yard of concrete its miniscule compared to the labor of having to do it again.

While I'm not afraid of hard work, I went and talked with a few different smiths to understand their thinking as to layout and why? 

I was under an extreme time crunch to get the floor in.

I made the areas for the car lift and powerhammer 6.5 to 7" thick.

But had I known exactly where the items were going to go I would have poured both foundations separately.

I would have also cemented the gozitas into place and the welding ground rails.

I had 3 days to get everything done.  many 12am work nights.


The floor even after winter still has no cracks yet.  I was told they crack usually after a few months.

When I installed the heater with my digital thermometer it was 22F At the bottom of the gozinta which is 18" deep. 

So I know it was thoroughly frozen.  


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I have a pretty good idea of how I want things to be laid out once I move things in, but as far as potential future locations of yet un-acquired equipment (i.e. a power hammer), that remains a little hazy. There a few logical locations given my current plan, but who knows if they will change after a year or two of working there.

The one thing that is going to be fixed is the forge, which is roughly centered and as far back as possible given the location of the rafters and the required clearances. This does somewhat dictate the location of my anvil and post vise. 

I am thinking about cementing in a gozinta so I have a way to fix my post vise in place a little closer to the forge and to have 360deg access to it. The only reason I'm hesitating is because it will be another thing that essentially becomes fixed in place. 

Might be convenient for other things too though I suppose.. What do you usually use them for?

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I spaced mine on a 4, 8, 12ft square pattern. Actually 2" short for every given dimension. That way I can get clamps on things and still access weld points. 

They are extremely helpful for doing layout work, crane work, uprights that get wedged into the holes.  Which can be made plumb. 

Frame straighten ING. 


A few of mine ended up off kilter when they put the floor in and is the reason I'd cement them in earlier. 

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Ok. I'll have to stop by the steel supply and see if they have any drops of an appropriate size/length. I mean, it can't hurt to put in one or two..? I can always cap them off if I don't need them so they aren't a tripping hazard. Not that I expect to do any crane work in there, but, "better to have it..." as they say.

I opened up Pandora's box yesterday/today and all things considered it could be much worse. The structure is still surprisingly level and is standing on blocks/footers at each corner and halfway along each wall. The downside is they used ~4-4.5" inches of fill (in this case coarse dirt/cinder mixed with large rocks) for the base. Besides the overall age, that explains why the existing floor heaved. Clearly they didn't have quite enough drainage and the constant freeze/thaw cycles of the dirt underneath cracked the floor upward in the center.  

They must have poured the footers/blocks below the frostline, bolted on the sill, formed the slab from the outside and poured it since the slab was both flush the sill plate and underneath it.

Not a big deal. A few days with a sledge hammer, a shovel, a rake and a wheelbarrow and I'll get all that fill out and replaced with crushed stone. Once everything is out I may even have enough room for a 5" slab, perhaps up to 6" in a couple choice locations. If everything goes to plan I may be ready for the pour sometime next week.. 

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Got 99.9% of the stone in and tamped down. What did we learn today... For one, when digging out the previous fill, one should be careful not to dig too far. Secondly, wet clay (muck) eats crushed stone instantly. Those two factors led me to need to take a lot of the concrete from the previous floor and lay it out across the muck field and drive it towards the center of the earth with a sledgehammer. Had I not done that, the amount of stone I had delivered (and I ordered extra) would have been a mere fraction of what I would have needed.

On the bright side, my base is incredibly solid. It's anywhere from 5-8" deep and the wet conditions packed everything together better than I could have hoped. It just took tons of mass to do it.

I'm not going to lie, I'm tired and glad that's over.

The floor will be 5" in most places, and 6" in a few others with a ~7-8" haunch footer under the sill. That baby isn't going anywhere. I'm going to spread some of the one high spot around and retamp tomorrow. Then I can put up my forms and wait for the concrete to get there.


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Definitely. That alone would be enough as far as strength goes, but my mason talked me into doing a haunch footer too because of the way it was built. It takes a little more concrete to do, but it saves me an hour or more of trying to hand tamp under the sill, I'll take that trade.

I'm glad I had all of that extra fill handy or I would have been up fecal creek without an oar, as they say. Though at the time, the thought of needing to bring a lot of what I had already broken up and piled up outside, back in, and then break it up some more wasn't particularly appealing :rolleyes:

I agree though, it does work very well. Still, if there's a next time, I would probably try to avoid the mistakes that led to the need in the first place.

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A not quite pro tip. First things first: Grade first if you have saturated clay close I'd advise doing some serious excavation, lay a geotextile to prevent clay infiltration, fill with bone rock so water can pass through without getting trapped, then fill and compact in lifts of about 6" if you're using a plate compactor. If you're using rubble fill you want a jumping jack compacter to stomp it into the saturated clay till it stops going down. Then fill and compact with a plate compactor in 6" lifts. 

Anyway, get the grade, foundation and floor in BEFORE you build the building!:rolleyes: Heck if the building is already up, move it, do a proper grade and foundation and move it back.

This sort of thing was my paycheck job with DOT Highways so I have practice.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frostys aggregate knowledge is substantial.   

Really great advice.

All of the area for my shop is fill. So had to find compactable fill.  Certain sands, crushed building, crushed concrete, certain stone mixes. 


Compaction of the aggregate is so important. 


I used a jitter bug with each layer and then driving the 27,000 manlift on it for 3 months helped.  I had to bring in another 13yrds inside the building of 3/4" stone for the leveling which got compacted again.


Clays have the problem of liquefaction with vibration.

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Frosty, my whole town is ~3-4in of top soil, followed by clay and we had just gotten a few consecutive days of rain, so saturated clay is an appropriate term. I will say that pouring a new floor was not in my initial plan, so I am/was trying to do it not only do it on a shortened timeline, but also without breaking the bank. Ergo, moving the entire building and doing things properly from the start was not on the table as an option. I had to coax my uncle with a few cold beverages to get a couple more hands on board to accomplish what was necessary.  

That being said, I have no doubt that what you describe would be the right way to go if time and money weren't an important consideration.

Jennifer, liquefaction indeed. 13 yards, ha, got 4 delivered.. but my space is much smaller.

TP, what they had done before was a direct pour onto fill comprised of large rocks and fly ash. I dug out quite a lot of clinker in removing it all. I found that somewhat ironic. Regardless, the soil I had available wouldn't have been ready for a pour by a long shot. I had to beat the old concrete and new stone into submission.

I will say that what I have now is good to go. My mason gave it the okay and will be getting a truck in this week. Apparently, getting concrete delivered has been somewhat more challenging this season due do CV and an increased  demand. 

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It's incredible how quickly the price of building supplies have gone up. Rockstar.esq had a recent post on it and how it's affecting construction companies that I found interesting. Being a little guy buying relatively small amounts of supplies when I need them, if an 8' piece of pressure treated 2x6" costs $11 I just pay it and it's not a big deal. 

The two masons I've talked to have said they are having trouble getting deliveries, especially for smaller jobs as the larger ones are being prioritized. It seems quite a few industries are overwhelmed with the amount of work they have.


I brought the tamper back this morning. The guys in the drop off area had a good laugh at my pulling it out of the back seat of my Sentra. I think I have tricked my car into thinking it's a pickup truck with all of the different things I have loaded in it and hauled around. I will say that the backseat of a Nissan Sentra was essentially made to fit 140# plate tamper. Fits like a glove. 

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