Shop Tour 2017 - A Fresh Start


A few weeks ago, we had some electrical work done in the shop. It was very underpowered, so we added a 100 amp panel, many more 120w outlets and 4 separate circuits, including 220w service.

Take a look at the shop tour video. This shop is pretty much a fresh start, and I will be improving it from here: 



We have been in this house for almost 3 years now, but until about a year and a half ago, I was not doing nearly the amount of woodworking I am now. My wife and I came to the decision to let the cars live outside, allowing me to turn it into more of a shop. 

I quickly found out how underpowered my circuitry in the garage was, once I started using some tools. I would throw a breaker pretty much every time I would try to use my shop vac for dust collection in conjunction with the thickness planer. After you do that about 8 times in a row, it gets a little old. Oh, and did I tell you that our breaker box is upstairs? Yeah, what a pain. 


I got quite a few quotes from electricians...I think 5 in total. One quoted me something like $5,500. That was a ridiculous price for the work I was asking to be done, and frankly, I think that was his "go away" price that he gave me. And the one I went with quoted be $1,600 to do the same work. I checked into his background and he was a licensed electrician with a large commercial contractor here, and just did this kind of work on the side. After meeting with him, I felt comfortable using him. 


I worked it out with the electrician for me to run the aluminum service wire through the attic to save some money on his estimate. This was a good bit of work, but I was willing to do it to save money. Plus, I was more familiar with the attic than he was. He told me what aluminum service wire to get. We calculated it would be about 100 feet of wire needed. I went ahead and picked up about 120 feet, since I didn't want to be short after all of this effort. It was about $1.50 per foot, so an extra 20 feet was not enough to justify running out. I did have more than plenty left over, but that's ok. (HINT: if you have leftover aluminum service wire, you can make your own homemade gear ties.)

Once he was done, I was more than pleased with the quality of work. He did a fantastic job! All of the conduit was bent on site and you could tell he had commercial experience. He was very particular about how everything looked, so he was even a stickler about which way the metal clips that held the pipe to the wall were turned. Also, he asked if I had some silicone so he could put it around where he cut into the soffit and where the pvc pipe went into the attic. "I don't want you to have any wasps getting in there," he said. I thought that was over-and-above as far as service goes. 

Thanks for taking a look a this project. I'd love to hear what you think below!

Bruce A. UlrichComment