Yesterday I asked my Dad to come over and help me figure out how to do the wiring for my garage shop. I have a new breaker panel, installed by an electrician, that will provide the power I need, but that’s it–just the panel, no breakers, no additional wiring. That’s all up to me (and my Dad). My Dad was an electrician once, a long time ago, before he became a mechanical engineer, but his skills in that area are still sharp–he wired his own basement wood shop, and he’s going to help me wire my garage.
So we determined the rough locations for the new outlets I’m going to install, and then it was off to Home Depot to buy the necessary materials: Romex wire (12/2 with ground, in case you’re interested), 20-amp outlets, outlet boxes, and some ceiling mounted junction boxes for the fluorescent light fixtures I’m going to put in.
There are some unique challenges in this wiring project. My garage was apparently a carport when the house was built (around 1960). I surmised this from the fact that the wall that my garage shares with my house is sided with the same siding that is used on the exterior of my home. The other walls are bare stud walls, but on the wall opposite from the shared wall, there is a 4×4 post that is painted the same color as the siding on the shared wall–it appears that at some point the previous owners decided to turn the carport into an enclosed garage, but left some of the carport structure in place to do so.
There is some attic space above the garage, and in all likelihood, I will be running the Romex through a section of PVC conduit from the breaker panel to the ceiling, and across the attic to the opposite wall, where most of my new outlets will be located. But the way things are constructed in my garage, I have no idea whether that’s going to work–so it looks like I’m going to have to just get up there and poke around.
In any case, once the wiring is roughed-in, I’ll be insulating the stud walls and covering them with some OSB sheathing. My local Home Depot has a great deal on 7/16″ OSB right now, and I figure that the OSB will be tougher than drywall, and I’ll be less likely to poke a hole in it when I inadvertently hit it with a long board. I haven’t yet decided whether to paint the OSB, but I might do that, too.
Anyway, we took my Dad’s truck over to the the Home Depot and picked up a load of insulation, OSB sheathing and electrical stuff, including a couple of 4-foot shop lights, which will probably be the first things I actually hook up and power up in the shop.
When all of this work will happen is anyone’s guess at this point, because winter is finally beginning to set in here in the Midwest. But the next week or so we’re supposed to have high temperatures in the 40’s, which is unseasonably warm, so I might actually get some of this work done before the bitter cold makes it harder to get motivated to spend time in a cold garage.
I’m also gradually clearing out more and more of the junk in the garage. Some of it is being put up on FreeCycle.org–FreeCycle is an Internet-based service that provides a means for people to give away items that they don’t need, but would prefer not to send to the landfill. When we recently replaced our washer and dryer, we put both of the old appliances up on FreeCycle, and the dryer has now gone to a family who needed it. The washer will probably find a new home soon, too.
There’s a long way to go, but I feel like I’m a few steps closer to actually producing some sawdust.