30×40 Shop Part 1: The Structure

The new shop build out begins! My wife and I just moved and one of the criteria for the move was a bigger shop for the business. The house exceeded all of our criteria and the shop out back is a great foundation to renovate and turn it in to a great work shop for my needs. The shop slab is 40′ x 40′ with the shop itself taking up 30′ x 40′ of that space. There is a 10′ lean-to on one side with an above ground storm shelter dividing that space. The structure itself is only 4 or 5 years old and the previous owner built it for automotive uses. I knew going into the move that the shop wasn’t 100% perfect and needed a little bit of work. In this article I’ll walk you through the structure and let you know the issues and my plans to renovate it for my needs.

Inside it looks like a basic pole barn structure. There’s a 6×6 post every 10 feet connected by five horizontal 2×4 boards. These 2×4’s are what the exterior tin is screwed to. Between the tin and the 2×4’s is a thin membrane of some kind to act as a thermal break and also prevent condensation on the inside of the tin. That’s my guess anyway.

Inside you will see the man door and a window on the right wall, stairs to the loft and the forced air HVAC intake and exhaust on the back wall, and two high horizontal windows and an exhaust fan on the left. There’s a lot of character already established with the shop. The previous owner used old metal tin on the ceiling as well as the first few feet on the walls. Then black peg board was added above that. The pegboard and tin will be removed as it doesn’t suit my needs. In it’s place will be a 2×6 framed wall on 24” centers, insulation, and 3/4” smooth face plywood. This will give me a lot more mounting options and do a much better job of keeping in the climate control.

As you walk in the man door the electrical panel is in the corner to your left. The refrigerator and office will be immediately to the right. If the refrigerator is too noisy for recording audio with my computer then I’ll move it.

The office will extend down this wall as I brought all of the items I made for my last office. I’m not entirely sure if I will use the higher office table I made as it was primarily made for my dogs, which won’t be in the shop with me.

This shot has your back against the back wall and looking forward. There are two large roll up doors at the front. They are painted brown on the outside and with the sun shining on them they bake! A lot of heat is radiated into the space from the doors. The morning sun rises about 20 degrees off from the front of the shop so the amount of sun that they get isn’t extreme but it does cause heat issues. I’d love to replace these with insulated doors with windows. The windows will allow me to see out towards the road and know if anyone pulls up to the house or shop and because no working stations are right at the doors the light coming through won’t cause issues with the camera.

You can also see the ceiling tin and lights in this image. The tin stops where the loft is upstairs. The lights are good enough to work in here but not good enough for video purposes. They will be replaced with the LED light setup from American Green Lights that I had in my previous shop.

On the back wall is the forced air HVAC. The unit was working and passed inspection when we bought the property but I knew coming into the situation that this unit was not ideal and would eventually be replaced with a mini split unit. What I didn’t know was how problematic it was and that I would only get a couple working days out of it. When I first got into the shop the gas levels were low enough to not even show up on the gauges and the start capacitor was dead. The capacitor is an easy fix but the gas levels being that low tells me there’s a bad leak somewhere. I went ahead and got those two issues resolved and it cooled the space perfectly for just a couple days. Then something near the compressor shorted out and killed the system for good. Knowing that this unit would eventually get replaced I decided to stop messing with it and prepare for the replacement. In the mean time it’s a million and a half degrees with the high heat and humidity of Mississippi.

Also on the back wall is the stairs that go to the loft above.

The loft is 12′ wide and 20′ long. Plenty enough space for long term storage. Plan A was to use this space for low weight storage to help keep the space below tidy and less cluttered. While moving into the space my friend Jeremy suggested boxing in the loft and turning it into an office. I liked the idea and decided that this Plan B was the route I was going to go. But after a lot of consideration and dealing with a lot of little issues that come up in this scenario I decided to go back to Plan A and use it as storage only. Maybe in the future I’ll explore this idea more.

Back downstairs there is one more wall to discuss. When we were in the inspection stages of buying the house I met with the previous owner and he was transparent about the few issues the shop had. One of which was the fact that these two windows leaked under heavy rain. He also said that the windows were re-purposed out of a set of french doors. He opened up the windows to clean the inside and that’s what caused the condensation to form between the window panes. I was able to stop the leaking issue but haven’t gotten around to cleaning and resealing the inside of the windows. I’m not sure if I’ll even do that though as I might heavily tint or even block off these windows completely. These windows shine a lot of natural light into the space in the morning. Natural light is great for working in a space but not so great for filming in a space.

As you come in the roll up door in the front the lumber and sheet goods will be immediately to the left on the wall. Followed by the miter saw station somewhere under the exhaust fan in the middle and the window closest to the camera.

The lean-to outside is divide by the storm shelter. As of right now both the front and back space of the lean-to are in disarray. I likely won’t put any effort into setting up these spaces until the shop is fully functional. The storm shelter is one of those things that I’d rather have and not need then need and not have. I live in Mississippi, which regularly gets hit by tornadoes. Thankfully, my family has not been affected by a tornado but I know several people who have. With modern weather technology, and the fact that I can’t sleep and am always glued to the radar on my phone when the weather gets bad, we will be able to seek shelter in advance of a nasty storm approaching.

The storm shelter conveniently blocks visual access to the back of the lean-to. This is where all of my lawn equipment will be stored. I have a few ideas to really organize this space but as of right now it’s just a cluttered mess.

There is enough room to walk between the storm shelter and the shop but I doubt I’ll keep that space clear. Right now I’ve got a few slabs taking up that space. One idea is to put all of my lumber racks on that covered exterior wall of the shop.

The top of the storm shelter is also another storage location that I want to expand upon. My thought is to use 2×6 boards with decking of some kind on top to make another floor above the shelter. The 2×6 joists will provide cubbies to slide longer items in, such as lawn tools with long handles, without interfering with the horizontal floor space above.

That’s it for Part 1 of the new shop series. Part 2 will most likely cover how I moved everything to the new space. Talk to you later!


  1. Hi Jay;
    What a great woodworking space. I am “dark green” with envy! Look forward to your future plans.
    PS – hey, get that beer fridge plugged in & stocked up!
    David Henry, UK

  2. Great new shop! Look forward to all the future episodes of shop organization and setup!

    Thanks Jay!

  3. Best of luck with the new digs. Let’s see what the storm shelter looks like in the next video series.

  4. Jealous of the space available! Just more than double of what I have. I have a 28x 48 building with a partition at 20 ft for the shop leaving a 28x 28 garage. Your 9+ft ceilings are a nice feature too.
    Glad to hear you plan on abandoning the PVC airlines. As PVC ages, it becomes more brittle and prone to failure, increasing the likelyhood of shrapnel flying across the shop.
    Thinking like a northern Minnesotan with our blistering cold winters, (we hit -50 f at the end of this past January) My thought was 2×6 framing between the posts and as much fiberglass or even better sprayed foam. The foam is comes at a higher cost but afford the benefit of being a vapor barrier as well.
    Looking forward to watching the build, but man, it must be kinda warm in there without a functioning A/C unit! ;-)

  5. Hi Jay, glad to see your new workshop. When you originally spoke about it I didn’t realize how mauve it is.
    Looking forward to seeing your next videos and being envious. Good luck.

  6. Jay you might want to ask your viewers for comments??????????. It would be good and bad but I am sure you would get one or two suggestions you would agree with. I am very happy for you and your family. What a great new chapter in your lives has just begun.
    Whidbey Island,WA

  7. Hi Jay,
    Very nice shop in the rough and I know you will have it remodeled soon. I too agree with Joseph about framing it with 2×6 instead of 2×4’s. As a suggestion for insulation how about using rock wool, cheaper than foam and better than fiberglass. Please put a brace under the stairs, that is a long run that should have a support brace and a railing would be nice. (That brace and railing would make the stairs meet code here). Looking forward to more videos on the remodel . Keep up the good work.
    Dave M.
    Ferndale, WA

  8. Hi Jay. Jealous of the space you have. Will be watching for your updates as it comes into full use. Please consider (and put a high priority on) putting a railing on those stairs. It may seem safe enough to run up and down but as soon as you start carrying stuff up and down it will be more dicey.

  9. Possibilities are endless and must be exciting for you. I would be in danger of never seeing the inside of the house again. One question though. I noticed all the posts and even the staircase look darkened near the floor. Hope it’s not in a flood zone.
    I’m guessing you’re gonna be busy with shop projects for quite a while. Good luck !!

  10. Congrats on the new house and shop Jay. I’m sure you’re all excited with all the planning and upgrades you have ahead. of you. Wishing you all the best in future endeavors…..ENJOY!!!f

    Bryan G.
    New Hyde Park New York

  11. Jay, great new shop. Cant wait to see the progress. My wife, Mary, and I CNC through DWC and have have had the pleasure of working with Laney Shaughnessy on developing our skills and using the laser. he mentioned that both of you had a start with the video training craze. He says HI. Enjoy your sight and keep up the great work.

    Steve & Mary
    Woodlawn, TN

  12. Hi Jay

    I just wanted to wish you well with the new workshop and that I look forward to all of the content that will come from the remodeling even the moving video.

    As a side note, my new shop is coming on. Had the garage lined and insulated. Now in the process of painting the walls and ceiling. So excited as I have wanted this since I retired and now finally it is happening.

  13. Looks like a great step up! Two things:

    First, the side of the storm shelter looks a little plain and “blank canvas-ey”. I can totally picture a giant version of your logo on there, especially in the last picture. Could be useful for intro shots.

    Second, for your door problem, you could do like I did for my shop and build up some carriage house doors. Getting the air seals right was a little finicky, but altogether a pretty fun project!

  14. You should really just open up that ceiling and insulate the roof with batting. Cover over it with rigid foam or something simple that will still add insulation plus sound dampening to the exterior. It will making things easier for running dust collection and power with the joists exposed. Keep the loft area but finish it and insulate the walls and roof joists and floor.

  15. Congratulations on the new shop – and new home – Jay!!

    Consider placing your stud walls on 24″ centers. They will not be load-bearing; therefore don’t need 16″ spacing. It will save you a few bucks. Use the money you save to install a stud wall around the floor opening and place a door at the top of the stairsi nstead of a trap door. Access will be sooooo much easiier. BTDT. I would also build a stud wall along the back of the storage loft. It will keep sound out if you later decide to put your office up there and it will keep any dust from the shop from migrating to the loft. I shouldn’t cost much in materials to do that. You mentioned hiring contractors. For my money they would enclose the loft and place the door. I would also enclose the area behind the storm shelter so the tools there can be locked up.

    I look forward to upcoming videos showing the move and shop layout plans.

    Again, congratulations on the move!!

  16. Bom trabalho Jay. Não perco um vídeo seu.
    Eu sonho com um projeto desse para minha oficina de trabalho com madeiras.

  17. Bom trabalho Jay. Não perco um vídeo seu.
    Adoro fazer trabalhos com madeiras e sonho com um projeto assim para minha oficina.

  18. Your new shop is the absolute Bomb ! Man I would love to be lucky enough come across an opportunity like yours, good for you Dude.

  19. Congrats on the new space, Jay. Incredible opportunity to layout the “perfect” shop. Coming from a guy who just finished my “half-of-a-2-car-garage” setup, I am indeed jealous…

    All the very best,

  20. I love you’re dog brother so cool… sorry about his eye… Great space for your new shop…hope to see your progress on it…god bless and pace you’re self especially with the heat hydrate… I saw the fridge there stock up on H2O…good job????

  21. Congrats, Jay – looks like lots of continued great content on the way… excited for you and your family and your new home!

  22. I have an engine crane like the one you have. I augmented it with a folding one for space saving. It’s now disassembled and stored in my container for a future garage sale.

  23. Congrats, Jay on you new home and SHOP, You spoke of the HVAC being a money-pit and going with a splitter system. I don’t know how big they make them but would you need 2 of them the that amount of space? I would be making sure the area is well insulated all around before running the AC. I live in the central valley of California and 90 to 110 deg. is normal during the warmer seasons. With metal siding buildings, you want as much insulation, if not more than needed. Because if you don’t, your AC is going to be a money-pit when the monthly bill comes. As for you tornado shelter, I don’t think it would help me out here in California with the earthquakes :-) We all have our geographical problems to work and live with. Again congrats to you and your family on your new place.

  24. WOW Jay !
    Just thought I would drop a line.
    With this new shop you got so much to think about, Im happy for ya man !
    Dream come true !
    I have been following you for some time, but havent been active on youtube or facebook for a while . Been doing my own building of dreams ya know.Time is short.
    So with that said, I can imagine your dust collection system will be top notch !
    How you doing since the nose surgery? I followed your dust collect system in the old shop ( one I would love to of had). Did it help? Im still working on mine. Gotta stay alive to enjoy your work , right?

    Any way, I know your busy , lots of fans and such. I wish you the best.
    If ya drop me a line, great! If ya dont, I understand.

    Cheers Jays ! Enjoy Life. You only get one !
    Ray at Rays Woodcraft

  25. Realize this is probably coming in after the fact, but If you are putting in mini-split system anyway, why not pull a line for the storage area?

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