Having the rare opportunity to build a new shop from the ground up gives you total freedom. Maybe too much.
With any improvements you make to just about any shop, you’re confined to the existing layout and conditions. The decisions you make – Should this go here? How far to move this there? How many of these will fit somewhere else? – are all based on what you already have to work with.
But very little of that applies when starting with a marvelously large empty space like the one I have at our new home. Sure, I have to work around the existing furnace, pipes and support columns already there, but other than that I can put anything I want, anywhere I want. You’re probably thinking that’s a dream come true, and it is.
On the other hand, unlimited choices come with… well, unlimited choices. I have five good spots where my table saw can go, and just can’t decide. (Yeah yeah, I could do a mobile base, but I want a permanent location.) My hardware cabinet can go in no fewer than eight spots, and each one has a long list of why it’d be a perfect location. I have three possible places for my dust collector, all with their own pros and cons. Even trying to make a final decision on which is the best way a door should open is a process that threatens to slow my build to a crawl.
But make all these decisions I must. And the bottom line is that if this is the worst problem I could have with this shop build, I’m a lucky woodworker indeed.