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Thread: Wooden Floor in a shop?

  1. #1
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    Default Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Every morning I wake up and realize there's so much that I just don't know.

    All the photos I've seen lately of people building shops has me thinking of the shop I'd like to build in the next three to five years. This gives me time to pencil in designs, but:

    I know that gravel/stone or dirt makes a good shop floor, as it's easy to walk upon, and unlike concrete does not pull moisture from the boat.

    But it's also hard to "fix" things to gravel.

    Wood, on the other hand, seems like it would work well... but how do you make a wood floor that would hold several thousand pounds worth of boat?

    Sleepers over concrete?

    Stringers sitting on gravel, with gravel in between?

    Just deal with the moisture problems of concrete, and use good rubber matting near benches and tools?

    (Un)Related question: Cheaperfaster to build a small shop, but not big enough for a boat. Thoughts on a small shop where the tools live, followed up a year or two later with a boat shop that holds the hull, connected to the smaller shop? Not ideal as having everything in "one big room", but workable? Wouldn't this be a good option for a temporary boat shed?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    I'd guess at it depending on your location and climate. I've never heard of concrete pulling moisture, but that might just be my área, not humid really , today, 35ºC and rH of 50-60..about right. winter median temp 3-4ºc at night 16- 20 day , rH 80 if its been pissing down for a few days...enough to put a fine patina of rust on a polished unprotect steel.
    Here, in the house I have tongue and grooved 25mm planking over battens at 300mm centres, over concrete laid over beaten ground, with a simple layer of heavy grade poly sheeting between concrete and mother earth , in some rooms. The main part has unglazed clay quarry tiles. The wood floor is so good I am going eventually to replace, or cover the floors in my studio, the workshop and the rest of the house with T and G. They tile everything here partly due to insect attack, but now the pressure impregnated timber is so good. Tiles are cool in summer, +, but cold in winter -, and unforgiving if you drop anything. either it breaks or you chip a lump out of the tiles The floor of one workshop is a very smooth concrete type with a floor paint sealant. Its so smooth I don't know why whoever before me painted it. I also have the bike workshop that has glazed floor tiles. same problems with damage, but easier to clean, but slippery.
    To summarize I'd go for a wooden floor anytime, T n G in anywhere looks matter, 8x4 floor grade sheets properly supported in utility spaces and the woodwork shop.
    When you talk of several thousand pound boat, ??? value or weight ?

    footnote ...any wooden floor will need more maintenance, and painted concrete too, tiles just need a sweep and a slop over with a mop occassionally, but concrete and used ex-exhibition cheap carpet on top works well too.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Our house has reclaimed hardwood T&G over Yellow tongue with a thermal layer between Its a warm floor. Shop is a large agricultural shed with concrete. At one end a small gallery and workshop for Anne, insulated Vinyl over sealed concrete, at my end I use 7mm rubber based industrial insulating mats, By Pirelli I think. You can buy it by the meter/yard, comes in a roll.
    pirelli insulating matting

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Gravel for a shop floor is a step up from mud or grass.
    Depending on the climate,insulated and heated concrete is a pretty good way to go, with a layer of ply over top if you are worried about dropping your edge tools.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    The main shop at First Light (nee Pease) has a reinforced concrete slab that has hot water pipes inside and cross member flush with the surface of wood. Radient heat and handy places to attach a strong back for building. It's a space for new builds - small carvel and medium plywood. The larger builds are in the side where the large winch for the railway is located. It's a gravel surface. They set up the keel and ballast on bridges over the cables and then make a plywood floor around the boat for convenient building and clean-up. You can about make out the layout from this pic of Meg being painted. The plywood must all be removed to get the railway cradle in for launching.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    The system of having a gravel surface with an easily assembled (always a relative thing in boatbuilding) frame and plywood floor lying on that is great. You can roll the boat in on the trailer, block the keel and set up poppets as you extract the trailer, and then lay down the frames and plywood. This way you have a surface comfortable to walk on and easily swept up. It's fun to work over sand, like Benjamin&Gannon, but even they do actual building with a wood floor around the boat.

    Here the plywood floor has been removed and the railway cradle is being slid under.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Great photo Ian, instantly makes me want to take a walk around in there to see what's doing.

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    ...

    Stringers sitting on gravel, with gravel in between?...
    I'm not sure about soil and climate conditions on Mars, but this selection has worked here in Maine.
    Of course you need a concrete perimeter on a WELL drained and compacted base for walls and floor framing containment.
    And good vapor retarder and placement.
    Essentially, the floor system sits independently inside the perimeter foundation, no interior support posts.
    It can be removed, in whatever section needed, to dig underneath to do things like dropping the rudder, without jacking the boat way up.
    You can nail/screw down any needed temporary support while building and it's accessible if necessary. Also better for standing on then concrete.
    Joists, since they are completely supported, can be minimal width(2"x 6" and treated) but closely spaced (12")and decking is 2" thick.
    My experience, anyway.

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    My shop has a concrete floor. There is no issue with moisture in the shop floor. That's because I installed perimeter drains, and a continuous waterproof membrane under the slab. This is standard building practice that is actually required by code. It helps that my slab is also a heated floor using embedded pex tubing filled with hot water.

    Building a wood floor to hold thousands of pounds of boat is easily doable. Simply ask an architect or engineer to do the proper design. If your thousands is a lot of thousands, then the cost of that floor may be gut wrenching but it could still be done. However you may choose to use concrete or gravel then.

    I like having a floor that I can sweep.

    Jeff

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    My garage shop at my home has a T&G floor laid over sleepers on the concrete. It has enough flex to be kind to my feet and an occasional tool the might fall and hit the floor. The big shop has a 2" T&G called garage flooring made up over massive, reclaimed, 8x18 timbers. Boats under construction sit over a special concrete walled pit that has removable sections that allow for working under a keel or dropping a rudder. All in all both set ups have worked very well.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Jay, I remember you taking us on a tour of that shop with you. It was more than one post if I recall. I think you added to it showing us stuff from time to time. I have often thought of that thread and never been able to find it again. Any thoughts on where it may be? It's a great structure. Would that I had the bucks to build my ideal boat shop.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    After closer examination, I have to ask, what is that flap covering the gap between the rudder and the hull? Leather tacked along the leading edge? Looks like a good idea, how effective is it? Worth the effort? What maintenance is required on it? Sorry for the thread drift Don.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    My shop is in a space that was described for the building permit as a garage. Hence, it has the required concrete floor with the required slope. On top of that are scribed PT sleepers, fiberglass insulation and an Advantek OSB deck. I like it a lot. It's firm enough, springy enough, flat and warm.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 06-28-2018 at 01:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Thank you all. This clarifies many things.

    To be clear, I understand the draining and sloping of concrete. What I've been told, and what has been mentioned in this column before, was that concrete itself served as a moisture sink, drying out the planking, and was not appropriate for use with wood. I'm glad to hear that many believe this is not the case.

    I still have mixed feelings about radiant floors for this use. On the one hand, I believe in it. On the other, you won't be anchoring anything in the concrete, or every time you drill for the anchor, you'll be playing Russian Roulette with a line strike. I must think on this. I do know of a wood stove that has an integral boiler for this purpose. Could work.

    8X18 timbers Jay? I have no idea where to source those. I don't even know that you can source them. Similarly, I love the idea of iron tracks on which a cradle can ride, but unless one is giving away an old railway, not sure where I can find such creatures. Good thing I have some time. But I do like the mezzanine you have around the boat.

    Oh, and I think I need some really big doors. Anyone have a formula for hinges with door weight/size? Anyone ever heard of a door made from SIPs?

    Still need to decide if it makes sense to put the tools in a separate building. And need to figure out appropriate width.

    So much to learn...
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Regarding the heated floor and hitting PEX while drilling an anchor,you can place anchors while doing the concrete or you can leaving the pipe out of areas that you might drill later.
    After doing the pipe layout, take a good photo with measurements and landmarks of the bare areas,then get it printed and laminated and hang it on the wall.

    A SIP would probably make a pretty good door.

    In winter, a heated shop is much drier than unheated and the boat will dry out, no matter what the floor is.
    Moisture that's good for the boat is bad for the tools.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Depending on the size of boat intended for the shop, I'd consider two structures. A shop. Permanent, built as you like it. If this creates a structure to big to be practical, you build the shop such that you can add a bow shed or simple temporary (20 years?) to the side or an end of it. Now your tools stay in the heated shop, warm and dry with that lovely wooden floor that doesn't need 8x18 inch beams to support it. The boat stays out in the temp structure but is immediately accessible to the shop where you do all the prep work, assembly of sub components such as hatches, doors, and even frames if it's a sawn frame boat. Then take the parts out to the big shed and assemble them into the boat. Once done, the temp shop is struck and you have your simple shop ready to do maintenance on the boat as required. Maybe it's long enough to build spars in, maybe not. But I think you're well on your way at this point since that's essentially what you posited in your OP. Oh, and take pictures of the shop as you build so we can see. We're nosy like that.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    After closer examination, I have to ask, what is that flap covering the gap between the rudder and the hull? Leather tacked along the leading edge? Looks like a good idea, how effective is it? Worth the effort? What maintenance is required on it? Sorry for the thread drift Don.
    When I was racing with Skip Elliot on the 5.5 meter sloop "Gosling", the boat had a flap like that made of phospor bronze that gave a smooth shape to the weather side of the rudder when it was moved off center. I really don't know how much it added to the performance of the rudder but I decided to incorporate it onto my own boat, "Red Witch". I am going to snip a slot in it to keep it from buckling. It is smooth as soon as the helm goes off center. Note that the rudder has its greatest area at the bottom where it bites in clean flow water.
    The idea is based on a tank test at Steven's where the 5.5 "Antiope" was tested, full size, in the tank. The rudder was as you see it on my boat.
    Boats have, by tradition, placed the greatest area at the top of the ruddr post as flow testing showed great movement in that area. However, it was turbulence rather than clean flow. According to the test, three degrees of weather helm created a definitie lift to weather of the enire hull.
    So, that is the reason for that funny flap and I am sorry to drift off the true meaning of this post!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 06-25-2018 at 01:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    How does one keep it from metal fatigue failure as it's bent back and forth each time the rudder is put hard over or further than just a little nudge to one side? I figured bronze at first then though it would quickly break just behind the leading edge fasteners so deduced (apparently incorrectly) that it was actually leather and not bronze.... Maybe a new thread for this? A few more close up type shots if Red Witch is still in the shop that is.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    I don't like gravel. You spend a lot of time on your knees or even laying down under a boat, and gravel is a literal pain. You also can't sweep it. For a small shop you could do moisture barrier on the (levelled) ground then 2x4 sleepers on the flat with 2" decking nailed over those.

    You could also frame the whole thing up with a proper crawl space. Use 4x6s, keep the spans under 8 ft and 2x decking and it will hold a pretty serious boat. This involves lots of peirs to take the framing.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Jay, splendid shop. I especially like the stabilizers integrated into the mezzanine structure. Almost like you knew you were going to build boats in it.

    A few miscellaneous points...
    Concrete won't absorb much moisture if it's well-sealed. Also keeps the concrete dust down.
    In-floor heating is easy to locate with IR camera (rentable) or careful measurement and record-keeping. Used in many, many shops where things must be bolted to the floor.
    And yes, gravel is pretty awful to work on, especially if you have to get down in it. Horse stall mats (6' x 4' x 3/4" is a common size) make good floor coverings for bad surfaces of most any type. Pretty comfy to walk/stand on. Spring for new ones, though -- around here they're about $25 ea.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    gravel floor? for as many times old "fumblefingers" drops small parts, I would not have one.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    How does one keep it from metal fatigue failure as it's bent back and forth each time the rudder is put hard over or further than just a little nudge to one side? I figured bronze at first then though it would quickly break just behind the leading edge fasteners so deduced (apparently incorrectly) that it was actually leather and not bronze.... Maybe a new thread for this? A few more close up type shots if Red Witch is still in the shop that is.
    All I can say is that it works and hasn't shown signs of cracking. I suppose it is the long bend.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Jay, splendid shop. I especially like the stabilizers integrated into the mezzanine structure. Almost like you knew you were going to build boats in it.

    A few miscellaneous points...
    Concrete won't absorb much moisture if it's well-sealed. Also keeps the concrete dust down.
    In-floor heating is easy to locate with IR camera (rentable) or careful measurement and record-keeping. Used in many, many shops where things must be bolted to the floor.
    And yes, gravel is pretty awful to work on, especially if you have to get down in it. Horse stall mats (6' x 4' x 3/4" is a common size) make good floor coverings for bad surfaces of most any type. Pretty comfy to walk/stand on. Spring for new ones, though -- around here they're about $25 ea.
    Yes, I designed it for boat building. I took ideas from shops I worked in in the past. This shop is not heated. So I wear thermal undrwear in the winter. I do have a heated shop next to it where I have my lathes. That shop is kept warm for keeping the moisture out. Someone commented about the 8x18" floor joists. They came from one of the piers in Port Townsend that was razed. They were really cheap. The floor is pretty solid.
    Much of the building is re-claimed lumber. The work benches are from the old bowling alley that is now the Food Co-Op. They are yet to be installed.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Anti- fatigue rubber mats, on concrete, are a simple and cheap combination. I stitched a few together so they don't creep around.

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    I've built a couple of small boats on an Oughtred-style plywood box as a base. For my next attempt, I plan to surround the plywood box with wood shipping pallets and then lay/attach strand-board to the pallets. Its gotta be softer than the concrete floor.

    My issue is peripheral neuropathy and the pain that follows from standing on hard surfaces. As it is, I can only get in about two hours on the concrete before the pain gets the better of me. Hope to get this set up some time late summer.

    Pain sucks.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Would it work to wear really squishy soft shoes?

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Two hours on a concrete floor would pretty much do me in too. I have anti fatigue mats in front of the bench and all stationary tools. My shop has VCT over concrete. VCT is better than nothing but Id die without the mats.

    My plan is to put cheap laminate flooring down over the best underlayment. My partner and I did this in our last shop. The underlayment was more expensive than the random, discontinued flooring. It was very forgiving and easy on the back and the knees. The plastic coating was impervious to just about anything/ everything we spilled on it and it swept up nice as well. The simjlated woodngrain finish is suitably non slip.

    I just had my hip replaced so its time to get serious about a workable shop floor.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    Would it work to wear really squishy soft shoes?
    I typically wear Crocs or athletic shoes with thick gel insoles in the shop. That's the only way I can get close to two hours on my feet on any surface. I just hope my idea with the pallets gives me a little more time for work before I start crying.

    Any ideas on other squishy shoes?

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    +1 for Crocs. There's one drawback, though, the holes in the top. I've dribbled epoxy on them and nearly gotten glued into them.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?



    My little boat shop has 3/4" OSB T&G underlayment over a vapor barrier that is a foam sandwich about 1/8" thick so it also acts as a wee bit of a thermal break between the OSB and the concrete. The OSB has held up really well over two boats and a number of other projects, it is just thick enough to screw light blocking to ( I have a few discrete concrete anchors put in when I had to lift and roll Marianita) and it is quite comfortable to work on all day. Through the door on the right is my "metal shop" where I left the concrete floor bare for welding and grinding (given my line of work, burning my shop down would be very embarrassing). The wood shop also seems to stay warmer, or at least feel a lot more comfortable, quieter too.
    Steve

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    I vote wood 100 percent. Mine was 3/4 CDX ply. My shop itself was an old garage; on it someone before me had cobbled up a single-bay carport. I put doors on the carport and used that as my building bay. Built a 19' by 2' spar bench along one side wall and hung tools over that. No big deal walking a few feet between shop and building bay.

    The building bay had a concrete floor. I built my boat on an elevated wood platform and used foam cushioning from Harbor Freight between my feet and the floor. It worked fine.
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    Whatever the floor is made from, it might be an advantage one day if it can eventually accommodate castor wheels or pipe rollers for moving heavy things. Would have been difficult positioning my lead ballast without being able to roll it on pipes. The cradle for my new boat is about to acquire castor wheels in preparation to relocate to a less bush fire prone area. My little boat sat on castor wheels through most of her build and was often repositioned in the shed depending on the work at hand.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    How big is your boat? I'd keep the tools and boat together, depending on weather you can lose a lot of days if you are shut down for rain, cold, snow etc...if boat is outside and tarped. When we built our 16x20 shed on posts and blocks we had them put the joists closer and went thicker on the plywood floor. We could have upsized everything even more but we were happy with being able to park a small car in there or runabout on a trailer, so about 800 pounds per tire. We also built a 12x18 work deck next to the shed to stay out of the mud and ramps to move small boats around on work dollies.





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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    It might be small, but looks like a great place to do boat work.

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    Default Re: Wooden Floor in a shop?

    I havnt seen this mentioned yet, so I figured I would add my setup. I have 4x4 end block flooring cut 2 inches thick on top of a concrete slab. I sealed the concrete and laid down some tar paper. The reason I did this is because the company I work for has a sister plant to ours that was built in the late 1800's and thats what they used for a flooring. They have heavy machinery bolted throughj the blocks to the concrete below it and even have robotics running across it. Fork lifts and buggys dont do anything to it. They sealed theirs on top with a tar to just seal out the moisture. The best part about the end block is when you damage it, you just replace the damaged sections by drilling a screw into it a little bit and pull it out by the screw. Also, its nice not damaging anything that hits the floor because of gravity or manual assist.....

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