Building a shaping bay...Tips appreciated!!!

Finally after shaping and glassing about 40 boards in my garage I have finally been given the Ok by the Boss (wife) to build a shed in our backyard.  The area I have will be able to fit a 10x16 shed quite easily with really no limit to wall height.  I am wondering what are the little things that I need to be thinking of since this will be 100% designated to shaping and not just a normal "shed".  I have searched the archives and what I find is mostly regarding size.  i am ready to start this project soon and don't want to regret not doing something and wishing I had.  Thanks everyone!

Hey D, Try to build as BIG a shop as you can. One, for real long boards and as high a ceiling as possible. There is a whole list of things to adress.

Dust control.

Electrical outlets placed where you need. And more than enough.

Lighting. Side lighting is important, but also lots and lots of overhead lighting.

Storage (tools, materials, inflammable goods, dust free cabinet for glass rolls, etc.) All of it stored in cabinets.

Climate control. For you and materials. Insulate shop as much as you can.

A shop that will allow you to start and stop as you see fit. So you won't have to put things "away" between trips.

If you can try to have a separate lamination room ( very handy) many of us don't have the luxury.

A good universal set of stands that won't trip you up every time you walk down the blank.

Compressed air and outlets where you need.

Make it secure (lockable).

Those are the basics but I could go on and on.


Shaping and glassing???

If it were me,…

I’d want barn doors, not a standard sized door.

Build it tall with racks for overhead blank storage.

One of these:

Of course, all the usual: dark painted walls, side lights with shelves on top, floor mounted steel racks, etc.


I’m jealous =)

I just finished an 8’x12’ room that I do everything in (shape, glass, sand, art). I took all of the advice above and I am very happy with the situation. If I could do anything else, it would be to have TWO rooms. One for dirty stuff (shaping, sanding) and one for clean stuff (glassing, art). One room is perfectly doable, especially with good HVAC and dust control/exhaust (see Bud’s posts for proof). But I would be much more efficient if I could glass in a separate clean room.


If you are stuck with one room, than I would recommend the Jet dust filter:

I have one and it is great for removing the airborne dust in the room. I have it running whenever I am shaping and glassing. Keeps the air clear.

If you own the property you should check local building codes.  Some have limits on size you can build w/o a permit.  Electrical, plumbing and/or a poured foundation slab generally require one as well.   

The local building inspector or tax callector might be something to consider.  I've heard that in some towns they're using Google Earth images to spot new structures in backyards.  They can make you tear it down if they don't approve or tax it if they do.

Not a huge deal to 'bootleg' (many do) but in the event of a fire, your insurance company might be looking for a loophole to get out of paying on a claim.  That could also be an issue if damage spreads to a neighbor's place. 

A local friend was repeatedly harrassed by the Air Quality Dept but that took a neighbor complaining to get them involved.  Most people don't like resin fumes and fiberglass dust in their face.

Hey... you asked?


Thanks guys!  The air filtration was something I was thinking of but wasn't sure how.  The JET systems looks sweet!  As far a codes go, I know pplenty of people who have stretched the rules a bit.  However, I understand what you are saying and fire safety is a HUGE concern.  I'm a fireman and don't need to have my buddies over putting out a fire in my shaping bay.  Don't think I'd hear the end of that.  I do have a good friend who is a electrical contractor that is going to wire the place.  I don't do electricity! 

Have a look at this thread, in particular, woody’s shack on page 7.

(almost typed woody’s sack on page 7 - it’s not that kind of website)

Look into having tuff shed put the building up, saves time and thay are really well built. You can insulate and drywall it yourself. My shaping room is 10’ x 12’ and that is what I did , just a suggestion. Good luck!!


power supply…?!

Hey D, the best thing I ever did is to use soundboard from Home Depot. It is cheap and kills all the echo from my planer. I left mine the natural tan color and is plenty of contrast to see.  It even comes with white primer so you can paint directly on it. Wood sub-floor is good for the back and feet. Tall ceiling, A/C. I’ve seen some nice rooms on this web-site. Check out mine when it was near completion. Good luck, barry

I built a shed last fall that has two rooms.  One side for glassing the other for shaping.  It has a large beam for the roof instead of rafters which allows all of the height in the roof (probably 14 feet at the middle).  It also has a steeper pitch than most small sheds. I have a sliding barn door in the middle with a removeable panel to allow easy movement of blanks from side to side.  One of my shaping lights is on a hinge and a pulley.  I can lift it out of the way as well.  Kind of hard to explain much of this.  I will post a few pics in the next few days.  I did look at local codes and built it as large as I could without a permit.  I wish it was bigger but what can you do?

I have insulated it.  I have a furnace blower outside the shed that downdrafts dust out of the shaping area.  I also have a second delta air filter.  I have air and a shopvac hooked up to a cyclone for shaping.  My father drew some plans for me to build this.  PM me and I may be able to send them if you are interested. As I recall it is 15 x 16  Here are some pics of the exterior.



You’re in the best position possible…got permission…hell I almost had to live in mine!

But really…I had to use the shed I already had and make the best use of it. The guys in this forum have remarkable spaces…check em all out…there are several threads dedicated to “show me your shaping bay”. I used every bit of the innovations they had created when I made mine…and it’s still and will always be a work in process.

If I could have built a specific building it would definitely have two rooms.  One for Glassing, sanding, polishing. One for shaping. You can always add vac systems, compressors, etc. later.

Be sure to check out the thread by; jcyoungquist My Swing Arm dust control.

This is a brilliant set up to keep the hose overhead and out of the way.

The 90 deg. joint can be lubed for the swing with a zert fitting tapped into the elbow.

"The only way to fly".


10'x16' is ideal, but have seen longer to 20' and as narrow as 8'.  Not much room for a wide body and lights in an eight foot wide shaping room.  Shaped in a 10'x12' very well built backyard shed for two years.  Not much room around the nose or tail of a 10'6".  Had to open the door.  It worked though.  If you are gonna spend money on a vac system; buy a Festool or Bosch vacum and hook up to that.  Alot quieter than most systems, switches on and off with your planer.  Very effiecient.

14’ long x 10" for the shaping bay 16 foot is even better.

Build a utility room for the vacuum system and air compressor. (think of pool equipment)

Run a 100AMP sub panel. 30AMP Breakers for your Air Compressor and Vacuum System 15AMP breakers for your 110V power tools.

Make sure your Compressor provides 16CFM’s mine supplies 23CFM’s.

Oil less compressors are fine for nail guns however useless for painting or air tools.

At least use a oiled type compressor.

Remember the higher rated compressors run less often therefore are much quieter.

Before the dry wall goes on finish the walls with sound board then use a sound barrier plastic like in  sound studio over the sound board then dry wall.

Ventilation: exhaust the air out of the rooms and intake fresh air back in to both rooms. (Shaping and Utility)

I have had my rooms: Dark Blue, Medium Blue, Agua Blue.

I know shapers with Black.

Some have like a ZEN GREEN (It works too).

Choose your color and remember you can always change it. (Paint is cheap)

Add a refrigerator (Small) for snacks and beverages.

Plus add a urinal.

(You don’t want to track foam dust into your wife’s space)

Blue nose has the nicest exteriors I’ve seen for a man cave. (Try to match your house)

Be as least evasive as you can be.

Having a successful marriage is just as important as your man cave!

I speak from experience!

Kind regards,


All good advice from M'Ding and S'ding. The urinal is above and beyond...what luxury!

I thought an older retired microwave in the lam room for heating up resins and pigments would be a nice addition.

tblank “YES” microwave for the lam room is also a must!

Isn’t that what the rest of the back yard is for?



All good advice from M'Ding and S'ding. The urinal is above and beyond...what luxury!


Isn't that what the rest of the back yard is for?


I was going to say, outside most shacks are particularly weed free. (If your on target)

I prefer 8 wide foot rooms myself but  at the end of the day its what you prefer. Keep in mind im pretty skinny, my shelves are 10 inches so while doing most boards I have about 30 inches between me and the shelves, ive never had an issue. We have a 10 foot wide room and my 8 foot wide. To me a blank on the racks looks a bit different in each room, Again I guess its what you are used to.