Master Goldfish off the Premises

After a long hiatus in someone elses store I find myself about
to embark on my next adventure working out of my house. Having an
attached two car garage, I assumed that this should be an easy
fit. Pull my equipment from one location and insert it into
another. It shouldn’t be too big of a deal, however, a close
friend pointed out that I haven’t planned this thru. At best I
will have a lumpy start. I have yet to talk to a drywall man,
plumber, or electrician. I haven’t mentioned a safe and alarm
system or insurance.

I know that a number of you all have made this transition and I
would like to hear your thoughts about necessities and

You may want to talk to the insurance company first. Home based
jewelry businesses are normally not considered insurable. There
may be certain building requirements that will need to be met
before you can get insurance. If zoning laws allow it, you may
want to put in a “storefront”, which will allow you to call
yourself a retail location. This is necessary if you want to
attend some of the major shows, which actually exclude
home-based business from attending.

You probably already have a good idea of what you need in the

Hope this helps.

Sharon Ziemek

Hi Man Mountain… What exactly do you plan on doing. Is it
going to be primarily bench work?

As a first suggestion, Storage being a major concern for all us

tool freaks… I would suggest using used steel filing cabinets
and steel drawer cabinets , then putting a heavy duty wood topon
the cabinets(this is an inexpensive way to build a long work
surface bench which will hold any number of simple machines such
as polishing lathes ,rolling mills, bench grinder… belt
sanders …etc.I use something similar to that for my model bench
and soldering bench which is visible at my workshop
webpage.These cabinets are really cheap at flee markets and used
office furniture stores . Also, if you install a small
(propane) heating system, you can run your torch off the tank
and the heater.Hope this helps.
the workshop is accessible from this page. Daniel Grandi

A Studio in your home / garage:

I actually just had a good long talk with a fellow local metals
guild member on this very topic. She was having a garage built,
with the thought of creating a space specifically for her studio
(she produces jewelry and large sculptural works).

I think the most important thing to do is to make a list of the
physical shop necessities you are accustomed to using right now.
Take the time to think about what tools you are using (and not
using), and the processes you go through to complete your work.
Your list of “requirements” should then translate into a more
detailed plan (you are going to become your own studio
architect!) that will tell you what you need to plan for,
probably including:

- electricity requirements (how many plug points, voltage/amps req'd, a dedicated
	connection to your main power supply, etc)
- water - sink(s), bathroom, shower?
- lighting - electrical and natural
- ventilation - windows, door
- space - for tools, workbench(es), wall construction?
- floors - linoleum, painted, etc.

The best advice I got in setting up my basement studio was to do
all of the things that would get in your way first (electrical
wiring, wall “construction”, painting) BEFORE moving in and
setting up. Hope this helps!

Lori Bugaj


A few years ago I contemplated a similar change, thought that my
two car garage would be ideal until I started checking out all
the potential problems and expenses. Some things to consider:
your local zoning laws. In my community I found out that I could
not operate a business in a building that was seperate from my
house. If that’s not a problem where you live you also have to
consider the various construction expenses; ie., plumbing,
electric, walls, insulation, possibly the addition of some
windows, do you need heat/airconditioning, etc. These can add up
to considerable investment even if you are capable of doing much
of the work yourself.

I found out by reading the local zoning codes that I could use a
part of my house as long as it did not exceed 30% of the total
floor area. Fortunately I have awalk out basement with an
entrance to my garden, right off my driveway. So I put up some
interior partitions, lighting, I already had a utility sink. Had
an additional radiator installed when I replaced and ancient
heating system. I have clients visit my studio by appointment. It
has worked out well. If you are going to be seeing clients there
you also need to check the zoning codes about any signage that
you might need. It has worked out well for me.

Good luck with your project.

Congratulations Bruce,

Though not in my house, my shop has some overlap (I would love
to work out of my house but I am afraid that I would never stop
working).I think the thing that help me out the most when I went
off on my own was setting up before quitting. I had my shop
fully functional before I moved in. I left my job on a Friday
and started on my own, turning out work, on Monday. I suppose it
sounds obvious but I have friends who spent a month or two or
three getting things rolling and that is a long time without a
cash cushion. I would talk to a heating and cooling person about
a ventilation system, at least a nice hood for the kiln, more
than the over-the-range type. An electrician to make sure you
have way more juice and outlets than you think you need. Put
polishing and your kiln in a separate room. Give yourself a
window or two. Put in lots of cabinets, I like them better than
shelves because they don’t collect dust and you can hide things
away. Install excessive counter space with an open area for your
legs and a chair for sketching and catalog searching or a
sandwich away from your bench (I guess there is always the
kitchen). Don’t forget a sink or two. A closet for your dust
collector and air compressor is nice for sound dampening. Put
your safe behind a cabinet front so it is not obvious to casual
visitors. Install an awesome sound system. Invest in a very
comfortable chair. Always wear sunscreen. Install more lighting
than you would for say an office, I figure I want to see it
better than my customer. Paint it a cool color.

That’s all I can think of. You have been doing this a long time
Bruce, and probably have thought of all of this. Maybe not?

Mark P.

  Also, if you install a small (propane) heating system, you
can run your torch off  the tank and the heater. 

But for goodness (and your dependant’s) sake do make sure that
a gas heater has adequate ventilation. It does generate carbon
monoxide, which is often used for committing suicide. CO results
from partially burned hydrocarbons like natural gas, propane,
butane, etc. It combines with blood haemoglobin which stupidly
seems to prefer it to oxygen, thus interfering with normal oxygen
transfer. However, one would “Go gently into that good night” as
the Bard of Avon once remarked. Cheers. - John Burgess

    Your list of "requirements" should then translate into a
more detailed plan (you are going to become your own studio
architect!) that will tell you what you need to plan for,
probably including: - electricity requirements (how many plug
points, voltage/amps req...... 

And NEVER forget; “Confucius he say: No matter how many power
points you’ve got, there are never enough and those you have are
always in the wrong places”

John Burgess he say: “Power outlets are cheap enough when you
have a new place built, but be ready to lose several arms and
legs if you want to add more after you move in.” Been there,
done that! In my 8’x10’ jewelery room/computer room/lab I had 8
outlets installed when built (4 double points). I now have -
wait for it - 20 points, using multi boxes, and double adapters.
There are only two outlets free at this moment! And when I plug
my vibro polisher in after I’ve done here, there’ll only be one
free. No, they aren’t all drawing power at once; just those for
the computer. But I positively hate shoving plugs in and
swapping all the time a I work. And a good number of them only
operate low powered gadgets anyway. There’s never more than 4
things using power at any time, and that includes my
Quartz-halogen bench light, heater, and hand piece. So think
well on’t, eh?

        /\      John Burgess
       / /
      / /    
     / /__|\
    (_______) I often wonder what it ish the vintner buysh one

half sho precious as the goodsh they shell.

Excellent advice as usual John B ! I was the one who wrote the
original message about using propane for the heater and for the
torch and I had omitted to mention that I have everything
exhausted to the outside through exhaust hoods and piping… I
even have an exhaust hood over my soldering bench as is visible
in my workshop website. Http:// Have a
Great Day ! Daniel Grandi

Hello John! Sounds like we work in similar shops. Mine took over
most of my #3 garage. I used metal studs and insulated the
walls. When there was still construction in the area I talked a
heating and air conditioning fellow to come over one evening.
For $100. he tied into my furnace and brought heat over to the
ceiling of my shop, without maxing out my furnace capacity
(watch that). I found an electrician who wanted a nice ring
(trade out is great!). He put in eleven circuits total, 5 are 20
watt. I’m sure I have 20 some electrical outlets, from 3 six
gang boxes for my benches; to every other stud on my countertop
area. The general attitude was more is better, I’m sure glad I
listened. My old shop was a mess of cords and flipping breakers
etc., always maxed out. I can here the wife now, " The lights
just went out." Thanks darling! As if I hadn’t noticed!
Whoever reads this, overkill is the buzz word when you set up
shop. You work there, have fun, and be proud of it.