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Workshop Flooring

David S.

Swarf
Registered Member
#1
Hi - and thank you all in advance for any advice. I've been a hobby woodworker for a while, and have always seemed to need metal odds and ends that I thought I should be able to make myself. I used a community metal shop for a while, but my hours and theirs were seldom in sync. I stumbled on the opportunity to purchase a near complete small metal shop - 9x20 lathe, X2 mill, small bandsaw, a bunch of stock, tools, and indicators - and am starting to set things up in my basement, in a room separate from the woodshop.

The part of the basement that I'll use is currently carpeted - a Berber with 3/8" padding on a cement floor. I found some heavy duty metal cabinet bases and a 1 3/4" wood bench top. I was hoping this would be stable on the carpet - a dresser with a TV and an old kitchen cabinet full of junk seem pretty solid. This bench, however, seems to move a little, at least without the weight of the lathe and mill. I don't know if adding the tools will allow the bench to "sink in", or if that is wishful thinking. I am reluctant to pull up the carpet (not sure how long we'll live here, and hate to give up the "finished basement"). I thought of cutting 2" or 3" holes in the carpet under the cabinet levelers, or of making some 3x3" metal plates with a few (3) 1/4" x 1" long slightly pointed screws poking through the carpet to the cement floor. I realize I'll also need some runners or other means of protecting the exposed carpet.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
David
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#2
The first thought is that machining swarf and carpet don't go well together. Even with protective covering, some swarf will find its way to the carpet.
 

atunguyd

Active User
Active Member
#3
In our new house the previous owners had a office worth carpet tiles that I converted into a workshop. I was going to remove the carpet but it was glued down to the concrete well so I just put those interlocking pvc floor tiles over it. That was about 3 years ago and it is working very well. Great surface for a workshop

Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
 

terrywerm

New Member Liaison
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#4
I agree with RJ, carpet and machine work just do not mix. Metal chips have a way of finding their way into everything regardless of the steps you take to prevent that happening. Give it a try for a while and you will soon see what we are talking about. Granted, there are ways to keep it somewhat contained, or at least limited to a small area, but it still has a way of 'escaping' despite a person's best efforts. Many of us even have a specific pair of shoes that is worn in the shop and nowhere else just to prevent the spread of chips to the rest of the house.

On the other hand, if you are successful at keeping all of the swarf where it belongs, please enlighten us on what you did. We'd love to know the secret!
 

Joncooey

Active Member
Active Member
#5
Maybe put some 6 mil. poly down and then some 5/8 or 3/4 tongue and groove plywood. It would be rigid and, provided that you don't fasten it down, it would be removable. I would do as much of the floor as possible. Like the guys said you are going to have issues with swarf and machine oil.
 

kvt

Active User
Active Member
#7
I Also like the plain concrete or sealed concrete. The sealed concrete, Painted concrete etc. help to keep the oil from soaking in, and make an easy surface to get the swarf off of , but also slick when you get something on it like oils. Keep us advised.
 

ewkearns

Active Member
Active Member
#8
I, also, vote for the rigidity of concrete.... anything less will cause issues with machine stability, level, and plumb. Some sort of (slickish) coating on bare concrete is a necessity to make sweeping possible... whether paint or sealer. (Just remember that this is a real chore if done properly... I just finished the floor of my new shop and it took several days.... Pressure washing, grease/oil removal, pressure washing, etching, priming, and then 2 coats of paint.)

Second best is end grain oak, but I haven't seen one of those floors in a shop that is less than about 125 years old...
 

David S.

Swarf
Registered Member
#9
Thanks for all your advice. Sounds like "swarf" is something I may grow to care little for. I may go for the liner and inexpensive flooring over the top that I can remove. Once it settles, I may also be able to screw the cabinet to the wall studs for a little extra support. If worse comes to worse, out with the carpet.

End grain oak would be quite the thing - I used to live on a street in Cleveland made of that. Very cool - it was the last remaining block with a wooden street in the city. In the winter it was more slippery than any other material I've ever seen. You could barely walk on it, and the street was too small and narrow for plows and de-icers.
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#10
My first thought also, was plywood over your carpet. At least under the lathe and mill. You can also build a thin plywood or plastic/acrylic shield around the back and sides of the lathe to contain the chips that invariably fly off.

A way to mitigate movement with carpet would be to drill down into the cement sub floor and put cement anchors in the holes that can hold maybe 3/4" thread studs. Then bolt or otherwise affix mill and lathe table legs to the threaded studs for rigidity. Won't help with the swarf problem, but would allow you to gain rigidity whilst working with your new tools, without cutting a bunch of gaping holes in the carpet.

Once you gain some experience on the metal working side, you can better evaluate if you will want to replace the carpet with painted concrete floors.
 

Nogoingback

Active Member
Active Member
#11
I agree with the other folks here that concrete is the best, for all the reasons mentioned. In my shop I have a set of rubber anti-fatigue mats
where I spend a lot of time standing still. Well worth the cost.
 

kwoodhands

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#12
Hi - and thank you all in advance for any advice. I've been a hobby woodworker for a while, and have always seemed to need metal odds and ends that I thought I should be able to make myself. I used a community metal shop for a while, but my hours and theirs were seldom in sync. I stumbled on the opportunity to purchase a near complete small metal shop - 9x20 lathe, X2 mill, small bandsaw, a bunch of stock, tools, and indicators - and am starting to set things up in my basement, in a room separate from the woodshop.

The part of the basement that I'll use is currently carpeted - a Berber with 3/8" padding on a cement floor. I found some heavy duty metal cabinet bases and a 1 3/4" wood bench top. I was hoping this would be stable on the carpet - a dresser with a TV and an old kitchen cabinet full of junk seem pretty solid. This bench, however, seems to move a little, at least without the weight of the lathe and mill. I don't know if adding the tools will allow the bench to "sink in", or if that is wishful thinking. I am reluctant to pull up the carpet (not sure how long we'll live here, and hate to give up the "finished basement"). I thought of cutting 2" or 3" holes in the carpet under the cabinet levelers, or of making some 3x3" metal plates with a few (3) 1/4" x 1" long slightly pointed screws poking through the carpet to the cement floor. I realize I'll also need some runners or other means of protecting the exposed carpet.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
David
David, I would cut the carpet and store it, same for the pad. When it comes time to move, then a carpet layer can replace the piece with a almost invisible seam. Probably less than a half day job to glue the seam and install the pad and carpet.
mike
mike