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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: The perfect shop: floors
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 08:22:33 GMT

Steve Rayner wrote:

> A wooden floor is best, with the machines mounted on raised concrete slabs
> that extend just above the floor.
> Scott A. Moore ( wrote:
> : Oh, well, its two months off, but its on my mind!
> : I am planning to insulate and roof in my new shop garage, but
> : I also know that concrete floors suck the heat right out of
> : the air. I can't think of a whole lot of surfaces that are
> : appropriate for machining !

I second the wooden floors bit.  I am slowly building my perfect shop in the
basement(with slightly damp concrete floor).  Main bitch is the back and leg
problems caused by hard concrete floor, plus the dust  and damp problem.
After a lot of research I decided to go with a fairly springy arrangement and I
love it.

My procedure is to first seal the floor with a thick coat of black roofing
"tar" is far cheaper than the floor sealants and seems to work just as
well. Over this, while it is wet I lay a layer of thick roofing paper. On this
I lay 2 x 2 pressure treated sleepers, first in a 4' x 8' perimeter and then
cross to divide in to eight.. 2 ' square sections.  I tried one area with only
3 dividers and that (in front of the bench) is maybe a little too springy.

The perimeter bearers are pinned with a couple or three concrete nails, the
rest are glued down with "liquid nails"  This is done while the sealant is
still wet so that the few nails will be self sealing On top of this goes 3/4"
tongue and grooved, flooring grade, plywood which is nailed to the sleepers.

Under areas where I placed benches and light machines I added additional wood
blocking...To the point of being almost solid under the table saw and jointer.
I tried the same under my Maximat Super II lathe and it was a no-go.  Solution
was to mark VERY carefully the position of the jacking screws (by screwing them
down into the wooden floor).  Move the lathe to one side and drill 2" diameter
holes through the plywood. into these I dropped close fitting 2'' diameter
steel plugs, faced to the floor thickness (2 1/4'') in length and into one end
of which I had put a substantial drill dimple to suit the jacking screws.
Moved lathe back and leveled it...solid as a rock!!..with a nice "springy"
floor all around it.

Proof of the effectivness of the water proofing came a week later.  While we
were away on vacation the neighborhood was hit by a tornado.  Missed us by a
few yards!! But the power was out for several hours and without the sump pump
the basement flooded to a depth of one below the new floor.
Absolutely no loss or damage to any equipment or materials..Phew!!

As of yet I haven't decided on the best finish for the floor but I'm hankering
after prefinished oak parquet (surprisingly cheaper than vinyl) for the wood
working area and the hardest, thickest vinyl tiles I can find (like the old
"Battleship Linoleum") in the metal shop.  I like tiles because they can be
replaced if worn or damaged. Expensive? Yes but I worked long and hard to be
able to spend a lot of time in the future in MY "Perfect Shop"

I would welcome other suggestions on a suitable finish for the metal area..I'm
kinda committed to the structure!

Do you know the difference between "involved" and "committed"?

Its kinda like bacon and eggs.....The chicken is involved,  the pig is

Robert Bastow

Don't force it...Use a bigger hammer!

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: The perfect shop: floors
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 04:58:16 GMT

Where I "served my time" a hundred year old, multi-acreage sized,
engineering plant..all the floors were wooden "sets"  These are end
grain wooden blocks set on a rammed earth base.  Very durable, non slip,
"warm" (relative term..the shop could be well below freezing during
winter!!), tough as old boots, yet gentle on dropped parts.  Added
advantage that chocks could be spiked down to stop things rolling or

In machine shops we were provided with wooden duck boards for the
operators to stand on.
A good one would be strips of softwood say 1/1/2" x 3/4" x 6ft long;
nailed at 3/4" spacing onto four, underneath, cross battens of the same
section and about 30" wide.

These are resilient, thus easy on the back and legs, allow swarf (chips)
and coolant to drain, and provide a non slip surface.

As a by-word I would implore all machinists to ensure that the area
around machinery is kept clean, dry and free of obstacles.  Always know
your escape route if something goes wrong.  I once witnessed an
apprentice,  with his hands in his pockets, trip and fall head first
onto the table of a large, rotating, VTL (Vertical Turning Lathe).
I had to help pick up the bits!!

Wood floors do seem to stand up reasonably well and the advantages
outweigh the disadvantages in my honest opinion.  Indeed we found the
most durable and comfortable footwear was wooden soled, leather upper,
clogs shod with clog irons and nails.  Your feet would remain snug and
comfortable for 16 hour double shifts and the uppers wore out before the

Robert Bastow  (Who is not as old as I maybe sound)

From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Metal Splinters
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 02:45:28 GMT

"Marvin W. Klotz" wrote:

> Ok, teenut, listen up, we're waiting,
> You've been ALL OVER gloves in the workshop - time now for your weekly
> diatribe on bare feet (is this man insane??!!) in the workshop.

I am not going to comment on his sanity or his sexual preferences..I have heard
of people who really LIKE pain!!

Doug does raise a valid point though!

One of my pet hatreds is walking on chips..I have a real aversion to it!
Consequently, I try to keep my work area clean at all times.  If I make a cut on
lathe, mill or shaper, that scatters chips all over the surrounding floor, I
will reset the next cut on auto feed and take a swift once around with the broom
while it is cutting...Makes use of otherwise "dead" time too.

It is a misconception that a "Real" machine shop needs to be knee deep in chips
all the time.  Most of the "professional" shops that I have worked in (and/or
owned) had floors ALMOST clean enough to eat off.  Larger plants employed
laborers whose job was to keep floors clean.  Nowadays machine builders go to
great lengths to completely envelope machining centers etc., in guards and
chip/splash shields.

I dare say you could take a tour through many machine shops, in house slippers,
and never SEE a chip on the floor.

Personally, I see my shop as a relaxing place, somewhat of a "Gentleman's
Workshop" in the old Victorian sense...where I can go and sit, in a comfortable
chair, suck down a cold beer and do nothing but "think" if I so wish.
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits"

Consequently my own shop has a sprung wooden floor, finished with hard vinyl
tile that is easy to keep clean.  Chips get swept up, long before they have time
to be ground into either my shoe soles or the floor surface.

Each evening, before quitting, I make a point of cleaning up machines, floor
etc., and putting away tools. I will also give exposed surfaces a squirt of WD40

Why?  I never know when I might get down into the shop might be the
following day..or it might be a couple of weeks before inclination and
opportunity present at the same time.  It may well be that I need to go down
there to check a dimension for a which case I feel quite comfortable
going down barefoot!!

Barefoot machining??  Hey, I used to "cut quite a rug"...but even now I prefer
dancing with a partner and musical accompanyment!! When I do cut metal, those
chips are hot and sharp!!

To each his own.



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