NOV/ DEC 2001
Volume 44 /  Issue 6

Project Articles
Rocking Horse
Child's Chalkboard
Wine Rack and Desktop Bookshelf

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Finishing Touches - Pt.2 Applying an Oil Finish
Service Pointers
MARK V (Worktable & Carriage) Troubleshooting
Safety Tips
Using Extension Cords

What's New
Pro-Fence System Router Table

Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You
National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH

Online Accessory Catalog

Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Online Replacement Parts Catalog

Find A Shopsmith
MARK V Demo Near You

Request MARK V Information Package

Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips

Contacting Shopsmith

Copyright 2001.
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Hands On


Electrical Considerations for the Shop

It's no secret that today's workshops are heavily dependent on a constant supply of safe electrical power. Interrupt that electrical power and the majority of critical woodworking operations come to a screeching halt. That's why it's so important that you plan your shop carefully, so it will continue to supply the power you need...when and where you need it. Here are some basic electrical considerations to keep in mind when setting-up a home workshop.

Shop Wiring
One of the most important points for consideration in setting-up your home shop is that of adequate wiring. A shop that's equipped with common, 120-volt, single phase power tools should have 15-AMP outlets wired with 12-gauge, 3-conductor, grounded circuits. Wire of this gauge is designed to handle up to 20 AMPS of continuous current, even though it should not be fused for more than 15 AMPS. If your shop contains heavy-duty machinery of 2 HP or more -- or machinery that uses 220 Volt power, the above requirements will probably be inadequate. In this case, you should be working with a licensed electrician to be certain you have the power you need and that your shop meets your local electrical codes.

When wiring the shop, keep in mind that it's a workshop...filled with heavy machinery and large objects that could kink, pinch or even sever exposed electrical wiring. For that reason, NEVER wire your shop with exposed wires that run from outlet-to-outlet or fixture-to-fixture. All permanent wiring should be run behind the shop walls or protected by BX (armored electrical cable), metal conduit or wiremold.

It's also important that you have an adequate number of 15-AMP, GROUNDED outlets in the shop to accommodate your stationary and portable electric matter where you may be using them. The lighting for your shop should be on a different circuit than that used to power your tools. Why? Because if you happen to overload a circuit while using a tool, the last thing you want is a “lights-out” situation that leaves you in the dark.

Fuses for stationary power tool circuits should be of the “slow-blow” type to accommodate the considerable power surges produced during tool start-up without blowing every time you turn on the tool switch. As an example, the Shopsmith MARK V momentarily draws over 70 AMPS for the first few micro-seconds during start-up, then quickly drops to 13 AMPS or less during operation (depending upon the “load” it's under). As you can see, a normal, “instant-blow” fuse will not be able to handle this start-up surge.

Extension Cords
There's a lot more to using extension cords properly than merely plugging them in. First of all, it's important that you know how many AMPS each of your portable electric or stationary power tools draws during operation. This information can be found on the motor or tool I.D. plate.

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