Dickey Guitars
In the handmade tradition.
One at a time.  Just for you.
Electrical Requirements of a typical
Guitarmaker's Shop
Consult a licensed electrician in your local area, NEC codes are
prevalent across the United States, but local codes sometimes
take precedence over national codes, go figure.  Also note:  
many local codes require conduit for commercial applications
such as a guitarmaker's workshop.  I run Romex or NM
sheathed cable only if it is protected from the workspace in a
covered situation.  In a new shop it is great.  Remodelling type
situations may force you to use EMT or PVC conduit and fittings.
Typical Workshop 200 Amp Distribution Box, 30 Spaces, 220 Volt

12- 20 Amp 110V. Circuits for items like this:
6 inch Jointer
4 inch Tabletop Sander
6 inch Floor model 6 x 48 Belt Sander
Router Table with Router
Floor model Grinder
Drill Press, floor model
14 inch Bandsaw
Dehumidifier
Humidifier
And in my shop, 9 light switches
Ceiling drop corded outlets are nice

NEC rates each 110 Volt duplex receptacle at 1.5 amps.  Each breaker is rated at 80% of it's face
value.  So your 20 amp single pole breaker is good for 16 amps or ten receptacles.  But remember,
you are in a near commercial environment so you have to look at power consumption.  Anything you
plan to have on a circuit, such as lights, use up power on that circuit, so dropping your bandsaw on
there, might be too much, just add up the amps and if you are over 80 percent of the breaker's
rating, well, it's time for another circuit.  And, just because you don't have a tool in a corner today,
plan on it being there someday, especially if you are wiring a new shop and it's easily run now where
later you may have to run conduit.

4- 20 Amp 220 V. Circuits for items like this:
18 inch Bandsaw
25 inch Dual Drum Sander
2HP Dust Collector
1HP Buffer

While the most efficient, 220 devices may eat up box space, each device requires two poles.  So
here is where box space may disappear on you when running 220 machines.

40- Amp 220 V. Circuit
Heating Unit with emergency heat strips

30 Amp 220 V. Circuit
Air Conditioning Heat Pump Condensing Unit

Six spaces of the original 30 remain for future expansion
It make sense to plan for future expansion, beyond even the box you currently use.
I have a basement area under my shop which eventually will become my spray booth.
It will require power for a compressor, booth fan, lighting, nitro hot-water bath, etc.
So It'll get a small 12 space subpanel in that area, the wiring already exists from my subpanel.

For Wire sizes of cables, refer to the National Electrical Code Book, revised every three years.  It is
put out by the NFPA, the National Fire Protection Agency.  In many areas code allows individuals to
do their own wiring, when working on their own property, it's called a Grandfather Clause.  In some
municipalities you must hire a licensed electrical contractor, so you have to check, just to see if it is
legal to do your own work.

Of course, you leave yourself liable by doing the work yourself.  Outside receptacles should be
GFCI protected.  Sinks in a shop with receptacles within 6 feet are also required to have GFCI
protection, either a GFCI breaker or receptacle.

Bruce Dickey, Master Electrician, State of Arkansas
Copyright 2004 - 2007  Dickey Guitars
All Rights Reserved