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Shop Space Upgrade, Think Versatile

October 26, 2013
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete
mark ruff
As an example of the flexibility of the shop space, Mark Ruff and his employees work from the dedicated set of tools in the service truck.   

In its third overhaul, overhead doors maximize this work-focused shop

When it was time for his farm to upgrade its shop space, Mark Ruff didn’t necessarily aim for a bigger space, but rather a more versatile one.

"The original building was a cinder block garage built in the 1950s," says Ruff, who farms near Circleville, Ohio. "Then in the early 1970s, we added a 30'x30' enclosed space with an overhead door and an open air pole shed."

In 2012, it was time for Ruff Farms to rethink and rebuild their farm shop. Using the existing building footprint, Ruff starting drawing up ideas for how to maximize its potential.

Universal work space. Now, at its widest and longest, the shop measures 45'x130'. The largest modification to the size of the structure was a 15' wide extension to the north side the building. The entire southeast wall of the shop is lined with overhead doors. To compliment the versatility, the southwest end of the building features two overhead doors.

"We work in a universal work space," Ruff says. "We can load and unload the building as projects cycle. We wanted our shop to be a work area, not a storage area. I don’t want to commit space to anything."

In total, there are seven exterior overhead doors, two measuring 24'x14'; four measuring 22'x14'; and one measuring 12'x12'. One interior overhead door separates the 30'x30' section of the building from the newly finished portion, which sits slightly lower.

"We can close that area off and use it as a paint bay without disrupting any other projects," Ruff says.


There wasn’t a significant difference in cost with the contractor he used when comparing finished walls with framing them out for overhead doors. The way he sees it, he paid for the doors, which keeps the space versatile as he intended.

The once gravel floor is now 8" thick concrete that slopes toward a drain that runs the length of the shop.

Combining the thickness of the floor with the configuration of the doors, Ruff is able to house all three of his semi-trucks during inclement weather.

The ceilings are 15' at the highest point. To finish the building, the ceiling has 10" of blown-in insulation, and the sidewalls have 6" batt insulation.

"With the doors, no matter the weather, if there is a breeze to be had, we can have it in the shop," Ruff says. "Four overhead fans also help with air flow. In the winter, we use the radiant heaters, and we’ve found that two provide plenty of heat for us."

To add to the versatility of the overall workspace, the Ruffs did additional research for the lighting plan. Working with a local vendor to map out lumens produced, Ruff invested in lighting that rivals a Wal-Mart.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - November 2013
RELATED TOPICS: Machinery, Shops



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