New Shop #3: The loft that almost wasn't

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Blog entry by johnstoneb posted 05-26-2013 10:10 PM 2061 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Build day 2 Part 3 of New Shop series Part 4: We have access (the stairs are in) »

When I first ordered my building I ordered it with an 8’x16’ loft with the floor raised 6” so I would have an 8’6” ceiling under it. The rest of the building would be clear to the roof. This will give me plenty of headroom for moving full sheets of plywood and long boards. About a week before they start building I get a call from StorMor, because of the span of the building the truss design won’t allow for a full width loft. The widest it can be is 10’ and I can’t have 8’6” ceilings by raising the loft floor. They explained the problem finally in a way that I understood and offered to floor the entire loft at no additional cost. I would have a 10’x 24” loft. I agreed to pay the little extra to have 9’ ceilings, which I really wanted in the first place and had cut because I was trying to keep the cost of the building down. I still wasn’t sure what I would have for headroom so didn’t plan on using it for anything but storage. Once the building was up, I came home from work, the first thing I did was climb up in the loft. There was way more room than I had imagined. The walls were 5’8” high and the center was 6’8”. All of a sudden this loft just became usable space. I need windows in the gable ends, insulation, sheetrock power and paint. The first thing to put in was the windows.

I found a couple of 2’x3’ double pane windows at Lowe’s framed it in from the inside cut out the hole, got my son over to hold the window in while I nailed and framed the windows from the outside. Light made that loft even

Time to put in the insulation.
Yesterday I got my son over to help with the sheetrock.

When he left yesterday this is where we were at and out of sheetrock.

I got 2 more peices this morning and it now looks like this.

The next thing is learn how to figure and cut stairs. That really should be interesting.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

7 comments so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 05-26-2013 10:25 PM

Great shop! Why not think about a set of pull down steps if you are not going to be constantly going up and down? They would save you some floorspace down below.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View NormG's profile


6112 posts in 3003 days

#2 posted 05-26-2013 10:28 PM

Great dedicated shop space, glad to hear the changes worked out so well and All I know about stairs is build the strong

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View luv2learn's profile


2763 posts in 2302 days

#3 posted 05-26-2013 10:47 PM

Don’t forget to run an intercom to the house so your wife can let you know when it’s time for diner :). A full loft was a great bonus and you will use every bit of that space. Design and put in a small elevator :).

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2189 days

#4 posted 05-26-2013 11:07 PM

great shop your making alot of progress looks like.thanks for sharing…

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2006 days

#5 posted 05-26-2013 11:50 PM

Hey now Lee! I was gonna suggest an elevator! You stole my idea! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3437 days

#6 posted 05-27-2013 09:55 AM

Nice space. Stairs will be interesting. The stair rule (for ideally space steps) is 1 to 1.5. So if a step is 6” tall, it should be one and a half time that wide, or 9” wide. 6:9 is actually an ideal step. If you make the step 4” tall it would be 6” wide (that would be an uncomfortable step). So, since the 1 to 1.5 rule works for a step then it will work for the whole stair case. If you make your steps 6” tall, 9” wide and if you’re wall height were 6’ tall then the stairs would be 9’ long.

You may not be able to make your stairs run across the shop as you’ve got 10ft wide to do it. You could have them run the length of the shop or you could run across to a platform then turn a corner for more steps.

The pull down ones are like a step ladder so they won’t need much room but are rickety.

So why all of this? I have a similar but not identical situation. I made a step ladder sort of steep stairs out of 2×6’s. A trap door pulls down and I grab a rope. The step ladder looking angled set of steps slides down a couple of angle iron rails to the floor. On the sides of each rail I have a cable with two small garage door springs. When I push the steps up the hole the springs take most of the Load. Lengthening or shortening the cables is how to change the tension. So, with one heave it goes zipping up into the attic. With your tall ceiling inside it has room. You can also have it zip up inside and flop onto the attic floor like mine does as my headroom is much less. Just a thought.

I don’t know what kind of woodworking you do but I often purchase a load of 8-14 ft boards. Might I suggest a set of loft doors in the front of the shop? Back a pickup to it and from the tailgate you could easily slide boards up there, or get a few down and let them lean against the building. Lumber storage areas are great but long stuff on stairways is not fun.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3084 days

#7 posted 05-27-2013 03:21 PM

Just eyeballing that stair opening and space left, I do not think that he has room for a stairway that would
slide up, unless he puts a bump out on the side of the loft, looks like a few steps up to landing and then a
set of steps going up the rest of the way along the back of the building would be best for a standard set of
stairs. Or he could put a spiral set of stairs in the opening and use your suggestion of a loft door to get stuff
in and out, but that would be a remodel now that he has installed a window. Why is our hindsight always so
damn late?

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

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