|Project by Gary Fixler||posted 09-23-2009 11:58 AM||9935 views||25 times favorited||37 comments|
Yesterday – Monday, September 21st, 2009 – was the 1-year anniversary of when I broke ground on this project. I rent a small house on a small lot (~0.18 acres) in the ‘burbs of LA, and only about 9/30ths of it is buildable outdoor space in which I can make and store things. My garage is a long-ish 1-car affair, better than the kind that just barely fit a truck, but once you pack in a large table saw (3’ fence to right of blade), 17” drill press, 6” jointer, 18” bandsaw, 32”x53” Woodpeckers router table, a dust collector with 30gal can separator, 2 2’x8’ worktables, and a 2-door floor cabinet I built, the space is pretty well depleted. I was starting to crowd into all of my work space with piles of wood, so I needed somewhere to store it all, and I wanted that to be outside the garage, yet safe from the pounding LA sun, spider and carpenter bee/ant infestations, smoggy/sooty air that makes everything dirty in about a week or two, and brief, yet often powerful rainy season.
I did up a shed design in my 3D program (Maya – I’d use SketchUp these days) designed specifically to store lumber. It’s free-standing, of course (have to move it somehow whenever I move to a new place), up on leveled cement pads with pressure treated 4x6 spacer blocks to keep it away from the yearly downpours. It has 3 shelves for 8’ long planks and a thin 8’ long section for several full sheets of plywood, with 2 doors allowing access to both of these areas from opposite sides (no losing short pieces in the back), and 4 separate stalls, each with their own doors for 2’x4’ sheet goods (available in several materials and thicknesses as ‘handy-panels’ from my local HD), cutoffs, shorts, rods, dowels, and other miscellany. It seemed like a great idea at the time. It would go near the garage wall in the backyard here:
Of course, it ballooned up into a huge project that took me months to complete, and cost a fortune, and then I stalled on it in January and didn’t finish up the last shingles and sealing the gables with Thompson’s until about a week ago. I snuck them in under the 1-year mark, though :) I would like to point out that as usual, I didn’t do any research, and I am not a home, nor even a shed builder. I ‘invented’ pretty much everything here, so there are things I’d do very differently, like how the doors work, though they do work. In fact, they look kinda cool with the sexy black locking T-handle knobs I installed with the twin lock rods behind each. I had to search all over creation for those things, almost made some myself after awhile, but finally found what I wanted in a single mom-and-pop shop online. They’re all keyed-alike so my keyring didn’t get huge. I also picked up a tube cutter and flanger and some brass tube and made my own brass inserts for the 2×4s to keep the rods from destroying them over time.
One limiter to this project was that I built it all while I still had my ‘00 Ford Focus hatchback, so I couldn’t pick up full sheets of ply. It was all done with handy panels shoved in over my folded-down back seats. You can fit 26 2×4s, 8’ long in the back of a 2000 Ford Focus hatchback, and absolutely not one more than that. I have proven this, almost mathematically ;)
In the end, I was able to take piles of wood from the garage like this:
And turn them into empty spaces like this:
I used it as an opportunity to clean up other areas:
So where did all the wood go? Well, here’s how a lot of those boards fit into the shed, still with a good amount of room left over. Note that this is a January shot of the shed, pre A-frame roof. Also note the space to the left that can hold nearly 10 sheets of 3/4” 4’x8’ plywood:
Note there’s a door on the other side for easy access to shorter things that get pushed to the back:
As for the 4 doors, they hold the following…
2’x4’ sheets (this is now much more full, with a more random selection of materials):
small cutoff boards, with some foam insulation (overflowing with stuff these days :)
plank and 2x shorts, up to just over 4’ long (also severely overflowing now, especially with that alder haul):
The 4th stall isn’t really done yet. It is like this currently, but with more dowels and rods squished in, and a big stack of shorts of random things packed on top. The bins there fit, and this use got them out of my house, but they’re just full of small 2×4 cutoffs. That’s just my waning hoarder’s last cries.
I’m losing more and more the love of saving every last little scrap, so I’ll probably burn these small pieces at my next pit bbq, remove the drawers, and do what I wanted to do with these from the start, which is to put in adjustable shelving. All of the stall walls and the side walls of the stalls had tracks routed into them for adjustable shelving standards before I installed any of them into the shed proper. You can see in this earlier shot that I have the rails. I will take some ply from the first stall and cut shelves for the 4th one, freeing up room in the 1st, and allowing more efficient packing of the 4th:
The shed holds a lot of wood, really, in a small space, but it’s also acting as a kind of ‘stomach.’ I don’t want to pack it completely (though I am!) so it’s actually kept me from buying wood I wanted, because I didn’t want to pack in the last spaces. I want to use the wood in there now. It sort of forces me to want to use the wood I have, instead of just piling more on top of it… or at least, that’s the story I’m sticking to ;)
I have some crazy ideas for the gables. I at first wanted to cut rectangles out and put in doors to allow storage in the ‘attic’ space. Now I’m actually considering cutting the triangular shapes out entirely and putting in long, bottom-mount, full-extension drawer rails so I can ‘pull’ the gables out to reveal something like a rail of boxes or short stacks of shelving, maybe with bins for even more insane, tucked-away, hyper space-efficient storage. It would certainly be fun and unique. Who knows if I’ll ever get to it.
Meanwhile, you’re free to look through about 630 photos in the 46 sets of the Wood Storage Shed Collection over at flickr, but it’s a lot easier to see them all in this 10-minute, fast-paced slide show. It’s a nostalgic trip for me that reminds me of how much work this darn thing was:
As a final note, when I’d all but completed this post, and was checking the links to the Flickr images in Preview mode to make sure I had them right, my mouse gesture for ‘open in background tab’ ended with a little flick to the right, which is the gesture for ‘close current tab.’ I closed the whole post. I’m happy to report that reopening the tab and choosing “Post New Project” brought the whole thing back, sans the 6 uploaded images, but it only took a minute to reupload them. Hooray LJs!
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator