|Project by ic3ss||posted 10-23-2010 08:10 PM||5522 views||7 times favorited||12 comments|
I’ve always wanted to have a shed in the back yard ever since we bought our house some eleven years ago. This last summer I decided I could not wait any longer and prioritized it higher on the list of stuff to get done. I started with an image in my mind of what I wanted it to look like: a gambrel roof, 12’ x 14’, red. With this image in mind, I wrote up a bill of materials in Excel complete with the current prices of all the pieces of lumber I would need. My wife would just laugh at me when I would sit at my computer looking off into space, counting board quantities for each dimension I would need, figuring out how to solve framing problems I knew I would encounter, and making sure I was accounting for every bit of materials I could think of to make my starting cost estimation as accurate as I could.
I worked on the materials list for over two weeks, with cost comparison between Lowes and Home Depot, (They’re the same for lumber almost always). Once I was satisfied that it was complete enough to start work, I then had to wait for the weather to clear. In Oregon, we call it waiting for the real summer to start. This year it rained almost all of June, so I didn’t buy wood until the last week of June. My daughter helped me at the store, loading and pushing the carts, (we ended up with seven), rented the delivery truck and took it home. It was a full day just getting everything to the house, and I gave myself an overexertion injury to both of my wrists in handling the wood. I’m still trying to get my right hand back to normal as of this writing, it sucks getting old.
I went out on the porch during the planning stage with some sidewalk chalk and drew out the roof profile, and figured out my truss angles and the lengths of it’s pieces. With this, I made up a truss jig held together by 1/2” plywood gussets, (I would use thinner stock for the actual trusses), and nailed guides to both sides of the 2×4s at each end to keep everything aligned. Then I would cut all pieces to length at 22 1/2° at each end, lay them into the truss jig and nail the gussets at each joint and voilla! A truss is born.
Once the rain stopped, I set about placing foundation block. I put four rows, each with four blocks. My yard has a slight incline, so flattening that was an all day thing, but once it was done enough, I squared the footprint and started excavating where each block would be, eventually making each block on the same plane level. Once I got into a routine, it went pretty fast. I still ended up with of a bit on a slope, so I put down a second course of block to allow for setteling because the lowest point of the shed was almost on the ground. Then I put down four 4×4 pressure treated posts, laying them across the blocks to be used for skids, and the base for the floor joists. By this time, my daughter was involved nailing the joists with the handy palm nailer that I just bought. This ended up getting much more use than I ever thought it would, and it was fun to use.
I bought two windows from a guy on eBay, including shipping I paid about $90 for both. Not bad considering the only windows I could find were double pane and insulated and all that stuff at $100 for one window. This was the only cheap shed window I could find, and none in my area. The first three walls went up pretty easy, and I was careful to overlap both courses of header boards at the corners. This was one of a thousand framing details that ran around in my mind the whole time, and for the most part I didn’t miss much considering that I didn’t write or draw out any plans at all. It was all in my head from beginning to end with the exception of the materials list. Not bad for a guy that can’t remember what he had for breakfast.
The gable end above the header was the only real hard part of the process. My wife and I built it up on the floor, put the siding on and cut the roof profile using my router and a flush cut bit, and then got on two ladders and stood it up. It was just small and light enough to manage, but any bigger or heavier and I would have just called some friends to help with it, but we did ok. I nailed a brace on it and called it a day. The other gable end would be done a little differently. I had to build that wall, the last wall, in place instead of on the floor then standing it up. It had the door opening so it would be very weak until set in place. It was just easier to build it in place.
The roofing materials were another matter. The trusses went up easy before we did the last wall, and the sheathing was no problem, but I swear, I now know why roofing is done by younger guys. Anyway, I got the roof done, and by that time my wife had two coats of brick red paint on the walls, so after the roof edges were all trimmed off, we set about painting and nailing up white furring strips for the trim. And once the door was hung, I really had time to stand back and look at it with the kind of satisfaction that can only come from completing a project that took a lot of time, and challenged your skills in planning and problem solving.
This shed project took 5 weeks from beginning to end, working only on my weekends. Right now it’s being used as a shed, but the possibility of it serving as a shop is never far from my mind. I put in a loft that covers about half of the 14’ length, and with the bottoms of the 2×6 joists being 6’10” from the floor it still has tons of height above the loft floor for storage. The next thing I need to do is build a bench inside, and then maybe bring power to it, and then lighting, and then , . . .
This was the first time I had ever done any framing, at all. I’d never taken on a project like this before. I don’t know, maybe I just thought “it’s just a shed, I’ll just nail some 2×4’s together and throw some plywood on and call it good”. But once I started giving some thought about all the small steps that would be needed, the more I put into coming up with real solutions. This was totally enjoyable from beginning to end, and I still give myself that little pat on the back in my mind whenever I go in the back yard and see it there.
I like my shed. Thanks for reading.
-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."