Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Place To Hang My Hat In The Garden...

It has been a long, hot, wet summer here, but I shan't complain. Throughout it, I have continued making the 21 drawers required for my rebuild of the tool cabinet, but I have to admit that there are a number of them that still look like board stock. I know there are drawers in them...somewhere.

That said, I haven't exactly been sitting on my laurels...

I spent at least six weeks adding a garden shed to the backyard and extending the existing patio. I basically built the thing like it was a full sized house, even though its footprint is only 5-foot by 7-foot. This is actually bigger than I originally wanted. Our backyard is small, so putting a structure of any size in it will overpower everything else, hence the chosen size. It is 2x4 construction, sitting on a 2x6 platform, sitting on 6x8 railroad ties, sitting on 4" of ¾" stone. Everything, except the railroad ties, are built with pressure treated wood.

I have a neighbour who deals in replacement doors and windows and he gave me the steel-clad door and window for free. The widow is actually a basement unit, but works well vertically. The door, with the rose-themed frosted window, works, although at 6' 8", it is a bit taller than I initially wanted, forcing me to build the shed larger than the 4-foot by 6-foot footprint I originally planned. I increased the size because I thought it might look like a telephone booth if I didn't. This is great stuff that was headed to the landfill, and I couldn't argue with the price. 

The skin is ³⁄₈" SmartPanel, made by LP Building Products. It is epoxy impregnated chipboard that has a pressed grain design on its outer surface which is coated with an epoxy "primer". It is great stuff, but I was very leery of leaving its edges open to the elements for fear they would swell. To cover them, I went to a board-and-batten design, covering the butt joints with a piece of 1x2 construction grade fir or spruce, fully caulking them to the shed's surface. I ripped a ¾" rabbet in some so they would fit over the bottom edges of the SmartPanels, which were mounted ¾" up from the bottom edge of the platform, and they each got a heavy dose of caulking before they went on.

I made trusses for the roof out of 2x4s and used the cutoffs of the ¾" pressure treated plywood, leftovers from the floor, as gussets. 

To give the eves some breathing space, I set the trusses that would normally be flush with the wall studs back 6". This gave me a 2½" airspace around the circumference of the building. Instead of installing regular soffits, I made ¾" by ¾" frames and covered their upper-side with two layers of fiberglass screening material. I used two layers so you can't see the bottom surface of the roof skin. All of this will allow the building to breath and I won't have to worry about finding a hornets nest inside one day.

I added a fair amount of personal touches to this thing, including a carved Gable Drop. I purchased the ornamental ball finial at Lee Valley; a 2⁷⁄₁₆" hardwood turning that Lee Valley sells for a mere $3.80, probably the cheapest thing I have ever bought from them.

I wanted an additional door that is as wide as possible on the side, but I didn't really want them to show, and while the structure isn't quite finished yet - I still have to add a drip-rail across the top of these, as well as some battens to make the side wall match the front, - I think I came up with a good way to disguise them. The shed floor is almost a foot above the ground, which means I needed a ramp, so I built one - but I made it in the shape of a seat. Because this seat is in the shade, we have used it often to sit out and relax, but...

...when I have to bring the lawnmower out, I release the two clips that hold the supporting chains and drop its front edge down to the ground becomes a fairly good imitation of a ramp.

I still haven't got the interior organized with a place to hang everything and everything hanging in its place, but that will come over time. 

The great thing about this addition was the deck extension, which just happens to be a little wider than the length of my outdoor workbench. I installed the alternating 2x4 - 2x6 decking with no spacing between them, hoping that they won't expand and pop somewhere. This means that all my shavings, sawdust and dropped screws stay on top of them, instead of falling through the gaps into the dark hole below.



Note: I am just reminding you here that just because I state in these articles that I used a specific material or worked it with a specific tool, it does not mean that I think they are the best choices for the job described. All it means is that, for whatever reasons, what I have stated is the way I decided to do it. Everything I build is an experiment, mainly in aesthetics, but in usability as well. Because I am still learning the art of working with hand tools, in a lot of cases, how I make something is an experiment as well. Because of this, I often miss my old man - big time - because he was the one I bounced all my ideas off of before I cut my first piece of wood. Without him, I have had to learn to rely on the advice of many others, including those that take the time to comment on my posts.