Building Work

I have been building what I am calling a shed. The garage workshop can quickly become invaded if you’re not careful and though I don’t altogether mind sharing space with people, I do kinda draw the line at bikes, lawn mowers, wheel barrows and then things like freezers too. In my garage space I have three workbenches. That way I can invite additional guests if I like them, they are not too talkative and they really, really like woodworking. The only machine is my bandsaw and an extractor for the dust. That’s enough. But at the moment I have freezer and a lawnmower in there along with two sets of support workers paired as trestles and saw horses. Now these teams get used from time to time, once a week or so, and because of shortage of floor space in the garage I am always ready to saw up boards and planks outdoors and that’s why the shed is a good place for storing these.

Because there was already an old but sound concrete slab in place I was quickly ready to get the 2×6 (5cm x 15cm floor joists laid and I used treated wood for this. The slab allows me to build a 9’10” (3 metre) by 10’6″ (3.2 metre) building with a pitched roof and has a 2″ (50mm)fall but is level across; not much work shimming up off the slab with sliding wedges periodically to ensure no bounce in the floor. I combine adhesive with outdoor stainless screws to screw down the 3/4″ (19mm) plywood and used shuttering plywood which I will sand and coat with a waterproof finish for easy sweeping and such. The joists are on 2′ (60cm) centres with double rows of blocking on 16″(40cm) centres across.

I am building this directly onto the back wall of the garage to economise as there is no good reason not to. My next step is framing the walls which I will do with 4×2 (10cm 40cm)(2x4USA) studs I picked up today. I am planning to clad the outside with 3/4″ (19mm) barrel cladding T&G. All of the cladding is treated wood. So far I have six hours in the floor but I am still using mostly hand tools like handsaws, hammers and such with drill-drivers for driving the screws and also a jigsaw which I used for some scribing cuts.

When I was at the timber place I saw this shed that they were selling. Because it says, “Great Price” in all caps does not mean it is. It’s a shameful thing altogether really. 4′ x 6′ (1.2m x 1.82m), so a quarter of the size mine will be and half the height. The framing is 1 1/4″ (3cm) by 2 1/2″ 6.2cm) and the cladding is 5/16″ (7mm) thick. Mine will cost four times the price but it will have a 30 year life span at least and it has many times the quality in materials and labour. Definitely worth the DIY input. I cannot believe what the ~Brit’s will buy for a shed. Unbelievable. If I were to put just one of my workbenches in their shed half of the space would be lost!

I just got it covered with a tarp before dark, to keep the plywood dry before the rain came 10 minutes later and which we are expecting over the next two days.

36 thoughts on “Building Work”

  1. Richard Harnedy

    Hi paul… will the shed be suitable for woodworking in? Are you putting the video on your masterclass site? It would be great if you put a design up so people could see the layout. As usual paul you are always working and videoing on items we all enjoy.

  2. That is a great introduction to building a shed. My father built two sheds in our garden when I was a nipper back in the early 60’s. Much of the material was second hand but good and substantial. Those sheds were still in the garden and in good condition when my parents moved out 40 years later.

    I would add another word of warning about the matchstick shed at the “Great Price” of £219. The type of clasp and padlock used to “secure” offers no security whatsoever. I could open that padlock in under 10 seconds with no special tools. Alternatively, I could rip the entire clasp off the door in seconds – either with minimal tools and possibly without using tools at all. People store tools in vulnerable sheds like this. Thieves break into the shed and then find a variety of tools to use for burgling the house. The shed is almost like an invitation to a burglar. I am willing to bet the shed was being sold with no security advice prior to the sale!

    So one needs to add a few things to the £219 price tag such as the cost of additional insurance premiums after being burgled. After being burgled, people frequently spend money beefing up their security. Looking at the shed, I am not sure it is possible to secure it – given how flimsy it clearly is. (Forget about alarms triggered by movement. That will be set off every time a cat walks by, irritating the owners and the neighbours until it is eventually deactivated.)

    I noticed a chain attached to the railings near the back of the shed and wondered if that was put there by the shop to secure the shed! Maybe to stop small boys from picking up the shed and walking off with it – but the chain does not appear to be attached to the shed. If small boys are not strong enough to carry the shed away then I draw two conclusions from all this. Firstly, sheds are not made as strong as they used to be. Secondly, small boys as strong as they used to be!

  3. Paul will you be making this available as a masterclass project??? It is one lovely idea!!!

  4. If this is a shed for bicycles, lawn mowers, and wheelbarrows on an existing slab, then why are you adding joists and flooring?

  5. Great! Not only the house full of furniture but also some useful items in the yard. I would definitely be glad to see you building this ‘piece of furniture’. )

  6. My shop is in my basement (the garage is unbearable in the New England winter months, and the humidity can be oppressive in July/August. The concrete floor is tough to stand on, but a man (or Woman) has to do whatever it takes to follow his/her passion. Thankfully, LED shop lights are affordable.
    If that was an invite, I hope to join you in your garage workshop the next time I’m in the U.K.

  7. It must be the season for it. I currently have a similar heap of proper size timbers having rejected those nasty shop sheds. An important consideration for me was the chance to build the size I want to best use the available space. I also have a sloping site at the back of a brick building with one brick wall that I can re-use, although the deep end of my slope is four paving slabs high so I couldn’t get away with just wedges under the floor joists. It’s amusing the other soft skills you encounter on such a project; how to scamper about on floor joists without twisting your ankle, just how many nails etc. such a project can consume and how quickly you can juggle tarpaulins when the rain showers approach and you don’t want any as-yet untreated wood to get wet.

  8. I would be interested in the progression of the shed. I hope you do keep us updated. Maybe do a video(s) of the build.

  9. “I am building this directly onto the back wall of the garage to economise as there is no good reason not to.” In my area, a shed that abuts a structure is considered an extension of the structure and is subject to the permitting, building codes, architectural & zoning reviews, inspections, etc., required for extending the structure rather than the simpler shed rules.

    1. I’m glad that our laws and restrictions are so much more worked through and very helpful.

  10. Paul. Thanks for posting this. Please please please can you post more photos, video and designs? I would love to see a video series on this. You have so much hard won experience from your fifty years of working with wood that I wonder if figuring out these sorts of projects are almost second nature to you… We have a space next to the north facing gable end of our house that has been crying out for a shed but I’ve never quite found sufficient motivation to get one built. I have a project on the go to empty our garage to use as a workshop and then build a workbench so if I could get a shed built to put all the other ‘stuff’ in that would free up so much space. Either way, thanks for the update! Best wishes to you and yours! 🙂

  11. Paul,

    I agree with you. Items like gardening tools, lawnmowers and bikes if possible should be stored elsewhere. A shop is a studio and those items distract from the creative process[usually] because they are reminders of other responsibilities/activities. I did exactly what you are doing this spring and it was a very freeing experience. I think it allows the craftsman/artist the ability to be fully present when they are in their studio.

  12. Paul,
    I know this is not really a woodworking question but. After years of watching you struggle with a small car and a in a little trailer to haul 2×4’s and other long lengths of wood I wonder why you never acquired a pickup truck. It’s a vehicle that I couldn’t do without. Is it the cost of fuel or what?

    1. I used to own a truck but haven’t suffered one jot for not owning one now. My car is somewhat van like as the seats all fold down flat and that includes the front passenger seat. I can get 8 footers inside. My roof bars take longer lengths if I need them and I have 4x8sup there too.

      The trailer is lightweight but will easily carry all I need for a complete shed this size. What more could I ask for. I am also the only driver in the house and believe I should only own one vehicle if I am to be responsible for myself and the rest of the world.
      Oh, and just to cap off: I am not struggling. We should get a handle on our adjectives maybe. When did you or anyone ever see me really struggling? I see people with low incomes struggling, people with no homes, people who lose friends and family loved ones.I think that’s a struggle.If my loading a trailer with wood is a struggle, then I can handle it.

  13. “I cannot believe what the ~Brit’s will buy for a shed”
    Here , US , they sell $800 plastic ones , yes they sell them .
    I built a 10′ X 12′ one I need another one, maybe two.

  14. Marti Peterson

    Jerry Arkema,
    That’s funny. I haven’t thought Paul was struggling with the small car and trailer! I feel he plans well, and cleverly works out what sizes will fit. In the recent plywood workbench video, he also addresses the safety factor of handling larger pieces of wood single handedly. This is an issue that I also struggle with.
    Doesn’t it make sense to have the extra hauling capacity (trailer) when you need it, and not drive around with it when you don’t need it?

  15. Hello Paul,

    Like the others that have echoed here, I would love to see more detailed instruction on tool shed making either in blog series, youtube, or masterclass form. In the US and particularly California, the desire of the people to preserve the look of the town and ensure safety, has unfortunately made it prohibitively expensive to make additions to their home without jumping through costly permits. One of the construction types not under regulation is building small sheds, which if built well, can even serve as a small workshop, office, or home gym. I know that you support empowering people with self-autonomy through the acquisition of skills. I just want to highlight this possibly good option.

  16. I’m not sure how you got all the 2×4, ply and cladding for under £900 for that size of shed. That’s a bargain. Those small sheds are a lot of money, but if looked after they will do just fine for what they’re designed for, which is storing low cost garden equipment. A shed like that will last 15-20 years if creosoted once a year.

    I’d be very interested to see this build on Youtube. I love watching things like this take shape.

    1. This shed will not last five years even if you left it alone and put nothing in it. I have never seen such a shoddy and low grade product and HomeBase should be totally ashamed of their selling this item. I cannot imagine why you would say it could last 15-20 years without seeing the actual flimsiness of its material and construction. I am not sure why you suggest this is ok at all and comments that seem to encourage others to not require better quality products are so very, very disappointing, Mark.
      Oh, and between Travis Perkins for the bulk of this together with an eBay supplier these were not at all bargain prices, just very normal. I can post receipts as proof.

  17. If it were 20 years back, you’d have had choices in Abingdon; I can’t speak as to how well Sydenhams does for timber. I spent a lot of time in the woodshed there back before they bought out F. Knight & Sons, though.

  18. My vote would be for Paul to stick with what he does best and not venture into a shed building video series.
    There are a bazillion excellent how to videos already on YouTube on shed building by people who build sheds for a living (and a bunch by those who have no right posting such shlok). Adding another one would be redundant at best.
    I am here to learn how to woodwork and similar to Paul’s new house I’m not expecting a series on kitchen cabinet making, door installations, wall removals, stair building, rafter repairs and the like.
    Please stay the course.

  19. Don’t you ever just miss a full sized American Iron Pickup truck! A Texan without a pickup and a gun rack just aint right partner!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Where do you throw your empty beer cans at the end of a long hot day?

  20. Andrew Churchley

    I like the use of stainless screws outdoors. I recently re-used some over 20 years old and of course they are as good as new.

  21. Also generally use stainless steel outside, although price seems to be much higher now. Having just replaced hinges on garage (well really store workshop) doors that had badly rusted screws and had to resort to an impact driver to start some of them, it does pay if you ever need to remove them.

    The garden shed is a commercial one, probably 25 now. Has been refelted at least 4 times and is treated with preservative every other year, as good as new, apart from the odd small scar. Moved house with us once, an advantage of it being bolted sections. It stands on fencing post joists, keeping the wooden floor well away from damp.
    The one it replaced looked like it was made from fencing panels, including its flat roof, looked old, but very badly made. I do tend to repair things but this was incapable of being repaired. i have replaced the cladding on one side of our present summer house, inherited with the house, probably at least 30 years old.

  22. Paul, my wife says if you can ‘t haul hay on it, it ain’t worth having. We have two trucks but it looks like your car works just fine. 🙂

  23. You seem to have taken offence to my comment when none was intended. Having looked into building my own workshop a while ago I was just surprised you could do it so cheap as my quotes for materials ended up out of my budget. No receipts required, I wasn’t doubting you.

    1. No, Mark. I am rarely offended and people use this term often when anyone counters what they are saying. There is a big difference between defending what you have said and being offended you see. People often use the term, “Why are being defensive?” too. Well, often something you have said or done is well worth defending because someone has not just criticised but attacked you. I have learned that the things you believe in are very worth defending. Now take care here because I am not saying you have done anything wrong, just that I will defend where necessary and I am not i the least bit offended by what 99.9% of people say. Just that it is all too easy to deflect responsibility for something said.

  24. Paul, do you think you will be leaving anymore details or information on your shed build?
    I only ask as I am about to start planning my own shed build as my new place for woodworking as my garage has been converted and I haven’t been able to do any woodworking for months!!! Thanks for everything

  25. More details and info on your shed build would be really interesting if you have the time or inclination Paul. Thanks

  26. hi,
    i agree, it would be very interesting to see the rest of the build as and when photos are available.
    One observation i feel i should mention is the first photograph shows what looks to be a 6×2″ ‘all-round’ frame for the shed base: in certain areas, such as here by an estuary, those closed ‘cell’s sat flush on the ground, would be a blessing for nesting rats. Rats dont much like open ended runs for nesting, so sheds we raise here are usually sat on several independent joists (temporarily held with a 6×1″ nailed plank at each end) held on concrete block plinths: no dead space; plenty of airflow, and room for predators to run through. Just a thought to add to the mix 🙂

    1. Too lat in one way but I am not worried about ousting rodents from my domain as and if needed. Also, I plan to put mesh wire around the more open end to both allow ventilation yet keep the rodents out.

  27. @Tad,

    Maybe you could just let the rest of us enjoy whatever Paul feels like sharing with us on a given day, instead of making demands of him to write only what you want to read or produce what you want to watch.

    I can’t understand how some folks feel so bloody entitled.

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