Another new shop - third time's the charm? #1: Getting Started - Demo and Framing

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Blog entry by DrPuk2U posted 10-04-2019 07:16 PM 888 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Another new shop - third time's the charm? series Part 2: Electrical and Insulation »

This is the first in a series of posts. I intended to post as I went but the work was HARD and it was often all I could do to get the work on the shop done. Documenting? Sure, later… So now the shop is mostly done (haha) so I’ll try to document how I got here.

Sometime late last year I posted some questions about converting a pole barn on our property to an insulated, well-lit woodworking shop. Got a lot of good advice. Then unfortunately, life intervened and I had to take care of some health issues. By the time that was taken care of we were well into 2019.

Here’s the property (yes, we are very lucky) and the outside of the pole barn (50×25).

To start, I drew up plans for what I would like to build. Here’s a sample.

Initially, in order to expedite the process, I got bids on getting the pole-barn upgraded, including framing, electrical, insulation and new windows. The contractors were good people and the bids were reasonable but were still beyond my budget. So when our son – a master carpenter, electrician and very experienced general contractor suggested that we do it together I was enthusiastic, to say the least! To be clear, without Nat’s energy, experience and support this project would never have gotten close to complete.

The plan was to

• frame in the pole barn with 2×6s,
• replace the two old aluminum windows with new 36×48 vinyl windows
• add two more new vinyl windows (also 36×48)
• replace all the old (hacky) electrical with new outlets and lights
• spray on an inch of closed cell foam to seal the envelope of the barn
• install fiberglass batts in the walls and ceiling (which is already closed in with plywood sheathing)
• Cover the ceiling batts with white plastic
• Finish the walls with ½” A/C plywood
• Cover the floor with vinyl laminate

In practice, the way it has worked is that Nat teaches me how to do something (like framing) and then I am mostly on my own since he lives 4 hours north of us and has his own life. Still, it has so far been a lot of fun – not to mention hard work. Again, without Nat’s help this would never have happened.

This is what the shop looked like after some cleaning. One of the amusing (!) aspects of the renovations is that the original owners were the type who drove a nail anytime they needed to hang something. So there were literally dozens and dozens of nails – everywhere. 13 feet off the floor? Really?

The “before” shots. After cleaning at least, but before the rest of the “improvements” were removed.

Note: if you look closely in the above photo you will see two loops of wire rope hanging down with a piece of PVC pipe threaded through them. I am reliably informed by my friends who hunt that this is for hanging and eviscerating your deer. I was going to take them down but decided to leave them for the time being at least. Local flavour. But rest assured that no deer or other creatures will be disemboweled in MY shop! :-)

The framing begins

Note that we did the first wall the “standard way”, assembling the whole section on the floor and lifting it into place. But that was out of the question for me solo so the other walls were built piece by piece. (Who needs to go to the gym when you have a “LadderMaster”? Must have climbed that ladder 5000 times…)

Note that the baseplates are fastened to the concrete with RedHead bolts and the 2×6s are fastened to each other with 16d ring nails. And the 2×6s themselves are fastened to the purlins and posts that are the frame of the pole barn. Believe me, once the plywood sheathing was added result was a building that is like a torsion box. It’s not going anywhere!

Framing complete!

Next: Electrical and insulation. As always, any feedback is appreciated.

-- Ric, Western Oregon, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

5 comments so far

View northwoodsman's profile


250 posts in 4259 days

#1 posted 10-04-2019 10:45 PM

Beautiful place. What part of the country?

-- NorthWoodsMan

View DrPuk2U's profile


70 posts in 2805 days

#2 posted 10-05-2019 06:20 PM

West of Portland, OR in the foothills of the coast range.

-- Ric, Western Oregon, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

View KTNC's profile


119 posts in 769 days

#3 posted 10-08-2019 01:37 AM

Very interesting. Thanks for documenting this. I look forward to the “rest of the story”
regards, Kerry

View Kent's profile


257 posts in 2309 days

#4 posted 10-12-2019 01:48 PM

It looks like a really good start.

What are your intentions for heating, insulation and vapour barrier? Winters are damp and grey there, are they not?

-- If I knew then what I know now, I'd have made a completely different set of mistakes.

View DrPuk2U's profile


70 posts in 2805 days

#5 posted 10-14-2019 07:39 PM

@Kent: The shop has a very good quality concrete floor with a tar-paper vapour-barrier underneath. Then we laid 6-mil Visqueen on the floor and covered it with 7mm vinyl planks

The walls are sheet metal with 1.5” of sprayed, closed-cell foam to seal the whole envelope. The roof is already closed in with a sheet metal roof and 3/4” plywood sheathing. The walls and the roof then have R25 fiberglass batts. We also replaced the old aluminum windows with modern double-paned vinyl windows.

The result is that the shop is very tight and dry. I put a small electric (oil type) heater. It keeps the shop at 62F without problems. We had a few days of 90s heat and the shop stayed cool. Now we’re getting frost and the temperature still stays constant.

-- Ric, Western Oregon, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

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