Da Workshop #5: A snag with only one possible solution

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 09-13-2011 09:15 PM 7356 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: The New Chapter Part 5 of Da Workshop series no next part

After the old gazebo gave up the ghost, it became apparent that I needed something else to keep the rain off my head and off of my projects. I had intended to get a portable building to put in the back yard if things didn’t go through with the house I was trying to buy. Well, it didn’t. It was because of a lawsuit brought against me a while back. We’re still early in the process but the lender wasn’t comfortable. Oh well.

So, I start investigating these portable buildings in earnest. It turns out, I couldn’t put one in my back yard if I wanted to. Go me.

However, there’s one possible outcome, and that’s to build it from scratch. I didn’t want to build it, but I fancy myself a woodworker. I should be able to build something, right? Right? Anyone? Yeah, I’m not real confident of my abilities on this one either. It’s a big job and I really don’t know what I’m doing on this one. However, people do it all the time, so I can figure it out. I’ve got a good friend who was a contractor, so I may be bugging him for advice/assistance.

The plan, thus far, is pretty simple. Since my tools consist primarily of hand tools and hand held power tools, I don’t need as much space as most folks do. I’m not looking to run a cabinet saw out of this puppy any time soon, and I don’t think there’s really quite enough space in the yard to build something that could. Well, not to still use it as a yard anyways.


The city will require a permit, so I’ll explore that later during the week. However, some requirements I’ve been given are that it has to be a minimum of 120 square feet for the area I live in. That’s actually OK, because I planned on one twice that size. It has to be five feet away from the property line and ten feet away from the house. Again, that’s not a problem. I’ve got just the spot that will meet both of those requirements.


Power is something I’m still thinking about. I’d like to have it wired, but that’s a down the road kind of thing. I want to have plenty of windows to let in natural light (and to hold a window mounted AC unit). I can run an extension cord for the time being, and save up for an electrician to wire the puppy up.


This bad boy is going to be 2×4 construction with a plywood floor. I may have to use plywood for the exterior due to cost, but will paint it immediately afterward construction is completed. I’m actually thinking of using metal for the roof, mostly because I love the sound of rain off a metal roof.. The interior is really up for grabs. I have thought of using a light paneling material I saw at Home Depot due to speed, but I’ve also seen artwork of 19th century workshops where nothing was done to the interior, so I’m kind of torn.

I have to draw out the house and the yard, and provide plans for my shed. I’m going to actually secure some real plans though, just to avoid a problem later on. I still need to figure up things like rough material costs, etc. This is going to be out of my pocket, which is OK since this will be my workshop. I’d rather be building my workbench instead of my workshop at this point though.

Such is life though, right?

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

5 comments so far

View stratiA's profile


101 posts in 4716 days

#1 posted 09-13-2011 10:33 PM

Sounds like a fun project to me. Shed building and such is not particularly hard. I have built several. I am sure your library will have books on techniques and building codes. If required of course. The tricky parts are lifting walls in place and dealing with roofs. Since you live in Atlanta snow is less of an issue. If you have a really sunny spot you may want to build a simple slanted roof and either use clear plastic corragated roofing to help with lighting or if you are willing maybe get solar panels and completely or partially eliminate the electrical part of it. I am sure others will mention this as well but buy, rent or borrow a compressor and framing gun. It will make life so much easier.

-- Strati Alepidis, Burlington, Ma, Member Red Sox nation

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5013 days

#2 posted 09-13-2011 11:01 PM

Sounds like and fun project!

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 5136 days

#3 posted 09-14-2011 12:31 AM

Strati: I hear ya about the air compressor. That was already part of the plan. I can have it framed up in no time with one of those. I once worked with a framing crew, so on that side I have no problem. It’s the roof that always intimidates me.

I’m not to sure about the plastic roofing. I’m not a fan of it. Besides, I plan to put in plenty of windows to let in light. I just don’t like it directly overhead. I’m actually three to four hours south of Atlanta, and it gets even hotter down here. Sun isn’t our friend ;)

CJ: I won’t go that far. I honestly would rather not do it. I don’t like projects like this particularly. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a choice on this one. Oh well. What’s a guy to do?

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View clieb91's profile


4265 posts in 5275 days

#4 posted 09-14-2011 02:41 AM

Tomcat, I won’t say it sounds like a fun project (cause I know it can be a real pain) but it does sound like a good project with potential to learn a few new tricks and such. The end result is a shop you built yourself and can be proud of. As to the interior walls I would suggest leaving open for a bit until you decide on how to wire it up.
Looking forward to seeing your progress and the final outcome.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 5136 days

#5 posted 09-14-2011 12:32 PM

You know Chris, I was thinking something kind of similar after I wrote this. It seems like it would be a lot easier to wire if there’s not wall in the way.

I’ll probably draw out the sketches and get the permits in the next week or two. Oh joy. I hate dealing with city bureaucrats. ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

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