Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Shed phase 3 - extending the working area out into the light

Shed Phase 3 has finally happened...

I had always planned to add an exterior decking to the outside of the shed so I could get outside. Sometimes making stuff just gets really messy, like sawing, planing, sanding, using fumey chemicals etc.

Anyway, it's always good to be out in the air and light when making things.

And thus...

After much excavation and wood scrounging, we have a new platform deck outside the shed french doors...




It's crude, but functional and pretty solid. I will cut the edge into some curvilinear contour at some point...

The objective was to extend the working floorspace of the shed annexe out into the open air. The decking is 2.2 metres long, so with the french doors there is room to work on really long stuff.
Job done!



From the inside looking out...



It gives loads of room to work on long things like planing down a door...



Scrounged materials

As ever, this cost pretty much nothing. The foundations are the usual pallets suspended on bricks to keep them off the damp earth



The surface decking itself is a double layer of 9mm plywood. These are pieces that came out of a reliable skip. They are packing crate faces that get thrown out on a regular basis.



This is the base layer...



The final layer with a deliberately erratic edge. I will cut this to a nice edging shape later, just to make it less square and more aesthetic. It is painted with three coats of brown fence panel paint, which is acrylic based. This is waterproof for now, but after working scuffs I may need to consider a more durable protection or the boards will rot if they get damp. This is not urgent. This will last for ages before it gets to be a problem.




Friday, 25 January 2019

Shed annexe - design and build...

The lovely and handy new shed annexe

The annexe is a separate room that can be sealed off to exclude dust etc etc.
To see the scale, here is the main shed before being extended, and after.




Looking out from the main shed with the door shut, it is completely separate.



With the door open.

The floor between the main shed and the annexe is continuous throughout.

This gives six metres of floor, if needed.


You get the idea...

Inside the annexe

This is essentially a 3 metre by 2.5 metre build-space with NO FIXED FURNITURE.
It's is designed as a big open box for making shit in.

This is good...

In the picture below, the dark brown door (left of the mirror) is the other side of the original outer door of the shed seen above.

The mirror is actually also mounted on a door that can be opened if really needed. The right hand panel is also a door, but that is static and is just a wall, now...
oops


It is flooded with light from the french doors, windows and skylights...


It has MDF-padded walls to absorb random impacts (and insulate it)...
And plenty of power points.


The annexe is a self-contained extension to the main shed. The main shed retains its outer door, so that any mess and dust from works in here will not contaminate the other inner space. The left hand door is the new outside door.

The whiteboards have been recycled from the kids' bedrooms.


The insulating MDF panelling is channelling its inner Frankenstein....


Obscured glass panes in the french doors let huge amounts of light through. They are bolted top and bottom, because it is freezing out now, but they can be opened to let lovely spring, summer and autumn in later...


The skylights in the roof don't hurt either. Even with stored timber above head height, it is still really light and airy...


The open doors. I'll lay some sort of pallet decking at some point so it flows right out into the outside. That can wait until spring.


Flexible space

Having a plain box to work in means I can put a bench wherever needed. Maybe I'll have at the end...


Or maybe along the side...


The design is modular. The "bench" is a super-solid fire door. It is heavy enough not to flex so it can be popped onto these two folding steel trestles. Or if I need space for a 3-d build, it can be folded flat.

I also have vices, bench tools and so on, mounted on planks that can be added for a job if needed, or tucked away if space is more important.


Build

The annexe was built from reclaimed materials in the same way as the main shed, using pallets for the base and doors for the walls

Floor

The boundaries of the annexe were laid out using timber beams first,


The new beams were attached to the existing floor beams with steel brackets made from reclaimed steel, scavenged from wherever. These brackets came out of a skip.

The wood does not rest directly on the earth. It is mounted on bricks to keep it off the damp soil.


Another joint made from whatever materials were found. Some sort of shelf bracket off some old furniture, I think...


Once the frame was in place, it was filled with pallets, as and when they could be scavenged...


Inner floor

Once the pallets were in place, on their brick foundations, the main floor could be laid atop,. This was extended from the existing floor of the main shed.


Looking out...


Eventually it ended up looking like this...



Walls

The fabric of the annexe is the same as the main shed. It is built from reclaimed doors...



These were bolted  together to block out the shape of the new annexe. This a bit like sketching in 3D.


Because they are pre-fabricated, you can peel them back if you need to change the construction.

Here, a few doors have been removed so a supporting upright for the roof could be bolted in...


...and here is the opposite beam, bolted onto the floor foundation frame...


Roof

The roof was built using timbers reclaimed from someone's old decking frame. Here, some temporary horizontal beams are in place to hold the emerging frame together (to stop it splayng out, basically)...


From another angle. The  horizontal shown here was on the end frame and did remain. The others in the middle of the space were replaced by triangulated roof sections to keep the internal space open...


The final rafters were built up using ribbed frames. These were built with simple angled rafters, simply butt-jointed with triangulating brace-plates. Simple, but surprisingly strong. Each on would be a bit wobbly on its own. To counter this, there is a central ridge beam that connects them altogether and stops them moving. This suddenly turns wobbly frames into a super-strong frame. The beam sits in recesses cut in each rafter frame...



Building this is enjoyable, because you spend hours climbing up frames with tools hanging off you...



Once the frame was built, it was strong enough to stand on. It was then a matter of putting a skin on it. I don't have great photos of this, but the most significant point to note is that the central apex beam was first flanked with acrylic sheet, to form a fabulously light waterproof roof. The rest was filled in with MDF, with studs between the rafters as needed.


There are a lot of little beadings running along the beams etc., to support the flat planes.


The acrylic sheet. This was reclaimed from the Whales exhibition at the Natural History Museum - how very satisfying!


Here is the roof before the end wall was built. The roof was built first to protect the rest of the build from rain. Tarpaulins were used to cover the ends if it looked like raining...





Felting

A good excuse to climb all over the roof....
MDF is a bit crap, but actually, it is more than adequate for a roof base as long as it is supported. It is pathetically NOT water-proof though, so the felt had to go on ASAP...


There was a load of ad-hoc trimming

And some joints were sealed with pitch and chippings thrown on...



Part-way through. It's not that pretty, but it is water-tight.

You can see the hammer stapler used to secure it. A great tool. So fast.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Shed Annexe

The shed annexe is done, and it's looking damned good. I'm particularly pleased with the visual design on this one. This build has been fitted in over quite a few months and it is only now that the intended design has suddenly emerged out of the building works.

I love it!


As a reminder, here is Shed Phase 1. Fabulous in itself, but only half the story...


I raided the architect's archive and found the original design.
This picture appears crude (well, actually it is), but it is all that was needed to burn the final result into the brain. After that, you just need to follow the way until you get there...


Detail of the two sections. There are a few subtle visual design choices here:

  • The angles of the roof sections match the houses that back onto the garden. The pattern of a gable end attached to a perpendicular roof matches the terracing behind it.
  • The  long horizontal window profile is mirrored. This shape is to allow a panoramic view outwards, but minimise the window area in the profile of the building as seen from the outside
  • The colour palette mimics the surrounding trees. The sombre greenish colour of the door was partly to chime with the green roof felt, but also works with the dark greeny brown colour of wet tree trunks and branches. The muted brown cladding matches both leaves and earth.
  • The cladding is actually different on each section. The main building has featherboard. The Annexe has planed tongue and groove (due to scavenging opportunism). To blend these together, I've applied a stain to both using roofing pitch diluted with white spirit. This was not applied evenly, with deliberate blotches and streaks added first before a wash coat. This ties the knots and grain of the woods together visually


I have done some rudimentary landscaping in front of it. The lawn raises up about a foot. This blends the shed into the ground when viewed from a distance. You can barely see them, but there are two hazels planted in front of it. Within 2 years, these will be higher than the shed and it should sit nicely  into the garden landscape.