When we last saw our hero …
Posted by joeabbott on March 2, 2015
OK, there was something of a time warp in my posts: on 2/22 I showed most of a storage cabinet completed and on 3/1 I showed the final product. I guess I owe something of an explanation … and the details from “mostly done” to “done and in place”. Consider the prior post something of a last gasp; my way of saying, I can’t believe it’s finished.
After getting the basic box together (the carcass), I decided I wanted to line it with steel or flashing. The original idea was to clad the entire box with thin steel to keep critters from getting into the stuff we stored inside, but that proved too expensive, so I bought some cheap, pre-bent, steel flashing.
I then wrapped the outer corners and was delighted at how easy it was to work with. When it came to wrapping edges, I was pleased and had to pat myself on the back for being so crafty. I’d attach the long side, and with a hammer I’d tap-tap-tap the free edge over. Then I’d pinch it closed with a special clamping pliers I found in my brother’s autobody tool box, and then I’d tack it down with a pneumatic stapler.
While I felt snazzy about this element, and liked how it looked in the garage, I have to admit it looked a bit garish when we placed it in the garden. Suzy’s right … I’m my own worst critic … but I just don’t like the look as much as I thought I would.
Legs and lapping
My vision for the legs was that I’d boost the entire box off the ground 6” or so by bolting 2×4 cedar legs to the sides. To avoid having all the weight of the box supported in shear through the sides, I would cut 6” sections of 2×4 and glue them face-to-face on the ends of the legs … then I’d set the box on top of the small 6” section and bolt/screw the legs in.
To ensure the legs had something to bite into, I crawled inside the box and backed the leg with another section of 2×4. The bolt heads are on the inside of the box, so the legs look like they’re just “magically” attached.
To make the siding, I bought a bunch of fir fence posts. I thought I was getting a cedar siding, but it turned out to be fir … which also explains the lower price (that price is what attracted me to them in the first place). Anyhow, they came pre-stained and were wet as the dickens. I had to air dry them most of a week before Suzy could pre-paint them.
Oh, and before she painted them, I ran them through my saw and created proper lap-sided boards out of them. It took a while to run 36 boards through, getting both edges, so I was pretty wet from the kicked up water/stain that was soaking the boards.
I got the clamps
When doing any project of size, it’s always interesting which clamps will come out. On this one, with the large size of the box, I was really looking for long clamps. And, with as many trips to the hardware store as I made, I finally remembered to pick up a couple of short, large-diameter bolts and some washers to hold a couple of my long Bessey clamps together.
In addition to the Bessey clamps, my Lee Valley aluminum channel clamps were often out, some “one-handed” clamps showed up, I pulled out my pipe clamps, the edge banding clamps were used, and even some traditional wooden woodworker clamps appeared!
When most people enter our garage, they comment on the “wall of clamps” that I have … while I have a good number, many projects I find that I don’t have enough! I always make do.
Getting ready for the move
It was our exceptional good fortune that we’ve had a tremendous stretch of good weather here in the Pacific Northwest in February. Just pristine skies and temps in the 50°s. That alone made this project possible as this past weekend we did a lot of work outside.
Saturday was prepare to move day and that meant giving boards a little more paint (and letting them dry), finishing cutting the roof and roof supports (the legs … great design!), and fussing with all the other details. I’m not sure where the day went, but by about 3PM, it was time to move the big box up the hill.
Now, since day one it was going to be Suzy and I moving the box, and neither of us is strong enough to lift an end and carry it. So, early on I devised a plan to put one end on wheels and then to “drag” it up the hill, rickshaw-style.
To a 4×4 piece of lumber, I attached the two wheels. Suzy got a look at it and asked me how I planned to attach that to the box. I explained I would just set the box on the 4×4 and the weight would hold it tight.
Now, when Suzy is quiet after I explain something to her, I either start figuring on how to better describe it, or I try to find the obvious flaw to my plan that she’s too polite to challenge directly. In this case, my idea was so stupid, slowing down enough to consider it opened my eyes immediately.
So, I added another 4×4 to either side of the original 4×4 and then clamped the tiny cart to the storage shed. After that, I looped a nylon web under the front two legs and it was ready to haul up the hill.
Let me say this: I’ve been taxed before but this nearly killed me. Just about darned near took me out. It was a TREMENDOUS amount of work. Just brutal. It didn’t last long … maybe 45 minutes, but my heart ached from the exertion. I’ll either live until I’m well over 100 years old for all the work I’m doing, or it’ll kill me in a couple years. That was tough.
Once we mounted the storage shed to the wheels, we had a relatively easy time going around the corner and up to the fence. Oh yeah … that’s the flat-ish part.
I was also surprised at how easily we got it over the first step, at the gate. I thought I’d have to pull forever, but the large tires and Suzy pushing (while holding it steady) allowed a relatively easy negotiation over the first step. Then we have a slight hill … and that was hard.
I could only take teeny tiny steps and the shed was mercilessly slamming into my legs, one after the other. The nylon strap was digging into my hands, arms and shoulders as I pulled but I knew this wouldn’t be easy. So, I kept pulling. By the time we got to the first plateau, I needed a long rest. And it’s not even really all that far. But, far enough.
Then we have a series of 5 low steps that weren’t steep, but each one required a pull, ram into legs, stop, try to get it moving again sorta process. Painful.
After that, we turn a corner and run along the fence for another 20’ and three more steps; at the top of this rise, is a gate and a trellis.
When we got to the gate, I was able to pull them off their hinges and set them mostly out of the way. And, because we were approaching from downhill, the first of the two tall roofing supports slid (barely) under the first gate cross beam. We then had to remove the wheels and, magically, the back roofing support just barely cleared the first gate cross beam. Yay!
Moving around was tricky up here. On the hard side, the storage unit was off the wheels and we had to slide it on the ground. Additionally, we had the temp chicken coop setup and it was just inside the gate. We had enough room but, again, just barely enough room, to get it in and around. The thing that made this doable, was a lot of hard work by Suzy and I, and the relatively soft ground. The legs of the shed made some furrows in that earth.
So, with all that going on, the first roofing support cleared under the second cross bean but the second roofing support wouldn’t pass under … it was about an inch too tall.
We stopped then and considered things.
We swapped sides, we scratched our heads, and I was starting to pound the cross beam out of place when I thought: if only this leg wasn’t so high. I looked down, then up and Suzy, and said, “can you hand me that little spade over there, please?
Yup, as easy as that. I dug a small hole, maybe 4” deep, the leg dipped in as I pushed on it, and we slid the beast through.
From there we slid it closer to where we’d install it and called it a day. A very long day.
The final steps
We got up at about 5AM, I drove Suzy to a 5k run she was partaking in before finding a look out over the Sound and got in a short nap. Suzy rang me up after she finished the race, I picked her and her friend up, and we headed home.
I’ll tell you this: if you can do the work we did on Saturday, run a 5k Sunday at the crack of dawn, and then show up for the work party with this smile … well, I’m glad we’re on the same team. Suzy made this job possible and I can’t thank her enough for all the help.
But, back to the work.
We left the storage shed away from it’s final resting spot until we got the siding installed. Lap boards were put on and tacked down, trim around the inside holding it in, and a final dab of paint. After that, we made sure the support bricks were in place and level, and then we muscled the shed home.
From there I put on the plywood base for the roof, added the corrugated top, and finished it with flashing on the front and rear lips.
Lower doors were attached and, finally, the upper door.
And we’re (almost) done.
I still need to put a latch or two on the top storage door; there’s a larger than desired gap on one side of the upper door I need to fill, and I’d like stop-blocks on all the doors to keep them from swinging in too far. But, that’s about it. Not much left except to fill it.
This job seemed simple but really tested me in a lot of ways. Clamping the glue-up was a real challenge, the metal edge banding didn’t come out exactly like I thought it would, and I made too many mistakes doing little bits and pieces of this over the month.
But, I’ll say this: even though at its core it’s OSB/chipboard, using good construction techniques, it is a SOLID piece of work. While we were abused a bit hauling it up the hill, the storage shed was feeling that same abuse and it didn’t flex or wrack or bend a bit. It’s a solid bit of engineering.
So, when you’re out visiting and you see a small shed used to store a few bits of sand, wood chips, feed and tools: it may look simple but it was a month of weekends in the making and I’m pretty happy with it. Say nice things if you’re going to say anything at all. Please.
And thanks for coming by to visit.