If you’ll remember with me all the way back to November, there was day when I had done my part—I had cleaned out my husband’s side of the garage so he could park in it for the winter.
Except he couldn’t.
Earlier that year (2011) we had traded in his 10-year-old VW Jetta for a Ford Ranger (just a little truck), and we discovered that the Ranger and the extra refrigerator and freezer could not co-exist in our tiny garage!
So we made the decision to stay where we are and try to make our house work better for us. One of our goals was to get to park in the garage! In order for that to happen, all of my tools and projects had to find and new home, and to that end, we decided to build a workshop! Yes, it is expensive, but far less than a new home would be.
See this playset?
It used to be here (below), where the big pile of dirt is. This seemed to be the best place for the new workshop. There was no grass or sprinkler lines to contend with! And it turned out to be a good thing to move the playset (although not an easy thing), as it gave us the chance to replace all the boards that had rotted and bolts that had broken after 8 years! The children say it’s much less scary to play on now.
My neighbor owns an excavating company, so we hired him to dig out the foundation and bring in rock. It had to be 12” for the footings, with a 4” slab. The equipment saved a lot of work in hand-digging—but getting it in the back yard was more than a little hard on our fence!
Boys and their toys—just a bigger version of a Tonka truck!
The concrete forms go up next. The gravel my neighbor brought in was a bugger to move around. We were expecting pea gravel, but what we got was broken-up concrete road base. Que sera! It works.
The size of the workshop is 20’ x 17’. We were limited by city code that said we had to be 8’ away from the property line, or it would have been bigger! Here I am deep in contemplation of the shop…our friend Ian (actually working) stayed with us for two weeks to provide all the know-how for the construction.
The next morning the a concrete pumper came to get the concrete to the pad area. See our poor fence?
Looking good! The pad was poured on Friday morning, so we left it alone over the weekend to cure.
On Monday, the framing started! Yes, I helped build this wall (a little), and stand it up! Did you know you half-bury J-bolts into the wet concrete, so that you can bolt the frame onto them? Me neither. It was cool.
Ian is the greatest—he was SO patient with the plethora of little helpers he has around here!
The south wall has a window and a man-door. It was built in two pieces, and I got my arm pinched between them when we stood the second piece up. Ouch! I had the most spectacular bulls-eye shaped bruise!
Twilight…but all of the wall framing was finished in one day!
Next step…we put up a few pieces of exterior siding to get some shade! It was miserably hot here. Then the ridge pole (actually a 2x12—I think) had to go up. At one point I was balancing that 16-foot-long 2x12 on a 14-foot 2x4 while Ian attached one end to the wall. And the wind was blowing. I said to him, “This is the weirdest thing I have ever done!” But trust me, it was not the last time I said that over the course of this project!
Then it was time to attach the trusses to connect wall to ridgeline. This is Ian, sitting on a ladder on top of a scaffold to be able to reach that high! Don’t tell OSHA!
My dear friend Michael spent his days off helping us on this project. He sat on the wall, Ian on his ladder at the ridge line, and I handed up the very heavy trusses for them to attach.
I loved how the roof looked with all the trusses on and the facia board attached. It made me want to leave it a pergola! Not really.
Here the plywood is going up. Ian was on the roof. I carried the 4’x8’ sheets of 3/4” plywood to the roof. I had to lift them vertically from the bottom to get them high enough for Ian to reach. Then I would give a mighty swing to the bottom edge to give Ian enough momentum to pull them the rest of the way up. It was a serious workout! And I got some more spectacular bruises from where I rested the plywood on my thighs on the way up!
More to come later!