The Builiding

Every shop starts with a building.  When we moved out of the city in 2011, we had several criteria.  One was plenty of flat yard space for Sue to practice agility with her dogs.  Another was a shop building for me.  We found both, but until the summer of 2016 the shop was a storage barn, and not a usable space in which to work.  We built a barn with a nice storage loft, in 2015, which mostly freed up my shop space.  So, making it usable began.

The next challenge was to provide some heat.  So I did my very first brickwork project and built a hearth and firewall that exceeded all building codes, so a certified woodstove could be installed.  The one I chose is the Lopi Endeavor with a compressed air starter and fan. 

Next, the ceiling had to be raised.  The roof was made of the lowest grade off-site manufactured trusses I have ever seen.  They were spalled together from 2x3 and 2x4 sticks that weren't even suitable for pallet lumber.  How they ever passed inspection I don't know.  Also, there was sheetrock on them, and no insulation.  That all had to change.  So, I slowly removed the sheetrock, two truss widths at a time, and then cutout and rebuilt the trusses one at a time, raising the clearance under them by 18" and increasing their individual strengths by at least 4x.  

The next task was to rewire the bay and put in some decent track lighting.  I went cheap with the track lights, using what Lowes was carrying at the time.  But, for wire distribution, I found a surplus business in Louisiana that a couple pallets of 4x4 wireways that they sold me for cheap.  It cost more to get them shipped to me.  They allowed me to make the entire electrical system both commercial grade fireproof, and flexible enough to be easily adjusted as tool selections and the shop layout evolved.  The wireways can be seen resting above the new truss-work.

Incredibly, the previous owner who had built the building had equipped it with a 3/4 bath with an electric wall heater.  And, there was a small unfinished utility room that could become a shop office, power hand tool storage area, and sharpening station.  When we remodeled the kitchen of the house, I saved the old broken granite countertops, and hired Darrin Newell to install them on some quick and dirty cabinet shells I threw together.  True to form with his usual amazing work, Darrin managed to get them in such that even with all of the lights on, unless you know to go looking for them, you can't see the cracks.  How he pieced them back together so well still amazes me.  So I have granite countertops for my sharpening station!  I'll add some pics of this area eventually.