You can never have too many sheds

Destined to be a classic quote from my old man. Better not tell my wife though! A few quick photos from around the place after the productive weekend.

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The new garden shed. I wonder just how long I will be able to keep any woodworking related items out of it! For under $200, it wasn’t too bad, and, well, the quote still stands. I’m not pouring a slab for this one, so the flooring will be some treated pine I have kicking around which was going to waste. To secure the shed down is a combination of screwing it to the existing small shed (this one was on the property when we bought the place – the previous (and original owner) had built the shed then poured the concrete into it! A poor man’s formwork. Or should that be a lazy man’s! It certainly isn’t going anywhere in a hurry). The garden shed will also get screwed to the back fence. Not so sure if that is a good idea though- the fence isn’t as stable as it once was, and I don’t want the shed trying to hold the fence up- it’d get pulled to bits if it tried.

To hold the shed down properly, I’m going to hammer some star pickets deep at the corner and bolt the shed to the star picket. That should be sufficient to hold it down in quite a wind.

The sad thing with these sorts of cheap sheds is just that- they have pushed the limits of cheapness for cost savings, and for ease of assembly. But they don’t need to be sadly.

The wall thickness is not: it is particularly thin, but that shouldn’t matter. What is important is the amount of overlap, and the joinery method. These sheds have an overlap of only a few mm between adjacent sheets, which means the joining method is critical to hold everything together.

If you think about a bolt, it isn’t specifically the nut holding the material together. What the nut does is cause the bolt to go into tension, squeezing the material between the bolt head and the nut. With plenty of material between the two, there is a lot of overlap and the force spread over an area- plenty of friction holding the two together. If there is little overlap and the material is too thin, then there is little force actually joining the material, and the joiners themselves are in danger of ripping out.

These shed have predrilled holes, and self-tapping metal screws. Not only is there so little holding the sheets together- a half twist of thread on the selftap screw, but you can’t even really tighten them to achieve a decent amount of compression. These things are surprising they stay up! But all is not lost- you just have to be prepared to do a bit of after-market (and after-assembly) modification. Get a decent rivet gun (pneumatic if you are fortunate enough to have one, or an accordian one if not which is still my favourite!) and some steel rivets (not aluminium ones-we want some serious strength!), drill some holes the right size and bang extra rivets in. The shed will quickly go from shockingly weak to being significantly reinfored. Don’t overlook the power of a rivet!

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The cat run was finished as well, and has already been visited by its new owners

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Some left-over tin from my original shed (the one that blew down) has been used to create a floor, and the entire structure screwed to the deck behind. With a tunnel made from wire mesh leading from a hole in the deck, the cats have access to their new outdoor experience.

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Now I am well aware cats can jump, but to be nice, and because I felt like it, I decided the cats could have a set of stairs from the tunnel to the opening in the deck. Made quickly from Cyprus Pine and pocketholed together.

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And finally, the completed cafe blinds.

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I didn’t get to the bird deterrents – that is a job for another productive weekend!

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