A New Tab

At the top of the website, you will see a new tab has appeared – Shed Build. (It may take a little bit for it to appear – the site is quite heavily cached it seems!  Even mine is appearing and disappearing – idiosyncrasies of the web!)

I will use this to capture some of the specifics of the shed design and construction.  New content will still appear here as new blog entries, and then summarised and refined under that tab for prosperity.

So to start, I wanted to look at some of the lessons learned from the existing shed.

With the decommissioning of the current shed in approximately 30 days (a month seems so much shorter when you realise how many, or rather how few days there are, especially if you only count weekends!), I am going to document the process involved in setting up the new shed, at the new location.

The existing 8×4 shed was a great improvement when we built it, but it has been well and truly outgrown  in the past couple of years.  It was as large as I could justify on the existing block at the time.

Looking back through the website, I didn’t realise how long the existing shed had been around – time sure flies! (Built April 2008)

So what lessons have I learned from the existing one, that needs to be incorporated into the new design?


The current shed is 8m x 4m, with a 2.1m high ceiling (to the lower beams).  Shed width is a critical factor – not just the square metreage. 4m is ok, but 6m would be more desirable.  This allows machines to line the walls (those that suit that location), and still provide plenty of room between them for work, manipulation of stock etc.

Length then is as much as possible for maximum area – the more wall space the better too – I ran out a way back!

Height – 2m is a minimum, but I found I was regularly banging stock into the beams.  2.4 – 3m would have been better (as in total clearance).


The doors on this shed were a good size – about 2m across (when both were opened).  It would have been better if I hadn’t had to block one of the two for the bandsaw, and would have been preferable if I hadn’t had to consider out and through the doors as space for some of the tools outfeed!


She’s solid – no doubt about that, and with society as it is, nice to know things are locked away.  However, one point is lighting, which is the next category.


I ran 10x double fluorescent tubes in the workshop, and as there were no external windows or skylights, this was the only source.  These have been good, but more would have been better.  Daylight for example!  With the new shed going to be directly opposite the house, having some windows would be ideal, and the ability to open part of the side of the shed (roller door).  There is a limit of course – the more windows and doors, the less wall space.


I struggled along for quite a while with power being provided to the shed via an extension cord, but things really improved once I had a decent amount of power bought directly in.

2x 15A, plus 3x 10A circuits.  I made the mistake of using the ready-wired plugs from Bunnings for the 10A supply (wired into the supply by the electrician).  These had their own circuit breaker on each line that was forever tripping.  Running too much on the same circuit, and some being machines that needed the full 10A when under high load.  The circuit breakers on the GPOs tripped at 10A at best, if not before  Normally, circuit breakers do allow some overcurrent before tripping, but these seem to be right on the limit.

You can never have too much power.

Temperature control:

It was always either way too hot, or way too cold out there.  Insulation (and installed during construction) is mandatory!  Additional temperature control in the form of air con or heating would be a definite added bonus.  I tried a gas heater, but that posed a number of problems.  For cooling, I didn’t want to use evaporative – too much cast iron and too much timber to want to change the workshop moisture levels.  When I did give in, it was very ineffective (portable units don’t cut the mustard).  One way or the other, if it is not a comfortable environment, you can loose so much shed time by not wanting to be out there.  Shed time can be hard to come by, and you can’t afford to throw it away because the weather is too hot, or cold!

So that is a first pass – I’m sure there is much more that I can glean from the existing shed to build into the new design.

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