Shed Layout

Going to throw it out there – if you are interested in helping me design the shed layout, I’d be most interested in your ideas!

To start, these are the shed dimensions.  The location of the roller door is pretty much fixed (won’t fit anywhere else), but all other doors and window can be shifted at this stage.  There needs to be one door accessing the rear triangular area, and I do want a door accessing the back of the shed.

Finalised Shed Design

Finalised Shed Design

Inside, there are columns to compete with, which are fixed in place.  The slab design shows a pillar directly in the middle of the roller door, but I am doubting that is actually needed!  Pretty pointless if it is – if this shed was for a vehicle, you’d have to split the car (or boat) in two to get it inside!



The door in the 9’10” wall only needs to be in one of the two 9’10” walls, move as suitable!

I’ve been using the Grizzly Shed Designer website – if you know of something better, I’d be keen to hear!

This is one design I have come up with, but I’m sure it isn’t as good as it could be.

Shed Layout?

Shed Layout?

So some specifics.  The tablesaw is the TS10L (discontinued), and has a long wing on the right.  It needs in and outfeed, but also room to the lefthand side for long items (at least until I get a Kapex). There is a router table which is about 680mm wide, and 1000mm long.  Infeed and outfeed is across the shorter width, as the Incra LS Positioner extends down the length.

There is a workbench – 1500×800, and the Torque Workcentre 2500×800 (the lathe on top of the workbench represents the overhead arm).

A 15″ thicknesser, a 6″ longbed jointer, a drill press.

There are 2 bandsaws, one a 17″ Carbatec which is used for resawing, and a 14″ Jet for small items (no outfeed required).

A Triton spindle sander, and a disk sander/linisher.  There are three lathes showing.  One is the DVR XP, one is the Nova Comet II, and the third is a Jet Mini, but this one will be used to hold three buffing wheels, so is part of the sanding section.

As far as the rest, I’m not showing any timber storage as it will either be on the mezzanine, or stored elsewhere.  The dust extractor and air compressor will be in a nearby shed, and can either be located in the triangular section (top left), or at the back, or alongside the shed at the right – your choice.  I’m not showing any storage at the moment – either suggest what you will, or have a look at older photos of the workshop to see what I have been using in the past.

So that’s the general scope – questions to refine the issues welcome.  Hope someone can come up with a plan that really works!


10 minutes to midnight

Since 1947, a theoretical clock has been maintained indicating how close the world is to global disaster.  When I was younger, it was purely based on the threat of a nuclear war, and in my lifetime, got within 3 minutes of midnight. (1984).

In my head, I have been maintaining another clock – one that is set for the arrival of a new shed.  For the past few months, it has edged closer, slipped back, up, and down.  Overall though, it has been trending in the right direction and it is slowly getting ever closer.  You may be thinking you keep hearing about the shed and its lack of arrival – but think of it from my perspective!

However, having made it to the 10 minute mark, I have started daring to really visualise the shed, inside and out.  Not just planning it and the practicalities of moving the project forward, but really visualising what it will be like to stand inside, looking around for the first time.

I met (again) with a company a couple of weeks ago to progress the plan (as mentioned a few posts ago).  The design I had was close, but the diagonal section was just too difficult and would prove more of a roadblock than it was worth.  So that section was cut loose.  I will still make use of the corner – after all it is still 4.5m2, but whether I fill the roof in myself, or add a sail or sim, or use it as a mini shed courtyard, I’m not quite sure yet.  The courtyard idea is actually kinda appealing!  Especially with a bit of bar furniture………  Perhaps that sail may be a good idea!

Talking about visualisation, I have also updated the scale drawing of the design to reflect the latest (and pretty much locked in) final dimensions.  Additionally, I have added some colour to it, not necessarily the final colour (that aspect does not have to be locked in yet – wait until 7 minutes to midnight for that!), but these colours are close.  Classic cream walls, Ironstone roof and doors.

I like the doors that colour, just not fully convinced about the roof.  Looks good, but still have a niggling concern that it might attract a bit much heat (despite the insulation that will be included).  Anyone had any practical experience, particularly in a high-roofed shed?

The light-grey coloured sections are either windows, or skylights depending on location.

Finalised Shed Design

Finalised Shed Design

Continuing the design process

Working with the Shed A design, I have played around with the proportions, and have come up with a design that increases the floor area from 48m2 to 50.5m2, plus the triangular addition for a total of 55m2 (not counting any mezzanine).  The mezzanine would have its floor at around 3m up, so would only provide storage, not working space.  Even so, that storage area would be another 22m2.  Along with a drop-down stair, it would also need some form of basic hoist to lift machinery up through a trapdoor (presumably nothing over about 50kg). Of course, could go the old school method and have the hoist on the outside at the top-centre, through an upper door, but that would be more trouble than it is worth!


This photoshopped image isn’t to scale, but it gives a bit of an idea, particularly around the back.


Click on the image to see a larger version.

As far as designs go, this one isn’t too bad to my mind.  The diagonal section runs along the fenceline, the long side on the right runs along the easement.  The easement itself can still be a timber storage, and somewhere to park the trailer.

(For those playing at home, this is the original image that I photoshopped.  I wasn’t aiming for perfection, just a reasonable photo-like result.)



It has been very quiet around here….too quiet (just to roll out that Dead Horse Trope). Unfortunately, unlike the movies, I have no idea if things will suddenly burst into action or not.

I’ve been getting quotes, checking them twice, working out who’s naughty and who’s nice.
Been comparing shed manufacturing companies, and my local retail franchises, and there are big differences in some areas (such as attitudes, willingness to work through designs etc), and very little in others (such as available design options, and cost). I’m not mentioning company names here- this isn’t a name and shame.

I took one design back yesterday to one company, and wanted to see how much cheaper it would be to not do an American barn, with all the doors I originally planned, and go with an Aussie Barn- much lower design, no mezzanine, minimal doors and the price barely changed- about $1000 cheaper.

So this says to me that the decrease in height of 1/2 a metre across a 9 metre length of shed, (total about 12 m2) including all the support beams that decrease, and all the insulation, less 9m in guttering, the cost of a 10 m2 mezzanine, less 3 personal access doors and 2 windows, all added together is only $1000. The erecting cost was unchanged. Wow. Perhaps I should take the American barn, and add an additional 1/2 m in height, more mezzanine, more access doors etc etc. Would the price go up only another $1000? And no difference in erecting cost?

When I queried the lack of difference in price, the response was “I’m only quoting what the software tells me”

I was looking at decreasing the design to minimise cost- I thought I would make a lot of compromises to see how much difference it would make. Very disappointing.

So I then looked at what I could get if my total project budget was capped at $10k. With me erecting the shed, and without even factoring in the cost of lighting, I could not replace what I previously had (which we know was becoming unworkable). You don’t know what you had until it is gone.

I am finding it very difficult to find things to write about, as you would have noticed in the decrease in output. And all this back and forth is very draining. However, without a shed for Stu, there is no Stu’s Shed. And that is not an option I enjoy contemplating. It is a very frustrating situation.

Shed Concept

An appealing shed design!

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.

Self-Centering Domino Jig

At last-year’s Festool press day, they ‘officially’ announced the DTS Engineering multistop jig as being a Festool product, despite it continuing to carry the DTS Engineering logo, which I found very unusual (it is either Festool, or it isn’t, irrespective of the product’s development source).  Might be a bit of a pet niggle, but so be it.

Note – there is a lot of information from the manufacturer in the comments, that has both clarified the information, and shown some from Festool (Aust) was fundamentally wrong.

Multistop Jig

One of the big problems, and the reason I never bought one, was the negative press I was hearing, from multiple sources.  I haven’t had an opportunity to try one out for myself to substantiate the concerns, but the opinions of experts was enough for me. 

After discussions with RTS, I am going to fully reserve any opinions until such time as I have had an opportunity to give both versions a full review of my own.  You, my constant readers expect more from me than hearsay, so I will endeavour to fill this gap in my knowledge.

Roll around 2012, and the new Domino XL has arrived, complete with a significantly superior multi stop system built in.

Bit hard to see – haven’t gotten a larger photo to show, but the new system is brilliant, and I look forward to (and hope dearly) that it will be a system (or at least the concept) that can be  retrofitted to the standard Domino.


In the meantime, DTS have come up with an innovation for their product that has the critics reaching for their wallets. It will fit both the original Domino, and the XL version.

Self Centering

It is getting good feedback, and looks tempting! The jaws are interconnected- move one, and the other moves the same amount in the opposite direction. I really need to give one of these a workout for myself!

It is designed for referencing from the edge of boards only- you cannot use it to reference from one mortice to the next.

From underneath, you can see the working mechanism.

Clever, simple, good engineering.  My sort of product!

Not sure of price (at a guess, you’d get some change from $200), but something worth keeping an eye out for.

Update: These are retailing at $199 (not a bad guess eh!!) Available here from Ideal Tools.

The Transformers are Coming

Run for your lives! Or embrace the fact that your house could increase it’s effective floor area 20-50%!

The comments on YouTube revolve around cost – how much it is compared to conventional furniture, but my thought is: you are not buying a more expensive piece of furniture, you are buying additional square meterage of floor area in the home!

There are some bloody clever people out there.

Ikea, eat your heart out!

Engineering Acumen

If woodworking was a religion, what I am about to say would almost be regarded as heresy, and be grounds for excommunication.  For those offended by the word which is also regarded as the baddest of the four letter words, I am sorry, but… it goes:


There – I’ve said it.

Their engineers are bloody clever.  No – seriously.  I have been spending the day putting together some for the home (yes – I can hear the inquisition approaching) and it isn’t furniture designed by designers – it is by a team of engineers.  Everything from the materials, to the packaging, to the break down into a flat-pack that can be assembled with the same techniques used across the product range, the inter-connectivity of different items.  It is all very impressive.  Functional rather than aesthetic, but impressive never-the-less.

Even looking at the current version compared to some assembled a year or so ago (yes, I have been tempted into sinning before), and seeing how they have subtly tweaked the products, eking out the tiniest savings, manufacturing just that tiny bit smarter, substituting materials for cheaper so long as the overall quality of the product is maintained.

It may not seem worthwhile changing a connector that used to be metal for one that is plastic, or another that was all metal to one that has a plastic sheath saving a minuscule amount of material cost, but even Volkswagen used to do the same.  One engineer (way back when) suggested substituting their original steel(?) screws in one part of the car for brass, and the cost saving of a few cents per screw saved the company around $1 million.  (They mush have used a LOT of screws!) As was their practice then of awarding 10% of the profit to the person who proposed an idea that saved the company money, it was a simple thought that made his bank balance swell a mild $100k.  I wonder if IKEA uses the same incentive practice?  Certainly one way of generating continual cost saving innovations.

Pity the local store doesn’t employ a few though: supplying heavy duty trolleys with wheels that are designed to engage the tread of the moving walkways and ramps (none of which are in the store), and those wheels therefore run on two small disks of tread, which quickly collapse under a relatively mild load.  Products not in the right location in the warehouse that the staff give you attitude about if you don’t realise they moved it to their “special sale for the week” area.  Being sold products that you’ve been told are compatible, but find could never be.  From the lofty heights of engineering design superiority, to the lowly depths of typical modern customer service.  At least the Swedish meatballs in the food court are awesome….if you can get through the sight-seeing crowds of “tourists” that seem to visit IKEA just for the ambiance, and a cheap weekend feed.

But be warned – it is a slippery slope to embark upon.  I fear it is too late for me, may my punishment remind others of the evils of treading the path of a heretic.

“quoniam punitio non refertur primo & per se in correctionem & bonum eius qui punitur, sed in bonum publicum ut alij terreantur, & a malis committendis avocentur.”

More Toy Designs

Not sure what other designs you have already seen of mine, but at the risk of repeating myself:

Kid's Blackboard
Kids Blackboard

The last 3 are all playhouse furniture, and obviously the last 2 have already been built (if you look at photos of past projects on this site).  The images (and my specific designs) are copyright fwiw.

All done in CAD, so getting dimensioned plans is a pretty simple step from here.  All modeled directly in 3D

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