Stu’s Fair Dinkum Shed, 12 months on

But first, a bit on the past year to start.  After a promotion at work, time became even shorter than normal, which was reflected in the posting rate – especially in the second half of the year.  Hoping to improve that this year, and although I don’t expect to be able to achieve a post a day (which would be ideal!), I still hope to achieve at least 200 posts throughout the year, so something like 2 in every 3 days or so.

I still have two magazines to feed content to, so if you want some of the longer, build-oriented articles, they are in the pages of ManSpace magazine, and The Shed magazine.  There will still be build articles here as well of course, but magazines do add to the cash flow 🙂 Videos on the other hand are still the forte of the web, and what this site was originally set up for.  I am expecting a lot more video content to be made available this year, especially with the increasing maturity of my setup.

The main improvement that I want to bring in this year is video lighting.  The setup has good audio and video capture (2 cameras, plus a GoPro, and 2-4 Rode mics), but the lighting is yet to be addressed.  Stills photography is as well taken care of now as I can afford – decent 24MP camera, Zeiss lens and top of the line flash, but this will not be so apparent in the web content (99% of that resolution goes to waste on the web!)

And so to the shed.

It has been a really big 12 months, being just past the first anniversary of the new shed.  I thought I should look at the shed itself, and how it has held up in the first year.

The construction was completed 12 months ago as I mentioned, and before any equipment was moved in, the floor was given an epoxy coating using Shield-crete from Globak Woodcare.


So what do I think, 12 months on?  Other than the above photo having quite a bit of surface sawdust from a current project, the floor still looks awesome.  It has held up excellently, despite having heavy machinery dragged over it, things dropped on it, spilled on it, glue dripped on it.  Sure there are some marks on the surface where I have dragged large machines, but I could probably scrub them off if I could be bothered (it is a shed floor after all).  A few scratches that no surface would have resisted (not that I remember where they are, and they are not apparent even so), and a couple of areas that are chipped, but that is because what fell damaged the concrete underneath.  The surface itself is still fully adhering to the concrete, so my preparation and application was obviously appropriate!

In hindsight, I might have used a few less of the paint chips (my application wasn’t as even as I should have been), and I would have used a bit more of the antislip in the glaze finish.  In saying that, the surface is fine underfoot whether clean, dusty or wet.  Keeping it clean is easy, either with the dust collector, or a compressed air sweep (or the occasional broom). I might have gone with a darker shade, but that is purely aesthetics.

The shed construction has held up to the first 12 months without an issue – it is every bit as robust as it looks.

Shed-10 Shed-15

Those beams are solid!  The shed has had a few high wind days – not enough to really put it to the test, but there have been no signs of issue with what it has survived to date.  It is a superb structure – puts those lightweight sheds right in their place.  Granted there is a significant cost difference.  It is worth it.

The mezzanine has worked out well too – I haven’t managed to collapse it, and it is still storing a lot of gear up there.  No, sadly, I still haven’t finished unpacking.  That will be a work in progress for the next few years I suspect!

Shed-5 Shed-8

The attic stairs have been a good decision, as well as the crane and hoist.  I still need to lower the stairs a couple of inches – I’ll get to it one day.  Having a good amount of storage space has helped keep the main shed floor clear and available for the working machines.  Having a wood store alongside has been great as well, and although having access from inside the shed would have been better, it is a working solution.


Having a shed with insulation is significantly better than one without, but still, on particularly hot and or humid days, it is not the nicest place to work.  The standard insulation could really do with being kicked up a notch, or three.  I’m hoping to get some air con working in there at some stage, as well as a working pot belly for winter.  The temperature extremes (not that they are exceptionally extreme in Melbourne) is enough to be detrimental to the shed experience, so more work required in that area.

It really wasn’t installed very professionally – rough and messy at the edges, and the tape was slapped on rather than applied properly, so that has been coming adrift in places during the year.


As much as possible, and then add more.  The lighting I have, which is a really comprehensive grid of fluoros (2 per unit) is only just sufficient.  Once I replace the tubes I should get a better result.  Not that what I have there isn’t good, but there is room for improvement.

There are two areas where the design and/or construction is less than perfect.

1. Water leaks.

The windows on the mezzanine, and the roller door both let water in.  While the roller door could have been improved by having the slab slope away from the door, it would have been too risky to have that done before the shed went in, in case it wasn’t quite in the right place. I could grind it away after the fact, but a. it would look messy, and b. it would wreck the floor coating.  The bottom of the door doesn’t seal sufficiently against the concrete, especially in the corners.

The mezzanine windows are more of a problem.  Whether they are not well made, or not installed correctly I don’t know to say.  But any half decent rain with a bit of wind, and there is a bit of a waterfall.

Possibly the gaps have something to contribute.



Not very clear in the photo, you can just see light coming in at three of the five corners, and the other two are not immune either.  I have to silicone them up.  In saying that, I now do remember that I wasn’t confident on how the top corner of the roof ridge was finished, rain might be coming in there and running down the insulation, making the window look like it is leaking.  Again, it all points to poor assembly.


The other area that should be better is

2. The door.


I added the insulation to the door btw, which was a good move.  Not only decreasing a significant amount of heat that was coming through the door, but also makes it sound a lot less tinny when it shuts. (I would like to stop so much heat coming through the roller door too, if I knew a solution for that).

The door though – the lock/handle mechanism comes loose after a time, needing to be tightened.  And the door scrapes more and more over time on the jamb.  This is most likely because the frame holding the door is too flimsy, and bends a bit more each time the door is opened, especially if opened too far.  There is no active stop on the door to prevent it opening too far, putting pressure on the hinges and the surround, nor is there anything to stop the door slamming shut if blown by a light breeze.  Both of these can be rectified obviously.  But it should be part of the design, not an aftermarket feature that needs to be added.  Given the quality of the rest of the build, this is a small area which lets the otherwise near perfect score down.  Still, the door is 1000% better than the tin shed doors on the clip-together sheds that are out there.Shed-11

Extra features added:

Compressed air – RapidAir setup from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

Having air piped all around the workshop is awesome.  I never have to think where the closest air supply is – they are all to hand anywhere in the workshop.

The system does bleed a tiny bit of air, so when charged it does add a tiny amount to the background noise, and it doesn’t stay fully charged without the compressor topping up the pressure occasionally.  Not a big problem, unless I forget to turn off the air compressor – sure the neighbours love to hear it kick in, in the middle of the night!


People scoffed at the number of GPOs I put in.  Not only have I been vindicated, in a couple of areas I could do with even more!  The shed needed the number of points I put in – it was not a wasted effort (or money).  A couple more 15A points would not have gone astray either. (And although I still would love to have 3 phase, it isn’t proving a particular restriction, although I have had to let a couple of machines pass me by that would have been great purchases)

Dust Extraction.


The system seems to be working ok – manual blast gates are ok, and a lot cheaper than an automated system, but it is an extra step that has to be set up each time a machine is used.  Having the extractor on the mezzanine is also ok – it is causing quite a dust issue up there from a few leaks that have happened, so containing the extractor would still be a good move.  It is still in the way a bit of the stairs, and 2HP is underpowered for the size of the runs I have.  But it is coping to a certain degree – filled another bag just with the work done yesterday and today, so at least that is sawdust that is not all over the shed floor.  A bigger extractor would be preferable.

There are still areas needing improvements out there – a long (never ending) list.

The main ones (that I can think of at the moment):

Sell the TS10L tablesaw.  It is in the way, and not being used.  Same with a few other items, such as a Triton Router Table and some other Triton accessories

Upgrade the drum sander

Upgrade the drill press

Upgrade the linisher/disk sander

Add a spindle moulder

The Triton routers (primarily the one in the router table) could do with an upgrade at some stage.  Initially, the speed controller is pretty much dead and needs replacement.

Create a blade storage (tablesaw and bandsaw blades)


Make a better clamp storage


Find a more permanent home for the 3D printer, and the soon to arrive (hopefully!) CNC router


All in all, the shed is very functional, and plenty of things are being made out there, never as often as I’d like, but I can create something in a weekend pretty easily, from toys to furniture and everything in between.  And after all, a shed is a living space.  The day there is not something to improve, change, add, is the day the door is shut and locked forever.

The other addition 12 months ago was the SawStop tablesaw.  What an amazing machine that is.  The build quality is superb, it is a pleasure to use (and I just ran another 1/2 a km of timber through it today), and still that safety mechanism sits there quietly in the background.  I have the wheel kit to add to the saw which I really need to do asap, and I have one of their titanium blades to try out as well.  I definitely want to add the overhead dust extractor to it, and I can’t wait for the sliding table to become available!  Could have really used it today.


So that is the Fair Dinkum shed, 12 months on.  Overall, it is a solid tick of approval.  The shape works, even though it was a compromise for the shape of the block of land.  More floor space is always better, but that is always the trade-off. The mezzanine is a definite boon, and has really contributed to the shed remaining functional.

Shed-1A great home for Stu’s Shed.

Here’s to 2015, and what should be a great year ahead!

Episode 99 Epoxy Floor Treatment: Shield-crete

Episode 99 Epoxy Floor Treatment: Shield-crete

So what did I do in the shed today?

Nothing much. Unless you count surfacing the floor that is!




It took almost 4 hours, and almost every bit of epoxy from 3 kits (I might have had about 1m2 of epoxy left, if that. Either I went with a heavy coat, or the surface was significantly more porous after the acid etch. Not a problem- either way (and most likely both), it will be a better finish because of it.

I might have been a bit heavy handed with the paint flakes, but it is personal preference- either would be a good option.

Tomorrow I will apply the glaze, which will seal the vinyl paint chips in, while finishing off the floor coating (and it will have some non-slip agent stirred through- provided in the Shield-crete kit).

Video coming- once glaze is added to the footage recorded. Oh, and note to self- the GoPro does not change exposure settings during a video, so if you start a time lapse early morning when it is quite dark, the resulting footage will be too overexposed by 11am!

I would have stopped recordings during camera moves, but a. I didn’t know this fact before now, and b. while applying the epoxy, my hands became so sticky with epoxy (and paint chips!), if I had touched it, the GoPro would have become a permanent fixture!

Preparing for Shield-crete

Following on from the steps described yesterday in preparing the slab itself, I wanted to get the Deco-flakes ready, to ensure the coverage is as evenly distributed as possible.

I didn’t want to find myself going too lean at the start, and not being able to get as much coverage as would be possible, or to start too heavy and find myself running out at the other end.

The slab is already conveniently divided up into sections by the expansion joints, so I used this to calculate the area of each, and therefore what percentage of the slab each section is. There is one that is 25%, 2x 22% and 2×15%. No, that doesn’t come exactly to 100%, but I’m only throwing paint chips in the air!

Next, I took the content of 2 packets of flakes, plus a container of additional, and weighed it- came to 1600g.


Working that through means area 1 needs 400g, regions 2 & 3 needs 350g each and regions 4 & 5 needs 240g each.

Again, not quite 1600g, but close enough.

A light coating of flakes is 25% coverage, a good coating around 50%. Without calculating it exactly, I am around the 50% mark.



After separating the flakes out be weight into separate bags, labelled for each area, it was time to do a dry run.

I took a bag of one smaller region out to the shed, and doing the “throwing handfuls up in the air so it falls like snowflakes” technique, I got to a. practice! and b. see what the coverage looked like.


Not too bad- perhaps a little denser than I want, but close enough that I can judge it as I’m going, and I now know what a reasonable dispersion looks like.

That was all swept back up, rebadged, reweighed and topped up (about 15g lost- either not fully swept up, or now stuck on the wall ledges!)

So that is all ready for tomorrow morning.

Post Build

Kind of surreal, having the shed actually built.  I won’t say complete, because we all know a shed is never truly finished – there is always something more to do!

I can’t wait to start moving the machines and tools in, but I have to be patient just a little longer.

Firstly, I want to finish the floor, and as much as I would like to rush it, I am resisting so I can focus properly on it and do a good job.  So far I have acid etched the concrete so the epoxy can bond to it properly.  A day later (after the builders had left, and it was dry), it got a really good sweep, as there was a very apparent layer of loose concrete dust on the surface after the etching.  Surprising in one way – the acid seemed to do so little at the time, but not only was it really obvious the next day, a drip test demonstrated that a waterdrop now readily penetrates the surface, where it didn’t before the etch.

It is still as flat and as smooth as it was before, so the quality is unchanged, just the surface is now ready to bond to.

Next, it has been given a degreasing wash, using the caustic powder mixed with water that was supplied with the Shield-crete.  This was scrubbed vigorously across the floor (which made it evident it was still a bit dusty), then hosed and scrubbed off.  I then used a broom to sweep surface water off, and by the end of that, the water being brushed out of the shed was looking decidedly cleaner.  The surface is now clean enough to eat off!

Finally, I took the yard blower I have (Stihl) which can produce over 200km/hr wind, and used it to systematically blow the remaining surface water out.  Specific concentration was given to the expansion joints that had been cut, to ensure water was not pooling there, as I had noticed previously that a band about an inch on either side of the cut remained damp after even a warm day.

That was left to dry for the day.  I had a quick look tonight, and it has dried as I wanted, so the slab is now ready for the 2 pack epoxy to be applied, just as soon as there is enough light, and I have enough time, and energy to do it!  One way or another, it takes 3 full days to cure (you can walk on it after 24 hours), so there will not be any tools moved in this weekend.  I know – frustrating, but the ends definitely justifies the (painful) means.

It isn’t like I will be idle this weekend though.  After 24 hours, the glaze can be applied to the floor, so that is one thing that will keep it moving forward, and I need to get the downpipes connected to the stormwater so I can get the final building inspection signed off.  I’d like to get this done by Wednesday (the signoff that is), so I can get on with things.

Then, it will be a matter of getting the red-tongue I need for the mezzanine floor, as that will be used to make the path to bring the heavy machines from the garage to the shed.  That is a day worth waiting for!



Acid Etch

Thought I’d better explain that last timelapse video!

While talking with Michael – a friend who visited today, we were looking at the instructions for the Shield-crete, and specifically at what was needed to prepare the surface.

Although the concrete slab is brand new, it was finished almost too well, and was really polished smooth by the multiple helicopter applications.  What we found was a drop of water had difficulty penetrating the surface, not because it had been sealed (it hasn’t), but it was too smooth.  For the sake of a small job, it was worth giving it a quick acid wash to make the surface a little (microscopically) rougher so the Shield-crete could key into it better for a more durable finish.

I headed down to Masters and bought the rollers etc that I will need when the time comes, a cheap bucket, a $3 broom, and 5l of hydrochloric acid ($12).

After clearing the floor and wetting it down (according to the (brief) instructions on the HCl container), I watered down 1 litre of acid with 10l of water.  This was then applied to the first section of the floor, where it steamed and bubbled (you can see that in the video – it is the very white areas that appear just after the acid is poured on).

The broom is used to brush the acid around, and when it stops bubbling, the job is done and the residual is hosed off/watered down.  This was then repeated for each square (so I could keep track of where I was up to).  Had no idea how much to buy- turns out it was exactly the right amount.  1l of acid + 10l water for each 10m2.

Now this is done, the floor is ready for the next stage, which I will do once construction is completed (tomorrow!!)

Episode 99a Floor Treatment – Acid Etch

Episode 99a Floor Treatment – Acid Etch

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