Monday, 16 May 2011

Dad's Daughter, Part 1: Shed and Shed Byproducts

I was busy busy last week! Monday started with ordering a basic overlap 7' x 5' wooden shed at to replace the 20+ year old one we inherited when we bought this house. It was, as they say in this neck of the woods, "knackered." I'd replaced the roof two years ago, which gave its demise a little reprieve (and another 5,000 spiders a place to call home), but we'd squeezed as much life out of it as we were going to and it was time to replace it.

What I wasn't expecting was to give me a delivery date of Saturday. They advertised an 8-10 day delivery time, so I had to beat cheeks and get a whole bunch 'o stuff done if I was going to be ready for its speedy arrival. But what really scared me was not knowing if I could actually pull off putting one of these puppies together properly. (I'm trying not to show too much of the wonky fencing I put up prior to the shed roof two years ago.)

I learned early on from my father that if you're not sure how to do something, you can do as much research as you want, but there's nothing like just jumping in and getting your hands on something to really understand what you're working with. My way to do that was to see how it was put up by, well, tearing it down! So, here's how it went . . .

old shed after replacing the roof two years ago
Monday Afternoon:
1.) Pulled everything out of the shed and drove a carload of recyclable items to the tip (dump).

2.) Ripped off felting (tar paper) and removed all but two screws from each roof board (8' x 3.25'), then asked Kpie for help to ease them down. These were still in perfect condition after two years, so I set them aside and imagined ways to use them while disassembling the rest of the shed panels.

1.) Finished breaking up the old shed panels – setting aside the door and any usable support beams that still had life in them – then tied all the boards into manageable bundles and fit them ALL in my tiny Vauxhall Corsa.

2.) Tearing the floor apart was a little more difficult than I'd anticipated. Waterlogged corners ripped apart easily, but water resistant MDF is one tough cookie and I had to rely on my little sledge hammer and crow bar to break the rest of it down into small enough chunks to fit into the spaces left in the car. Then it was off to the tip in Crawley.

3.) After a little lunch and a game of "kick the ball 'til I goes crazy" with Poppy, I began prying all the concrete slabs up to see what I had to work with for the foundation. The ground was incredibly sloped and uneven and it was easy to see why the shed had become so distorted in the end. I managed to level four slabs and decided to call it a day.

Wednesday & Thursday:
I love dreams. I woke up Wednesday morning knowing exactly what I was going to do with those roof boards. They were destined to become a new bike shed on the patio! A little sketch and some simple mathematics later and I had my jigsaw and drill out for the next two days. I'm pleased to say that every last bit of material (wood, old shed door, screws, hinges, felting, wood glue and paint), I'd either salvaged from the shed or tucked away from our recent loft conversion. I didn't have to go to the store for any bit of this!

weathershield undercoat – final colors to be decided

lid up and top half removable for easy access
The finished bike shed is large enough to fit two bikes diagonally, along with a few other bikey bits and bobs. The top half slides off for easy access and the hinged stand has a hook and chain just in case a gust of wind blows the lid back. (After getting smashed on the shoulder when a shed panel blew over on Monday, I thought a little safety paranoia wasn't such a bad idea.)  The handle is a piece of curved birch branch from the Ashdown. I'll take it off and varnish it while the final coat of paint goes on. We'll decide on colors in the next day or two -- update to follow.

new shed floor on concrete slabs
Back to filling and leveling the ground for those concrete blocks . . . BACKBREAKING WORK! But I gotter done and after a well-deserved cold one, home delivery tandoori king prawn jalfrezzi from our favorite takeaway, Ruchi, and a sound sleep . . .

Bright and early 6:55am delivery of our new flat-pack shed! These guys had started in Nottinghamshire at 2am and already made three deliveries by the time they got to us. They even helped me carry the roof board and floor panel down to the end of the garden. Nice.

corner pieces added after this photo was taken
I decided to give the neighbors a break and started assembling everything a couple hours later.  By the time Kpie returned at 3:30pm I had four walls up and we both put the roofing on together! All done by 6pm . . . and I don't need to explain that I couldn't move on Sunday. But hey, we've got a new shed/clubhouse. Stay tuned for paint and further clubhouse embellishments – including a cozy campfire spot.

And Dad, thanks for teaching me how to hit a nail when I was just knee high to a cricket ;-). A hammer for every grrl!!!

Check out my art and art byproducts at


Melanie said...

You are INSANE!!! I so wish Dad could see this blog post right this minute - he would be so proud of you Ray!!! LOVE YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!

ramey holsman said...

Thanks Melly :-) Please do show Dad when the come over next. Of course I was thinking about him the whole time I was doing it. I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH TOO!!