Our Shop history and the 'rebuild'

'new' shop

    Just a bit of history & more, thought mostly for my own entertainment, documenting a bit of the past leading to rebuild of current shop in 2010. At this writing, Its now 3 years later 10/2013...Recent addition of a couple of tools caused me to stop-like most a working shop, if only as a matter of convenience gets cluttered, but at some point start losing ground. I had more than doubled storage but my workbench was becoming a shelf- of piles. Trying to do something meant moving a bunch of crap, So cleaning and reorganization in order. I'm in the midst of adding some more storage and was going to document a couple of shop modifications but decided to start from the beginning. Primarily for my own entertainment, 1st few pages my effort will be to try, from memory record events leading to its current state as far as construction. This index page will link all other pages shop rebuild related.
    Link to index at bottom of page
    Or read on for brief history, looking back from today October 17, 2013.

      1969-to mid 1971 shop consisted of 2 shelves on the back porch. Course all I had were a few miscellaneous odd accumulated old hand tools, coffee can of used nails and screws, shoe box of used plumbing fittings. Old house necessitated learning some basic wiring , plumbing and carpentry.

      1971 to mid 1975 shop was moved into a 14"x14"x36" wooden box. Carried it to several different places we lived. I still have the box. It contained my 1st power tool, a 1/4" B&D drill, then a used power saw, hammer, few more odd tools I collected and of coarse coffee can full of used nails & screws. Those few years I learned to do quite a bit, and that sometimes stuff doesn't work as planned. It's amazing to me looking back on what I was able to do with so few tools. Remodeled old house-got a 51 panel truck back on the road that had sat abandoned for years. Seems that learning how to do something exponentially increase what you can do. Tools just make it easier but don't give you the ability. Though lack of tools can limit you. Thru necessity & desire, by the time we bought our 1st home wasn't anything I wouldn't try to do, self-taught I could accomplish bout anything I attempted, however crudely. Or would end in total failure-which were my greatest lessons. That if you don't try-regardless of how slim the chances, you will not succeed, and trying does not mean success. At minimum teaches how it might have been done or why it failed.

      1975 to mid 1984. This period I started acquiring quite a few more tools. I do remember getting my first electric jig saw, later a small sander. Also during this period is where I actually started learning how to do more beside fence building or putting a shelf up in the kitchen and general maintenance. With a bit more ability and knowledge-so the need for tools and what could be done if you had the tools. I was always limited in metal working- A side job gave me justification for buying an arc welder-whole new world opened up.

      This period of learning and tool acquisition also created the need for an actual place to work. Having an actual place to work-where tools & supplies were stored- the "shop" was born. I built workbenches from primarily used 2x4s from shipping PVC pipe crates, made the lower shelf from deck of old pool table. I had bought the 3/4 ply to do the tops-I recall how extravagant that seemed at the time. One 24"x6' and one 24"x8' table both 40" tall. They were bolted together giving me a 6'x6' front "L" that divided the garage in half. Back half for the washer, dryer, water heater, and general house stuff. Front half was the 'shop'. Later, to the table that divided garage I bolted on a 24" pegboard back with shelf, though useful I get tired of looking at Margaret's 'Laundry room'. To the tables I hard wired 110 receptacles and added a light under shelf. Everything in the was done with intent bench would go with me so it was built to be dissembled.

      1984- And they did, After using for about 10 years they sat in storage-no place to put them, when we moved back home-the house we started out in back in '69. Along with 2 bolt together 30"x16"x5' tall freestanding particle board cabinets that contained most of my 'stuff'.

      Shopless for a couple of years-having to dig thru storage when I needed something I ended up procuring a small metal shed to utilize as our shop. Our home doesn't have a garage or a place to build garage or shop. This small Arrow metal 'shed' was erected bout 1988. Approx. 9'-6" wide by 8'-6" deep, gambrel roof was 7'-6" height at center with 5'-7" door and sidewall height. (seems most newer ones are 5' door?). Course it was, I've since learned, a custom build for retailer. Anyway, My 2 existing workbenches that I had built for last house we lived in Just fit. Tops were 24" deep, one leg 8' the other 6' so gave me a 6'x6' inside L to work at. Cozy to say the least after having had a converted garage as shop. But having a shop again I was stoked and it has worked well.

      About 12 years later the roof was almost gone. Just rusted out. Looked at getting another building but moving everything out prompted me to look at putting an actual roof on it. Which we ended up doing. Actually quite simple. Wrapped upper wall perimeter in 2x6 on sides and 2x4 at ends, screwing the sheet metal to it. I extended over the door end about 18". Roof I used 3/8" OSB which the way the exterior metal roof trim is panels 'fit' on them. Lot of screws into existing metal roof rafters. Inside a lot more screws thru sheet metal panels into OSB. Once 'new' roof structure complete building was a bit more stable. However getting there was a bit sketchy. At the same time I cut a hole in the side and roof adding an opening skylight & side window. Flashed, papered and nailed on the shingles just like a real building. That was loud, my neighbors were probably more happy than me when I finished. Its been great, I can still work when raining, have a bit of protection over door. Quite a bit cooler when out. Spent a lot of time in the shop for many years.

      'new' roof

      Fast-forward another 10+ years. Poor shop is sinking into the ground. Floor, what's left rotting away. Understructure is gone-pretty much plywood is in the dirt. Placing stacks of 2x4s under bench legs trying to keep level. Water, because I built the shop on top of floor per instructions, has always been a problem and doors have always leaked. But just generally due to rotting floor, other than storage, couldn't do much in there, that and so much stuff I work outside. Shop needs replacing. I hate to lose the roof, but more room would be awesome. I looked for couple of months. Even wood ones but most too expensive, most metal ones to short. I was pretty close to buying a cheap building that was a bit larger floor but would need to be built on top of raised foundation to be able to stand.

    So that brings us up to 2010 as far as the shop. And in need of another shop because of floor that it sets on...

    Somewhere in this process of what to do with shop I started thinking "If I could just raise the shop I could build a new floor under it". And the thought wouldn't go away. Walls are still sound, roof is also. I could save or at least not start over as far as wiring. Keep my skylight & window, general appearance of building. I talked to several friends sharing a lot of reasons I'd like to save building-none of them made sense to them. Especially to Margaret. She really wanted to see me gain more room. Was apparent this was on me-regardless of the better thinking of others I formulated a plan, 1st raise the shop some how. Second is adding some square footage, if I could enlarge the building would justify the effort. This involved a lot of convoluted plans-cutting hole building, sticking on part of another shed-build a bump out was close to being finalized...but then it occurred to me "why not just cut off back of building and move it?". Doable, will take some thought tying back together-but why not?. Details...several vague ideas on how but will be more an 'as we go' plan. Enough I can proceed, try and come up with a way to lift the shop, enlarge replace the floor & foundation under it. Cut the building and rebuild to fit new foundation...Lot of imagineering to get some notion how it might work-few weeks later I sat the plan in motion

    The plan, the lift & move-the rebuild Continued below

Index of other pages, formulating a plan, raising & rebuilding, retro fitting new shop work area.