Shop rebuild 2010=Part 1

'new' shop

    This small Arrow metal 'shed' was erected bout 1988 to be utilized as a shop. Approx. 9'-6" wide by 8'-6" deep, gambrel roof was 7'-6" height at center with 5'7" door and sidewall height.

    'new' roof


    'New' shop plan

    Somewhere in this process of trying to resolve issues with the 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.

    Well in order to accomplish I need to give some serious thought to it and think it thru. Major hurdle obviously is the practicality of actually lifting the shop off old floor. I think its possible, but I need to verify at least in theory that building new floor under building doable-and more importantly that the building can be split, rear wall moved away and reassembled. I'm seeing as 3 interconnected but separate tasks. I don't want to pursue details of how to lift task, which will require help, unless rebuilding is actually plausible.

    So- Assuming building can be lifted/moved I'm laying out foundation & floor. Worst case, can't lift building intact or can't use to rebuild and will build an entire new shop. So tape in hand I laid out floor and what would be required generally, using existing building- size I want it to end up and restriction of the space I have as parameters. Also designing so that building isn't simply setting on floor but sealed to perimeter foundation and floor inside-. I assumed maybe 4' addition but just not enough room. Even at 3' it will put back of building to far into driveway. Would allow use of 4' wide material and have lap material. But maximum I can go, still open car door, is about 20". Doesn't seem worth while, Unless...I can MOVE the building. Measuring- it would eat up area in front of shop between it and house that I actually work in-but if I could move the building 16" still would be 8' between. Going into driveway 20" would give me 36". That would work..hmm lift AND move the building...

    Next I looked at the building. Assuming foundation is resized longer than building currently is, what would it take to cut the building separate and reassemble. Cutting is simple-sawzall and air cut-off wheel. Just need to look at where cuts are so that building lends itself to being reassembled. What it needs to be stabilized until reassemble and what reassemble would involve. The buildings wall strength and rigidity to hold up roof are the bent corner panels. So those need to stay with end of building, other wise Ill need to frame in rear wall. Became quickly apparent slice the entire building 6" from the outside rear wall. Would divide all of the wall and roof panels in half for a flat surface to attach siding. It would leave 6" of rafters stubbed out for reattachment. Once walls are spliced together with siding replace the side wall top 2x4's that were added for real roof with a continuous piece. Tie mid wall brace together. Looks fairly easy-a lot of detail and piecework. But bottom line, I can build new floor that will work, building can be split. Ill approach some friends with more specific details of what I'm doing and get some brainstorming on how to lift and move the building to accomplish the rebuild.


    Now that I have a direction it's detailing. Floor is first. New floor on concrete perimeter footing, Umm footing incorrect-concrete pavers. Design went thru a few design changes. Mainly since I'm building it will not have floor running to outside edge with building setting on top as before. I am extending building 36", from approx. 8'-6" to 11'-6" depth, raising height of walls would also be nice. So perimeter will be 4" X 6" pressure treated beams lag bolted together. As building is 9'-6" wide Ill run floor joists length wise but add a 4" x6" splitting length. Floor joists will only be about 5'-6" span. Hang pressure treated 2"x4"'s joists 12" on center. Using 3/4" plywood for floor I'll set the tops of joists below top of perimeter so 3/4" plywood will be flush. On top of the 4x6 adding 4"x4" around perimeter. 4"x4" flashing to cover top, The building will set on this giving me an additional 3 1/2" wall & ceiling height.

    shop floor

    For the time being Ill have to step over 4x4 and sliding door track-Once building is complete, which wont be for a while, Ill go back, cut out section of 4x4 and metal wall/door track at door. This will make threshold flush, does require & part of long term plan is to remake doors into external sliders. Detail to be worked out. But will give me a total of 72"ht door opening! Not rolling stuff over slider threshold nice, more importantly no more water running into building

    The execution

    With plan in hand, oversimplifying what will be involved in cutting and reassembling building I convinced several friends to help me raise the building. Not only do I need to lift building to rebuild the floor but I also need to move it. The planned 36" addition will stick into driveway too far. Need to move it 16" so the extended back can still be driven by. I saved that part for last as I approached friends for assistance.

    Surprisingly they eagerly agreed to help me try to lift. I assume they all thought it would fail and wanted to be here to watch. When I mentioned we're also going to be moving it I got some chuckles till they figured I was serious. Between 4 of us we devised a plan. Which was to wrap the building with 2x8"s at the midway point on walls, screwing thru the mid wall brace into it. Cross brace interior. The 2xs on sides of building would extend 24". At the ends of protruding 2x8 we would notch and bolt 4x4s bout 24" long straight down. To these attach what ever required insuring they would not move. (Which ended up quit few more 2xs going back to building some plywood gussets to stabilize). Anyway under the ends of 4x4s we would use floor jacks to lift. Simple! Everyone felt it would work as far as lifting. Once lifted-crib it place, remove jacks and then remove floor. Then lay some plywood down and try to roll it 16" on the floor jacks. That part no one had confidence in but agreed to try.

    Borrowing an enclosed car trailer I moved the contents of my shop. Wow I've a lot of crap... I boxed everything and moved it into trailer. Once I had contents out, moved the benches, cabinets and drill press with some help. 9x10 building filled the 8x20' trailer!

    One of my friends recently tore down a patio and we were going to use that material for the lifting structure. My neighbors never mentioned or asked what I was doing-I can only imagine what they must have thought. Hauling in tons of old lumber to use. I tried to leave out what tools I might need but invariably on a project like this was digging thru trailer. It took about 2 weeks from conception to lifting day with moving and couple of days building the 'Structure'. It was bizarre looked like Dr Suess got a hold of some old lumber and an erector set and built a rickshaw. Removed part of brick patio for room for jacks, scraped back gravel on the driveway side. Had every one over that would be involved evening before the 'lift'. Lay out what would be in store, make sure we had everything covered.

    Moving day

    Unfortunately and regrettably I have no pictures of this event or of the lifting structure.

    Bright and early everyone shows up in one truck with and old army trailer full of floor jacks. Trailer will be left for me to use to fill with trash and old floor.
    We positioned the jacks at the 4 corners, we had a spare jack for each end of building. With 5th person acting as coordinator and relay we began to engage the jacks. Once all were loaded the lift began. Right from the start coordination wasn't working so back down it came. It was decided to incrementally only lift one end of building at a time. When trying to do all 4 corners building tried to shift-to hard to control. Between jack and operator speeds, trying to adjust for 3 other jacks wasn't working. With 2 operators focusing only their jack and each other went a lot smoother. So we proceeded. Lifting one end of building 1/4", then the lifted other end. We got it up to about an inch and it got real, very real. Plus we were having issues with one jacks base. It was next to old existing garage foundation, we used 2x6 as there wasn't room for plywood but they were sinking and jack stating to lean, Though 80 years old the fill/ground there just would not take weight. Needed to make some better support over larger area. So we took up another 1/2" added some blocking on either side of sinking jack. then lowered building until we could remove jack. placed some longer 2x6s repositioned jack. That worked.

    Building only needed to be raised at this point enough to clean out old floor. Then on another day move building forward then raise at height to allow building new floor. Having it up on the jacks everyone decided mutually and almost simultaneously that the plan is changing. We should clean out old floor, move & raise building in one push. No one felt after seeing building swaying 6" off the ground leaving even overnight a good idea. Once building moved the cantilevered legs could be extended and braced securing the building at raised height for however long it took to build new floor. In agreement took the 5 of us about 30 minuets to fill the trailer with old floor. Cribbed the building at it raised height and removed the jacks. Laid longer 'tracks" of 2x6 to allow moving the building. I calculated a needed final height of 12" would suffice for constructing new floor, Mike said-ok 14" it is.

    It took us about 20 minuets to slowly roll the building forward 16". Went smoothly, however any perceptible speed jacks would try to wander off track but more the building would start to flex at floor plate perimeter. It ended up front jacks were used to pull the building with only enough pressure applied to rear jacks to follow. Once it was finally in location took a break before lifting. With as much movement we had with the jacks only raised a few inches we realized that once raised building would be dancing so preparation was needed to minimize the time it was on the jacks. We quickly cut material to extend the cantilevered posts and some blocks to attach. With everything ready went lifted. Oh that was sketchy. Once at height we threw some blocks under walls to catch the building if something went awry. Screwed on legs extensions, added some braining, then slowly lowered building until legs were on temporary concrete pavers. We left the jacks in place. We did rack the building to get close to square then added a lot more bracing and a bazillion more screws until it was felt that the building couldn't move. removed the jacks.

    WOW the great shop move DONE! Start to finish it took us a lil over 5 hours. However building is moved-lifted so I can build new floor and the old floor/debris gone! I don't think anyone anticipated how much, though not physically, it would take. Once the shop left the ground the sheer focus and concentration and single-minded interaction of 5 guys acting as one, we were exhausted. At any moment could have been a disaster and only thru that effort were we successful-and it wasn't until we were done did any one realize the effort being applied. Spent couple of hours backslapping and general winding down, it was good. Gathering up tools everyone went home to share their stories. I sat for quite a while inside my shop, elevated above the dirt.-Pondering what was in store, planning the reconstruction- nice to see the plan worked and shop moved. This just might really work. But more the shared effort of 4 friends over those few hours will likely be something I will remember for a very long time.

    On to the rebuild...

    Shop rebuild 2010 Continued

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