The New Shop – It’s Electric!

With the doors and windows squared away except for trim, and waiting to see what the roof is going to do, the time is right to start working on power. This is about the time in the project where things slow down again for a bit. Money, schedule, and diligence demand this. I get one shot to get all the power locations set up the way I want it. Once the walls are up, it becomes much harder to adjust.

The power will come in at the corner to the left of the door, closest to the house. There will be two inlets to run two different circuits – one for the high draw tools, one for low draw tools. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s close. The theory is that all the tools that I would use one at a time would be on one circuit, the high draw circuit. These are tools that have high draw amperage, at least on startup. The table saw, miter saw, etc. The other circuit would be for smaller, more numerous needs. Lights, battery charging, etc. The goal is to have both circuits available around the shop so that anything can plug in to anywhere. Both runs of Romex will go from this entry point to the left of the door, all around the shop, to the right side of the door. The two different circuits will have outlets together, about three sets per wall.

I based this on the above layout, but it should work with any layout. The first pair of outlets will be behind the drill press and bandsaw. The second pair will be above the MFT, and the third pair on that wall will be below the far window. This set, and the first two on the back wall, are a bit superfluous, really installed for any future purposes. More for hooking up on occasional use if needed around the MFT or workbench. The third set on the back wall will be used for battery charging, accessory use, or the TV and computer.

The right wall is the huge power need. The miter saw, router table, and table saw are all hooked up permanently to the high draw outlets. The jointer gets hooked up when it gets pulled out for use. The planer will probably get hooked up to the MFT outlet when in use. There will also be some accessories or such plugged into the low draw outlets at the back corner. In the front right corner will be the air conditioner/heater (depending on season) and air cleaner.

The light circuit will be controlled by a switch to the left of the door (as you were looking in) and the circuit will immediately go up and through the floor joists to two, three, or four outlets in the ceiling. This will allow me to use plug-in or hardwired lights and have even coverage along the joists. There will also be a switch either to the left or right of the door to control the dust extractor. I may eventually use a remote, but this will serve as a master switch for it. It will be located above the door, as my dust needs are at the front of the shop. The air compressor will be in a TBD location in the attic, and there will be a branch going up where I need it. There will also be a branch going up that will handle a single outlet and light. The outlet will be for using the grinder, and a future CNC if I go in that direction.

With the plan worked out, I started putting up outlets and pulling wire this weekend. I imagine this will probably take a week or more of pulling more wire and doing the actual wiring. I’m also going to use this time to do some cleaning of both shops, and hopefully getting a bit closer to moving some stuff between shops.

The New Shop – Doors and Windows

With the roof (seemingly) fixed for leaks, the interior dried out, and things in general looking good, it was time to turn my attention to other details. The first order of business was to make a door so that security could be addressed. Plus, I didn’t care to come in one day and find a family of raccoons.

I don’t know if these doors will stick around for a long time, but I did need something now. It’s possible I make something a bit more fancy with windows down the road when my tools are fully accessible. But for now, something simple would work. I made a frame for the doors out of dimensional lumber. I used 2x4s all around except for the mating area, where I used 2x6s. This is for the locking mechanism to have enough wood to sit into securely. The frames went together with 10×50 sipo Dominos, with screws to act as a temporary clamp.

With the frame done, it was time to start thinking about a cover, and how that would interact with the rest of the exterior. I had thought about plywood T1-11, but at the last moment went with a composite panel with a redwood texture. It has a fiber back, which is claimed to not need paint, but I painted the bottom of it anyway. I may continue to do the same for all the lower level panels, just for extra protection from rain splash.

For this stage of the project, I just needed two panels. I decided to put the edge of the panels on the door edges, so the remainder of the panel would go up on the wall above and beside each door. The trick would be to get everything lined up. I cut the first panel a bit oversize for the door, which you may see in the pictures. This is the right door, which will be the seldom used door just like it is in my current shop. This will be the door I open only if I need to bring something large into the shop, or cut something wide or long on the table saw. Since I cut it large, I had to flush trim it up on the door. I used the under shiplap edge at the outer door edge, thinking that the opposite panel would overlay it and provide a bit of a stop.

When the panel was attached to the door (with some excess galvanized 10D nails), I installed the door temporarily to get an idea of where the panel needed to be placed on the wall. I installed it with standard framing nails via the gun, and had to flush trim it at the top of the door frame. I think I got it within an eight of an inch, just enough to notice, but there will be trim installed on both the door and above the frame, so it should be fine.

Here is a detail shot of the hinges.

They are advertised as a security hinge, not being able to be backed out. With my need for the doors to be outswing, this is important. I had originally wanted to just buy French doors with windows, but buying outswing is usually a special order and quite a bit more expensive. For the life of me I could not find reasonably priced solid double exterior doors either. Oh well, these doors are quite a bit less expensive, and they aren’t meant to be permanent.

I used the track saw on the other panel, which went considerably smoother and produced a better result. I was worried about the wear on the blade, which was really unfounded. I got a nice overlap above the door, which I hope to replicate on the door itself. With the doors mounted, it was time to work on security. I had wanted a regular lock and key from the beginning, so I bought a cheap set with a installation kit. It didn’t go that well, but the handle and lock did eventually get installed. I had to route out some on the back side to account for the door thickness, which I thought I had did well until nothing lined up properly. Then I made a mess of it, but oh well. Again, the door doesn’t line up 100% with the panel above, but the trim should disguise that well.

And proving that the shop is indeed pretty bang on level, the doors don’t do a damn thing when I open them. They stay exactly at the angle I choose. This is a huge improvement over what I have now.

I was able to buy all three windows on Saturday, along with a upper door lock and I set about installing them in the afternoon. All three windows went pretty much the same. I drilled a large enough hole at all four corners to get the reciprocating saw blade started, and cut out the rough opening. I cleaned up the cut with my handheld router and flush trim bit. This made a huge mess all over myself, and thankfully I had the foresight to equip the hearing protection, dust mask and safety glasses. Next time, I’ll have to add a hat. Maybe a smock, too.

With the rough opening ready, it was time to flash. I used the Zip tape per instructions, overlapping the tape at the lower edges and corners of the opening. The windows got a line of caulk around three sides (omitting the bottom for drainage), and it got set in the rough opening. I figured out that the windows needed to be raised up a bit, so I used a 1/2″ piece of ply as a spacer and manually set the horizontal spacing. Once set, I nailed the fins. Then more zip tape over the sides and top to complete the window. Something may leak, but it won’t be these windows. I now have three fully functional windows, one of which will house the air conditioner most of the time.


With the windows installed, it was time to work on the doors again. First step was to install a lock at the top of the right door. With my layout, the left door will again be the main point of entry, so the right door needs a solid stop and lock to rest against. I used a slide bolt entry guard that slides up into the header to keep the door from going anywhere. I drilled out a small hole where it attaches to allow it to slide up into the header more. On Sunday, I bought another one and installed it on the floor. I had to do this to get the door stable enough to completely install the door handle and deadbolt.

Getting the deadbolt and latch to seat in the right door was a fairly simple process made a bit more difficult due to some design choices. Since my door material overlaps a bit on the outside, I had to finesse the latch receiver with a hammer to get it to seat properly. Otherwise, some work with the drill and the chisel got the plates installed, and now I have a very secure new workshop. The doors are now complete minus the trim work. The windows are complete minus the interior trim and some foam. One window doesn’t really want to stay open, but thankfully that is the air conditioner window.


The New Shop – The move-in checklist

As evidenced by my multiple revisions to the timeline, there have been items that I have not taken into account or have forgotten about. I’m making this list/post as both a status update and a reminder of things I have to do.

  • Entry door
  • Windows
  • Seal gap between walls and roof
  • Attic ladder
  • Floor
  • Wiring/outlets/inlets
  • Insulation
  • Interior walls

Can be completed after move-in

  • Shingles
  • Exterior walls/trim
  • Entry ramp

I got up on the ladder today and got 95% of the roof issues addressed, best that I can tell. The box fan has also adequately dried out the attic floor, and I’m awaiting the next rain event to see if there’s anything else I need to address. In all likelihood, I will have to do the roof shingles before I move all my stuff in. I’m not sure the Zip sheathing will actually last the six months it is rated for as I’ve already seen some breakdown due to water.

The door is obvious to keep someone from stealing my stuff, and large critters from getting in. Once I can be assured that weather isn’t getting in, I can start planning the move in. I would like to have the floor complete before I move anything in, as well as the electrical. The insulation and interior walls can be worked around to some extent. Before I can move everything in the attic stairs has to be done, because my ladder to get up there is where the jointer and table saw will be.

Adventures in Home Updates – Bonus Room

A number of years ago we experienced a 500 year flood event. There was widespread damage, particularly around the river and creeks. We escaped damage except for one spot – our bonus room.

This room is a converted carport. When it was done, they used that nasty dark paneling and put in a fireplace with an oversized hearth, again going for darker brick. They put in a side entry door and a sliding glass door to the back patio. There is a wide picture window into the living room, and two steps up into the dining room. The room is carpeted.

When the flood event happened, we got through fairly unscathed except for this room. Water came through under the sliding door and soaked the carpet in almost the entire room. They did not level the concrete, so it is unlevel with the tilt down toward the front of the house. So we had to remove the pad underneath and toss it, but were able to save the carpet. Until recently. Our cats have torn it up completely near the sliding door, and on the one carpeted step.

We did seal under the door after the flood, and have had no more issues that way. Fixing some drainage issues at the patio have also helped. But we are at the point where the carpet needs to be replaced with something else. New carpet, laminate floor, or treating the concrete. I don’t prefer the latter. I’m hoping for carpet, personally, because I don’t know how the slant and undulations of the concrete will impact installation of laminate. The only issue is that the side entry is our primary entry point, and that carpet has worn and been dirtied substantially. Carpet might have to wait closer to a listing date.

I pulled the carpet off the step and replaced it with a solid wood landing. The step base is solid concrete, so I think this is my best course of action. I went with pine for cost, and have stained it close. Not perfect, but close. Unknown if I will eventually replace with oak and try again. I had to buy two steps and splice a 2″ section on with Dominos to get the width right, or I would have gone with oak to begin with.

The paneling thankfully was painted before we moved in, and we started to paint one corner where we had set up a LEGO world. The entire room needs to be painted again, although I’d really like to replace the panelling with drywall. Not sure it is worth the effort though. Probably going to primer it white and leave it be.

We have repurposed the LEGO table into a school table for the time being. I need to build some entry/mudroom furniture for storage near the side door. Speaking of the side door, it needs to be replaced completely. It looks like it has been kicked in at some point, and it only has a regular lock, not a deadbolt. It also doesn’t seal fantastically. The storm door is also in need of repair at the bottom, as one screw has broken. The sliding glass door needs a screen, as it has never had one. I want to do some better storage for our game consoles for the TV attached to the hearth. Something simple would work, just keep the creep down and hide some cables.

So the three big things for this room are paint, carpet, and replace the side door. I think otherwise this room doesn’t require much for sale.

The New Shop – After Irma

Irma has come and gone (at least for now), and it’s time to see what it has wrought. As noted in my last entry, there were several gaps in the roof where I could not get tape (because I ran out). It was also time to see how all the various small indentions from the nails held up through the rain.

Well, thankfully there doesn’t seem to be any wind damage. All the panels held up just fine, perhaps in large part thanks to how reduced the storm was by the time it rolled through. A 33mph gust was the highest recorded right around us. There is a bit of water still on the vertical panels, right at the bottom where splashback happens. It’s something to be aware of in future rain events, and I may employ tape, drip edges, or something else to keep water from soaking up into the panels. My temporary door block did just fine.

The real story is the roof. I was expecting water to come through, and perhaps even more came in than I realized. I checked yesterday, but there wasn’t much light. Today, armed with a lantern and actually going up into the attic, I saw just how much water there was. The half of the attic floor towards the house is soaking wet, and it spilled over onto the floor below. There is some good drips on the far side, where the panels came together, but nowhere near what the house side was. Thankfully, there doesn’t appear to be any leaks from the peak. That’s a relief, as I don’t know how I’m going to get to the peak right now.

So, I placed a box fan up in the attic right now as the rain is ending. I’m hoping to get the attic floor nice and dry and make sure there is no structural damage to the OSB. This will probably take a couple of days to get it completely dry. Thankfully, no rain is forecast for a week. I’ll allow the roof itself to get dry, so I can work on getting all these seams nice and taped up. Might even use extra and use layering.

I actually removed one of the small panels and replaced it because there wasn’t enough room to expand. I did go up on the ladder and put tape on about half the roof that faces the house. It got too dark to do any more, plus it was still a bit damp in the other spots.

So, yet again, the revised timeline I just made a week ago:

Sept 1 (close enough) – wall and rafter framing complete

Sept 15 – ceiling joists and wall sheathing started

Oct 1 – roof sheathing started

Oct 15 – roof complete

Nov 1 – Attic floor installed + wiring

Nov 15 – Insulation

Dec 1 – Siding install started

Dec 15 – Finishing touches


So, I am almost six weeks ahead of schedule thanks to one massive weekend. I do have to keep adding things as they come into focus. I need to buy/build a door before I can move anything inside, obviously. I need to felt and shingle the roof.

So, V3 of a schedule?

Sept 15 – roof sealed (temporarily)

Oct 1 – wiring started or windows and doors started

Oct 15 – Opposite of above

Nov 1 – felt and shingles started, seal in sides at roof

Nov 15 – Insulation

TBD – Siding

And that’s it for now. The siding doesn’t have to be put on until almost March 1, so I’ll leave it as a TBD. The biggest thing right now is to get it weatherproof, and primarily that consists of getting it dry. There is a gap between the roof trusses and the lower wall, which I will have to figure out. There needs to be some sort of gap filler, and I don’t know if that needs to be something along with trim, or just trim will do it.

The New Shop – Up On The Roof

Well, that escalated quickly.

With the walls complete, I decided that wasn’t enough of a challenge and that I should try to get the roof done before Irma arrived in Metro Atlanta. I had no idea what a challenge this would be, how long and how expensive it would be, how much of a toll it would take on my body, and how much help I could count on to try and get it accomplished.

I quickly figured out after I had the walls done that the only safe way to put the roof up was to get the attic floored in. So, I selected some 12-foot 2x6s, cut to about 143″ (to clear the Simpson ties) and put a 22 degree angle on each end.

This wouldn’t be a perfect analog to the roof trusses, but would give me plenty of nailing room and room to sit on the walls for support. I put them all up except for the front one, and the one where I thought the eventual attic stairs would go. These were sister-nailed to the trusses, and toe-nailed to the walls. The whole structure was getting sturdier.

Before the second floor could go in, I had to hoist the front truss up. I screwed the ceiling joist to it to provide more structure, and attached another wall panel to it. I screwed up a bit by not staggering the seams, but it shouldn’t impact much. Thankfully my other brother in law was on hand (along with my mother in law) that I could get the whole assembly up and attached properly. Here is a pic after I used scrap to cover the header.


I selected 23/32 tongue and groove OSB for the attic floor. This was thrown up (literally) via the side opening in three full sheets, and another one was cut in half and also placed with a bunch more nails.

Here is the view to the current shop, and you can see just how high it is.

My head does stick above the trusses, which means the interior height is about 4’6″ at the highest. Not enough to stand up in, but enough where I can move about fairly decently. I’ve gone from a 12×12 shop with 7 foot walls (and a minor amount of room between the joists and trusses) to a 12×12 shop with eight foot walls and a full loft area with varying roof heights. That’s 96 more cubic feet on the first floor and almost 500 more in the loft area. I figure I’m about 1675 total cubic feet (counting the space over the attic stair) in this shop versus 1020 or so counting the shallow pitched roof.

I got the rest of this upper side complete and trimmed up with the circular saw and router, plus two roof panels up before it was time to call it an evening. I now had one full day before what was left of Irma got here and started pouring and blowing.

Sunday is where some mistakes were made. A lot of mistakes. I got through Saturday okay, but the effort was starting to drain me. I lost five pounds just that day. So I went into Sunday a bit worse off mentally and physically than I normally would, and Sunday stretched even longer and into the panic zone.

The first thing I did was measure for the other tall wall panels, and decided here that I would stagger them properly. It started well, but was basing my cuts off the completed wall, which had a panel have both 22 degree angles on one complete panel. With staggering the panels, I wouldn’t have this on the other side. Unfortunately I cut not one but both panels with two angled cuts and basically ruined both before I even got on a ladder. The day would get better, but not by much. I had to go buy more panels both to correct my mistake, and that I simply needed a couple more.  I got the roof section away from the house complete and taped up before I left for Lowe’s. What I have here left to do is half the roof and the back half wall.

That picture was taken about 3pm on Sunday, so I had about four hours left of daylight to finish up. It wouldn’t be enough. By the time I got back from Lowe’s and a pizza run for dinner, it was 4pm. I then had to cut the remaining two tall wall panels and get them attached and taped. Then I had to cut all of the remaining roof panels I needed.

A note about the roof. To try and save money, instead of using full panels (too heavy) or panels cut to the roof truss lengths (too many panels), I went with 48×48 panels, and decided I would fill the rest with smaller cutoffs, generally about 48×7. This worked decently well on the first side of the roof, with some uncomfortable gaps. Thankfully, the flashing tape would take care of those gaps, or that was the selling point.

Getting this side of the roof done took an inordinate amount of time for some reason. I had to adjust how I worked, because I would be limited in my reach to get both the nailer where it needed to be and the tape to cover the joints. This meant trial and error, and this meant time. It also meant I couldn’t really cover overhang on the front side. There’s one spot on the peak where the tape might be coming up, and that’s going to be a problem to fix. I’ll have to figure it out somehow.

The panels did not come together as nice on this side. I was tired, I could barely lift panels anymore, my forearm was spasming…any other situation it would have been best to stop and resume the next day. Except the next day was when the rain was coming, and at 4 AM, which meant no getting it done in the morning. I had to keep pushing no matter the cost. I finally got the last big panel up after 7:30 and my mother in law had to finally leave.

I had to put the smaller panels in mostly in the dark, and to make matters worse I eventually ran out of flashing tape. I still had a couple spots with large gaps. I broke out the duck tape as a hail mary, knowing that i would not really work. I had to try though. I could at least get the worst ones.

At about 10pm I finally quit. What could be taped was taped, and I really just had to hope for the best. I was lucky I didn’t fall off the ladder, working by myself with a headlamp and putting in nails still at 8:30 when people were probably going to bed. I got all my tools and materials put away and the entrance to the shop boarded up to protect from as much wind as possible.

Here is the pic from Monday morning, rain already going for four hours by that point.

The panels and tape seem to be doing well, with a couple of minor exceptions on the roof. I’ll have to use a bit of supplementary tape in those spots. The bigger issue is the side in that pic above, which is the one I ran out of tape on. There is a massive amount of water on the attic floor, and that spilled over into the bottom floor. The latter doesn’t worry me, it’s PT plywood and was exposed for almost two months. The OSB attic being wet is concerning, and I’ll have to put a fan on it after the rain stops to get it dry quickly. A new roll of tape will be my first purchase on Wednesday and it will go up everywhere I can reach to try and keep that water out. As I said, that one little spot on the roof (that may not be leaking) is a concern for being able to get to. But I can reach all the obvious entry points and will have to re-evaluate. I’m pretty sure I will now use felt over the Zip panels, even though you don’t have to. I want the extra level of protection, and may hire out the whole roofing process for safety and speed. Have to see how much that would cost.

So, the plan for this week is to get it buttoned up adequately, dried out (perhaps not dried-in though), and start looking at what my next step will be. Likely a door. I’ll address that and an updated schedule in my next post.

The New Shop – The Walls Are Closing In

The original plan for putting up walls was to wait until the weekend, but a string of nice dry days and a potential hurricane approaching made me rethink things. On Wednesday, during lunch, I went and picked up 13 sheets of green Zip system OSB sheathing and two rolls of their Zip tape. Walls were a go.

After work Wednesday, I started installing them. Trying to do this by myself would be challenging, but I figured something out that would help out. I cut up a couple pieces of scrap 3/4″ plywood and installed two screws. These would serve as my ledger boards. I would leapfrog them around the outside of the building when needed for the panel to rest on while I started nailing it on. I decided that the end of the sheathing would just overlap the plywood subfloor.

I started with the house-facing wall and got all three panels up without a whole lot of difficulty. I paid extra attention to the first one, to make sure it made the wall nice and square. My daughters helped push the wall just the little amount it needed for that. The second panel butted right up to the first and that one was pretty easy. I did have to break out the clamps to get the panel tight up against the wall at the top. The third one I tried to nail it differently to start, but it was angled away from the second panel. I had to remove a couple of nails, adjust, and put it back up. I did make a few mistakes of putting nails in to empty cavities, and I’ll have to cut those off. I was really pleased how well the wall went up, and how well the ledgers worked. I attached extra nails at the bottom of the window rough openings as well.

Before night fell, I got the two panels on the front of the shop done as well. There’s a little bit of overlap into the door rough opening, which is fine. I’ll use scrap to cover the cripples and header to finish off that wall, and maybe some extra below the door.

Thursday evening I was able to get the rest of the walls up and secured, and some of the Zip tape on some seams. The tape is easy to use, and I think seals well. I really won’t know for a long time if ever that it would leak. I have about thirty minutes or so of taping left to go, including taping some wandering nailing attempts.

I did realize I need to give my rough openings a bit more attention. I had to add trimmers to either side of the windows to get closer to the needed rough opening. I also measured the jack studs on the door correctly, but forgot to account for the bottom plate being cut off. So, I went ahead and cut that out and attached it to the bottom of the header. Could have been done differently, but I don’t think it will make a difference in the long run.

I started writing this post on Thursday, and by the time I got around to uploading pictures to the site so much changed. I thought it best to go ahead and post this, and quickly start getting caught up with everything that happened over the weekend.

The New Shop – Status Report

I did my last sort of status report post back on July 16. With eight or nine of the roof rafters in place I thought it might be a good time to look at my progress from the planned schedule set forth in that post.

To save a click, here it is:

Sept 1 – roof joists complete

Sept 15 – begin walls

Sept 30 – begin roof or wall covering

Oct 15 – attic floor

Oct 30 – Wiring

Nov 15 – Insulation

Dec 1 – Move-in begins

I was a bit vague in what these things meant, but even at my most basic I feel like I’m ahead of schedule. I finished the roof joists (or rafters) by August 28, right on schedule (ignoring that one is broken now). I didn’t expect that I would have gotten the itch to build the walls so soon after. The wall framing was done on September 2, a full two weeks ahead of schedule.

Now, here’s where things get a little bit tricky going forward. Next up I’m going to be putting in the ceiling joists, which compromise the bones of the attic floor. Actually making it a floor will probably come later though. I will be starting on the wall coverings ahead of schedule now that I’ve found product that can be left uncovered for up to six months in the weather – Zip System. I might begin that this weekend if funds allow, or it might be the weekend of the 16th – either way again I will be about two weeks or more ahead of schedule. What the schedule doesn’t say though is the two weeks (or one pay period) I’d need to also sheathe the roof. Or buy shingles, or anything like that. So, what I need to do now is revise the schedule entirely to take into account what these things actually cost and the impact to my budget needs.

Sept 1 (close enough) – wall and rafter framing complete

Sept 15 – ceiling joists and wall sheathing started

Oct 1 – roof sheathing started

Oct 15 – roof complete

Nov 1 – Attic floor installed + wiring

Nov 15 – Insulation

Dec 1 – Siding install started

Dec 15 – Finishing touches

So, while I’m ahead by two weeks right now, I neglected some tasks or oversimplified them. I should be moving in by Christmas still. One of the aspects of this I have to plan around is weather, and time to finish things. I’d love to go ahead and put a roof up, but it’s multiple stages pretty close together and a not-insignificant amount of money to do so. If I go cheaper and use OSB, I need to be ready to cover almost immediately. That’s why I’ll sheathe the walls and get the end gambrel assemblies done before that. Means I can’t work in a dry environment for longer, but that’s what it is.

The New Shop – In the trees

Looking back to my last post I realized I didn’t put a picture in of the completed wall assemblies. So, here you go.

Late Saturday I was hoping to put the roof rafters up, but it became too late in the day to ask for any help. So for Sunday, my task was to get things ready for when I could have some help accomplishing this. I installed hurricane brackets on either side of where the eight middle roof rafter assemblies would sit, directly on the wall stud locations. I installed these to the outside, and bent them over the top plate so that the rafters would be able to be fully nailed in place. I also picked up four twist ties for the end rafters, but it turned out these didn’t work so well.

Getting the first end rafter assembly up was rough, so I decided the other end would wait. The one we did install may have to come down to be installed in a different way. The rest of them went up better, because they are more structurally sound. We tried to get them centered on the top plate from the outside, but it remains to be seen if we did a great job of that. After the first one we just tried to eyeball it, which wasn’t really what we should have done. I should have sheathed the walls first, put up tall structural supports for the outside rafters (which would also be sheathed), put up the outside rafters and strung a line to create the center point. Oh well, what is done is done and I’ll have to just go from here. I will be measuring the rafters from the outside walls and see how far off everything is. I think my mark will be 1/4″, and if it’s off more than that things may have to come down and be redone. This is one of those things that while this is my first time building, I should have known better.

So, the roof rafters are up. I don’t know if they’ll stay up. They were installed with the Simpson ties and toenailed, so if they need to come down it won’t be a pleasant task. Thankfully most of the toenailed heads stick out a bit, so it won’t be a complete cutting job if needed. Perhaps I will have gotten lucky and our skill at getting them centered will be accurate.

I just went outside and measured the overhangs, and this is my verdict: wow, not bad. The side closest to the house is all within 1/8″ of an inch. I couldn’t ask for much more. The opposite side vary a bit more, almost up to 1/2″ on a couple. The rest are within 1/4″. I may see if the worst two offenders can be adjusted, otherwise I may need to shim. With this information, I would assume that all the peaks are within what would be consider tolerances. If I can correct or shim the other side the roof portion would be good to put up. But, fears are allayed.

Next time I will revisit the expected timeline and compare how I am doing, and the next several steps in their expected order and timing.

The New Shop – Walls going up

I was a jittering mess during work Friday. Why? I knew that I would be starting on the walls when work was done.


On Tuesday evening, I got started on the window headers. Having picked out some 24×30 rough opening units from Lowe’s, I was able to calculate the dimensions of the headers, where the windows were going to go, everything. I had originally planned on installing  two windows, but after messing around with Sketchup and tool layouts, I went with three. Two on the house side, one on the back side. I centered the windows on stud locations, and sided the header to 30.5″ wide to fit in between two. I used 2×6 per some recommendations online. I used the leftover OSB between the boards to get to 3.5″ deep. I had already decided to make three headers, so my change wasn’t a big deal. I had just planned to keep one blank and install later. I used 2×8 for the door header, but have not  sandwiched them together yet.

Back to Friday, I started by taking a trip to Lowe’s and picked up 12 2x4x12 foot boards for the top and bottom plates – double plate on top. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of room in my SUV for the plate boards and the studs, so multiple trips were needed. Then I went to Home Depot for the studs, due to the selection I saw earlier when I bought the plates. I bought 24 92-5/8 studs, and 7 full studs. I figured I would only have room for that amount, which was the two long walls. I was right, along with figuring I would only have time for one or two walls to be built that evening.

Building the wall was fairly straight forward, the thing that took up time was getting all the cripples and jack studs sized and cut for the windows. The 12″ boards were also oversized, so those had to be trimmed down as well. Before I went to buy the studs, I marked the top and bottom plates with the stud locations. All stud locations are 16″ OC. I wouldn’t settle for less, not at only about $3.55 per stud.

The 3″ Hitachi nails I bought are working well in the borrowed nailer, and assembly went fairly quickly. I used California corners to support the interior walls, whatever they will be. That means using a second stud at the corners on the long wall, turned sideways. This will provide nailing surface on the inside when the adjoining walls come together. I think I over-engineered the window openings, but better safe than sorry. I cut down the second top plate to allow for overlap when all the walls come up.

When the first wall went up, the one closest to the house, it surprised me just how tall it was. I actually had to double-check that it was only 8′ tall, because it seemed almost 10′ tall. It does mean that my windows, which I intentionally did not use upper cripples for, are pretty high up on the wall. I will be able to see out the windows, but just barely. It is going to be great for storage, though. It will also let a lot of light in. I secured the wall temporarily with braces screwed to the floor joists, and will install permanently later with galvanized nails, as they will be going through the pressure treated ply floor and floor joists.

I got started on the opposing wall right after, using all the same techniques. Only one window on this wall, so that portion will go a little bit faster. The upper jack studs (I am dividing them with the sill) were cut with the first two windows. I got all the studs nailed to the first top plate before rain and darkness moved in quickly. I rushed to get my tools put away before they got soaked. I had roughly two hours in, so a wall and a half in that amount of time I think is pretty good.

Saturday morning, I went and picked up the remaining studs I needed to complete all four walls (I actually had to go buy two more towards the end of the day). I was able to get the second long wall complete on the floor before I had to head to my son’s soccer game, but the project was on hold until after lunch.

After lunch, the second wall went up and was braced. I decided at this point to build the front wall, because I knew the back wall would have to hand about a half inch over the floor, because the joist there for some reason wasn’t quite square to everything else. It was here I realized I would need two more studs, as I needed them here for the jack studs for the door frame. It was also here I made my first major mistake in the build.

What you see here is the door header nailed directly to the top plate. It should not have been, but I nailed the window headers like this and I wasn’t thinking properly. I had to break the recip saw out to cut the nails, slide it down to it’s proper spot, and then nail it back in place. My rough door opening is 80″ high, and if I didn’t correct this it would have been 86″. The fix went quickly, and I cut four pieces of board to make up the cripples that should have been installed above the header.

Once the front wall was up, the back wall went extremely quickly, as it was the only one with just studs and no headers. That wall went up in a matter of minutes with the replacement studs I bought.

With all the walls up, it was time to install the double top plate, which meant cutting two to 144″, and one to 137″ to match the one already installed on the first wall. I used these lengths to bring all the walls into the proper position and as before I used the nailer and the 3″ nails to assemble everything. Once the double plates up top were installed, I made sure the bottoms of the walls were in the proper position and manually nailed the 3″ galvanized nails through the bottom plate. My daughter was a huge help here, as she and her brother were earlier.

I attempted to start putting the roof rafters up before darkness fell, but I realized this would be a bad idea after one of the gussets on the end rafter assembly broke when I was trying to rotate it up. Thankfully I have two spare gussets on hand.

The hope is that on Sunday I can get some help putting all the rafter assemblies in place and be ready for the next step, which will either be the wall coverings or starting on the roof itself.