The New Shop – Looking Ahead

While I am in this lull between phases, I thought I’d take the time to share ideas about design, next steps, and potential challenges coming up.

First up, design. I decided quite a long time ago that if I were to build a new shop, particularly of the same size, it would have a gambrel roof. I had to do more research to see if it was something I could pull off, and I think I can at this point. Using some online calculators have helped, as have watching videos.

I’m going with an equal span/angle gambrel, which will mean I can cut all of the lumber the same size and angles and avoid errors. Because my overall structure can be up to 15′ high, I think I can get about 5′ of peak height in the attic area. Yes, I am limited to the same footprint I have now, but will be taking advantage of my available third dimension. The gambrel roof will give more room in here. I should be able to store a larger, vertical air compressor (when I upgrade), plus some form of dust extraction. I’m hoping I can put a modified HF dust collector up there plus the separator. I should also have plenty of room for miscellaneous storage in some form or another. The only real question is if the attic will span the whole shop, and if so how I will get up and down.

The walls will have at least one window to allow my air conditioner to transfer over. I think I will go smaller to have more wall storage, but I may add another one on another wall, plus perhaps one upstairs. Depends on cost and what I can find, obviously I could put the headers and studs in for the others and do it as money and want allow.

I am undecided on a door. I can create my own again, or I can go with a store-bought outswing french door, which has some appeal as well. The exterior will most likely be primer Smartside panels, even though the orientation runs opposite to what the house does. I think it will look good. Paint color undecided, but leaning grey with white trim. I still haven’t decided on venting. The electrical will be hugely upgraded from what I have now, including in-wall outlets and wiring, finally. No more mess of extension cords and strips, at least inside the shop. The shop will still be powered by extension cords out of necessity, but I’ll be fabricating an RV-style hookup at the corner nearest the house. This will mean a cleaner setup, no ugly holes through the wall like there is now, no cords through the door, etc. I don’t know if I’m more excited about the electrical or the fact it will be level. Haven’t decided on lights, but perhaps I might run the wiring to use built-in, but for now use the strip lights I already have. Romex is fairly cheap.

The walls and ceiling will of course be insulated. I don’t know if the heater will remain on the floor or go up in the attic. I’m not sure which is better. There will be lights up in the attic that I’ll be able to switch on. The lights downstairs, be built-in or strips, will be controlled by an actual switch this time. The battery chargers will have timers added. There might be a smart switch or two, plus I’ll have to address the poorer wifi signal that I’ll have being further away from the house. I may just have to get another mesh router or repeater.

So, what will happen to the current shop? I plan on keeping it standing for awhile, at least until I get everything sorted out and space for everything. I may build yet another small shed between the two against the back fence (more of a temporary location) and tear the old one down once and for all. Still not sure what I’ll be doing with my lathe, and it seems to be the odd tool out at this point. I’ll be creating a touch more space on the floor by moving the vac and separator, but it’s not really enough. Theoretically the lathe could go upstairs since I use it so little. Have to use a rope and pulley or something to lift it.

After all of this, I still have to set some sort of expected timeline. So, here is my revised plan:

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

Things may move a little faster than this, but this also spreads out my expenses a little bit better over paychecks and keeps me from really stretching legs on my credit card. In particular the dates when the walls go up and the roof and walls need to go on might be more compressed. Once that milestone is reached, I can go as slow as funds dictate. I hope I don’t stretch into 2018, but if I need to I will.

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