New shop update – May 2017

I was a couple of days from starting on a new shop. Then I changed my mind.

The window sill on the exterior of my shop fell off, and I was in the process of clearing out a significant portion of my backyard from overgrowth. There is so much that the process is still ongoing, but it is now about 90% done and there is room cleared enough to build a new shop. My wife and I decided that we should spend the extra money and build a shop bigger than zoning code allows for.

But I decided not to do it.

My big concern remains being told it has to come down after all that work was done and money spent on it. I also got some push-back on my plans to build the base on deck piers on the hill. I think that did it as much as anything. I wasn’t in a mood to have my shop come tumbling down the hill into my kitchen.

So, what does that mean now? Well, this is the strongest I’ve felt in a long time about doing something, and that means that I will be getting a new shop in short order. I’m just not exactly sure how that is going to work. I can build it myself, I can buy a kit, or I can have something built for me. The latter holds some interest in just getting things over with, but I do like the challenge in doing it myself. I think it would be a great learning experience, and perhaps I can spread some costs out a bit and maybe save some money doing it.

I’ll be going back to the original plan of having it located in the corner of my property, the one that is probably the most level. The neighbors to the back of me just built a shop a few feet away, so there really won’t be much issue doing it in that location. The question will be about the base – do I go with blocks, piers, skids…quite a few choices.

One other design choice will be the roof. I can build to a total height of 15 feet, which gives me almost 7 feet of room to work on a roof. Go I go with a standard gable, or do I get creative with a gambrel and have almost a full second floor? The second option is more complex and will undoubtedly cost more. But if I do it right, I would nearly double my floor space, or at least add a significant amount of storage area. The dust collector and compressor could go up there, reducing the noise level when they’d otherwise be on. A few other things could go up there as well, but the big question would be how would I have access to it. Stairs in the shop cut down on available space on the main floor. A attic-style ladder cuts down on the things I’m able to put up there.

The task that requires the most immediate need is looking at re-imagining my current layout to accommodate these options. Could I really put a stairway in? Where would an attic ladder go and be able to drop down? If I just had an open loft, is there a way I could improve the space as it is? I think I might start with the idea of a corner staircase and see if that option works at all first. Then I can work with less constraints going forward. To be honest though, I think the interior height on a two-story would only be four feet or so, so a staircase seems less likely. It would be fun to play with storage options on that, though.

So, over the next few weeks as I am able, I will be working in Sketchup to run through these possibilities. One of the options I see with one of the vendors is to have a double door plus a single standard door. I’ll have to look if this fits my layout better, with being able to have my saw right up against the double door entrance. The other thing I should look at is if I slightly adjust the layout to be a 10×14 instead of a 12×12. I lose four square feet in the deal, but I gain two more feet along a length that might work better. Just things to think about.


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