The New 144 Workshop

I have been talking about a new workshop for a very long time. My first entry in the new workshop category is from 2015, but I was talking about one for way longer than that. I’ve been dreaming about a bigger one since it became a workshop.

We decided about a month ago that we would put a bit of money back into the house and look to sell and move to a bigger house, a little further out from the city. This was to be my new workshop. I would fix up the exterior of the workshop as well and get either a basement or garage shop at the new house.

Well, a week ago while I was doing some yard work I saw this:

The water damage I knew about. I looked closer and saw that not only were the boards rotting, but they were 2x4s and the whole base was threatening to shift off the blocks down the hill towards the house. This couldn’t be put off any longer.

So, on Saturday July 1, the new shop build began.

I went to Lowe’s and picked up a single 6x6x12′ pressure treated board to start with. I also picked up some crushed stone from Home Depot along with some top soil (because fill dirt wasn’t an option). I also bought a mattock to help break the soil and granite up.

The site selected was the one I have had in mind from the beginning, in the corner of the lot under some trees and facing the current shop. It’s the most level portion of the lot, but the granite rocks littering the ground are a challenge. With the first board, supplies, and tools bought, it was time to get to work.

I made sure I was the required five feet off the property lines, and laid out where I wanted to dig. I went with a sleeper foundation instead of pier blocks, and I’m hoping this will be a wise decision. As you can see above, there were a ton of rocks I had to dislodge and dig up. This first sleeper bed is the one closest to the house, on the lower side of the hill. By Sunday afternoon, I had it ready to tamp and stone.

The middle sleeper bed was much tougher than the first, with many more (and larger) rocks, plus at least one large ant bed.

I got the middle sleeper bed basically ready for a test run, which would involve placing the 6×6 in the hole and seeing how close it is to level. If it’s close, then I’ll add stone and tamp again, and place it in the hole for good. If it’s not close, then I take the 6×6 out, make adjustments by digging down on the high side, and testing again.

The third sleeper, closest to the rear property line, was pretty easy in comparison. It had very few rocks, and the soil was much less compact. It was more like topsoil than the clay I was digging through before. There were quite a few small roots of ivy, but the shovel blade made fairly quick work of things.

This afternoon, the storms came rolling in and effectively stopped progress until at least tomorrow. The second and third sleeper beds are ready to test, I picked up some more stone bags, the third sleeper gave me plenty of dirt to use to fill if needed, and I picked up the other two sleepers as shown at the top. Right now, the second and third sleeper beds have ponding water in them and more storms are inbound. More progress will be made another day.

I don’t have a strict timeline for progress, or anything else. I hope to have the other two sleepers in and level by this weekend, and starting to work on getting them in plane. Perhaps get the floor joists in by the end of the month. Perhaps walls by the end of August, perhaps move-in by Christmas.


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