Workshop – Part One

by Victoria
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I may have bit off a bit more than I could chew on this project. I am approaching the age of 50 and my body has been letting me know in many ways that I am asking a lot with the scope of this project. However, I needed a shop space as I had previously converted our attached garage into a studio / office space. So, this is the inspiration! I found this garage online and ordered plans. The plans were very basic and not very helpful other than having something to submit for a building permit. Forget about step by step instructions! I rationalized that this wasn’t much different than a shed and I’ve built three of those. Just a shed on steroids!

THE INSPIRATION: This building is also way to big for the plot that I have. So, I am going to reduce it down in size to 20 x 22 with a single 8 x 16 garage door with transom windows above.

Eddie, owner of The Concrete Guyz, out of Fort Collins, CO, was great to work with for all the concrete work. Eddie is a true visionary and artist. He took the time to listen to exactly what I needed and offered to do it for a very reasonable price.

Lowe’s was the only big box store that would do a material take off bid for me. So, they of course received my business! Here, the materials are delivered and stored outside. I kept everything covered with some thick clear plastic. I also invested in a temporary shelter to use for work space and tool storage. In hindsight, this probably isn’t needed as I didn’t really need a table saw and work bench. A circular saw and the miter saw would have been good enough and easy to store in the shed. 

This is me realizing that a 20′ long 2 x 6 wall is extremely heavy! Some things are easier with a team. So, my best option was to place an ad on Craig’s list for labor help. I offered to pay an hourly amount for workers who would be willing to help me lift the walls in place. I didn’t think I would get much response but was overwhelmed with so many offers!

Two of the guys had framing experience and offered to work through the week-end. I liked the idea of getting things moving faster and accepted the offer.

However, this is a unique build and the framers argued with me on just about everything. I decided to trust them based on their experience. But this was a bad call. Lesson learned. TRUST YOURSELF! I may not be a builder but I should stick with the plans! This wall pictured below had to be rebuilt as the slope was wrong and the window was supposed to have a LVL header.

I have quickly learned to manage my fear of heights! The front wall is about 14′ tall and slopes back to about 9′. I thought this style of garage with a single sloped roof would be easier and faster. However, it has been a challenge so far.

So, the trusses weigh about 90 lbs each. Not bad. What makes it a challenge is the length at about 26′ long. I decided to hire some help. (Thanks Jay from Spartan Services for your help! I know painting is your specialty but appreciated the extra muscle! ). I’ve learned a lot about trusses. They require more attention than I had thought. Once they were up, they bowed significantly and I had to add bracing to get even spacing. This is a challenge so high up off the ground and working with just myself and my partner / wife.

Lots of cuts! … and recuts!

How  many trusses? Eleven! I know this is not probably a lot compared to most building projects but it seems to me like a large amount of work. Bracing and adjusting. Maybe not a big deal to an experienced framing crew but a bit of a challenge for me! I have installed and removed the rafter ties at least three times now! I would recommend using screws on those vs nails!

Progress is slow but steady. I am working on the shop / garage on the weekends. The weather is turning cooler and I feel a huge amount of pressure to press forward at a quicker pace. However, I am struggling with some health issues. I am fighting fatigue, weakness, and incredibly painful joint issues. It appears I am anemic and several months of iron supplementation is doing very little to improve the situation. Hoping to get this resolved soon so as to get back to enjoying the build!

I will keep posting the shop / garage build updates! (loving that clear blue sky!!!).

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