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August 02, 2009

Next up: The Equipment Shed

Equipment shed

We built the greenhouse last winter for the combined purposes of growing vegetables and providing a covered work space in which I could work on building projects out of the weather. At the time, we considered building two more of them – one to house our tractor and implements, and another to provide shelter for the fleet of boats I use for my business. Rather than covering them with greenhouse film as we’d done with the first frame, we decided on opaque tarps for the two buildings.

While pondering where to site the additional structures, I decided that I didn’t like the idea of temporary tarped shelters multiplying across the landscape. I abandoned the thought in favor of a more permanent consolidated solution – a timber framed equipment shed.

Equipment shed

Our long-range plans include the construction of a 24’ x 36’ Monitor barn that will include a bunkhouse, a woodworking shop, and storage space. That larger project will undoubtedly be a couple years distant, but I worried that an equipment shed could become redundant once the barn is completed. A closer look at what we’d originally planned for the barn revealed that our space needs are more than I’d originally thought. (A dozen and a half seventeen to twenty-foot boats take up a lot of space!)

When factoring the storage costs we’ve incurred since Marion’s move to Vermont last year we realized that the payback will be less than two years if we add a loft to the equipment shed that we can begin using before the barn is complete. An additional benefit of the shed will be the development of the timber framing skills I’ll need for the larger barn project.

Equipment shed

Last February and March I took to the drawing board. I passed many a winter’s hour working through engineering formulas and joinery considerations before coming up with the final design shown in the images above. The plans I came up with are based on 10-foot bays – three wide and two deep – giving the overall structure a footprint of just over 20 x 30 feet. It will be framed and sided with rot-resistant native hemlock and capped with a metal roof.

Equipment shed

Given that the six months from May through October are when I earn the majority of my income, it’s hard to predict when we’ll have a completed building, but we broke ground in June with hopes of putting weekend hours into the project between now and when I have more time available in the colder months.

Equipment shed

In the process of locating the equipment shed we drew up a site plan for the orchard meadow that includes the future barn project. I’m very pleased with the way the buildings integrate with the trees. I’ve kept the height of the equipment shed to 14 feet at the peak with the intention that it be at an appropriate scale among the trees.

Equipment shed

After removing the topsoil and leveling the site we laid out the foundation. The shed will be built on 12 reinforced concrete piers (set below ground) on ten-foot centers.

Equipment shed

Last weekend, Marion and I set the pier locations with a series of batter boards from which a grid of mason’s line is stretched. With the location of the lines marked on the batter boards, I can move the lines aside, dig the holes for the forms, then reattach the lines at the marks and center the forms (cardboard tubes).

Time to dig!