Need to build a cheapskate “shop” - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-06-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, I need some ideas/input!

I live out in the country in a manufactured home with no garage, so all building, woodworking, working on cars, and fixing our equipment gets done in the sun on dirt, and Texas doesn’t give a lot of good weather. I need a space for woodworking and auto/equipment repairs, but we are on an extreme budget, so I will need to be creative. It just needs to be big enough for my tools and to pull a car into, as long as I can work in a shaded area on something other than dirt.

I had an idea of building something similar to our run-in (pictures attached). Obviously, it would be more enclosed with a door, but this gives a basic idea. For the floor, I was thinking 1x1 concrete patio stones/pavers.

I know this would be very, very far from ideal, but this is a temporary measure until we can get something proper in place on a concrete slab. I would love your thoughts on my idea, or any alternative ideas. It wouldn’t be the first time an idea I have ends up being terrible!
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- Daniel

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post #2 of 16 Old 07-06-2020, 10:09 PM
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Hey man, if it works for you that is all that counts. I don't see anything wrong with that, except is it too easy for someone to rip you off. And your tools will rust easily.

http://www.diychatroom.com/

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post #3 of 16 Old 07-06-2020, 10:14 PM
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Being in Texas, I imagine the weather is favorable to an open air building like that most of the year.



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post #4 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 12:29 AM
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Things that I would think about are:

* How will you get enough power to the structure for lighting and tools?
* How will you roll the tools around to make room for storage and parking? Will the paving stones work for that?
* Dust collection?
* If it were me, I would arrange a way to open up opposite sides, to allow the breeze to flow through.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 01:53 AM
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Clearly there are 100s of ways to put something up to get out of the weather. A car port out of 4x4s, transparent roof panels and hooks on the side to hold cheap Walmart tarps for the walls..


Good luck with your temporary structure whatever you decide.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furnacefighter15 View Post
Being in Texas, I imagine the weather is favorable to an open air building like that most of the year.



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Depends upon where you are in Texas.


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post #7 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 07:58 AM
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You should opt for absolute opulence with gold encrusted walls and ceilings. Short of that you might want to take into consideration the little problem in some parts of Texas like dry rot. That was always a problem when I lived in Texas.
I did live in a shed for about 10 years in the Irving area and it had a simple wood floor built on concrete blocks with just exterior panels available at just about any box store. The original builder didn't even bother to put the roof trusses up straight, but it did keep the rain out and dry rot at bay.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
Marty or Marty Farty if you feel mean.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 12:06 PM
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I would slow down a little. It cost a lot of money to build a place to do working and auto work. Spending a lot of money on a nice place to work is nice to have but in my opinion may be a waste of money. You may not be living there in a few years. Are you renting or do you own the place you live? I have made a lot of mistakes and that is the reason I can talk to you about what to do. You might want to get a part-time job and save it for a nice workshop. I got a part-time job to buy what I wanted and not go into debt.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-07-2020, 12:27 PM
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I had a real estate agent tell me that well built permanent outbuildings raise the value of the property but temporary sheds, tents or canopies add nothing.

I'd build it in stages but plan and engineer for a eventual permanent shed.

First thing I would buy is a cement mixer, frame and pour a very simple outer foundation that the walls can be built on. If you don't want to pour a foundation then get some sonnet tubes and put a bunch of them 8 feet apart for a base frame to sit on. Leave the inner slab until later.

Throw up some framing with a roof and that gets you out of the sun. Now you have a basic place to work from late spring to early fall. Add walls later and finally a big door on the front. Once it's all enclosed you could start the slab by pouring two long runners for the car tires to roll on, this also gives you a flat surface for jacking. Fill in the floor spaces later as you have time and $$.

I'm cheap and patient, which can be a good combination, I would rather spend a couple of years slowly putting it together than waste any money on a temporary structure.

I built this woodworking shop with money from paycheques (no borrowing). It took close to two years but my agent said it raised the value of my property by about 30K
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-09-2020, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Things that I would think about are:

* How will you get enough power to the structure for lighting and tools?
* How will you roll the tools around to make room for storage and parking? Will the paving stones work for that?
* Dust collection?
* If it were me, I would arrange a way to open up opposite sides, to allow the breeze to flow through.
Those are great ideas. Having electricity run there is the biggest thing to look in to. I hadn’t considered the cross breeze, but that’s a great idea.

- Daniel
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-09-2020, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayArr View Post
I had a real estate agent tell me that well built permanent outbuildings raise the value of the property but temporary sheds, tents or canopies add nothing.

I'd build it in stages but plan and engineer for a eventual permanent shed.

First thing I would buy is a cement mixer, frame and pour a very simple outer foundation that the walls can be built on. If you don't want to pour a foundation then get some sonnet tubes and put a bunch of them 8 feet apart for a base frame to sit on. Leave the inner slab until later.

Throw up some framing with a roof and that gets you out of the sun. Now you have a basic place to work from late spring to early fall. Add walls later and finally a big door on the front. Once it's all enclosed you could start the slab by pouring two long runners for the car tires to roll on, this also gives you a flat surface for jacking. Fill in the floor spaces later as you have time and $$.

I'm cheap and patient, which can be a good combination, I would rather spend a couple of years slowly putting it together than waste any money on a temporary structure.

I built this woodworking shop with money from paycheques (no borrowing). It took close to two years but my agent said it raised the value of my property by about 30K
That looks great. Whats the size, if you don’t mind sharing? My wife and I are preparing for a new manufactured home on our family land, so I’m having to compromise the things I think are important,

- Daniel
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-10-2020, 04:33 AM
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Your area gets real hot in summer and tolerable cold in winter with a lot of warm comfortable days.
Keeping this in mind I would start with:
a shed sloped roof running north and south.
The high end of the roof facing south and the low end facing north.
That will keep a lot of direct sun from cooking you out of there.
Locate doors and windows on the north side - again a sun issue.
If you want/need more daylight inside, make a few windows on the south side WITH Exterior shutters to close/shade those windows off during the summer.
Might even want to put some kind of wall vent on the south/high side. This could be a self opening/closing wall vent with a large fan to move the heat out in the summer.

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.


"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-10-2020, 08:40 AM
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I second JayArr's approach. Start by planning out your "dream" shop, and just work backwards from there . But I strongly recommend you build it bigger than you think you need. You will ALWAYS outgrow whatever you build. If nothing else, just design it so you can add on when the money allows.

For any one-time use tools like the cement mixer, buy a used one and resell it when that part of the project is over. If you buy it at the right price you might even make a few bucks on it. Also keep an eye out for used/excess building materials you will need. Deals on that stuff comes up randomly so if you take your time you can save a lot. And don't be shy about asking friends for occasional help. Most people love to be part of a building project, especially if the day ends with beer and bbq.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-10-2020, 10:21 AM
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I’m reminded of the old adage, “Don’t buy a horse before you have a barn.”

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post #15 of 16 Old 07-10-2020, 10:32 AM
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Begin with hand tool projects. It's a skill that is necessary in all forms of woodworking.

Gary

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post #16 of 16 Old 07-10-2020, 11:09 AM
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Hi East TX


That little wood shop is only 8 x 15. The municipal laws where I live say that no building permit is required under 132 square feet so I was limited if I didn't want an inspector on my land. The electrical is buried (but to code) and it is insulated to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The window boxes with the flowers and the lights were the wife's ideas and it keeps her happy that it looks nice and matches the house.

For the cement mixer, try talking to your neighbors, I split the cost of it with one of mine, neither of us thought we'd get enough use to buy one alone but split between us it became affordable.


JayArr

Last edited by JayArr; 07-10-2020 at 11:12 AM.
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