Building The Workshop (part 1 of 3)

Part 1 in a short series about building a workshop shed using some salvaged and new materials.

This video covers the ground works, the salvaged wood, a SketchUp model of the workshop, building a retaining block wall, making the frame, installing the windows, and starting to assemble.

This was my biggest ever project, and I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything bigger than this (unless I build myself a house some day!)

The workshop is 4.1m in width, and 2.7m deep.  It’s 2.2m in height at the front, and 2.1m high at the back so the roof is slanted.

It took about 3 months from start to finish, started in September and finished in December.  The Autumn and Winter are NOT good for starting a project like this - the bad weather and short days made it really challenging, especially as I only had evenings and weekends to work on it.  A head torch came in very handy but it wasn’t much fun working in the cold and the dark.

I had an old 10ft x 8ft shed at the bottom of the garden and wanted to replace it with something almost twice as big so that I have somewhere sheltered to do woodwork, with space for some new tools and to store wood.

So I got rid of the old shed (flogged it on eBay), and started digging up my garden - I had to take about 2.5m of the length of my lawn and level and compact the floor, then build a new retaining wall at the new edge of the lawn.  Then my dad helped me lay a weak cement mix (80% sand 20% concrete) for the paving slabs (of which there are 12 - 4 rows of 3), .

On top of the slabs, I laid a damp proof course and on top of that, 8x 2.7m treated 2x2s as bearers for the floor.

As usual, I wanted to use reclaimed materials for as much of this project as possible, and I started by buying 50x 3x2s (2.2m in length) to make the frame, and 8x sheets of ¾ inch plywood, which I could use for the floor.  I bought them from a guy on Gumtree, and they were salvaged from an old warehouse. I had to pull out thousands of nails which took about 5 hours in total!  But the wood was decent and about 1/3 of the cost of what I’d have spent at a DIY store.

I also found 2x aluminium caravan windows on Gumtree, and bought those to integrate in to the design.

I cladded the workshop (and made the door) using 19mm treated shiplap wood which I bought new from a local sawmill (it was cheaper than buying reclaimed at 80p per metre!).

And I bought 5x 3m plastic coated metal sheets from AJW distribution, another local company to use for the roof.  I laid these sheets on 8x 3m 3x2s, 3 of which were reclaimed, the other 5 I had to buy new (from Wickes).  I fixed the 3x2s to the frame using corner brackets.

I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks and months about setting up the workshop - there’s plenty of work to do setting it up - need to build a workbench, table saw station, set up a tool wall, decide whether to insulate and clad the walls internally or not…….  And arrange for installing electricity to it ofcourse!

Pretty pleased with how it turned out, although I don’t want to take on another project this big for a looooong time…

The total cost came in at under a grand (excluding electrical works) which I’m pretty pleased with too - originally I was going to buy an “off the shelf” shed, but they were all in the £1000-£1300 region, I couldn’t find one exactly the right size I wanted, and also they’re generally made of cheaper materials and won’t last as long as this one should!!