Building The Workshop (part 3 of 3)

Part 3 in a short series about building a workshop shed using some salvaged and new materials.

This video shows a quick tour of the workshop after it was finished, including a look at the tools I have, wood and tool storage, tool storage, condensation on the metal roof sheets and how I resolved the issue, installation of the electrical supply and cabling, and finally a summary of build costs.

Building The Workshop (part 2 of 3)

Part 2 in a short series about building a workshop shed using some salvaged and new materials.

This video covers the assembling of the frame, installing the shiplap cladding, installing the roof sheets and floor and making the door.

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!!


Meet Frankensaw, my home-made table saw.  It’s made out of a circular saw mounted upside down to a basic table structure.  

I had to use a cable tie to hold the ‘on’ switch on the saw so it’s on all the time, and got a switchable socket (bought from Clas Ohlson) to turn it on and off at the socket - safer than plugging and unplugging all the time.  

In the video you’ll also see my simple home-made ripping jig and cross cutting jig. 

The table top is melamine board donated by a friend and the base is solid wood - scraps found in my shed.

After lots of precise measuring, it actually cuts really accurately and it’s great to be able to finally do decent rip cuts!

Total build cost: £3

Bike Shed


Biggest build yet!  I wanted to build something to put my lawnmower, bike and gardening bits in so that I could use my other shed just for storing lots of wood and all my tools.  Eventually I want to replace my other shed with a big workshop and get some workbenches and table tools in there, but that’s another story….

I made the frame first, from old 2x4 timber that used to be my friend’s scooter ramp.  He didn’t want the ramp anymore so we dismantled it a few months back and I’d been wondering what to do with it ever since.

I was looking for some cladding materials for quite a while, and the cheapest I could find enough shiplap or featherboard cladding to do the whole thing was about £100… Wasn’t happy paying that much as I could have just bought a secondhand shed for that sort of money!  So I went to a reclamation yard to see what I could find and they had loads of decent featherboard offcuts in a skip that they were throwing away. Most of it was damaged, cracked, dirty and mouldy.  To my surprise they said I could have it all for free!!!  So I spent about an hour getting mucky and pulling all the best bits out. Surprisingly, I got enough that day to do the whole thing - result!
I made the two doors, and a simple frame to keep them sturdy.

I used some pine bed slats for the floor struts that I found by a bin near a council estate, which I screwed to the frame.  On top of the slats I used some spare MDF bits I had in my shed - I’ll replace the floor at some point with some plywood when I’ve got some.

I went to B&Q and bought a sheet of OSB to make the roof, and made a simple frame for it out of 1x2 pressure treated timber.  I was going to buy some roof felt too but luckily my Dad had some left over - he had 1m x 2.5m and that was the perfect size, so I gratefully took that donation aswell.

I made a platform out of bricks and fence posts that I had laying around in my garden to sit the shed on.

I stained all the cladding dark brown to match my fence (not that ugly blue fence on the left - that’s my neighbours fence!)

I’ll install some hooks eventually and maybe a shelf to store some other bits.

It was a really fun build (apart from slicing the top of my finger off in my table saw!!!).  

Really pleased with how it turned out and couldn’t have done it without the kind donations from my mate Sean, my Dad, and Mitchells Reclamation Yard on Oak St.  Also, a big thanks to my brother for his help collecting most of the wood and making a mess of his car!

The whole build took a couple of weeks working on it most evenings.  The total cost was around £40 - the OSB roof was £25, the stain was £5 and spent about £10 on padlock, hinges, latches etc.




Dining Chairs - restoration

I found these two chairs by a communal bin.  I think they’re made of oak. They were badly broken (someone had tried to do a repair job), upholstered in a funky zebra print material, and the melamine seat panels were rotten as they’d been out in the rain.

I started by taking out the seat panels and using them as a template to cut new seat panels out of some salvaged ½ inch plywood (also found by a bin!)

I dismantled the chairs frames, found a large family of earwigs living inside!  I stripped all the old adhesive off with a chisel, and then re-glued and clamped overnight.  I took out the old screws and nails from the bad repair job, and filled in the holes with a wood filler.

I sanded the frames down a bit (but not enough to remove some of the characterful knocks and bumps) and then applied a dark teak stain followed by rubbing in some varnish with a cloth to restore it’s sheen.  Once that was dry, I applied Briwax and buffed them with another cloth.

I bought 2m of cream fabric offcut from Furniture Warehouse in Norwich for £5.50 and upholstered the new seat panels.

They’re really beautiful chairs, and are nice and sturdy and comfortable now, and the golden inlay gives them a regal feel. I’d keep them if I had somewhere to put them. But I don’t, so they’re for sale.

Total cost to restore these was probably under £10.  Sold on eBay.





Ottoman built from salvaged wooden pallet wood donated by a local company, apart from the top which was made from half a scaffold board from Mitchells’ reclamation yard in Norwich.  

Stained in dark teak and finished in Briwax.  Built for personal use.


Two Tables

Found an old dining table top by some bins near a council estate. Someone had cut the side off it and used a varnish on the top which was peeling off pretty badly and for some reason written “Lee” on the bottom of it.  

I decided to make two small square tables out of it, one low coffee table and one higher, side table for my living room.  

I bought some 2 x 2 inch pine for the legs from Thornes DIY shop in Norwich city centre, and used some old pine bed slats that I had in my shed to make the rest of the structures.

Stained them using a 50/50 Rustins dark teak and white spirit mix, and applied a teak varnish.

Both tables built for personal use.



Media Unit

Made this TV unit from old floorboards that a neighbour was ripping out of his house, and a friend tipped me off.   Some of the boards were split but nothing a bit of wood glue can’t fix and the wood had bags of character - knocks, bumps and nail holes.  The drawer came from an old seventies plywood bit of furniture that I found near a bin on a council estate.  I made a new front for it to match the rest of the wood and just added the drawer runners (from eBay) and a new handle (from Wilkinsons).  

Stained dark teak mixed with white spirit to lighten the colour. Built for personal use


Large Cat Tree

Cat tree.  Made from a log found at Mousehold Heath in Norwich.  Stripped all the bark off, bleached the wood to kill anything that might have been lurking inside.  Hinges made from scraps of timber.  Shelves made from floorboards found in my loft.  Base made from scaffold boards.  

Stained in dark teak and finished in satin varnish. Made for my best buddy and housemate in the whole world, Dylan the handsome cat.

Later added fairy lights, rope to the bottom to use as a scratching post, and carpeted the second shelf (his favourite).