Building the 8×12 Tool Shed

by ziggy on May 2, 2012 -- 4 comments -- Follow

Small 8x12 Tool Shed

Building an 8x12 tool shed

It’s funny that I never built with dimensional lumber before building my cob house. This is a new world to me, and while I scoffed at building with sticks before, it was based more on ‘philosophy’ than first-hand experience. Well, now that I have gotten my feet wet with some more dimensional lumber construction, I can at least scoff at it with some more actual experience.

Although, I have to admit, it is nice to build something really quickly, and with little thought involved. But I think that’s part of the problem, never mind the absolute lack of aesthetic value, chintzy materials, the overall lack of inherent strength…

Well, moving on, here’s a little update about where the 8×12 tool shed is going.

Tool Shed Foundation

A simple dry stacked urbanite foundation

Building the 8×12 Tool Shed

This has been a quick building, especially with theĀ free 8×12 shed plans from Tiny House Design. For a foundation, we did a dry stack urbanite “pier” foundation. First we dug into the soil, leveling a “pad” for each pier of urbanite at the four corners. After digging into the earth, we poured a few inches of gravel, and then set the urbanite, making sure it didn’t rock very much. (Before all of this, we did a batter board layout to determine how high to make each pier, of course… by leaving the batter boards in place, we could run a level from the board to the pier to figure out if we were too low or high.)

We also constructed two black locust piers, burying them on either side of the floor. These are bolted to the floor to prevent the building from lifting in high wind situations.

Small Tool Shed Foundation

These buried black locust piers will prevent the platform from lifting in the wind

The Shed Floor Platform

After that came the 2×6 floor platform. The frame was quick to build, but the flooring took some extra time — we used some reclaimed 3″ flooring from a deconstruction project last year. The stuff was a little irregular, to say the least. (I’m sure the flooring is at least 50 years old or so…) The Tiny House Design plans call for plywood, but I can’t get down with that stuff. (Plus, we cannot use new wood in construction here at Dancing Rabbit.) I like the look of the rough, old flooring.

Reclaimed Tounge and Groove Floor

Installing a reclaimed tongue and groove floor

Framing the Walls and More

The wall framing was a snap, too. However, I realized a little late that there was an inherent weakness in the design, though — there are no diagonals in the plans. Hrrm. Perhaps they were expecting the plywood to provide shear strength? I’m hoping the siding we plan to use will provide the necessary shear strength, because as it is, the frame is very weak and easy to move from side to side.

Building a Tool Shed

Raising the tool shed ridge beam

As it stands, we have the ridge beam up, and a few of the rafters. We are making a few modifications to the plans with the addition of a small loft, and a post and beam awning on the east. The weather of the past three days has prevented us from making good headway, but I can’t imagine the rest of the construction will take very long. We spent probably five days building the foundation, the floor platform, and raising the walls. (We only use hand tools other than a power drill, so I’m sure the timeline is even faster with circular saws and the like. Not for me, though.)

I’m excited to have this small tool shed done, as our growing collection of hand tools and building supplies need a good home!

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  • Yes, you need shear bracing in walls like those. Plywood would does a great job with that, but your siding won’t help enough unless it’s installed diagonally. It’s pretty simple though to add some let-in diagonal 1×4 bracing into a 2x wall though. Much easier to do before you raise the walls, but it will just take some cutting and notching to make it work now.

    Steel T-bracing is far easier and quicker (all it takes to install is one diagonal cut across the studs), but I gather that you don’t want to use new material – although imho steel is one of the most recycled materials in use, and is much more efficient for this sort of thing than wood. It’s around $5 or so for 12 feet of it.

    Good luck on the shed!

  • Oh and here’s an excellent piece on straightening and strengthening an old outbuilding using the metal T-bracing:

  • Chuck

    Yes – generally speaking, the shear strength comes from the plywood sheathing. Without it, you’ll definitely need to add let-in bracing or another form of diagonal bracing, if you haven’t already. Regular horizontal wood siding will make the walls seem a bit sturdier for a while, until the nails or screws loosen a bit in their holes and things start to sway again.

  • Chris

    If the siding were able to be able to run diagonally that would solve the problem of bracing and rigidity.

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