Nearly winter, must be time to build a shed, right?

With delay in getting materials and other distractions keeping me from progressing on the shed, I find myself getting started in cold weather again. I say again, since this is what happened with the first shed – I started with ground preparation in December, actually – after the first snow – and only got the shed covered in the spring. I fear that this time will be similar, even with a somewhat earlier start, since this shed is larger and each part of it is already taking longer to build.

So it goes.

On the bright side, I’m very happy to report that construction has begun again, and I have some progress to show!

The biggest delay this summer was in getting the material for the bows. I decided after attempting two bows with 8’+12’ 1×3’s that the shed wasn’t going to be as strong as I wanted it without using full 20’ lengths, and after discussing that with a couple of lumber mills, I decided on 20’ rough-cut 1×4’s, which are significantly larger than dressed 1×3’s. All well and good, but because of a particularly wet spring it was well into September by the time I saw my lumber.

Work and other commitments prevented work from starting until a couple of weeks ago, at which point I started on the knee walls. They went up reasonably quickly – I followed my previously-stated plan of doing them short (1’6”) and out of 2×6 for greater stability. I ended up with a double layer of 2×6 for the top cap, for strength, and lag-bolted the 2×4 sill (on which the bows will land) from the bottom of the top 2×6, making a very rigid structure.

Some pictures:
Knee wall nearly complete

Shed with knee wall from behind

I extended the j-bolts that were embedded in the slab when it was built using connectors and threaded rod so that they come up through the top sill of the knee wall, and tightened them down. That is one rigid knee wall now! The only movement is the connection between the 2×4 that the bows sit on and the 2×6 it’s bolted to – which is less movement than would happen with the shed’s designed sills, so I’m content.

All of the fasteners are bigger on this shed – all the knee wall hardware is 1/2”, and the bows are put together with 3/8” (the old one was 1/4”). Heavier, stronger, and unfortunately more expensive – but this is still an inexpensive way to build a large shed/barn – certainly much cheaper than stick-built would have been.

Here’s photos of the fasteners from the slab to the top cap of the knee wall:

More securing of knee wall to slab

Space at the back of the shed

That last one shows the size of the space aft of the boat. This area will be two-stories, with a workshop at deck level to make the interior remodelling easier to do, and storage and a seating area down below. I’m also planning a balcony off the workshop, but that may wait for an indefinite period, we’ll see.

Bow construction has also begun, and they’re coming out really nicely. I decided that two pieces of 2×4 sandwiched together made a more robust spacer block than the single piece on edge, especially since these new bows are a full 4” wide (vs. the 2.5” of the old ones). The blocks are also less likely to split from the addition of fasteners – something which happened quite regularly with the old design.

Comparing the old with the new:

New 20' bow beside one of the old 18' ones

Another photo comparing the old with the new bows

I actually have 5 done now, not the three shown here, but there is no question they take some time. I need 50 in total, so this is what I’ll be up to for the next few weeks of spare time…

3 bows down, just 47 more to build

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