Bob's New Tool Shed Cost About $200 To Make! Just Look How Nice It Came Out!


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Categories: Building Methods

Well, it was time to replace the old tool shed.

Despite all the framing I'd added, the serious snow loads we get up here had finally damaged our old Montgomery Ward metal garden shed beyond the point of no return.

The wife wanted to throw up a simple pole shed, using up all the scrap lumber we have laying around. I wanted to add on to the cordwood wood shed using more cord wood and mortar. 
I didn't want a crappy metal clad pole shed in my back yard, and the wife didn't want to put the effort in needed for mortared cordwood.

Also on our list of things to eventually do is build a ferro-cement dome for use as a guest cabin, and my wife was bugging me to get rolling on that project. So, we decided that a ferro-cement tool shed would be a good introduction to this building technique, letting us learn ( read that as make mistakes ) on a smaller scale non-critical project. If this shed holds up to our snow loads and is water proof, then next year we'll build the dome. 

My contribution to the art of ferro-cement building is the use of inexpensive 16' long cattle panels for the frame work.
Ever since I first transported a few of these panels bowed up in the back of my pickup truck I have been fascinated by their potential as building material.
The steel is stiff and springy, easily bowed into useful shapes. 
Barrel vaults! Domes! Covered wagons! Simply had to try it out.

The cattle panel frame - 

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We used the better part of three full panels to frame the shed up. 
I'd intended to weld it all together but simply wired it up instead, because I couldn't get the welder I'd borrowed started! 

We had a small cracked 7' x 12' concrete pad where the old shed stood. I dug a trench around three sides of it, maybe four inches wide by six deep. 
The cattle panels were cut to length with bolt cutters. One end was shoved down into the trench, the other was nailed to the woodshed. The trench was filled with concrete to lock the panels in place.


The doorway presented a problem. It simply had to be sturdy enough to maintain it's shape when the cattle panels were nailed to it. I framed one up of 2x4s and that didn't do it. The next I framed up of 2x6s, and that didn't work. Finally I set two cedar posts in concrete, and that worked fine.
The rear window frame simply rests on the cattle panels and is wired in. 

The cattle panel frame is covered on the outside with chicken wire, and a layer of 2.5 pound lath on the inside.

We soon discovered that the job of tying the chicken wire down and the lath up was a real chore!
First you cut a pile of short lengths of stiff wire, bend them into a U, and someone pokes them through from one side while the other person twists the wire up with pliers. Because of the huge number of ties needed this is a big job. It takes a long time and your always poking yourself with sharp bits of wire. 

My wife had the wonderful idea of using plastic wire ties instead of bits of wire. Once we started doing this the tying went several times faster. 
So, this handy tip is her contribution to the art of ferro-cement building! 

Tying the top portions of the covering was difficult because you can't walk on top of the frame. We had to lean off ladders, or lay on the roof of the wood shed to get the job done. I have no idea how to do this with a barrel vault or dome, unless one uses expensive scaffolding.

Ties everywhere! - 

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The finished frame, chicken wire outside and lath inside - 

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