Sunday, June 14, 2015


Ever since we landed in Buchanan I’ve been scheming about some kind of a shop.  At one point we seriously considered a new build at 210 but fortunately we waited and this place came available.  Since we moved in here we’ve considered waiting out some of the oldsters that surround us in the hope of moving into something with a little more yard and then consolidating in one location.  Both here and at 210 our neighbours are elderly with health issues.  They also both have large “shop like” buildings on their property.  But we’ve kind of got used to the 2 yard situation and it has some advantages.  More importantly both neighbours seem like they aren’t going anywhere soon.  So for the last year I’ve been considering how I can economically end up with a usable shop.

The little garage on this property is structurally sound with a good roof, half of which has good shingles.  The south slope has obviously been redone fairly recently – the north slope is getting pretty sketchy but it probably has a few years left in it if we push it.  The problem is that the headroom inside is the shits – I don’t think it had a clear 8 feet when it was built and they’ve eroded that by putting a wooden floor over the concrete.  Up until yesterday I thought the wood was sitting directly on the ground but I accidentally discovered that there is a pretty decent concrete floor underneath the wood.

I discovered the concrete in the course of emptying the garage completely.  When I started removing the fairly substantial shelving unit in the NW corner it turned out to be sitting on the concrete with wood floor built all around it.  I was emptying the garage because the building movers are coming on Wednesday.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I decided that I could salvage some significant value out of the existing garage by raising the roof.  And not just raising it a little – I propose to raise it 7 feet.  Now that I have discovered the concrete it makes even better sense.  Without the concrete I figured I would just barely come out ahead by renovating compared to demolishing and rebuilding but with the floor in the picture the renovation is a clear cost winner.

Once I get the existing structure raised I will add another piece on the east end.  I haven’t made a final decision on the size of that addition but it will be at least 10 feet and likely 16 feet by the roughly 24 feet width of the existing building.  If I go with the 16 foot addition that will give me a finished 40 x 24 shop with headroom for a 14 foot door.  That in turn will let me easily get the fifth wheel inside and it will let me use a car hoist as well.  Murray has a car hoist and I’ve been jealous of it ever since I first helped him do something on it.  Like he says “When you need a wrench instead of rolling out, standing up, getting the wrench and then crawling back under you just walk over to the toolbox and get a wrench.”   I’ll also probably put a 10 foot lean-to along the west side which will house the workbench, welding bench, tool crib and parts storage. 

The first step in the whole process was to find a building mover and the first one of them that I phoned has yet to call me back.  The second one said “Well we could come Monday.  How’s that work for you?” Ummm – well – aahhhh – I’m not actually ready.  The more I thought about it though it seemed like I should grab the opportunity before he gets busy somewhere else so I called him back.  Then he sent one of the kids who works for him (and lives in Buchanan) to scope out the project over his lunch hour.  Aside from the formidable task of emptying all my junk from the garage my other big worry was the SaskTel phone line that runs directly over the existing garage, clearing it by maybe 2 feet.  My building mover assured me that he knows “the SaskTel guy” and that he will get him onsite before they get here.  So on that basis we committed to being ready by Wednesday. 


The west side (faces the house) of our little garage

And we’re more or less ready tonight.  I’ve got a truckload of lumber scheduled to arrive tomorrow.  Once it gets here I’ll put a ring of 2x6 around the garage roughly a foot above the floor.  Then I’ll cut through the sheeting and studs along the bottom of that 2x6 ring.  I won’t cut everything loose until Wednesday when the crew gets here but I’ll be able to do some of the cutting before they arrive.  They will lift the top of the building up 7 feet leaving stubs of the studs sticking up roughly 1 foot high.  They will have to leave the top of the building level and plumb but then I’ll scab in studs to fill the gap and sheet the gap.  They plan to leave the blocking in for 2 days but I don’t think it will take anywhere near that long to fill the gap.  I’m going to use 12 foot 2x4 for the cripple studs but I could probably make 10 footers work.  I’ll have a foot of overlap at the bottom and 4 feet at the top – 10 footers would only have 2 feet of overlap at the top which might end up being a little wobbly.


The east side of the garage this morning before I removed the POS doors.  The wood over concrete floor is kind of visible

The garage is so poorly wired now that I’ll be able to save all the wiring, for whatever that may be worth.  There’s very few outlets and there were no lights until I hung a couple of fluorescent fixtures.  All the wiring that there is goes up so it will all stay intact when I cut off the bottom of the building.  I’ll have to splice in an extension to feed the panel but other than that the existing wiring won’t be touched by the roof raising.  If nothing else it will give me lights and power while I’m doing the renovation but I will absolutely need to put in a new power service.  Right now there’s a 4 breaker panel with what looks like 12/2 loomex feeding it from a 20 amp breaker in the house.  When we had the panel in the house upgraded last fall I had the garage renovation in mind.  I’ll put in at least a 60 amp sub-panel and I think I’ll bury gas line as well.  As long as we’re going away in the winter I don’t really need heat but if I’ve got a trench open I might as well put a gas line in it just in case.


Empty and doorless tonight.  Shitty wood floor visible.

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