Firewood sheds

So, I am back on da road. Since my last project we’ve been doing bits and pieces all over the place. The other workaway hosts we have stayed with have had long term projects.

(which basically means you can stay for a couple of weeks without really making any noticable change or improvement)

So I won’t document it here.

After which we returned to the UK for Christmas as well as helping to install the London Illustration Fair which happened at the start of December.

I was itching to get my teeth sunk into a project when we finally got back on the road, this time we are making our way through Germany. Our first workaway host is Henning with a large, old government building in the small village of Retzow, a place surrounded by many lakes (all frozen this time of year).

Henning’s house is solely heated by wood fire stoves, half of the house has a gravity fed central heating system running from a furnace in the cellar, the other half is heated from individual stoves in each room which means the house requires a large volume of wood to be stored and dried in the large garden outside the property.

So the plan was to build three woodsheds at once. This would create a total of 24 cubic metres capacity.

Because Natasha & I were working together on this project we thought it was best to do it the most efficiently so we used batch production techniques in order to speed things up and so the finished products looked similar to each other.

We set about measuring the existing shed to make a detailed drawing and cutting list.

The next stage was to buy the materials, which sounds simple enough but considering the distance to the hardware store was roughly 15km away the hard task is getting all the correct materials in one trip! Apart from spending double or triple for the fuel, the time is the most valuable thing you lose if you’ve forgotten one small but crucial element of the build…..

After managing to complete that task we celebrated with chips.

The first part of the build was measuring and cutting each component according to the cutting list which was done using a circular chop saw.

The following task was to accurately mark and drill pilot holes in all the legs of the wood sheds, where the horizontal supports attach to create the basic frame structure. Because we were batch producing these, we set about making a jig to quickly mark where each piece needed pilot holes. The jig consisted of two lengths of offcuts fixed together to form a 90 degree ‘L’ shape. In one side of the jig we accurately measured and drilled 2 holes which would run parallel to the other side of the jig. Once the holes in the jig were drilled we added 2 screws so the slightly protruded from the holes on the internal corner. This means that when you place the jig up against the side of the piece of wood which requires holes, tap the top with a hammer and the jig accurately and consistently marks where to drill pilot holes. All this basically meant we could process all the stock into pieces that we knew would end up being able to be attached together.

The next stage was constructing the frames, because of the extra time spent marking out, the construction went together super fast.

We were now ready to start marking out where the spiked metal feet for the posts were to be placed. The main problem with marking out on the ground where to place the feet was the fact that they all had to be at 90 degrees to their adjacent feet. Which basically means you can’t just measure the distance between each foot (as you could end up with a rhombus shaped shed)

So we needed to make sure the diagonal length between the two opposite legs were equal. Once we managed to hammer the feet in to a roughly accurate square we could begin putting the frames in the feet and adding horizontal supports to create a three dimensional structure.

The next stage was to build the roof structures which each consisted of three beams that rested on the two oposite sides of the shed and 7 thinner battens (graten; meaning fish bones in German) running perpendicular to the beams which the metal sheet roof would be attached to.


After screwing together the wooden part of the roof we laid the metal sheets down and placed the frame on top of it and piloted through the wood to the metal below, we then flipped everything over and located weatherproof screws in the holes.

We then had to get the roofs on top of the shed and secure them with angled metal brackets.

The last step was to add the rough cut, natural edged pine boards to the exterior to protect the fire wood from rain but also to provide ventilation to dry it out.





So happy with how the project turned out…

Author: squarecircleguy

Building futures in sustainable living.

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