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Building a Woodshed: A Year in the Making

November 21, 2020

Another Way for week of November 13, 2020

Building a Woodshed: A Year in the Making

I am so proud of my husband. He/we finished the woodshed that we started over a year ago. I stood by him most of the way through construction and learned a lot. He even complimented me at times for how much better I did knowing which tool was which, which drill/driver he needed (you do know the difference, don’t you?), the difference between various screws and bolts and washers and all that jazz which always left me confused and bamboozled.

So I’m proud of myself too. Two mid-to-late 60-year-olds building a shed which we hope someone else will also eventually enjoy and use. Oh yeah, we paused for many months on this project after Stuart had his knee replacement surgery in early March. We also had lots of sore muscles, lots of arguments, lots of holding the ladders for each other so we wouldn’t fall.

We also had precious helpers: a brother-in-law, a close friend, some neighbors who brought in a tractor with a hole digger when we were putting six posts in the ground.

And I almost forgot the dog. She showed up in her tux (white fur front with black fuzz over the rest of her) and supervised our sessions as diligently as any boss. She watched, waited, got antsy toward suppertime when she thought we should be quitting. And, she managed to avoid having any drill or hammer fall on her head.

I guess the other reason I’m so proud and happy is that my husband managed to use up some lumber, plywood, and scrap pieces he had been saving for over 30 years. Over the years, he had worked in two different plants that produced wood products—and offered plenty of free scraps for the takers. Much to my dismay.

Here you can see the varieties of scrap/free wood we used–and the rafters he glued and screwed together out of the 3/4 inch plywood planks.

“Where will we put that?” I would holler every time he’d bring home a new batch of castoffs. “When will you use that?” Unknown.

Patiently and not so patiently I put up with stacks of high grade ¾ inch plywood planks (5 ½ inches by 8 feet). We moved all of them from the basement of our former house (13 years ago) to our current home. He is also now trying to get rid of other scraps and I’ve heard him say—and let me document this—“That’s the last building I’m building myself.” Yay! And truth be told, I don’t see a need for ANY more buildings.

The woodshed looks like a small open-sided picnic pavilion, which is the model he used in his head: no blueprints or sketched out designs. It is 14 by 14 feet with a nice brown metal roof that matches the shed where he keeps (ahem) multiple mowers and tractors. He wanted a woodshed that he could drive wagonloads of wood into with our old heavy-duty lawn and garden tractor, to make it easier to feed the wood stove in our basement. We also have a heat pump we use occasionally, and for when we are too decrepit to saw and carry in wood. In our area, there are lots of wooded areas, so we cut up downed trees in our woods or those of other friends and neighbors.

By building the shed ourselves, using largely scrap wood from other projects, we spent about $750. If someone had built it for us, it would probably have cost at least $2500, especially with recent plywood and lumber prices. Plus, what else are you going to do when you’re retired and the old corona virus keeps you home much more than you’d like. I’m especially glad that by this fall, Stuart’s knee had healed enough that climbing carefully up and down ladders and stretching out over the roof to nail down the roof, was doable.

I’m including a slideshow of pictures below for the curious. Indeed, my blog name “Finding Harmony” speaks here: we had to find ways to work together in harmony, and largely succeeded. We are also so grateful to God for safety and for the help of a friends and relatives. 


I’d love to hear about projects you took on this year–or in recent times.

Are you handy with tools and equipment? What is your forte?

Comment here on send to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Awesome job! You can tell Stuart I said so. And even though you “had lots of sore muscles, lots of arguments, lots of holding the ladders for each other so we wouldn’t fall,” the project was accomplished beautifully..

    My guy got galvanized into action probably April/May this year after the pandemic brought restrictions. He started in his art studio, retrofitting his desk with additional storage: adding compartments, etc. Today he has just about finished building a platform for his mitre saw, adding casters so he can roll, rather than lift, the saw to wherever he needs it. He’s always been a builder, most notably the 4′ x 7′ easel which provided his livelihood doing art & music performances in schools for over 30 years.

    Some of my friends say they wish they have bought stock in Zoom. My bet is on Home Depot and Lowe’s! In these times, it’s good to funnel stress into something useful – a shed or a blog post as you have done today. Great post, Melodie! Great shed, Stuart!

  2. I shared your comment with Stuart and he is deservedly basking in a bit of satisfaction (he is usually rather hard on himself, I would say). Anyway thanks for the enthusiasm and sharing your “guy’s” projects–sounds very creative and helpful as well. Adding compartments for organizing–love it! A career doing art and music in schools for over 30 years is amazing! I remember such programs at our school and at church. Blessings to you, Marian & Cliff.

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