Logo 1 #topThe Poor Man's Fix-it shop.[not for the proficient craftsman] . . . .Logo 2


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Work bench


    What do you do when you have several truck loads of heavy-duty pallets and nowhere to store them? Of courses you make a work shop out of them. I'm sure anyone would have thought of that idea.

    Most people who would construct something out of pallets would take the pallets apart and use the resulting lumber as they would any other form of construction. I saw no purpose in doing this when the pallets are the shape and the thickness I would have built the shop anyway.

    But first, before building out of pallets we first have to acquire the pallets. In today's world it appears such pallets have to be purchased. In days gone by, a few years at least, stores were crying for someone to take the pallets off their hands because pallets were coming in with merchandise, but the transporters of that merchandise didn't want to retrieve the pallets they were leaving. One store I came across had several stacks of such pallets lining the back of their loading area, and along the fence that lead to that area. I asked about taking one or two of the pallets, but the owner said he wanted me to take all of them. So I did, carrying five large pickup loads full to my family estate (an acre is an estate, isn't it?).

    Once the pallets are obtained, an area had to be found and prepared for the building. The area I chose there already existed a large, overgrown blackberry patch. In the removing of the patch I acquired many thorns scratches that ran around my legs and all over my hands and arms. I was at war with the berry vines, and they were taking their tole on me.

    Where my family lived, though it was now inside the city limits, it hadn't always been. My neighbor said that where I was planing on putting the shop is where the previous owner buried his horse many years before. I don't know about a horse, but it was definitely where they buried their trash (which was common in those days) because I unearthed a whole lot of trash and broken glass. 

    To do the work I needed a table upon which to do the sawing and the nailing. To your left you'll see the beginning of my work station. (Click on the image if you want a closer look). However at this time my saw horses are being used to shelter a duck (the story of which can be found elsewhere). The sunken bowl in front of the shelter was my attempt to create a spot for the duck. The duck rejected my efforts.



Distant shop


    I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but I wanted to show you something that gets lost in later pictures. To the left, alongside the fence, you'll see some rafters. These will be explained later. You'll also see a small shed, half of it filled with lumber to bu used for the workshop. This I'll be talking about later after the project is completed. In the previous picture you'll see another view of the same thing, along with the front end of the trailer I was living in, located on the family estate.


Distant shot


    Again I'm ahead of myself. You can see that all the pallets I needed for the shed have already been used, yet there are many stacks of them placed hither and yon. I separated the best of the pallets and placed them hither. And the lesser of the pallets I stored yon. After quality had been selected, I separated the best of them according to size and board orientation. I wanted the shed to be as professional looking as possible. If you're going to make a mess, you might as well make it a big mess I aways say. A rule I've been able to keep throughout my life.



Pallet stack


    Here's a picture of yon. Actually before I began the project I had to find a place to store all these pallets since it was going to be quite a while before I could use them. I cleared a patch in the back forty blackberry patch and stored them there (I think you're looking at the first of three stacks here. There was a lot of pallets to store away).

    When you click on the image to your left, a picture of my goat ranch will come up (before I started on it). Don't be surprised if you find a patch that looks all the world like a blackberry patch. It's just your imagination.


Floor plan


    Now the project begins in earnest (actually I couldn't get Ernest, nor anyone else to help me. I had to do it on my own).

    As I said in the previous panel, the best of the pallets are sorted and leaning against the trees. What you see here are the rejects that I figure on using for other things.

    The floor has been laid out, and the base frame assembled. I used 3/4 inch plywood for the floor, which would have been sufficient if I had made the cross pieces 16 inches apart rather than 24 inches. I then had to lay another 3/4 inch layer of plywood down, which made for a floor you could park a truck on.

    The assembly of the base frame and the floor is common knowledge, so I won't elaborate on it at this time.


Self portrait


    I thought you might be curious as to what I look like, so I took this self-portrait. It's hard to tell in this picture, but the full beard I had at the time has since been shaved and I'm now bald face. Also I've lost 75 pounds since then, and I'm not as tall as I appear to be in this picture. 




    A picture of the area before I had progressed beyond the floor layout. Keep in mind that everything you see in this picture (and more) was established blackberry bushes higher than my head in places. Something for your knowledge base: Old, dry, thick blackberry bushes are very hard to cut, but they cut you very deep and bloody. I know from experience.

    My intention here was not to only build a workshop, but to create a farm and a small goat ranch. The fence posts you see located here and there are the borders of the main ranch areas. My later project was to extend the fenced area deep in the wooded area, allowing the goats to have plenty of running space, and plenty of blackberry vines to chew on. The ground here is mud, and it had been a very dry summer. The ground was like concrete, and I was planting these fence posts 3 feet in the ground. To do this I let a hose run in a hole I was working on for several hours, even over night (letting it dribble). Then I pulled out few inches of mud with a post hole digger and ran the process again, often ten times for each fence post. Fortunately we were on a personal well and didn't have to pay for the water I was using. (By the way, the well water ended up turning everything a deep orange, the concrete, the white tarps, my trailer, everything. I didn't realize what was happening until it was too late, which was years later). The fence took almost as long to build as did the shop. 

    Fences for miniature goats don't have to be as high as for full size goats since they're so much shorter, at least this was my hope. I hear that I'm wrong on this and the goats would be able to jump the fence with little trouble.

    My purpose in creating a farm and ranch is not because I'm fond of natural foods or a masochist. I wanted to make sure the family (my aged and blind father and my mother with Alzheimer as well as extended family) had a place where if anything happened they would be sure of  survival.

    My intention was to build a small corn field and raised gardens in the center of the clearing. I had already placed and lined several large trash cans alongside the garage and filled them with water, and created a place to catch the roof-runoff  to fill the containers. I  suppose you can imagine that this was just prior to the end of the world expected at the beginning of the Millennium when everything was supposed to shut down because of computer failure.


In process

    The finished  skeleton of the shop.
    Notice how the boards on the outside are fairly evenly matches. I wasn't concerned with the inside for reasons I'll be showing you later.
    Once the floor was fully in place, I painted the floor with several coats of heavy duty floor paint. I didn't want to have to paint the floor when the walls were up because of difficulty, and because I wanted the wood protected that would have normally been exposed under the walls. Another, and the most important reason I wanted the floor painted is because there was a call for rain that night, and I wanted the floor protected for that reason.
    This is not a rinky-dink job I'm doing here. Notice the thick outer frame along the corners of the building. And the full-size header over the door. I tried to make everything as accurate and to code as possible, even though there are no codes affecting a small 8x10 shed in this city. In the town I live in now I can build a 16x 20 shop and not have to get a permit. But what I have here is fully sufficient for what I had in mind.
    Once the frame was established, then I pieced the pallets to the frame, cutting where needed, which wasn't in very many places. I had to cut the pallets in half for the sides of the doors because of there being not much room left after the full four foot opening I wanted at each end of the shop. Also the windows I had to cut, one on each side of the remaining walls. I wanted plenty of light by which to work.

    Click the next button below to take you to the next page, the building of the roof.





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