Breaking ground for the new shop in May of 2008
Kind of out of the blue we started on the shop.
We had a backhoe here to dig gravel and sand from a new pond we are building alongside of the Sapello river. The gravel being brought up the hill eight yards at a time with the local excavator’s dump truck and spread on our driveway. While the equipment was here we had them dig our foundation for the new shop. I had been considering different locations around our house. Several factors were of concern:
- Budget, we had little money to work with, but we have decent resources, like 18 22 foot 2X10 inch rafters
- Nearness to the current electrical grid, although this shop is hoped to be powered from the wind we need to get started with grid power.
- Solar exposure for Winter months as the plan is to use four salvaged thermal pane sliding glass door panels on the south wall.
- General access to the entrance, as well as exposure to the best wind on the hill.
We had to do a crapload of work to the ditches because the backhoe guy misinterpreted the flags we set and dug the ditches out of square and just about as wrong as we could imagine. Above you can see we have added many rocks and adobe to the walls of the ditch in order to keep the required concrete to the 10 yards we were willing to purchase. As it worked out we were within 1/2 a wheel barrow load extra, nice huh? All in all the foundation preparation took ten of us all Summer to finish. It was a fine community project. Personally i burned 30 pounds worth of calories.
Above you can see a picture I shot this morning. We still have water sitting on the slab. This is called water curing concrete.
We built dirt dams around the slab on the evening of the pour and have an inch or two of water on top of the concrete. This is supposed to increase hardness of the concrete.
Yes-sir-eee, the shop is is starting to look like a shop, and best of all it feels good. Still missing the garage door, the east side wall is open to the weather, nevertheless a hell of a lot of progress was made this weekend. In the above photo, not sure if you can see on the right, the salvage entry door I scored from the “Free Pile” behind Desertgate on Friday. Yeah, it’s not great quality, but it is a door. After a couple hours of work, Kevin and I made the 37.5 inch wide 80 inch tall trapezoidal hole in the wall square. Indeed it was quite the feat, fitting that door. With a set of hinges Jackson bought years ago from the looks of the package, we mounted the garbage pile door on two of the thinnest 1″X8″ s I could find in our rapidly shrinking pile of one-by stock. The thing is, you see, the door was 36 inches, just like in the plans, and the hole was supposed to be 38 inches, which it probably was at some point, but when working with salvage lumber and timbers, things don’t always turn out exactly like they were drawn. I probably made matters worse by installing three big lag bolts into the 6″X8″ header beam and trying to pull a warp out of the door frame, before we began to trim the door jambs in. The headers in our case are the large timbers Dave the Wave supplied which go above the doors and windows used as massive support in a wood frame building.
Anywho, after lag bolting the door frame was stronger and stiffer, unfortunately, it was also crooked, and we only had one and a half inches of space in which to fit the two one inch thick trim boards which make up the door jambs. Righto, it’s all about resourcefulness working out here in the mountains of northern New Mexico. At least tow workarounds were needed here: We needed two boards that weren’t one inch thick, and either the door itself or the door rough shape needed to be
changed. I figured if I cut the door so it wasn’t square, it was a big deal, however if this was a temporary door until we could afford a good door, then we’d need to cut the new door to match the out of square space, and this notion didn’t appeal to me. We decided to sink all the nails in the door frame and trim the edge enough to make it level, and if all the offsetting couldn’t be adjusted there then we could always trim the door too. We started the removal of wood with a circular saw, then worked the edge with a mallet and chisel, and finishing up with a horse hoof rasp. After a few takes, both jambs sat perpendicular and lo and behold, the door swung closed, just like there never was an extra half inch of board in the way.
While I was over at dad’s barn looking for door hinges, instead I found three boxes of passage doorway knobs and latches. I used up a heck of a lot more time digging for salvage, instead of buying hardware new, but this is par for the course. Besides that, with the economy in the crapper, we do not have the option of popping-in to the hardware store, we need to salvage and get very resourceful. We were and now we have a door that seals, with a door knob and everything! The really cool part is that it was all done by Saturday. Sunday was a whole different ball game. I was out working in the shop early, the sun was shinning and it was fairly warm, so I finished the trim work on the entry door. Shortly thereafter Jona arrived and then major progress came about. Jona is an electrician, and out of the kindness of his heart he has taken on the job of engineering and installing the electrical systems in the shop. I don’t really think I got carried away, but I probably got carried away with how many circuits I wanted and felt we needed in the shop. Big changes are all around us in the field of lighting, making planning complex. With the advent of CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) work space lighting has a completely different look and feel than anything I built. Jona’ work is incredible and it shows in the quality of the shop.
This being a sustainable energy workshop, we absolutely need to conserve electricity. Although CFLs do save electricity, more energy can be conserved simply by placing more switches in the shop. The idea is simply to light only the portion of the shop where work is being done. Anyway, we have a crap load of separate lighting circuits. Motion-daylight detecting outdoor lighting on three sides all with override switches. If the porch light switch is on, then walking up to the entry door causes the light to actually turn on, Same is true for the driveway side lights, they will be off more than on, which is the way we like our lights out here in the country: lights off. Then there is the interior lighting, ohh ahh, my vision is totally awesome. We’ll see what we can beg, borrow and build for fixtures, but one that I have visualized is a wall mounted flexible and positionable workbench lamps. Also the overhead lighting will be recessed cans, holding CFL lamps, ya know the regular screw-in type bulbs. Then, of course we followed code and it says, power is needed above the garage door, just in case and electric door opened is used. So while we were up there we added four receptacles in the ceiling for retractable extension cords. Smiles.
The she is, the entry door I pulled out of the trash, and we made work. Now all we have left open is the garage side.
This image makes it look like crap, but anyway you can see the lag bolts at the top. They pulled the door frame over to the timber, but that caused other problems, which kept us thinking.
Jona’s company is called Kinetic Energy, and boy howdy, he loves the work. Thanks man
There will be approximately twelve recessed lamps in the ceiling, three along the Styrofoam wall in front of which will be the major power tools like the ShopSmith a combo lathe, band saw, etc. Also we hope to get a high quality drill press, and some other tools to aid in building wind turbines.
This thing is made from a fuel tank off a big truck of some kind. Jackson has the other one we made at the same time, only his is vertically oriented.