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Suggestions for wood shelter solo build?

 
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I have a bunch of wood that I need to split and put up for winter but I don't have anywhere to put it yet.  I plan to build a new one.  I already have two smaller shelters with dry wood and my intent is to put the green wood in the new one this year and then rotate through them.

I'm feeling a bit intimidated with attempting this and know I need a plan.  I enjoyed algebra but geometry was not my strong suit in math and I always cut angles wrong if I don't have a template to follow.  But I'm decent with power tools and I'm determined.  

Anyone have any suggestions for building a wood shelter?  I'm prepared to buy more supplies but I have a fair bit of random lumber already and I'm hoping to use at least some of that.  I'm happy to follow someone's template if there's something available (I'm not seeing anything here in a search) but I think I can also pattern it decently off of one of the shelters that family built here.  

That being said, I'm really not sure how to manage it solo.  How do you square things and frame something without someone helping hold things for you?  (I've historically been the helper in this scenario.)  I've worked on and completed enough solo projects the past couple years that I already know that it's going to take me way longer to build than I hope or would like.  And I'm prepared for that.  But I'd really like it to be sturdy when I'm done and not fall over when I stack wood in it or worse, collapse in the first bad wind storm.

So any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Sonja
 
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You dont need a template.
You can research wood shelters on the web.
Images of wood shelters
You dont need angles etc, just start with 4 posts set in the ground if its possible to dig the ground, then screw horizontal planks across 3 sides with a diagonal one also from top to bottom of the 3 panelled sides.
This assumes the open front side is where you load the wood in from.
Keep gaps between the planks so air can move about.
But what size do you have in mind?
You could collect a range of discarded pallets and use them.
 
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For what it's worth here is my design for a little wood shelter.  

I have a number of these dotted around my tree field, and will build more as the trees get big enough to coppice.  Made from three standard pallets, a bit of old corrugated roofing, two fence posts and some off cuts of timber.  The fence posts driven into the ground support the pallet on the left, and a diagonal front and rear support the pallet on the right.  The prevailing wind comes from the right, so the roof catches most of the rain and sheds it without the wood getting too wet, but it remains very airy to help dry out.
They're not very big, you can't stand up in them, but that's an advantage with my wind. I can build several of them so they're very close to where I coppice to save moving the wood more when it's heavier. You can reach in to stack from either side, or sit in them when they're empty and you get caught out in the rain.  After a year we use a vehicle to move the cut wood up to the woodshed by the house where it's handier for burning.
I've seen some nice designs based on pallets that are taller, and moveable, so you can pick the whole shed up, wood and all, and move it to the house or where required.  I didn't feel up to that, and with my smaller coppice quantities it was not really neccessary, more useful to be close to the trees I was cutting.
 
John C Daley
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I use one of those very sharp hand saws that last ages instead of a battery saw.
Its very efficient and is additional exercise.
 
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Perhaps you could watch Richard Proenneke‘s efforts that included a solo build of a cabin accomplished with hand tools in a remote location by himself and which he filmed by himself along with a bunch of other stuff.

8036E8F8-83CB-4DAF-9E94-9C948DE4258A.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 8036E8F8-83CB-4DAF-9E94-9C948DE4258A.jpeg]
 
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Here is a simple shed of the type John mentioned.  This one has a floor, but wouldn't need to.  It could also just be four posts set into the ground if you didn't need one this size, and decide to go without a floor.  "Eyeball square" would be fine, or simply measure from corner to corner and make sure the measurements are the same if you want it square.  This is the type I am going to build this year.  Simple, easy to expand, great airflow.  Here is the link to it.  Full plans on PDF at the site as well.  Wood shed plans

woodshed.PNG
simple woodshed found online
simple woodshed found online
 
Sonja Draven
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Thanks everyone! I went to bed and when I woke up, the permies elves had gifted me. :)

I want to avoid putting posts in the ground because they tend to rot and break off here.The structures that have held up best over the years were set on square flat "bricks."

I'm picturing a lot bigger than what you have, Nancy, but those are great! Thanks for sharing the pic.

Trace, that pic looks good for what I was thinking and I'll check out the plans. I appreciate the confidence in people thinking I don't need a template but I think it would make me feel better this first time.

James, thanks for the suggestion and link about solo building. I'll definitely watch that too.
 
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Sonja,

Just a couple of thoughts.

First, there is a lot of good information already here.

Secondly, I always find it useful to have a second set of hands.  If you can’t find extra hands, clamps might be your next best bet.  Clamps can hold things temporarily in place while you fasten them together.

Thirdly, to get things square, start with getting the base level.  Since you want to rest upon cement pads, getting these perfectly level is crucial.  If you need more help on this, I can give you pointers later if you like.

Fourth, once you establish level, get things perfectly vertical.  A level, preferably 4’ or longer, is best.

Fifth, start attaching cross pieces.  These should be perfectly square/perpendicular to the posts.  This can be accomplished by measuring or with a speed square or framing square.

These are all very generic suggestions and if you want more specifics, please let me know.

Good Luck,

Eric
 
Trace Oswald
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Eric Hanson wrote:Sonja,

Just a couple of thoughts.

First, there is a lot of good information already here.

Secondly, I always find it useful to have a second set of hands.  If you can’t find extra hands, clamps might be your next best bet.  Clamps can hold things temporarily in place while you fasten them together.

Thirdly, to get things square, start with getting the base level.  Since you want to rest upon cement pads, getting these perfectly level is crucial.  If you need more help on this, I can give you pointers later if you like.

Fourth, once you establish level, get things perfectly vertical.  A level, preferably 4’ or longer, is best.

Fifth, start attaching cross pieces.  These should be perfectly square/perpendicular to the posts.  This can be accomplished by measuring or with a speed square or framing square.

These are all very generic suggestions and if you want more specifics, please let me know.

Good Luck,

Eric



Eric, while that is a really informative post, and I agree with much of it, I think telling a beginning builder that anything has to be "perfectly" anything is a mistake.  "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good" comes to mind.  To put together a wood shed that will be standing 20 or 30 years from now, nothing has to be perfect.  You could be off on every measurement by 6 inches and it wouldn't really matter, except aesthetically.  I've seen more structures than you can imagine that were just slapped together and they worked perfectly well.  I was framing a wall once with a very seasoned, very skilled, carpenter.  He looked over at me measuring down to the 1/16th of an inch and said "this is not finish work, get some nails in those boards".  It was said tongue in cheek, but the point stands.  In a structure like this, there is a lot of room for "good enough".

 
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I have made super fast wood drying areas by taking two pallets and joining them at right angles with a longer brace at the back and shorter at the front which we call a "book end". Then we make a second mirror version and put more pallets on the ground in between to extend the length. If we want it long like 20'+, I add a third upright in the middle. Then I put 2x4" in the center of the upright skids to "raise the roof" which most recently was some bamboo fastened to the 2x4's as a ridge pole then a tarp over the bamboo. It works better if you get 48"x48" skids. I'll try and take a picture. The downside is the tarps - they need to be stretched out with a gap between tarp and wood for airflow, and I'm trying to use fewer tarps as they solar degrade too easily and aren't biodegradable.

Having multiple cubbies and vertical supports helps with "1st in 1st out" wood drying and also makes it safer to stack and un-stack - collapsing wood is a danger, please stay safe!

I have made quickie wood sheds by using salvaged scaffold ends, adding short vertical pipes at the rear and longer ones at the front to hold horizontal roof supports. The last one I made was *really* useful for years until a large tree fell on it - is that karma or what! It's on my list to make another, but the ends don't have enough supports to keep the wood in. My plan is to use some salvaged chain link attached to the ends to support the wood.
 
Eric Hanson
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Trace,

Actually I agree with you to not let perfect be the enemy of good enough.  What I was trying to describe for Sonja was how to build right angles, especially for a person taking the lead for the first time and especially for a person possibly working alone.

Definitely if good enough is good enough then don’t ruin it with perfection.  But if right angles were the goal, these are some steps in that direction.

I probably should have been more clear about that.

Eric
 
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Hi Sonja, Flat brick is good for a base so long as it is true brick and not a cinder block type of brick. They tend to become a pile of pieces after some freeze thaw cycles. Water gets into the block and freezes. As it expands it can break the cinder block apart.

A cord of wood is about 4'deep x8' long x4'high.  So 2  4'x8'x6' is 3 cords of wood. I would make the side walls 6' long the back wall 16', and a 6' center wall. The height of the back wall 7' and the height of the front 8'. If you get nasty rains a lot you could attach a drop down tarp to keep the weather out and raise it on sunny days. Helps to keep the wood dry.

You will want to build the frame on the ground and lift it in place. 2x4s 2 feet on center should be strong enough if you are nailing slats to them. You could make the back wall in 2 pieces for ease of control while lifting. I would use 2x4s for the top and bottom plates of each wall. my flooring would be wooden slats set on blocks to facilitate air flow. For the top 2x4 on the open side make sure the 4 inch side is vertical for strength.

Hope this helps
 
Jay Angler
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If someone needs a quick and dirty temporary wood-shed, here are pictures of mine.
Advantages: Materials are pallets, 2x4's, bamboo for the ridge-line, rebar pegs, tarps and ropes for guy lines
Can be disassembled to the pallet level and moved or stored until needed again

Disadvantages: I'm constantly trying to avoid using crappy plastic tarps - sigh - they're too convenient but bad for the environment.
Don't like snow load or high winds, although the bamboo ridge-line has helped in that respect.

ETA - there's actually a tarp flat on the ground under this shed as it's in a lower area and we get a lot of winter rain. You can see it if you look closely at the second photo.
book-end-wood-shed-1.JPG
The vertical pallet is a middle "book-end" to support both the wood and that 2x4 that's supporting the bamboo.
The vertical pallet is a middle
book-end-wood-shed-tie-outs.JPG
The guy ropes got to 20" rebar pegs hammered into the ground with flagging tape for safety.
The guy ropes got to 20
 
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The  strongest and least costly in terms of new materials would be a geodesic dome.  I'd recommend the starplate connector system.  You can view it here:  https://www.strombergschickens.com/product/4-inch-bolt-and-starplate-kit-for-2x4?gclid=CjwKCAjwg4-EBhBwEiwAzYAlssm9crlaxWQ3tXprMMPn2MSEsM5whbvy6JHvHzoovPfVUfEXYepzTBoCqmEQAvD_BwE
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:I'm feeling a bit intimidated with attempting this and know I need a plan.



Firstly, you've got this! Secondly, plans are overrated.
I'm fairly used to working solo and it has it's ups and downs!

My main bit of advice is to have a few (3 or 4) long pieces of wood handy that you don't intend to build into the structure, use these as temporary braces. For example, if you start with one upright on a brick, first knock one of your spare pieces into the ground at a 45 degree angle, then loosely screw it to the upright as a brace so it doesn't move when you attach other stuff to it.

upright
           |
           |
           |
brace
\
 \

upright with brace
        |
        |\
        |  \

Feel free to losely brace uprights or horizontals, if you leave hole in the wood after you remove the screws, so what? It's much better than it falling on you when you're building.

One other thing. Diagonals are your friend, you can have as many horizontals and verticals as you want but if it doesn't have diagonals it won't be nearly as strong and stable.

Different size levels and squares are really usefull. You want to use the biggest level or square that you can fit in whatever gap you have, it'll improve the accuracy.
 
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While this won't work for all, I find it easiest to girdle standing trees and leave them standing to dry in the forest. Also my woodlot also
has lots of already dead trees that have been dead for years. This works well in areas that have relatively dry climates. Cold winters also
help drying/desiccating trees. The forest becomes my wood storage shed. Dead fall even dries well. Winter sunshine and low minus
temperatures can even melt/desiccate and dry snow covered trees.

 
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