Shed Project Review - The retirement shed project

This interview is one of a series that are published in Shed Building Monthly, this sites monthly newsletter. In the newsletter you can keep up with the latest content on this website, learn shed building tips, take part in shed competitions and also contribute your own shed building story.

This interview is with David Ford a shed builder from England who was about two thirds of the way through the construction of his shed at the time of this interview.

building a storage shed

John - Hi David, this is our first shed interview if you could introduce yourself, tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, what skills you had before starting the project so we know a bit about you.

David - I am 60 years old I retired from a job that I have had in Local Government for the last 40 years, very much a desk job. I have no craft skills although I have always had an interest in woodwork. One of my ambitions when I retired was to get myself out into the workshop to do a bit more woodwork.

John - What stage are you at with this shed project at the moment.

David - I would say that I am half way through it. I have been doing a bit on the roof today. It's taken me 3 or 4 weeks already because I am not working on it every day.

John - What size is the shed and could you describe the style?

David - The shed is just over 3m by just over 2. It's a sort of cottage style garden shed and it's very much inspired by the range that Malvern garden buildings have. They have a range of sheds and summerhouses, they do a cottage range and it was their cottage shed that I saw and liked, I based my design on that really.

John - And when you came to building the shed what sources of information have you used for deciding on the floor construction, walls and roof? Is this based on the Malvern design?

David - For a number of years I have been to many garden shows, you know, such as Hampton Court, Chelsea, Tatton Park, the NEC garden show. There are always lots of garden buildings on display. I have over the years looked at what each manufacturer is doing in terms of construction. But I have also looked around local shed retail establishments and just really based my construction methods on what I have seen really. I have also looked around the local salvage yards to see if they had any bits and pieces and I did manage to find a rather nice full length window, which I bought and have incorporated in to the design.

John - That sounds nice. That will add a nice personal touch to the project. Why did you decide to plan and build a shed yourself?

David - I decided to build a shed because a number of years ago I bought an Amdega summerhouse it has given me lots of pleasure but I have also regretted not building it myself and so this is the first real opportunity I have had to redress the balance.

John - Where do you see the project going from here? What jobs are left and how long is that going to take you?

David - I have to make the door. I have to glaze the window and I have to kit it out inside. I think that I should probably insulate it and put an inner cladding on it. Provisionally a bit of future proofing if I want to use it for any other purpose than storage.

John - What are the biggest problems that you have had to overcome so far?

David - I would think that it was the roof design. I am over 6 foot tall and my family are all fairly tall too so I didn't want a traditional trussed roof so I have tried to make a raised tie roof truss to give me a bit of extra headroom. But of course when you do that you compromise on rigidity, although I think that what I have done will be fine.

John - could you identify another couple of problems that you have had?

David - I think that a basic problem that I have had is that you start with a concept and as the project evolves you keep trying to future proof it and I have had an issue with some conifer hedging that I have that in the course of construction tried to take out to make more space and this was of course back to front. I am glad that I did it; it is going to make the finished job a lot more convenient for maintenance purposes.

John - Looking forward can you see any other problems ahead in finishing the project?

David - I want the finish of the shed to look the best I can. Obviously it's going to be a painted finish and I want it to just look a bit better than a normal garden shed if you know what I mean. I want it to look something special.

John - The Sikkens range of paints comes highly recommended.

David - I've looked at various , I think Cuprinol do Garden Shades don't they and there's lots of things on the market and I am going to be at my wife's mercy over this I think that she will want to choose the colour I am sure. To be fair to her she has given me such a lot of help, she has really got her sleeves rolled up and been a tremendous help. When you are wielding 4m lengths of shiplap around it is always good to have to have two pairs of hands. She's been a tremendous support. I have been very lucky in that respect.

building a storage shed

John - Thank you very much for your time here David and we would all like you to come back and report on how the project turns out.

David - Yes it has been very nice to talk to you.

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