Build Your Own Workshop

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Introduction: Build Your Own Workshop

Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest

Finalist in the
Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest

Like a lot of tinkerers I've been wanting the "Dream" shop for years. I tried several different shop ideas over the years and was never really happy. So I decided to build what I wanted and I had to figure out how to do it. This project is still in progress as it's being built as I get the money and the time.
This is a real basic overview on my solution

Step 1: Getting the Barebones Up

After the site was selected and leveled, holes were dug for the posts. The first few were dug with a hand post hole digger, than I borrowed an auger for my old tractor.
The wood came from the property and was milled with a WoodMizer bandsaw sawmill. I had always heard that the fastest route to a roof was a post and beam structure...so that's what I did.

Step 2: Going Up

I decided to go with 2 stories because I figured since the roof and the pad were the expensive parts it would just make sense. I also originally laid out a 20x20 area and decided it would be too small so I went 30 x 40. The monster was starting to awaken.
(note: 2 stories are A LOT MORE WORK! and 20x20 probably would have been just fine, but now that the hole was started I just jumped right in.)

Step 3: The Slab

Next up in this abbreviated version of the last 2 years of my life was the slab. Slabs are expensive, but, I saved my sheckles and was able to pull it off. Since I was going to all the trouble of a slab I figured I might as well install a radiant heat system. So I did.
First there was 6 inches of well tamped gravel, then a moisture barrier (plastic sheeting) than insulation, than rebar and reinforcement wire than the pex. Covered in a tasty coating of concrete
Mmmmmmmm

Step 4: Bring on the Insulation

I wanted to wrap the skeleton with straw bales for their amazing insulation factor.
The bales deliver somewhere around an R-40 to 50

Step 5: A Plaster Skin

hydraulic lime plaster is applied to the bales . it acts as a skin for strength and helps the building breath.
Plastering is a lot of work .but, really gives the building a nice surface. I'm still plastering on the interior and this spring I hope to finish the exterior. Part 2 : Working with Hydraulic Lime Plaster is up.
It shows in much more detail how to work with this most excellent material.

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    82 Comments

    Hello this is mike!!

    I would like to do that except . . . I have a budget.

    very nice, would love to have a shop that size for welding, auto repair, woodworking and just tinkering

    * The extra time you put into a strawbale structure to smooth the walls will pay you back many times over when you plaster.
    File under things I would do differently

    The pex used in the floor is 7/8's ID. It was installed in three 300 foot loops

    Congratulations …
    Lucky man who has so much space available : would you like to know that your workshop is at least twice (if not more) the size of house ?
    ;D

    Nonetheless, your project is great !