Introduction: Backyard Blacksmith Shop Shed

I have run a blacksmiths shop for the past five years it was outside with the tools on their racks out in the weather this was not a problem when  I was home every day top use them and keep them shiny and oiled. being off in college I decided to protect my shop from the elements and make a small shop slightly under 200Sq ft with a gravel floor and high ceilings. I will show the process I followed to complete my shop. not all steps were photographed at the time of completion but each step will cover the conclusion of one Saturdays of work on my shop or one major step which took several weekends to complete . my total budget was $1000 USD the gravel pushed the shop over budget by about $50.

The masonry forge is not included in the cost of the shop because it was constructed three or four years ago.

Step 1: CAD

The shop design was submitted to the Housing association in a rough CAD draft but it was enough to get permission to build it. it is a basic pole barn with an open high ceiling 12dx16wx11h 

The drawings were done with Autodesk Inventor 2012 I should have used Autodesk Rivet but I used inventor.

In this step the only important thing is the frame the mockup of the siding and roof are in important. I ended up adding some cross bracing later on not because the building was unstable but because it did not look right with out it.  

Step 2: Destrucoation and Leveling the Ground

I had an old deck roughly 8x12 built up round my forge and it had to come down for the new shop to go up. it occupied half the space the new shop would take up. 

With a sledge hammer and crowbar the deck came apart in and hour. What lumber was salvageable was saved and the rest was hauled up to the burn pile(none of the lumber I used in the deck was pressure treated).  

I did not get any pictures of the ground before leveling but there was a one foot drop from one end of the 16' side to the other and the 12' side was relatively level. I chose to split the difference and move the 6" or dirt from the high side to the low side. this was a slow process which took one day of work from two people. 

Step 3: Post Holes and Frame

I will explain some steps out of order for ease of following. All post holes were marked out with marking paint and dug to a depth of 40" eight in all through rocky clay we only broke one post hole digger. The bottom 6" of the holes was filled with gravel and compacted to leave a footing for the post to rest on. all posts were set to 36" the posts and frame were the single biggest cost of the project. 

the frame can be broken down into 3 pieces which can be lifted into place then set. all frame members were assembled on the ground the ends having 3 posts 11' long one every 6' they were easily raised into place with 2 people. the center was a bit bulky and took everything the four of us had to get it up and into the holes but the it was 15' up in the air thing made it incredibly hard to maneuver.

When the frame sections were lifted into place they were leveled with more gravel, dry set in concrete and braced with the perpendicular frame members. 

Step 4: Rafters Weekends 2-3

many people  told me to use trusses but they would bring the ceiling down too far and a sledge hammer would surly smash the lights. The same people who said use trusses also said make sure the ceiling is high enough for a striker.  so I ignored them and put in rafters.  

I was going to use 2x4's every 16" but I decided that was not the look or design I liked so I went with a more standard 2x6 on  24" centers. there are 7 pairs of rafters on this shop. to assemble them i set the chop saw to 22.5 deg and knocked of one end of each of the 14 2x6x10' lifted them up one at a time and attached them to the cross beams with hurricane ties 2 per side than attached the 2 sides at the top with splice plates. this process was tricky and took two weekends. 

At this point the help I had enlisted earlier had gone back to school so the construction from this point on was done mostly by myself.

I did not take any pictures before the roof decking went on. 

Step 5: Roof Decking Weekends 4-5

The roof decking i chose to go with was1/2" OSB  it cost a bit more but it was much stiffer than the 7/16" OSB which I used for siding sides. it was put up with liquid nails and 3 1/2" twist nails. it was raining when it was time to pout it up so i would get three sheets up than tar paper and repeat. 

I did most of the decking by my self i would lift a sheet into place secure it with 2-3 nails below the bottom edge and than go from underneath and lift up to apply liquid nails to the rafters then I would go back up top to slide the board into the final position and nail it down. 

The long term plan is to put a steel roof over the roll roofing. 

Step 6: Roofing Weekend 6

I do not really remember all the details of the roll roofing but I precut the sheets to the right lengths snapped chalk lines across glued and nailed the roofing down  following the instructions on the paper roll banding. 

the roof took three squares of roll roofing and 2 gallons of glue to complete.  the trickiest step was the top where I set one side on perfect to the overlap and the other needed to be folded over the peak and cut straight to lay in the right spot. to do this i ran a chalk line across and used a hooked roofing knife blade. 

I did not add a ridge vent but will likely ad one later. 

Step 7: Walls Weekends 6-8

It was not that it took long a long time to do but they were expensive so I bought them in 3 phases. each panel was painted with kills barn paint before it went up on the shed. the trim was added after each phase of panels. this was done to cap the osb pannels to keep the edges from expanding as well as prevent delamination. 

Step 8: Top Sections and Vents

This part was done more by eye more than anything else it takes 40-50 6' pressure treated fence pickets to complete. 

I started with the center board and cut it to hang over the plywood so it looked good. then I put up a 1x3 furring strip up along the top edge of the siding, this is to space the upper pickets away from the building and let the water which hits them drip off and not run down the siding. the boards were cut on the ground by setting the miter saw to 22.5 degrees and the low side of one was the high side of the other.  I started from the center nailing up boards with two 3.5"  twist nails one up top and one on bottom through the furring strip.  this step was done with wet fence pickets so they would shrink leaving a gap between each other, this spacing is important for this small of a blacksmiths shop it allows air to circulate and vents any stray smoke out side as it rises.  

the eve vents are constructed by gluing and nailing a fence picket to the ends of the rafters and the underside of the rafters closest to the building. then gluing black aluminium window screen into the roughly 3" x24" openings to keep birds and bugs out. 

Step 9: Gravel

5000 pounds of gravel can be moved by one person in four hours. I elected to use 1/2" clean because it looked nicer and will drain better given my shops location. the gravel was delivered to the top of the hill by dump truck and was carried in one 5 Gal Bucket at a time. it kept the dust down and let me spread the gravel evenly not the best solution but it worked for me. 

Step 10: Electrical, Fan and Shelving

The temporary shelving I put up will probably stay where it is for a while. (see picture captions for information)

The electrical is more like a custom power strip than anything else but will eventually be used to wire the shop when I add in electrical service for a power hammer. 

the fan was added later because there was not enough airflow into the shop to feed the chimney. i bought a cheap box fan a 1x3 furring strip a pair of hinges and used some extra screen from the vents first i cut out a 20"sq hole in the wall. stapled screen to the outside of the building over the hole and nailed the furring strip pieces over the hole with a 1/2"ish overlap to trim out the new window and retain the cutout/shutter as well as keep it from getting pried open from the outside. 

Step 11: The Shop Is Done Just in Time for a Hammer In

I hosted a hammer in (a blacksmiths party with an open shop) so that i would have a deadline to meet and the shop would get finished in a timely manner. Sadly I only took one picture of the hammer in which is of the chimney drawing up all the coal smoke and one of the other smiths. 

Step 12: Thoughts, Lessons and Distractions

All updates will be posted and questions answered on this step.

          The shop is solid and serves its purpose as was designed. 
          It is a good thing i can work the forge left handed
          The shop is setup for a left handed smith. (the forge is on the wrong side)
          I am in the process of improving an additional permanent demonstration site, Ren Shop.
          Ren Shop is a off the shelf timber frame design the design and photos of this years work on the site are attached below. 



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