Introduction: Recycling Shed

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My garage was getting full of junk that wasn't helping my mission of making stuff. Lots of leftover bits of lumber and plywood and recycling bins and bags were clogging up the place. I decided to solve both of these problems by building a small lean-to shed to house the recycling, which if I put next to the garbage and compost bins would give us a one-stop solution for waste. It would also use up some of the building materials I had lying around.

Step 1: Design, Materials and Tools

To fit 4 bins, 2 bags and a large bin for the refundable recycling, I decided to split the shed into 3 vertical compartments. I wanted it to fit underneath the window of my garage and to otherwise be as small as possible. I had a rough idea in my head of how it would go together and I scribbled dimensions on a block of wood. Which I lost before writing up this instructable. Sorry. But hey, your bins are probably a different size to mine anyway.

I used the following list of materials. I used treated wood for the base and doors, but untreated wood for the rest.

3 8' lengths of treated 2×4
4 6' lengths of treated 1×6 fence boards
4 8' lengths of untreated 2×4
5 12' lengths of cedar siding
2 sheets 5/8" plywood
4 3" hinges
1 gate latch
1 packet roofing shingles
Building paper
2" spiral galvanized nails
2" deck screws
3" deck screws
1" roofing nails
1 10' length of metal drip profile
1 10' length of metal internal corner profile

It cost me about $100 but I had a lot of wood and hardware sitting around already. I used lots of different hand tools, and lent heavily on my cordless drill, miter saw, and table saw.

Step 2: Build Base

Nothing fancy here. I butt-joined the treated 2×4 together with deck screws and nailed a piece of 5/8" plywood of the same size to the base.

Step 3: Build Frame

I made 4 frames with a 5 degree slope on top for the rafters out of 2×4 ripped into 2×2 (actually 38×42 mm). To maximize usable space the roof slope is only enough to drain the water effectively away from the house. Crosspieces are there to support shelves. I screwed the frames to the base, one on each end and the other two spaced appropriately to accommodate the bins.

Step 4: Add Shelves

The two shelves are 5/8" plywood. I notched mine at the back, but you could do front and back or not bother at all and just make them as wide as the internal dimensions of the frame. Hold in place with finishing nails.

Step 5: Backing

Not strictly necessary if you're building this against a wall, but I wanted to avoid bugs crawling in through the gaps in the siding. Mine was made out of a hodge-podge of recycled offcuts (6 different pieces, no less!). Make sure your frame is square before attaching the back.

Step 6: Siding

I nailed cedar siding to the sides, ensuring I covered the exposed plywood edges of the base.

Note the wood for the rafters has suddenly become treated. That's because I realized the ends would be exposed to the weather, so swapped them out. This is why I try to do as much construction as possible with deck screws... much more forgiving towards screw-ups. Appropriately.

Step 7: Front Frame

I cut up the old beam from our treehouse into 55×17 mm strips, and made a mitered frame to cover the exposed siding and plywood edges, and the fronts of the frames. If you're making this with new material, the thickness is not critical. Use 1×6 fencing material or similar.

Step 8: Build Doors

The doors are a simple 2×2 butt joined frame with a diagonal brace. I measured the diagonals to ensure they were identical before marking for the brace. The frames are faced with nailed-on siding and then edged with mitered 55 mm wide strips. Main tip for good miter joints: always mark rather than measure, and use a miter box (I used a miter saw, which makes perfect joints easy). At this stage, I added the hinges and mounted doors. But I don't actually advise this, in hindsight - do it once the shed is in position. Even the tiniest difference in the flatness of the ground will make the doors not align perfectly once you move it. It's also easier to move and paint without the doors on - the shed is small but heavy.

Step 9: Paint

Before painting we treated any surface liable to come in contact with moisture and/or bugs with wood preservative. Paint was the same color as the house, two coats on the exterior. Hinges were painted over, as I figured it would (a) look better (b) be easier to paint and (c) provide a modicum of additional protection against corrosion.

Step 10: Roof

Cut a sheet of 5/8" plywood for the roof. Edge on the sides and front with a metal drip profile. Top with building paper. Cut, place and nail on asphalt shingles. To make the first line of shingles that would be covered over, I cut the tops off some shingles - it worked out really nicely so that I could then use the bottom part as the final line of shingles. Installation was otherwise as per the instructions. The amount of wasted shingles was pleasingly minimal.

Step 11: Prepare Site

Make the area where you're going to place the recycling shed flat, and place the base on concrete or blocks rather than on bare ground. I set a couple of pieces of concrete slab in sand and leveled them.

Step 12: Fix to Wall

Lug the shed into position (you'll need help), add a piece of flashing to cover the nail holes in the shingle at the back and to prevent water going down the gap between shed and wall, and add a latch. I toyed with putting on a handle but figured the latch acts fine for this purpose anyway.

Step 13: Fill With Bins...

...and luxuriate in the freed-up space in your garage. It will last a few days if you're lucky!

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