Sunday, September 05, 2010

2010: the year we make contact.....with a big hammer

It's been a while since I spent any serious time in the shed, mainly through having to get on with higher-priority stuff like decorating the bedroom. That's nearly finished now, though, so I decided to take advantage of a weekend at home to have a crack at bending the shed to my will.

As I said before, my predecessor's enthusiasm for DIY and general handyman-style tinkering led him to install an awful lot of workbench, far more than I need. So the first thing to do was remove some of it. As you can see from the photo above, the shed door is about a third of the way along, which divides things up into a short and long end, all with workbenches along the full length of the walls, and across the ends. The plan was to remove all the workbench and shelving from the long end in order to accommodate the gym equipment (which had been in the basement in the old place), leaving the workbench and shelving in the short end to accommodate various junk vital items. Well, it was either that or turn it into a boat and then back into a shed again, and to be honest that works better with a wooden shed than a breeze-block one, especially the "boat" bit.

So, to work! The benches were securely screwed together via various diagonal struts to some beefy battens on the wall. So, clearly, some judicious removal of screws would result in the whole lot gradually coming apart like some giant jigsaw, at which point all the bits could be neatly stacked for redistribution either to a good home or the wood bin at the local tip. So I removed 99% of the screws, the remainder being too deeply embedded in the wood to get at or having heads that were too stripped to get a screwdriver to. Some of the shelving obligingly came apart at this point, but strangely the workbenches remained as solid as a rock. Evidently my predecessor had not built them with any possibility of their subsequent removal in mind, and had decided that in addition to a couple of hundred screws of various sizes he'd better liberally smear everything with wood glue and/or No More Nails, just to be sure nothing short of a direct thermonuclear strike was going to shift anything.

Clearly less restrained and refined removal methods were going to be required. I made a quick dash to B&Q and returned with a wrecking bar and a lump hammer. I then sawed through the diagonal struts and started prising things away from the wall with the wrecking bar. So reluctant were things to shift, even then, that before they eventually did I managed to exert sufficient force on the workbench and the wall behind it to crack the render on the outside wall of the shed. At this point things were going to end in one of two ways - either the workbenches were going to surrender, or they were going to goad me into demolishing the entire shed in my attempt to remove them. Happily it was the former that eventually came to pass, and eventually I was left with an empty shed (well, aside from a couple of battens, but they can stay where they are).

There was one more task to do before I could install the gym equipment: find somewhere to hang the punchbag. Now this originally came with a frame which was easily accommodated in the basement as it was enormous, but space is at a bit more of a premium here. So I removed one of the plasterboard panels in the ceiling to see what (if anything) was up there, only to find some nice sturdy roof joists, at which there was much rejoicing. One bit of wood drilling and another trip to B&Q to buy a length of chain and a pad saw (for cutting rectangular holes in plasterboard) later and the punchbag was up, and all the other stuff could be set up. Take a look:

Short of getting hold of a bit of carpet to go under everything I reckon that's the job just about done. A more detailed photographic account of the whole process can be found here.

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