Tractor shed build, part 1

Initially I parked my tractor in the workshop, but it just took up too much space. I then parked it in one of these cheap car garage tents. (video). It barely fits as long as I take the bucket off the front end loader and pull out the exhaust pipe.

But these tents are flimsy and aren't built to last. It's exposed to wind where it is, and the fabric is chafing apart where it rubs against the frame. And the frame too is flimsy. I worry that the wind might knock it down or blow it away, so I always tie it down to the tractor when it's parked in there.

So my plan was to build a shed for the tractor, inspired by these car tents. This would be fairly minimalist, but tall enough that I wouldn't have to take the exhaust off the tractor, deep enough that I could keep the front end loader on it, and wide enough that I could also park the lawn tractor next to the tractor.

When someone offered me the materials from their old deck last year, I took him up on it in anticipation of building this shed. I think I have just enough wood to finish the whole shed with it.

I thought about using a floating tenon to join the pieces end to end, but then had the idea of doing a spline joint and experimenting using a chainsaw to cut the slot for it.

The oiler on this electric chainsaw stopped working, so I manually oil the chain from time to time.

I attached a piece of plywood to the chainsaw bar, with spacers, which sets the chainsaw at the right height to cut the slot. I also have some stops attached to the plywood so I consistently cut the slot 6 cm deep.

But the chainsaw's kerf varies a lot, so I used a lot of construction adhesive to fill the gaps when I glued in the oak splines.

Checking the angle. After the first few glue-ups I decided one of my glue-ups should be the reference piece, and I just laid the pieces I glued up next to the reference piece to get the angle right.

Then lots of brad nails to help secure the spline in place.

The outer angles for eight of the frames glued up. after that, I could start joining them in the middle (because of space constraints)

Squeezing construction adhesive into the slot, after that I used a thin piece of wood to spread it around, then more construction adhesive before mating the two pieces together.

The first frame will be the back wall, and it will have horizontal cross pieces every 60 cm or so. I'm screwing the top one in now to reinforce the frame and it and because it's easier while it's on the ground.

Raising the first frame by pulling it up with a strap while standing on my scaffold in the corner.

Then assembling the next frame. It has the cross piece much higher up to leave room for the tractor's exhaust pipe. I also nailed on a gusset plate at the top to help reinforce that joint

And gusset plates in the other corners too. First I sanded the old wood to get a fresh surface for better glue adhesion, after that, I attach the plate with a few screws to squeeze it down, then a whole lot of brad nails.

Two more frames ready to raise on the floor.

Then attaching the first frame to the base plate. I had the frame leaning against the scaffold, so I put the base plate at an angle to be able to attach it square to the frame, then adding a temporary brace to keep the angle.

I attached the second frame while everything was still tilted (it was easier that way), then attaching the frames together with temporary pieces of wood before I tilted the whole thing vertical.

Then raising the next frame. I had a strap wrapped once around the cross brace of the previous frame, with a weight on it. The idea was that the weight would be enough to pull the strap as I raised it, but friction would be too much to pull it back. But the wood was too rough so the strap didn't pull on it's own. I had to precariously prop up this frame and then walk over to pull down the weight.

The table saw was in the way for raising the fourth frame, and I realized this wasn't the best place to keep assembling the shed. Rachel helped me to get it raised up onto four moving dollies.

Once up on dollies, we were able to move it easily, though it took some planning and a lot of moving other tings around to move the shed as it was.

She also helped me raise the next frame. It's so much easier with two people.

And why am I building it in the shop?
This way, I can take my time with it without worrying about a partly complete building exposed to the elements. I have tendonitis problems with my right arm, so I really need to take it slowly. Rachel is also interested in helping, but with two little ones, it's a bit tricky to time it so the baby is asleep in the stroller for her to be able to help.

If you are interested in helping for 2-3 hours at a time and hang out a bit, are comfortable with power tools, and live in the area west of Ottawa (Ontario), send me an email and maybe we can arrange for a time. My email address is:

(you will have to type that in)

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