The Shedhead

Monday, June 22, 2009

HaHa At last!

Watch this space.

Two years on and we have almost finished the project.

More to come later this week.

At last a Garden Office.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Things to remember when starting a selfbuild

Well, as you can see there appears to have been little activity recently.

This is a result of a serious lack of planning in the prebuild stage.

Things to remember if building you own dadflat/home office.

1. Never knock down your wood store and shed before replacing them first. Now our wood is wet and all tools and essential "things" are in a garage half a mile way.

2. Never start building in December. Short days, cold evening, lots of rain.

3. Never leave a structure un-fitted out. It soon collects junk that has to be moved in and out every time you want to do something.

So where does that leave me?

Well, I'm just starting to build the woodshed and new garden shed, so that the wood stays dry and I can get at tools and garden stuff.

The office has a roof, but also a new hole in the wall for the wood burning stove. I have ordered a wool insulation and will install this to reduce condensation. I have also discovered that the main wall foundations are 4inches deep and that water just runs under the wall and into the office. This means I am also going to have to dig a french drain to allow the water to soak down deeper and under the office, but thats not too big a problem.

On the up side the days are getting longer and the chickens are laying so many eggs we might be able to trade them for some manual labour.

I'll post some new photos tomorrow.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Let's get started

Final, timber, time and inclination all at the same place at the same time.

With considerable help from the estate chippy the frame of the shed and roof are on. This is the first image. It has a hard wood sill, door and window frames with treated softwood stud work.

The spacing of the stud is 400mm to fit the insulation and both windows are opening casements. It is more likely that I'll need summer ventilation than winter warmth.
The frame is sitting on the sleeper wall and bedded on a generous helping of silicon. This will act as sealant, adhesive and DPC.

The next stage was to clad the structure. T&G hardwood is glued and nailed. The timber has been treated with Sadolin three times to preserve the timber.

Next, the roof. The quickest solution and most sustainable is corrugated iron on 6x3 treated soft wood. The metal s cut into the surrounding stone, filled with expanding foam and then a cement fillet around the edge.

I now have a shed, not much more than was there before. Now to insulate, clad and put a floor in. After that comes the heating and lighting and furnishing. Only two months behind the original schedule, but this self build?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Carbon Neutral/recycle/Tight?

Having spent the last month trying to source sustainable hard wood for the cladding, at a price that is affordable, I am now rethinking the design of the office.

The frame is now going to be constructed of treated soft wood with oak cladding. This will reduce the price but hopefully will mean that the external cladding will protect the frame without the need for priming undercoating and painting, and hopefully will last three times as longing.

All this timber can be supplied from British forests and sustainable woodlands.

On the recycling front I have found that Habitat shop fittings have been a good source of materials. We have a wooden Xmas tree from two years ago, and whilst as a student our entire house was entirely carpeted with reindeer carpet! This year they have cerise and cream (looks like a raspberry ripple) non-slip flooring. This has already been sourced and will be used on the floor as the journey to work is via an often wet path.

On homeworking it is good to see all the positive reasons people give for moving to this working lifestyle. However, none seem to recognise he benefits of napping in the afternoon!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Progress, but slow

You might notice a slight change between this photo and the previously posted one?

Yes, it the one course of stone to provide a base for the garden office front wall. Physical progress is slow, but planning is storming along?

The idea is that the timber frame is lifted off the ground and sits on the block work, preventing damp from penertating the frame. I'll run a piece of DPC along between the blocks and timber frame.

On the heating side I have sourced a chinese pot bellied stove on ebay, sorry but it is cheaper than all other stoves. It doesn't chuck out too much heat but is big enough to heat the space and with a baffle should stay in all night.

Things to remember when buying a stove is that all the flue pipe, brackets etc can cost as much if not more if you are constructing a new chimney. Also stoves should be installed by a recogonised engineer to deal with leakages, H&S etc.

The stove is going to have to be flued through a timber wall, so insulation and fire safety are going to be important, unless I want a particularly warm but shortlived office. Apparently, the flue should be 3x its diametre from flammable materials or surfaces. You can use masterboard for boarding near stoves, as this is heat resistant. Where the flue passes through the wall I'm going to use masterboard on the interior, with rockwool insulation and a hardwood cladding on the outside. Matured hardwood has a higher scorcing point than soft wood.

The flue through the wall will be an insulated twin walled flue, this will reduce the external temperature of the flue wall.

On the heating side I have just acquired an old oak tree! Dead but good for about two years wood supply for the garden office and the other stoves in the house.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Technical Bit

It's not in my nature to consider things too long before I do it. However, given the garden office is going to be my main dwelling for at least 8 hours a day, five days a week I have decided to break habits of a life time, and do some planning.

Firstly, heating.

We live in a location that gives us a limitless supply of mature, seasoned wood. Therefore the shed must be heated by a wood burning stove. I intend to get something off ebay as this will be recycling, and also cheap? However, I feel the need to ensure the stove is big enough to heat the place to a comfortable temperature during the winter.

The way to work how many Kw of stove I need is to take the cubic footage of the room and divide by 500 = Kw (kilowatts). I found this in an old physics book in the family library (a series of boxes in the loft) I have therefore concluded I need a stove rated at 1.5Kw,...........or not very big.

Given the small space, I am going to see if I can get an old stove with a boiler chamber, and run a radiator into outside toilet to keep it from freezing up in the winter. This will hopefully use some of the extra energy produced by the stove during the day.

On the electrical front I am going to get a 20w polar panel and use this to maintain some heavy duty 12v batteries. I intend to then light the garden office with a 12v LED system. This will have a very low demand on the batteries and will enable me to run a 150w pure sine wave inverter. This will let me run 240v appliances off the battery. This will only be a laptop, radio and mp3 and speakers, so it should work better than our dodgy rural electricity supply.

Any comments on the above proposals would be appreciated.

I'll try and scan a floor plan soon to show the layout of the luxury pad I propose building.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


When you can't be doing, plan!

I still haven't sourced a decent supply of hardwood for the outer cladding of the new garden office (now its offical name). This has enabled me to think about a project plan, checking the need for planning permission and thinking about construction and design details. I might even draw some plans! Hopeful not.

It looks like I don't need planning permission as I am replacing an existing structure, in the same location, to a similar specification. I'll post a link to the numerous sites offering planning advice tomorrow.

On the design front I have decided to try and make the final building as sustainable as possible. I am going to heat it by using a woodbourning stove (recycled from ebay), using wood I have cut locally. I also intend to use a solar panel and battery system to power a 12v LED lighting system and use an inverter for the 240v appliances. This means it won't need any external power or heating sources.

On a different front it is good to read all the data on changing working habits, and a move to more homeworking and flexible lifestyles.

At the present rate by 2030 we'll all be sitting in our sheds, in our dressing gowns, growing beards, listening to radio two and writing blogs on how to make money from e-commerce. It could be worse!