This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Shed aka Man Cave!

I am one of the guys who can’t sit on the couch and watch soaps or “Home Improvement, Fixer Upper, Renovation Nation, or This Old House” all day long while being retired. During my “Earning The Bacon” days before I retired, I tinkered all day long with technical things. To stay happy now, I need technical challenges to do and not baking with “Martha”.
Building our “Diesel Duck” trawler kept me on my toes after retirement and then later cruising with the Duck for 8 years was even more excitement. When the Duck was sold and I had the opportunity to customize our house it turned into fun as well. We are not finished with it, or will we ever be? It is work in progress. Marlene loves garden work during the spring and summer season and doesn’t mind being on her knees plucking out dandelions for hours. Ha! For the winter season we opted to follow our adventurous lust and bought a travel trailer to tow it behind the truck to southern distant horizons. Come springtime we are back and what could I do during theses summer and fall months?
I am not a garden buff, but I would love to do something technical. I do the woodcutting and sanding in the garage, but the sawdust and technical work hate each other, they don’t work together. How would you like a circuit board, some fancy electronic components or mechanical apparatus covered with saw dust?
So, here we are, we don’t have a basement or extra room for a neat little shop. I thought the salvation for me is a shed – a man cave, a place where I could hide all my tools, oilcans and icky stuff. A grandiose place for a workbench, drill press, vise and grinder. A place for an adjustable power supply, meters and soldering station, a place for a small metal lathe and bench-top milling machine. Don’t forget a TV! My brave girl said, “Go for it!”
It did cross my mind to build the shed myself. Here in Windsor Essex County, the local bylaws permit only 108 square foot maximum footprint for a detached accessory structure, which contains no plumbing (shed) constructed without a building permit. You want to go bigger, an elaborate space, using a Segway to get from workbench to drill press! This means you need a building permit and for the hope to get it, you have to submit drawings, pay a security deposit and a bunch of other fees. “Ha”, you have to fight with the Conservation Authority here along Lake Erie seashore. In case you were lucky to wiggle a building permit out of them, then you go ahead construct the structure and entertain the Building Inspector and the Electrical Safety Authority Inspector during inspections, don’t forget everything has to be done to code. “Done that, got the T-shirt,” is the saying.
What, only 108 sq. ft.! Yep, 108 sq. ft. is not much. I am a tidy guy, a small clean shop will do just fine with me. It is not a business solution, it is a man cave. I been wondering how large a cell at “Sing Sing” would be.
The conclusion was, stick with the the bylaws and to get it done fast, buy an Amish shed, 9ft x 12ft (108 sq. ft.), with the exterior finished to compliment our house, with double glazed windows and a metal clad insulated 36” wide exterior door. The whole package including delivery ended up cheaper than building it myself.

The inside finishing was left to the buyer. No sweat! I looked forward to do the job and customizing the interior to my needs.
Marlene and I took a trip along Hwy 3 from Wheatley to Aylmer, Ontario and looked at Wagler Mini Barns. Yeah, they had the right shed, 7 ft high walls, shingle and vinyl siding matching our house and garage, 6 weeks delivery. Done deal.

Benno and Wagler's owner

The company stuck to the 6 weeks delivery and was right on time, no excuses. We are dealing here with Mennonites. The shed was delivered on a special trailer with all kinds of nifty hydraulics, that could move the trailer bed sideways, turn the bed to any angle and extend it back to place the shed properly onto the from us prepared and leveled gravel pad. No scratches on the shed.

This spring I buried a PVC conduit for electrical cable in the ground from the house to the shed site. My first job was after bolting the shed down to run a # 10 cable and a TV antenna cable into the shed. I hooked the power cable up to a new sub panel, fitted a 20 Amp breaker for a temporary 120 V outlet to have power for the cutoff saw and a “ghetto-blaster”.
From Lowes in Windsor I picked up a dozen or so 2x4 studs for ceiling beams and two extra 2x6 studs to manufacture a sturdy ceiling beam to hang a hoist. I stiffened up that beam with four additional wall studs sandwiched to existing wall studs. That beam I secured with Simpsons strong ties. This beam could carry 1300 Ibs. in the center. I am able to hoist a ½ ton heavy piece of machinery, for example: I could hoist the future bench top mill onto a heavy-duty tool cabinet. “Bravo!”

After I had wired up the shed with plenty of power outlets, switches for 3 LED 48” light fixtures and a power provision for a wall heater, Marlene got to work and insulated the walls with Owens Corning R15 pink insulation.

Finishing up the interior ceiling covering and wall paneling took some sweat time, especially the window casing/framing and the door framing and then for Marlene to paint it. I covered the floor with commercial vinyl tiles and Marlene sealed them up. To finish the shed construction we rented from our famous Home Hardware store here in Wheatley the AttiCat to blow in Owens Corning loose fill insulation between ceiling and roof.

This is a messy job but the reward is that we have a nice winterized shed. Here is the link to a youtube clip about AttiCat insulation!

Please look at all the pictures with explanation below.

A view from the entrance door

A view from the rear wall toward the entrance

The workbench was purchased from Costco, note the 5" Record Vise

This compressor is extremely quiet, 60 - 70 decibels

Slow speed grinder with 120 grit stone on one side and 1/2" drill chuck on the other side to accept wire brush or any tool for grinding or polishing. I use the grinder mainly for sharpening Lathe or Mill cutting tools. The tool rest is a Veritas #05M23.01 unit from Lee Valley Tools.

This 12 peed bench drill press has a modified quill and is very precise.

The Grizzly G0768 metal Lathe fitted with an Ikea lamp

I'd love to have a bench top milling machine and hope it will rest on top of this lovely tool cabinet soon ;-)

I might add a shelf or two to the walls. A picture here or there, maybe a shop stool as well. Hopefully you all like this shop. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Snow makes it feel so Christmassy

Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit like a pile of fresh snow on the ground and we had some of that coming down yesterday late afternoon and overnight. It was the first snowfall of the season here where we are.  The accumulation was just enough to bring out all the snow blowers around the neighborhood this morning and the ones who didn’t have one got a helping hand from the friendly fellows who did.  Besides the manual labor involved, if you didn’t have to exhaust yourself, I think overall it is also a bit of fun to mess around with the white stuff.

Of course I am speaking from the perspective of a retiree who doesn’t have to rush out to go to work in a blizzard, drive through slush and arrive in a salt encrusted car at a parking lot that hasn’t yet been cleared of snow.  No, I mean after a leisure breakfast, a second cup of coffee at the computer, getting dressed for the task and then tackling the job. 

For all of you snowbirds somewhere down in the warm climate, who have forgotten what it is like, I am sending some pictures of Benno clearing the path to his shed and of course the driveway this morning.  Meanwhile I was in the warm house behind the window taking pictures.  Ha! OK, don’t laugh, I also bundled up and went out to shovel the snow off the deck, but there was no one there to take a picture of me ;-)

Someone had to do the hard work :-)

Please notice that while I was in Germany Benno turned our trailer around with the help of the power dolly for a quick hook-up in case we can escape to a southern destination.

our neighbour Barry cleaning Derrick's driveway with his tractor 

I have to mention that I have the very, very best sister who, after seeing this lovely set of dishtowels with little Dachshunds printed on it, immediately thought of us, purchased it and mailed it, along with delicious goodies and a lovely card for Christmas.  I love you Christina!

And did I tell you that we also have the very, very best neighbor? Teresa surprised us with a hand painted picture on canvas she had commissioned for us.  Isn’t that a truly realistic looking picture of our Doxies?  Thank you so much Teresa!

Hoping all our friends and family are staying warm and cozy and the ones down south to have fun in the sun!

Monday, 11 December 2017

I am back

This post is for all the people who haven’t given up on my blog yet.  With best intentions I had started the blog to document all our travels and other interesting happenings in our lives but as it turns out, sometimes I don’t write about them at all.  So, here is a little recap why I have been to quiet since my last post.

While most of our fellow RVers where getting ready to head south, we were just saying goodbye to the last couple of pups from our Dachshund litter.  Meanwhile Benno had been busy finishing up his new shed and moving his equipment. That little shed turned into a neat little workshop and I will have Benno post some pictures with explanations of it for all the guys out there that might be interested to see it pretty soon.  We had been discussing if we were ready to also head south with our travel trailer or if we wanted to stay put for another month or so.  But a phone call we received put all RV travel plans on hold. My Dad had suffered another stroke and had been involved in an accident.

You might recall that in the early summer of this year I had flown to Germany to help out after my Dad got out of rehab after his first stroke. Back then we had made some changes and one of them was that I was instrumental in arranging the sale of his car because my Dad had purchased a scooter to get around the village and didn’t need the car any longer.  It was not long after I had returned to Canada that my parents told me that they had purchased another car. 

So one morning in November, while my parents were on their way to a doctor’s appointment for my Mom, Dad suffered a stroke while driving.  They had been on a country road with no speed limits (yes, in Germany there are stretches of roads that have no speed limits between towns) when their car veered off the lane, crossed over to the opposite side of the road and down a ravine where it impacted at a large tree and became wedged between other trees and bushes.  Miraculously there had been no oncoming traffic that moment and my parents were alive. The car, however, was a write-off.  The German firemen had to rescue my parents through the trunk of the car and then transport them separately into two different hospitals.  Other than a few bruises and of course being shook up, my Mom was ok and was discharged later on in the day. Dad went into surgery because of his stroke and stayed in intensive care for a few days.  After several days in the hospital he then was sent off straight to a Rehabilitation Clinic in another city.
My sister Christina flew first to Germany to assist our Mom, help with the packing of clothing for Dad’s travel and to take her several times to the Rehab Clinic to visit our Dad. While all of this was going on, we pretty much kept in constant phone contact.  After my sister’s return to Canada I flew out to Germany to resume the support.  Dad got released from the Rehab Clinic and now tries to fall back into his old routine and get back on track (without a car). 

While I was in Germany it also coincided with my Mom’s 90ist birthday and Dad (93) was very happy to be home again to celebrate with her.  On the big day the mayor of the town came to congratulate her as well as the pastor from the town’s church.  Neighbors and friends brought flowers; we drank Champagne and indulged with scrumptious birthday cakes.

Then it was time for me to head back home. I am glad that the weather held during my travels because now there are icy roads in Germany and cancelled flights because of severe weather in London England, where my flight to Canada connected.

So please forgive me, for letting you all down and not do an update on this blog during this time.  

Following a few pictures of Mom on her birthday and some of the lovely flower bouquets.

Mom, Dad and the Mayor