Bee shed: finishing touches

Yesterday I finished work on the bee shed project!

I started by digging a small ditch on the uphill sides, mounding dirt against the base of the walls, so rain will be diverted around the shed, instead of seeping under the walls:

Ditch

I then scraped off the worst excess of the expanding foam filler.

I mentioned last time that I wasn’t entirely happy with the top panel of the door, so next I replaced it with a clear panel, and caulked it:

Replaced top panel of door

The caulk goes on white, but cures to clear, so it’ll be less visible once dry:

Caulk

I may need to top up the caulk once it has cured, if I missed any spots.

Here are the finished walls and door; you can also see scraped off filler foam on the ground, which I cleaned up later:

Finished walls and door

To make it easier to close the door from inside, I added a handle on the inside of the door:

Handle on inside of door

It’s easy to lift the latch to open the door from inside.

The door wall from inside:

Inside door wall

The next step was to finish the shelving, with plywood panels:

Shelving

Cutting shelving:

Cutting shelving

The completed shelving:

Shelving

Shelving

Looking in from the doorway:

Shelving

Open door:

Open door

I could then move the hive feeders, boxes, lids, etc onto the shelves; I’ll move more equipment from the workshop in due course:

Hive boxes on shelves

Hive lids on shelves

The last step (other than removing the wood scraps and tools) was to install a mirror. These are reflective self-adhesive plastic sheets; not as smooth a reflection as a glass mirror, but safer, and good enough:

Mirror

The reason for a mirror in the bee shed is to help put on our bee suits in there. Though it’s fairly likely we’ll continue to put on the suits in the back of the workshop, as the bees can be a bit aggressive after an inspection, so getting some distance from the hives before taking off the suits is usually preferred.

Here’s me in the mirror, in my work overalls and hat; definitely some distortion, but not too egregious:

David in mirror

That concludes the bee shed project! I may do some minor tweaks, like touching up the caulking, but it’s basically done now. It will be a more convenient location for our beekeeping equipment, no longer needing to lug hive boxes etc on a cart from the shop, or going back to the shop to grab something in the hot bee suit.

Bee shed: door cladding

More work on the bee shed project, including some tweaks to the door, adding corrugated cladding, and filling gaps.

As mentioned last time, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the door handle ended up with little space on the left of it, so I modified it to add another 2×6 board to the left, with a bit of overlap to help mount the corrugated panel:

Door handle

I also added some 2×4 boards onto the corner posts, to also help support the corrugated panels:

Corner gap filler

I did the same on the door:

Door tweak

Here’s the final door wall framing:

Door wall framing

Then I started cladding that wall and the door with corrugated panels:

Door cladding

I cut the corrugated cladding using tin snips; pretty easy:

Cutting corrugated cladding

A clear panel on the door:

Door window

The full door wall. I’m not entirely happy with the top panel on the door, as it isn’t properly straight (the top of the door is angled, so it isn’t quite as bad as it looks). I also think would be better as a clear panel, to de-emphasize the choice to offset the panels, so I might change that next time:

Door wall

Walls

The door and wall from inside:

Door from inside

Lastly, I added spray foam gap filler to close up the gaps between the corrugated panels and the boards. Not particularly attractive, but this shed is all about function over form. I will use a knife to cut off the worst of the excess next time:

Gap filler

The door wall with gap filler:

Door wall with gap filler

Walls

Next time: changing the top panel of the door, cleaning up the gap filler, adding the shelves, and other finishing touches. Then I’ll be done!

Bee shed: door

It’s been a month since I last did work on the bee shed project, due to a vacation and rainy weather, but yesterday I made more progress.

The project of the day was the door. But first I tweaked the doorframe a little, adjusting the boards on the left side to make the frame more straight, and adding some bracing to help hold the frame to the posts, and provide more support for the corrugated cladding:

Bracing

Then I built the door itself. I did so on top of three sheets of plywood (that will be used for the shelving), to help make it flat:

Door

I added self-adhesive foam weather stripping around the frame:

Weather strip and hinge

The door mounted on hinges:

Door mounted

From further back:

Door mounted

The door (mostly) closed; the two middle cross-pieces are lower than the wall ones, to allow for where the corrugated panels will overlap:

Door

For the door handle, I added a 2×6 block backer and a 2×4 on the left, to protect the hand from the corrugated panel:

Door handle area

Here’s the door handle and latch installed; it’s a bit close to the left, so can only be opened with a right hand, which isn’t ideal; I think I might tweak this to add another board between the left one and the handle, to enable left-handled opening too (nice thing about assembling with screws, easy enough to tweak it):

Door handle

The latch on the inside; I chose this style latch as it can be opened from inside. I think I’ll add a handle on the inside too, to make it easier to pull the door closed from inside if desired:

Latch

The current state of the door; it looks like it sagged a bit while installing the latch (it’ll be braced by the corrugated panels when finished), so I might see if I can fix that too:

Door

We need to do a beehive inspection, and I need to mow the lawns, so it might be a week or so before I can do more work on this. Next up will be the tweaks I mentioned, then I’ll be ready to add the corrugated cladding on that wall and the door.

Bee shed: doorway

Today I did some more work on the bee shed project. As mentioned last time, I was thinking about changing my plan for the doors, from wide double doors to a more sensibly sized single door. I did decide to do that, so today built the door and adjacent wall framing.

Firstly, I tried a proof of my concept, with a couple of scrap blocks of wood and a door hinge. In this example, the left block represents the door frame, the right block is part of the door itself, with a hinge sandwiched between:

Demo of door hinge

The first step was to add new 4×4 posts for the doorway, spaced 3’ apart, as a comfortable doorway width:

Posts

The posts were clamped to the existing board at the top:

Clamped

A post level ensured they were straight:

Post level

The bottom of each post is buried in a hole, for bonus stability and support:

Post in a hole

The two posts installed:

Posts installed

Next I added 2×6 wall boards, like with the other walls, again making them level:

Wall boards and level

The door will close upon the posts on the side, and a horizontal post at the bottom as a door sill:

Door frame and sill

Here’s the doorway and the framing for one side wall:

Wall

A closer look at the wall framing:

Wall framing

I also added blocks on the corners to fill that gap; like on the back wall, the corrugated panels will abut this board, to avoid exposing a gap:

Gap filler block

A similar gap filler block on the other side:

Gap filler block

I also added a door frame header:

Door frame header

Here is the final framing for the side walls and doorway:

Door frame

Next time, I will build the door itself, hang the door on the hinges, and install the latch. I probably won’t have time to mount the corrugated panels to the walls and door, but that’ll be the next step after that.

Bee shed: corrugated cladding

A few days ago I did another few hours on the bee shed project, adding corrugated steel and transparent panels to clad the walls.

The first step, of course, was to bring the panels to the shed from the hoop house, where they’ve been waiting for the past year. I laid them on top of my wheelbarrow for easy transport:

Bringing panels on a wheelbarrow

Then I added one clear and one steel panel to the wall that already had one, temporarily clamping them in place while I tweaked the positioning:

Panels clamped in place

A closer view of the clamps (these quick-grip clamps are very useful, highly recommended, especially since they can be operated one-handed):

Clamps

I lifted the top panel again so it could overlap the clear panel for better weatherproofing, and screwed the panels in place:

Screwed in place

I used a wooden closure strip with the clear panels, to eliminate the corrugated gap:

Closure strip

Unfortunately I didn’t realize that the curvature of the metal panels was different, so wasn’t able to use the closure strips I had on those. I’ll have to either find different ones, or just fill those gaps with gap-filler foam or caulk. Oops.

The heavy-duty self-tapping screws I used include rubber and metal washers for weatherproofing:

Screw

One wall done:

One wall done

One wall done

I reversed the boards mounted onto a corner post to fill that gap, for reasons:

Tweaked corner fillers

A closer look at the tweaked corner fillers:

Tweaked corner fillers

One benefit of assembling with screws instead of nails is it makes such adjustments much easier. I enjoyed using my pneumatic nailer when building the chicken coop and other early projects, but nowadays I much prefer using screws. They’re adjustable, tidier, and hold things together better. The screwdriver is also much quieter.

This back wall shows why I reversed them — the ends of the panels abut the boards sticking out from the corner, so there’s no corrugated gap:

Panels mounted

Two walls done:

Two walls done

And three walls done:

Three walls done

Three walls done

A closeup of the last wall; it’s so shiny, for now:

Wall closeup

Here’s the doorway; the next step will be to make the door frame, then the double doors:

Doorway

I am wondering if I should change my plan for the doors, though. The current concept is to fill that space with two doors, each almost 4’ wide, which is a bit wide for doors, though not fatally so. The doors will be made of 2x4s with clear corrugated panels. Looking from outside, the left door will be the main one, and the right one will have a cane bolt to hold it closed. I expect we’ll leave the right door closed almost all the time.

So there could be merit in simplifying it a bit by making a narrower doorway, with just one door, centered on the wall. I think I’m leaning towards that.

Looking inside:

Looking inside

Inside

Inside

With those windows, even if I reduce the size of the door, there will be plenty of light inside. Hopefully not too much of a greenhouse. Hey, a metal and clear box without any shade; how hot could it get?!

Shop steps: sneak peek of my next project

I’m still working on the bee shed project (it’s been rainy, so no more progress yet), but I already have my next homestead project queued up. Read on for the background info.

Our workshop has a large deck on the side, built with nice maintenance-free Trex decking:

Shop deck

It includes a series of steps (or stairs if you prefer) down to the driveway, which is convenient:

Shop deck and steps

However, whoever built those steps did so in a rather strange and ugly way, inserting tread boards between the stringer supports, rather than on top as they should, with lots of nails poking up at odd angles:

Shop steps

Over the weekend, Jenn slipped on the slick and crumbling steps, bruising herself, and breaking one of the steps — better that than breaking herself!

Shop steps

So it’s time to replace these steps with properly built ones. That is now my next project.

While I could cut stringers myself, Home Depot has premade ones of a suitable size, so I have ordered some, along with some balusters for a hand rail. I should have enough other materials for this project.

For the step treads and risers, I will use spare Trex boards that have been sitting below the deck for years:

Trex boards

That should be about enough, but if I need more, there are some old steps in a junk pile in the hoop house that I can salvage:

Old steps

It’ll probably be a couple of months before I get to this project; I need to finish the bee shed first. Stay tuned!

Bee shed: shelving framing

It being Weekend Wednesday yesterday, I worked on the bee shed project again.

The task of the day was to build the shelving supports — 2×4 boards onto which plywood sheets will later be mounted to make U-shaped shelves in the back half of the shed.

The framing for the back shelves are mounted to the wall boards with screws from the outside, so I unscrewed and lifted the existing side corrugated panel to access that board:

Lifted panel

Here is one of those supports, for the front edge of the middle back shelf; I used clamps below the board to rest it on while I screwed it into the wall boards:

Shelf supports

These boards are 2’ from the back — or more precisely, positioned so that the distance from the back of the back wall board to the front of the front support board is 2’. The plywood sheet will span that distance, resting on the wall boards on three sides, and the above board on the front, with cutouts around the poles. 

2’ deep shelves is a convenient size, as it’s just perfect for beehive boxes, plus I can get two shelves out of a 4×8’ sheet of plywood. (The shed is 8’ wide.)

Looking from the front of the shed towards the three back shelf supports:

Shelf supports

Then I started on the side shelves; here you can see the middle shelf done, and working on the bottom one:

Shelf supports

All three right side ones done:

Shelf supports

The side shelves are 2×4’, also a convenient size, to get four shelves out of each 4×8’ plywood sheet. I’ll need exactly three sheets to do all of the shelves. Almost like I planned it. (Narrator voice: he did.)

While the corrugated panel was lifted, I took the opportunity to add extra bits of wood to the corner post, to help fill in the gap between the post and panel. I have some gap filler bits that match the corrugated pattern to fill in that last little bit, too, that I’ll add next time:

Corner post addition

The completed U-shaped shelf framing. These will be topped by plywood sheets after the wall cladding is in place:

Shelf supports

I had considered adding a vertical board to help support the front corners of the side shelves, but the shelves seem plenty sturdy without that, so I decided it wasn’t needed.

A closer look at the left side:

Shelf supports

This extra board on the side shelf has a dual purpose: it makes the shelf stronger, and more importantly will support the edge of the plywood of the side shelf:

Shelf supports

Looking from outside:

Shelf supports

The right side:

Shelf supports

I stacked a couple of deep beehive boxes on the top shelf to see if they’d fit; yep:

Beehive boxes

We mostly use mediums, so they’ll fit even better. But there’s plenty of shelving space, so we probably won’t need to stack them anyway.

More corner post gap-reducing additions:

Corner post addition

A couple of outside angles, with the side corrugated panel temporarily anchored down again; I will need to lift it again to install other panels below it:

Outside view

Outside view

That’s it for now. The next step is to add the corrugated cladding. It’s expected to rain for the next few days, so I might not get back to it for a week or so; we’ll see.

Bee shed: wall framing

Yesterday I did more work on the bee shed project. I was supposed to be working on Dejal stuff, but I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather instead. A benefit of being self-employed. (I still got what I needed to do done last night.)

The activity of the day was adding 2×6 boards onto which the corrugated panels will be attached.

Here are two 12’ boards clamped to the posts:

Adding wall framing

And screwed in place, along with an 8’ 2×4 board below the bottom one to fill a gap:

Adding wall framing

They are attached with deck screws; I like them as they’re self-drilling, corrosion-resistant, and have a square hole (apparently called a Robertson drive type) that doesn’t slip as much as the more common Phillips style:

Adding wall framing

The boards at ground level follow the slope of the ground (dug in a little; this is treated wood, designed for ground contact):

Adding wall framing

More wall framing:

Adding wall framing

I made the middle two (almost) level, since shelving will be attached to them:

Level

That’s done:

Adding wall framing

Next up (today): shelving supports.

Bee shed: floor

On Sunday I started work on the bee shed project. See the first post for the background and design of this project.

Here’s the old potting shelter, along with a cart load of materials and tools:

Old potting shelter and cart of materials and tools

It being a warm day, the beehives were active for the first time this year, busy with their cleansing flights, where they clear out dead bees and poop a lot:

Beehives

My first step was to straighten some of the posts that weren’t quite vertical, using my post level, a mattock, a soil scoop, and a rubber mallet to knock them into position:

Straightening posts

I did that for three of the posts:

Straightening posts

Next I cleared out the debris and smoothed the ground to be somewhat more level, using some boards and a shovel; it still has a slope, but less lumpy than before:

Leveling ground

Then I adding some weed mat, both as a barrier against weeds (not very likely once enclosed) and against burrowing animals:

Adding weed mat

On top of that I added some interlocking rubber flooring panels:

Rubber flooring

Finally, I trimmed the weed mat to fit around the posts, and anchored it in position with metal stakes:

Trimmed weed mat

Next up, I will mount the 2×6 boards for the walls. The bottom boards will go over the weed mat to avoid having a gap. Stay tuned!

Bee shed: design

Having recently finished the duck island project, I will of course take a break from building… nah! I’m already designing my next homestead project: a shed to store beekeeping equipment.

I’ve actually had a plan for this for over a year, and received delivery of building materials for it and other projects back in April last year. But this project has finally bubbled to near the top of my queue. 

Here is a stack of building materials waiting in the hoop house:

Building materials

And more lumber (only about half of these will be used for this project; the rest are spare):

Building materials

Beekeeping involves a fair amount of equipment, which we currently store in the back of our workshop (along with other stuff, e.g. a cider press):

Beekeeping equipment

Beekeeping equipment

There’s plenty of room back there, but it’s a bit of a trek from the shop to the hives, so it’d be more convenient to have the equipment closer at hand if we need to add a hive box or something. 

And hey, we have this old potting shelter that we inherited with the property:

Shelter

Shelter

It is conveniently near the beehives:

Shelter

Shelter

Shelter

So I plan to enclose it with more 2×6 boards and corrugated galvanized steel panels, with clear corrugated panels for windows, and double doors. Inside, it’ll have U-shaped wooden shelving in the back half, weed mat and rubber flooring on the ground, and even a mirror and coathooks for our bee suits.

Yesterday, I took that photo above as a background and sketched the boards and panels onto it using Linea Sketch on my iPad Pro with Pencil. The perspective isn’t quite right, but close enough to indicate the design:

Bee shed design

Imagine clear corrugated panels in the gaps of the walls, and U-shaped plywood shelves on top of those supports.

Here is a time-lapse GIF of the drawing process (warning, there are quick flashes of blue as I hid the background layer while drawing, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing):

Shelter

Since this is an outside construction project, it is weather dependent — with the big snowstorm we’re expecting over the next few days, I likely won’t start for a week or two. But I’m looking forward to it. Stay tuned for updates!