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The first part of the planning process after
drawing up the basic outlay on graph paper for
us was to build a shop model using match
sticks.  In this picture we have completed the
second floor and the front porch using graph
paper to downsize the original dimensions.
The next step is to order the materials
you will need to start building. We
managed to save some money by
shopping around and asking for
contractor prices since we were ordering
in quantities.
We wanted to make sure we were  
dealing with  reputable dealers since
many discount outlet's  carry sub-grade
material. Quality lumber is essential for a
quality project.  
In this photo  to save on
expenses the 10 inch thick
foundation we used to serve as
the perimeters for the shop were
made with  rocks  we picked
from nearby.  Following the
recent trends, we chose to use
treated lumber to build the shop
as there are many advantages to
treated wood's longevity  and
durability.   The basic frame for
the initial shop wall is being
assembled here.
We used shoulder tenon notches on all of the
load bearing beams including the timber that
receives second floor joists.  To achieve a
viable shoulder tenon joint allow at least one
inch of shoulder in your vertical beams.  Using
a 6"X6" treated timber from a lumberyard you
will end up with a 5-1/2" x 5-1/2 inch timber.  
The tongue should protrude inside the tenon
deep enough to be pegged by a 5/8" dowel
without compromising the tongue.
The dowel should be a high
quality wood made of either
maple or other hardwood that
can resist shearing pressure.  
Oak for example has a 10,000
pound shearing pressure per
inch; maple dowel posses
similar qualities to oak.  We
soaked our dowels in a water
sealant both to protect the
dowel as well as lubricating it
for an easier drive into the
You can either cut the
dowels flush with the timber
or create and extension to
utilize it as hanging rod.
Also, you can either drive the
dowel all the way through the
timber or partially into it to
hide the dowel insuring the
dowel protrude deep enough
to support the tenon.     
One difficulty in cutting freshly
treated wood is that the moisture
content will cause the saw blade to
jamb; so make your cuts patiently and
allow for shrinkage.  Quality tools will
always endure the stress any project
may pose.  I prefer using steel saw
blades instead of carbide saws, mainly
because steel blades are thinner and
can make as good as a clean cut as
carbides do and they do not stress
your equipment. A $40 carbide blade
is equivalentt in price as four steel
saw blades.
Cutting the mortise can be a
tedious job depending on how
deep you have to gauge out the
cavity.  The tools I am using I
purchased almost thirty years
ago to build our house with;
they are old craft's man tools
that I purchased from Sears.  
The steel is the fines quality I
have yet to come across  
Here, the two floor joists are
fitted into the middle beam priorto
inserting the dowels.  Using
treated pine lumber or other
soft-wood lumber, your best bid
is to make the tightest fit possible
and go on because the end result
may be totally different from what
you expect due to shrinkage and
difficulty of making precise cuts.
It was necessary for us to raise
the top plate 30-40 degrees
above ground in order to erect
the walls in position.  Using a
come along and some creative
ideas, we managed to raise this
wall with little effort without
any major incidents to regret in
less than 12 hours.  If you are
lucky enough to gather the
neighbors and friends to assist
you a whole shop can be raise
in a few days if all the notching
are done in advance.
The front wall is erected and secured with
2X4's that are dug into the ground to
prevent slipping.  We had a major snow
storm in our area, but the work had to go
on since hot weather was just around the
corner and we didn't want to do this heavy
work in the summer months .  Securing
thefirst  wall is not a major task but very
necessary to ensure the second wall will
connect to it at a right angel when the
horizontal tiers are put up. The knee braces
will help keep the structure in place so it
won't sway sideways which can
compromise the overall structure as it is
being assembled.
Page 2
Before using a square to
square your structure be
sure to throughly examine
your timber for warp and
twists.  Make sure the
crown of the warp is
always up whether it
suppports its own weight
or not.  The best way to
square a warped timber is
by chalk line. snap a line
that covers the bottom
curve or the crown; then
either measure it square
or use a large square.