she shed you don’t understand what i shed



This is my new shed. I just finished building it. I’m posting this blog as a public service to all of you out there who might be contemplating building your own shed to RUN AWAY SCREAMING. This beast took me three months, riddled my body with scars, and made me blow a gasket pretty much every weekend.

Why, do you ask, did it take three months? “I thought you were pretty handy with tools building stuff,” I hear you cry. And yet, isn’t it interesting that a rectangular building not much larger than a twin bed can provide so many opportunities for such flummoxation?

Here’s the thing: I don’t like other people doing what I can do for myself. And since Salem put me on Betty Mills’ corporate mailing list, I saw a good deal on a 4’x10′ garden shed that seemed to be our cup of tea; it had a “lean-to” look that was perfect for this tiny space between our house and the next, and we could finally get our bikes out of the dining room.

First off, I had to build the thing into the tiny space itself, meaning I couldn’t just build it in the yard and move it – that would mean uprooting trees and all kinds of crap. Thus my power drill screwdriver was useless, which meant sticking my hand into blind 4-inch crevices and installing screws with this:


Technically, it’s a Husky ratchet and socket set, but I’ve come to know it as the ArthritisMaker 3000™, and it nearly killed my spirit. After about five screws, I was done for the day. Half of the screws wouldn’t even work with it, so I was forced to use other methods so chintzy that I won’t mention them here.

Secondly, the Shed Assembly Instructions was written by either a sadistic bastard or a robot with no sense of narrative flow. Take this, for instance:


1. After the 3rd side siding is fastened to the 2nd, roll it over on the roof and fasten as before.

Um, WHAT? Are you fucking kidding me? First, Mr. Manual, you never used the term “1st side siding” or “2nd side siding” before, so I don’t know what the “3rd side siding” is. And when you say “after,” are you assuming that I already did it – I mean, clairvoyantly – since “Step 7” didn’t mention it? And how can I “fasten as before” when this is the first time I’ve been asked to do anything like this?

Oh, I could go on, but you would have had to been there to understand the backbreaking idiocy of it all. And at the end of the three months, I had a… vaguely crappy aluminum shed. Yeah, it’ll be fine, and it’s pretty airtight and we can keep the bikes, barbecue and random shite in there, but heed my warning.

If you have a modicum of building skills, just design a shed yourself and build it out of pressure-treated wood using a simple frame. Stick a tiny shingled roof on it, and voilà! Barring that, get a professional Shed Man (or Woman) to plop a pre-made shed on your property while you sit in a hammock sipping Pimm’s and lemon soda.

0 thoughts on “she shed you don’t understand what i shed

  1. Just Andrew

    time to go cordless. I do tons of weekend warrior stuff around my house and have owned the Ryobi cordless set and love ’em, plus they are cheap compared to any other brand – I found a sale that had most all the tools, including the cordless chainsaw for under $300. At any rate, looks like this right angle drill would’ve saved you some time, headaches and arthritis.

  2. Claverack Weekender

    I bought nice plans for a shed at the link below, but only because I didn’t know how to build a hip roof. I used pressure treated lumber for the sills but did the rest in redwood and cedar timbers, shakes, and siding. People ask if it is a guest house.

  3. John Schultz

    Have you purchased one of those awesome swingsets from Costco? It is much cheaper than buying from a dealer.
    They usually come in four or five boxes that weigh a ton. They also come with an instructional DVD….yes a DVD not a manual. It is that complicated.
    Thankfully there are two guys in my town that make a living putting these swingsets together. I highly recommend hiring someone to help if you go this route.

  4. Neva

    Do you sleep Ian? I’m amazed that you have time to do these things. My husband is also the DIY type. He spent a lot of this weekend changing oil and rotating tires in our cars and and tilling our horrible red clay for a new planting bed, but I have to admit I have a limit to how much of this I can stand. Maybe it’s having the second kid but at some point you start to say paying someone is worth it for your own (or your wife’s!) sanity! Tessa is a good woman.

  5. hilary

    i’m with neva; your productivity level is downright intimidating–maybe it’s the mother’s little helpers? i feel good about myself when i manage to get the dishes washed every night…

  6. connor beach

    oh my goodness, i have been shed shopping for the past 48 hrs frantically looking for something to keep my (illegal) chickens in. thanks for the summerwood shed link. . .I’m definitely hiring this job out.

  7. Bud

    This was made in China, right?
    I’m convinced the Chinese are planning to take over the US, and I think I know their crafty plan:
    1) Destroy our physical health with poisoned food additives
    2) Destroy our mental health with nonsensical instructions as above
    4) Profit!
    Very glad our house came with Cheap But Durable Plastic Shed (TM) pre-installed.

  8. Claudia

    Yeah, shed, whatever…I love Pimm’s! Chris M. just bought me a bottle. Did you ever throw some berries in with it? So good!

  9. Claverack Weekender

    Good luck with your hen house! We have three chickens and four guinea hens and love them. Have you seen I don’t love all of their plans, but there are some nice ones on there. One thing I love about our hen house is a small walk-in area separate from the hens’ living area. We store feed, grit, etc. there, and we can walk in and close the door behind us before going through a second door to fetch the eggs….

  10. cullen

    Kudos on the newly assembled shed–an excellent and Jetsonesque example of an about-the-house quadrilateral/non-parallelogram (Don’t tell me that bright light Lucy knows those specific shapes already, or I’ll concur that you do have more than lotsa usable time at yer disposal.)


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