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new workshop

When we first moved to our place, there was an existing shed on the property:

Old Shed...

It was in pretty bad shape: a tree branch had crushed part of the roof, the plywood foundation had rotted away and most of the organic material inside was moldy. I suited up in the nice and humid mid-june weather and took it apart (which is also when I found out how bad the mosquitoes are in the area…), leaving a giant mess of sheet metal, tiny nuts and bolts, and decomposed wood.

Since our place was small, we had envision a more robust shed that could possibly be used as a more comfortable workspace.

So we looked around, and came across California Custom Sheds in Salinas. After picking out a model that fit our constraints, we scheduled a build day. They did it in one afternoon and the build quality is excellent.

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Since our home is pretty tight on space, Michele has had to give up her tote bag making business. We simply did not have the room to accommodate her equipment in the house.

While we initially had big ideas for the new shed, it was built without any creature comforts, like lights/electricity, heating, and insulation. We also have to use it as general storage. Without a garage or an attic, we need somewhere to pack away our decorations and camping gear.

So, a strong effort was put in place to eliminate as much as we could and store less. This gave us the workspace we needed to begin our shed remodel.

It also helped that Michele dove right in, and started tearing out the built-in shelves and getting insulation. Lets face it, if it had been up to my initiative, it would have been pushed out until I had all of the free time in the world (ie: at the slow heat death of the universe)

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So, while she did that, I had to wire it up. From our last shed project, I knew that I would have to install a sub-panel, and connect it to the main breaker.

I have a healthy respect for electricity, which is a kind way to say amperage scares me. Since my step dad is no longer just 10 minutes away, I knew I would have to do this on my own. So, after reading a handful of articles and watching a few youtube clips, I felt I could at least start the project

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Owen of course hung out with us, but mostly to do his own thing:

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Michele and I did the drywall hanging ourselves. We also had it delivered the day before a rain storm. I think this was a subconscious way of pushing ourselves.

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This was hard. Very hard. With two novice drywall-ers such as ourselves, we had a rough start when we hung the first ceiling piece, but we eventually got the hang of it and worked all day.

Shot of Michele:

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Shot of the wall with outlets.

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During the week, Michele’s Dad came by, and the two of them textured the inside. I was at work, no pictures are available.

The next weekend however, we laid the laminate flooring. We recently did our house, so we had some left overs, and the memory of the task was still fresh in my head. The three of us got busy and did 95% of it in one day.

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Another shot of Michele, this time, laying the padding down.

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Close up shot of the entrance

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Mostly done…

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There, 95% complete

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The last row had to be ripped down, and since I don’t own a table saw, I has to seek out the help of a friendly neighbor.

Here is is, with the tool chest and all. Its hard to see, but the baseboard is in as well.

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We do still have that pesky extension cord running back to the house…

Digging the trench between the house and the shed was surprisingly easy. I had looked up equipment rentals in the area, and I was pretty defeated by the price for a one day rental, and, the lack of delivery.

It also helped that the recent rains really softened up the ground. I had minimal roots and rocks to deal with

Shot of the shed side of the trench:

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Through the yard…

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Sage watching me dig (probably eyeing the new soft piles of dirt)

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Now for the fun part. Connecting the sub-panel to the house.

Here is the simple breaker in my sub panel.

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And here is the main breaker (really ugly in there)

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The first time I turned it on, it immediately tripped. After consulting with my Step Dad, I figured it out. It was the last disrupter/outlet combo I installed. It was dark in the shed when I wired it in and I was feeling rushed since I was loosing daylight.

Well, after some testing with my multimeter, I discovered my error. I replaced it with a normal outlet, and I was back in business.

The final product of our hard work, lights in the shed without the use of two extension cords!

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Super fun project, I’m glad Michele kicked it off.

With this house, and having to be a little more independent, I have realized a few things.

First, I’m terrified of the unknown. After accepting that and getting comfortable doing the research, I can do more than I am comfortable with.

I read The Martian this year, and watched the movie. It was maybe my favorite movie of 2016 (if I skip Star Wars, too many emotions attached to that one). The best sentiment was: {% blockquote %}“You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home” {% endblockquote %}

That describes exactly what I’m okay with doing. Solving one small problem at a time, and testing. After I tackled enough problems without it overwhelming me, I was happy of the process.

Secondly, this project went from a chore, to a hobby. My job is pretty taxing, and it is always leaking into my personal time. This was something I got to do that pulled me out of my own head (which is usually focused on work)