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The weather warmed, and the shop was ready for some finishing touches on the exterior. I had thought over and over about what the exterior finish was going to be. The original idea - way back when - was to use a board and batten, of cedar. The method of construction didn't lend itself well to a vertical siding, however - and cedar was much too far outside of my budget. Next I thought maybe I could do a cheat of a board and batten - basically use a plywood and nail battens on top of it. This was most tempting, but truthfully it didn't match the neighborhood, nor did it match the house, which is currently T1-11 Besides that, the plywood used today simply doesn't have the quality of the plywood used just 20 years ago unless you buy the highest priced stuff out there - which kind of defeats the purpose of using the stuff to my mind... . So - for those same reasons I considered T1-11 and just as soon abandoned it. Another choice could have been steel or vinyl lap siding - but that just doesn't turn my crank at all. I hate the monotonous fields of vinyl lap siding cropping up in cramped subdivisions, so I wrote those off of my list.
In the end, it was budget that made the call, I'm sad to say. There were two choices in my price range - fiber cement lap siding (HardiPlank by James Hardie) and composite wood lap siding and trim (LP's "SmartSide"). It was a tough decision to make, believe it or not... Tough because I didn't like either option - but basically needed to put something up, so here's how I decided. Whether it makes any sense is up to you, but it seemed all quite logical. Of course if I had my druthers it would have been something a little more elegant, but then again one has to draw the line somewhere. It's not like I live in a neighborhood of million-dollar homes, nor do I have that sort of income.
The speed of construction slowed dramatically after I had to go back to a full time position with a local firm. My shop hours were reduced to just a couple of hours of productive work a week, and since winter was on, it was also quite cold and daylight was limited to weekends... The exterior was buttoned up enough to get by until spring, and I still wanted to get the permit signed off on before I had to spend the money to extend it... As it is, I'm getting very close to having these updates be live... I think that there's only 2 or 3 more entries before it is.
Ah, the hard work was done... Or was it? I got the roof framed, and it was time now to get it shingled. Before I get to that, the last little bit of framing needed to happen - the cupola. Here you can see the base I had constructed while framing up the roof:
The idea is simple enough - all you really want is to shed water and hold heat in, right?
When I was designing the shop, I investigated several different methods for constructing a roof. First was manufactured trusses... I ruled those out because I knew I wouldn't be able to place them myself. Another option was to use wood I-beams... This was a really tempting option, and now that I've finished, this is the route I would take today, if I were to do it over again. Finally, I looked at doing it "old school" - with honest to God 2x10 rafters.
With the foundation finally out of the way, it was time for my part to start - framing. I find framing fun, so long as it's not my regular job... and I have done it in the past, so I wasn't too nervous about doing it, except for one thing - the wall framing would be full of angles and small complications that would challenge my abilities... but then again, I like a challenge.
I started by putting together a list of materials I would need, and set out to visit suppliers to get some prices. I'm fortunate to have a large number of building supply outlets all within a close distance to where I live... I didn't get to a fraction of them and I visited two borg stores, a lumberyard associated with a nation-wide chain, 1 local franchise lumberyard (several different locations, but all of them are located within a 100 mile or so radius), and two locally owned lumberyards to get prices. The borg prices were not all that far out of line - but those places simply aren't set up well for putting together large loads and they were the furthest from my house, not to mention the service was basically non-existent from these two places in my experience, so I ruled them out almost immediately.