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I Forge Iron

12 by 16 primitive shop build (midwest)

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Appreciate the positive feedback, I had a ton of help from folks here so I'm glad to hear the work may provide some inspiration for someone else looking to build a shop of their own.

Some things I'd do differently next time:

- The "sandbox" floor trick to level across an uneven space works great, however I'd probably opt to skip the pavers and just use compacted class 3/5 or pour concrete next time.

- Digging post holes in the middle of a forest .... not fun.  Those roots... and having pine trees around/above a shop if you plan to have a chimney of some sort... hmm.

- If you jack up your post spacing the rest of your dimensions are going to be messed up as well, particularly if you are trying to use standard length lumber and avoid extra saw cuts as much as possible.  Adds a lot of extra work for the rest of the build...

- OSB sheathing does not = structure.... cross bracing is your friend to avoid being crushed by a pile of poorly supported building materials while forging.

- Structural design planning in general should have been way more thorough, I was too focused on form/flexibility of the interior layout even though it turned out in the end it added a lot of extra time and complexity to go back and do it right.

- Coating posts before dropping them in the ground with concrete will preserve their life.

- Primitive is not really the right descriptor.. perhaps "rustic pre-industrial" (no electric, old west/RR building style) would have been a better choice.


Some things that worked out really well:

- 12x16 is actually a pretty good size for a small one-man shop with some elbow room, it's big enough to give you room to work comfortably if you are efficient with your layout and choice of equipment.  It's small enough to be built by a single person of average strength without access to special/heavy equipment using big box sourced lumber.

- Sliding doors on opposing sides of the shop plus windows on all 4 walls give you lots of ventilation when combined with normal gable and soffit vents.

- Being flexible with design, material choices and timeline so you can shop around for clearance/odd-lot deals on materials is huge if price is a concern.  Using a bit of the "Thomas Powers" sourcing approach and letting people know you are looking for materials if they have any leads is also a surprisingly good way to find cheap/free stuff.  The $1 per sheet steel roofing/siding from Lowes (along with the roofing screws, trim and some of the post hole concrete), free hackberry lumber from the neighbor and various local construction/craigslist finds really helped me manage the budget, which I still blew up. :)




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