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DIY shed or prebuilt?


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What is a good size shed for a beginner smithy? I have no problems with DIY sheds. Will consider prebuilt (home depot sheds) but not sure what is a good material (plastic, wood, etc). Would rather build a smallish one. Live in AZ. Will check building codes when I get ready to build or setup a prebuilt one.

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This is a little like asking "what's a good car."  The answer depends on many variables.  Some folk happily forge in a few tens of square feet and for some several thousand isn't enough.  In AZ I would think that ventilation and cooling would be a big consideration.  Head room is a serious issue.  It also depends on how much bench/finish work you will do away from the forge and how large a bench area you need.  The actual forging triangle (forge, anvil, vice) can be as small as is comfortable for you but large enough that you don't hit the forge with your butt if you are bending over the anvil or hitting something when you have a longer piece in the vice.  Generally, I would say that a person should get the largest shop building they can afford or will fit on available land.

Some cities and counties and Home Owners Associations have rules about sizes of allowed accessory buildings.  Sometimes something on skids doesn't count as a permanent structure and some have to be a certain size before any codes apply. Often, about 100 square feet is the cut off.  Set backs from property lines may apply too.  

It may be less hassle to have 2 100 square foot buildings than 1 200 square foot building.  You could use one for forging and one for bench work and storage.  However, the smaller premade building/sheds often have low ceilings.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Welcome to IFI and the insanity.:D

Personally I prefer to build my own, that way I can better plan better for the interior, placement of forge, anvil, leg vise etc. If you browse through this section there are a lot of good ideas here. Most prebuilt sheds I have seen are pretty shabby and I would be concerned with fireproofing them and ventilation.

BTW: we won't remember your location once leaving this thread, hence the suggestion to put your general location in your profile.

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Posted (edited)

There isn't an HOA in this part of town. lol But, thank you for the advice. I do use my garage as a woodshop. 

Thanks for the suggestion on the location in my profile. Haven't gotten to it yet. Already got a warning about this post. Thank you for your response.

Edited by Mod30
Excessive quoting
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I have a friend just outside of Kingman, and I am the other side of Las Vegas.

Look at some of the metal buildings out there. I like the arch style where you build the arch sections, then stand them up.  Clear spans , and several styles. A few companies have smalller ones for decent prices. I would do metal for the climate down here. The hot and dry is very tough on wood. Metal is fireproof, termite proof, and easy to put up.  Just insulate it really well. The thermometer was showing 121F today.

To answer your question though, it all depends on what you want to make. Knives, tools, double gates for McMansions...... 

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The bigger the better. Most who get hooked find themselves running out of space fast. It's strange. Seems the more you learn how to rebuild or turn something into something else, the more you collect to do so. Lol

I'd prefer block and concrete or wood. 

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$26k for a 40x60 slab?! It would cost me half that with modest site grading at 6” here in the Midwest United States.  Regional price differences never cease to amaze me.

If I wasn’t such a tool hoarder a good shade tree would be my favorite smithy for a good chunk of the year.  

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Could you just add on to your garage? If your thinking small.  Basically a lean to, it's one less wall to put up, Breaker box is near by for a couple of lights and outlets. Maybe even keep it a dirt floor. I'd think you wouldn't get to regulated to death with this set up.

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Breaker box is actually in the backyard, a couple feet away from my desk window (yes, on the outside wall). Can't really add a lean to on the garage. It is a duplex and the only free area is right on the walkway to my front door. 

Metal is a great idea. Thanks for the advice, everyone!

Unbelievable, the warnings. lol geez. 

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How about one of the metal carport kits?  (Or look for a used one!)  The basic "starter size" smithy for small stuff is about 10'x10' interior space.  If you want to do large stuff then you need an outdoor set up or a large building. (Think of  taking a 20' stick of 1/2" sq stock and rolling it up---you could make use of a shop 40'+ by 40'+.---I'm putting a gozinta into the shop driveway so I can lug a 6" post vise out there and use the yard for "run around space".)

Or as has been said before:  "How much room do you need?  Twice as much as you have!"

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Randy, thanks for posting the reference link for folks...quite a memory you have!  Yes, it does serve me well.  Gets a bit frigid in the dead of winter with a stiff breeze...open end faces NW.  Temporary tarps strung up around parts of it can ward off the wind in winter.  Great in the summer, being open for breezes not so chilly.  I now have a 12" flue pipe running out the front end...got tired of the smoke.

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  I put a tiny piece of paper with my phone # on it on the back of my phone using clear scotch tape for those times when I'm asked for it and I "have my mind on other things"....  :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I added 20' x 30' x 10' on the cheap to my professionally built shop: free telephone poles for the uprights, a couple of sacks of concrete per pole; US$300 for some old metal trusses found on CL, I bought the C purlins  and a lot of SD-ST metal screws and got all the propanel free as hail damaged or overruns from replacing hail damaged roofs. (Plus 2 fiberglass panels bought new for skylights.) Sand/gravel floor with a 2".x6" PT perimeter Oh yeah a 10'x10' used roll up door from a smith for $75.  All the work done by me and my friends.

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