This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday 16 December 2017

The Shed aka Man Cave!

I am one of the guys who can’t sit on the couch and watch soaps or “Home Improvement, Fixer Upper, Renovation Nation, or This Old House” all day long while being retired. During my “Earning The Bacon” days before I retired, I tinkered all day long with technical things. To stay happy now, I need technical challenges to do and not baking with “Martha”.
Building our “Diesel Duck” trawler kept me on my toes after retirement and then later cruising with the Duck for 8 years was even more excitement. When the Duck was sold and I had the opportunity to customize our house it turned into fun as well. We are not finished with it, or will we ever be? It is work in progress. Marlene loves garden work during the spring and summer season and doesn’t mind being on her knees plucking out dandelions for hours. Ha! For the winter season we opted to follow our adventurous lust and bought a travel trailer to tow it behind the truck to southern distant horizons. Come springtime we are back and what could I do during theses summer and fall months?
I am not a garden buff, but I would love to do something technical. I do the woodcutting and sanding in the garage, but the sawdust and technical work hate each other, they don’t work together. How would you like a circuit board, some fancy electronic components or mechanical apparatus covered with saw dust which make you sneeze on top of it
So, here we are, we don’t have a basement or extra room for a neat little shop. I thought the salvation for me is a shed – a man cave, a place where I could hide all my tools, oilcans and icky stuff. A grandiose place for a workbench, drill press, vise and grinder. A place for an adjustable power supply, meters and soldering station, a place for a small metal lathe and bench-top milling machine. Don’t forget a TV! My brave girl said, “Go for it!”
It did cross my mind to build the shed myself. Here in Windsor Essex County, the local bylaws permit only 108 square foot maximum footprint for a detached accessory structure, which contains no plumbing (shed) constructed without a building permit. You want to go bigger, an elaborate space, using a Segway to get from workbench to drill press! This means you need a building permit and for the hope to get it, you have to submit drawings, pay a security deposit and a bunch of other fees. “Ha”, you have to fight with the Conservation Authority here along Lake Erie seashore. In case you were lucky to wiggle a building permit out of them, then you go ahead construct the structure and entertain the Building Inspector and the Electrical Safety Authority Inspector during inspections, don’t forget everything has to be done to code. “Done that, got the T-shirt,” is the saying.
What, only 108 sq. ft.! Yep, 108 sq. ft. is not much. I am a tidy guy, a small clean shop will do just fine with me. It is not a business solution, it is a man cave. I been wondering how large a cell at “Sing Sing” would be.
The conclusion was, stick with the the bylaws and to get it done fast, buy an Amish shed, 9ft x 12ft (108 sq. ft.), with the exterior finished to compliment our house, with double glazed windows and a metal clad insulated 36” wide exterior door. The whole package including delivery ended up cheaper than building it myself.

The inside finishing was left to the buyer. No sweat! I looked forward to do the job and customizing the interior to my needs.
Marlene and I took a trip along Hwy 3 from Wheatley to Aylmer, Ontario and looked at Wagler Mini Barns. Yeah, they had the right shed, 7 ft high walls, shingle and vinyl siding matching our house and garage, 6 weeks delivery. Done deal.

Benno and Wagler's owner

The company stuck to the 6 weeks delivery and was right on time, no excuses. We are dealing here with Mennonites. The shed was delivered on a special trailer with all kinds of nifty hydraulics, that could move the trailer bed sideways, turn the bed to any angle and extend it back to place the shed properly onto the from us prepared and leveled gravel pad. No scratches on the shed.

This spring I buried a PVC conduit for electrical cable in the ground from the house to the shed site. My first job was after bolting the shed down to run a # 10 cable and a TV antenna cable into the shed. I hooked the power cable up to a new sub panel, fitted a 20 Amp breaker for a temporary 120 V outlet to have power for the cutoff saw and a “ghetto-blaster”.
From Lowes in Windsor I picked up a dozen or so 2x4 studs for ceiling beams and two extra 2x6 studs to manufacture a sturdy ceiling beam to hang a hoist. I stiffened up that beam with four additional wall studs sandwiched to existing wall studs. That beam I secured with Simpsons strong ties. This beam could carry 1300 Ibs. in the center. I am able to hoist a ½ ton heavy piece of machinery, for example: I could hoist the future bench top mill onto a heavy-duty tool cabinet. “Bravo!”

After I had wired up the shed with plenty of power outlets, switches for 3 LED 48” light fixtures and a power provision for a wall heater, Marlene got to work and insulated the walls with Owens Corning R15 pink insulation.

Finishing up the interior ceiling covering and wall paneling took some sweat time, especially the window casing/trim and the door trim and then for Marlene to paint it. I covered the floor with commercial vinyl tiles and Marlene sealed them up. To finish the shed construction we rented from our famous Home Hardware store here in Wheatley the AttiCat to blow in Owens Corning loose fill insulation between ceiling and roof.

This is a messy job but the reward is that we have a nice winterized shed. Here is the link to a youtube clip about AttiCat insulation!

Please look at all the pictures with explanation below.

A view from the entrance door

A view from the rear wall toward the entrance

The workbench was purchased from Costco, note the 5" Record Vise

This compressor is extremely quiet, 60 - 70 decibels

Slow speed grinder with 120 grit stone on one side and 1/2" drill chuck on the other side to accept wire brush or any tool for grinding or polishing. I use the grinder mainly for sharpening Lathe or Mill cutting tools. The tool rest is a Veritas #05M23.01 unit from Lee Valley Tools.

This 12 peed bench drill press has a modified quill and is very precise.

The Grizzly G0768 metal Lathe fitted with an Ikea lamp

I'd love to have a bench top milling machine and hope it will rest on top of this lovely tool cabinet soon ;-)

I might add a shelf or two to the walls. A picture here or there, maybe a shop stool as well. Hopefully you all like this shop. 


  1. Nice shop, er, man cave, Benno. My husband will get much more out of today's post than I but I wanted to say great job!

  2. Very well thought out, all Weather and nicely organized without taking too much space. I like the way you kept everything on wheels in case you need to rearrange things for any project.
    Two Thumbs Up Benno.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Thank you for your nice comments, Benno

  4. The cabinet you have the Grizzley G0768 on, where did you get that?

    1. Raymond just noted your comment therefore the late reply.
      The cabinet is a Mastercraft Base Workbench. Just copy the link and paste to your browser.