How to Build a Wood Shed

cut-71577_1280Many homeowners use wood burning furnaces and stoves to take advantage of the energy potential in wood. However, gathering enough wood to keep the furnace burning is a process that takes space, time, and energy. Wood needs to be kept off the ground, dry, and in an easy to access place. Thus wood sheds are essential to homes that heat with wood. In addition, a wood shed is a comforting and beautiful feature in any home. Spring is the perfect time to build a wood shed, when a whole summer lies ahead and the importance of having one is still fresh in one’s mind.

• Plan the Shed
The three main design factors to consider when building a wood shed are shelter, access, and ventilation. It is also important to decide how large a shed one needs. Usually, fuel wood is dispersed by the cord, which is 128 cubic feet, i.e., an 8–foot long, 4–foot high pile of 4–foot long logs. Designing a wood shed into cord sections helps one to keep track of the wood consumed or delivered. An 8′ x 8′ shed, for example, can fit alongside the front drive or anywhere else in the yard that is most accessible and convenient for daily use.

• Build the Side Panels
Crosscut the side supports and cedar slats to the desired lengths. Of the two supports on either side, the bottom one should be longer than the top one to provide clearance to fasten the beam. Make a notch on the posts to receive the beam using a circular saw and a wide chisel to remove the scored wood. Next, smooth the face of the notch with a rasp. Place the supports on an even surface to assemble the walls, drill pilot holes, and attach them to the posts. Finally, place the slats in position, smear some adhesive, and then screw them to the supports.

• Raise the Walls and Set the Footings
Accurately place the piers, or footings, to simplify and quicken the building process by preventing constant adjustment and measuring. Align the four corner piers and use a tape measure to check the diagonals and to position the fifth and sixth piers. Adjust the height of the piers using a string level and raise each wall on its piers. Brace each wall diagonally to a stake driven into the ground.

• Add Beams, Posts, Joints, and roof
Upon measuring the distance between walls, crosscut the long joints and attach them to the posts using bolts. Remember to do the same with the beams. Notch the two center posts and set them on their piers. Bold and plumb them into position. Crosscut and fasten the remaining joints, crosscut and screw the floor pieces to the short and long joints, and fasten the deck pieces. Finally, add the rafters and install the roof.

Wood sheds are not always subject to building permits or codes (although you should always check with your municipality to be sure), nor do they require much investment in money or time. Homeowners thinking of saving some money by building their own wood sheds should heed the design principles outlined above, then add their own ideas. They should be creative with the materials they have.