Memorial Day Weekend

It’s 6:30 PM on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.


We came out this weekend to build a Solar Shed kit. For the most part, it now resembles a shed. We ran into a few problems (half of which were human errors.) First, our door is on the wrong side of the shed. While it appears that we got the majority of the shed build before we noticed that, in reality Mike pointed it out to me while the second wall was being assembled on the ground. I had blindly followed the pictures in the directions without considering that the words printed on the page may have some bearing. The specific paragraph was:


For added flexibility, the doors can be located on the side or tall wall. Before beginning assembly, Determine Door Location per illustrations on Page 2. Right side wall assembly shown. If building left side assembly, place wall panels on opposite side of frame.


I know exactly what you’re thinking: Why did they capitalize “Determine Door Location”? Some of the smarter people reading this will also be wondering why we didn’t just fix the door right when Mike noticed it? The answer is that, due to learning how to build things under the tutelage of my father, everything can be made stronger. So while the directions have you placing a 2” smooth nail (included with the kit) every 12 inches for the panels, we instead placed 2 ½ inch galvanized ring shank nails every 6 inches. After we glued every joist with Liquid Nails industrial adhesive of course. Now the only way to fix the door involves a Sawzall with metal and wood bits. That will have to wait until next weekend.


The other problem we ran into was with the roofing trusses. We followed the directions exactly but one end of the truss didn’t sit flush with the top header of the wall. Near as we can tell they probably cut it backwards at the factory. There wasn’t any way we could have messed it up.


Oh yeah, I also managed to screw up my brand new generator while testing it out on Friday. Since it said to fill with oil to the level of the oil cap I happily turned it on its side and poured 2 ½ quarts of oil in. Turns out they meant for you to keep it flat on the ground and fill just the bottom part of the pan with oil until it is level with the oil cap. I cranked up the generator, it ran for 10 seconds, and then it gushed oil from out of the air filter. After spending two hours to drain the oil and gas and clean out the cylinder I still couldn’t it to run more then 30 seconds at a time. I didn’t have any time to strip down the engine further to clean it so I borrowed a generator from a friend. I’ll have to fix it next week.


Back to the shed. It’s now mostly done, but before we can put in the windows we need to acquire some drip edges from the hardware store. All of the hardware stores closed at 4:00 today, whereas I pulled up to them at 4:10. Hopefully we’ll find one open on Memorial day, otherwise we can’t finish it until next weekend. As far as I can tell, the requirement of drip edges was not mentioned in the manual until page 60. I personally felt they should have mentioned it on the cover where they described the needed and optional tools.



But not all is bad. We now have a nice sturdy shed that’s mostly water resistant. The new tools (framing air nail gun, air impact nailer, and new cordless drill) got a good workout and I’ve figured out most of their quirks. We managed to haul the heaviest load yet in our trailer (right near its maximum capacity of 1.125 tons), and plenty of brush wood got burned.

What else? Lunch yesterday was Subway while on the go, and crackers, cheese, and mixed nuts for dinner. Today breakfast was more crackers and cheese, lunch was a cheese pizza (I Can’t Believe It’s Cheese Pizza! backpacker’s mix), and dinner is a vegetable stew that’s currently cooking over the fire. Since our picnic table gets crowded with all the tools and misc junk, I’m going to design an extension shelf to build and bring next weekend.


Here is a view of the completed shed – just before the dome foundation excavation.


Dome Injuries

What great project was ever executed without personal peril? Hopefully ours will be of the bump and scrape variety. Either way, they’ll be documented here in gory detail.