Needless to say, I was on a high from my success at the Evil Yurt Platform from Hell. If I can build a decagonal deck out of wood and blood and bolts then I can build anything! Including a relatively simple loft in our shop. As we will be living in the Yurt for a few months while the house is being built we’re going to need a place to store all of our crap. Fortunately we have the large shop with a 16’ ceiling. At this point, the shop is pretty much wide open inside from the bathroom and big water storage tank. In order to maximize the space, create additional storage and to keep our personal items off the floor we decided to build an elevated platform. For this particular project there were no plans just me-brain-powers.
We had debated about the possibility of someday insulating the whole shop. It’d be pretty sweet, but also expensive. And after a recent storm, we realized it would be super difficult – and probably even more expensive than we would think.
A couple weekends ago there was a massive storm that came through Central SK. We were out at the land at the time. I had actually been talking to our new neighbour friend, Ray, when the sky suddenly turned black, the winds changed, and temperature dropped about 10°C. Dang, that didn’t look good. We went into the shop to watch the storm roll in. When the trees started bending sideways and hail started falling we thought, Crap, that really didn’t look good.
Being in a metal walled building, the sound of the wind and hail was deafening. Unfortunately we only had one set of ear plugs, so being the kind soul I am I gave them to my wife. I covered my ears and hoped for the best. After about 20 terrifying minutes, the storm passed, sun came out and heat returned. It was like it never happened. Little did we know that a tornado and baseball-sized hail had fallen and destroyed a couple farmyards only a few miles away. Yikes!
Anyways, the point being was that during the storm we had several gallons of rain water pouring in through the central roof seams and under the garage doors. Hmm, insulating and sealing this shop would suck. Maybe someday we’d go down that road. But we decided that it was not going to happen in a long time.
As I wanted to sheet the walls under the platform with OSB so not needing to insulate it saved some time. The OSB would allow me to build cabinets and shelves and hang my tools with a bit more ease.
As for the loft itself, we wanted to keep it simple 8’x24’ and 8’ up. I sheeted the walls in short order and set to work building the floor joists. We used 4x4x8 posts on footings spaced 4’ apart to support the loft and bolt it to the wall with heavy-duty 5” lag screws.
The challenge came to how the heck Darcie and I would hoist the 8’x8’ floor sections 8’ in the air and place the posts magically underneath and then miraculously bolt them to the wall, all without seriously injuring ourselves in the process.
As we discussed how we would do this, I had visions of dropping the structure on my foot, breaking/tearing my shoulder when it fell, or simply being crushed underneath it. None of these were desirable outcomes.
So here’s what we did: we walked the structure over like the Egyptians probably would have done and leaned it against the wall. I had screwed two 12” supports just under where we wanted it to sit on the wall. Using our big muscles (we’d lifted some heavy stuff in the past couple weeks and we were feeling quite jacked) we lifted the structure up along the wall. Darcie held it against her thighs (she’s stronger than she looks) as I grabbed the step ladder. She climbed into the back of the truck, which we had backed up to the support beams. With her in the truck bed and me on the ladder we were able to hoist it up as the edge rested gently on my little 2×4 wall supports. And just like that we eased the whole thing easily on the beams! Wow. That went surprisingly well.
The other two sections went up relatively easy as well. All I had left to do was bolt it to the wall with the 5” lag screws. This was going just peachy. I had put in 19 or 20 screws and they were going into place snuggly… except for the last one. That was when I decided to switch to a lower setting on my heavy duty 20volt Dewalt drill driver. WHAP! The drill caught, spinning 180° over and smacking me right above the eye. Oh, and I was standing on a ladder AND I wasn’t wearing my safety glasses. I put my head in my sleeve and it came out soaking in blood. Well, at least it was the last screw to go in.
(Originally posted August 18, 2014)