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Potting Shed

Like a Hindu temple, this shed will always be a work in progress. This weekend, however, it reached a state of completion that I have deemed presentable. The frame is built from 110-year-old recycled Douglas fir from a warehouse that was torn down in Wilmington. I cannot take credit for cutting and assembling the frame…that was done by a group of high school kids under the direction of my friends at The Challenge Program.

The outer walls are one-side finished tongue and groove pine from an Amish timber framing shop in Lancaster county which, incidently, prefabs huge barns in their completely air-tooled (gas-powered compressor) wood shop. The nailers, door frame and upper shelf joists are rough sawn poplar recycled from a major motion-picture movie set. The wide walnut-stained pine floorboards were also recycled from the movie set. I ripped down off-cuts of the floorboards too make the shutters and purposefully did not glue them so I got a little “spread” as the wood moves…see how the light streams in through the cracks? Hopefully the snow won’t do the same.

One of my favorite parts of working on the shed is the opportunity to use my framing chisels and three-inch slick. No chain mortiser or plunge router for me…I just love spending hours of quality time beating on these beautiful tools. Sure, I use a circular saw to bread pockets or Forstner bits to start a mortice, but I always square them up with framing chisels and clean the tenons with the slick.

Some of the best tools can be found at antique auctions, but I cheated and bought them new from Barr Quarton. My limited skills are so unworthy of these beautiful hand-forged works of art. Each tool comes with an amazingly durable hollow-ground edge that simply refuses to roll even after beating on the hardest green oak. If you’re not into framing or woodwork, just get one to put on your desk. The big slick will also work nicely as a deterrent to people who you might find annoying.

Posted by on October 15, 2006