Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Shed building for beginners

“Did you get it up at the weekend?” Asked my work colleague.

“Yes” I replied proudly, feeling very pleased with my erection. We were, of course, talking about my new shed.

Now, I have to admit that when it comes to almost any do-it-yourself type project, I am a walking disaster. If there is a wrong way to put things together, you can be sure that I will find it. Indeed, only a year or so ago, I fitted some coat hooks to the wall of our utility room at a cost of around £200. I managed to drill through some live electric wires and nearly destroyed the water boiler in the process. I recently fitted a security lock to a door. It all works OK, the only trouble being its back to front. My wife bought me an assemble it yourself robot one Christmas. I managed to put it together, except that it runs backwards instead of forwards. You can therefore imagine my dismay when my wife insisted we really had to have a new shed. I agreed that, yes, we really did need one. What I didn't need was all the aggravation of putting it together.

Anyway, following visits to local garden centres it became clear if we bought it from any of them we would need to re-mortgage the house. There was only one solution, and that was a trip to Wilkinsons. Peering through the catalogue, we picked out a classic 8 feet by 6 feet wooden shed with a double door. Having dutifully handed over the £200 plus £20 for delivery, we got on with the rest of our lives in anticipation of it's delivery.

A week or so later, it duly arrived in all all its disassembled glory. It was all propped up against the wall at the side of my house, so I moved it onto the patio under the gazebo to shelter it from the rain. My wife was worried about it getting wet. Of course, once it was erected it wouldn't get wet any more! We covered it over with plastic sheeting for good measure, and there it lay for the following week through torrential rain and high winds which destroyed the cover of the gazebo.

Finally, the weekend and good weather converged and there was no time to waste but to get on and build it. We got up early. We pulled back the covers and there it all was in a big shambolic pile, laughing at me and cocking a snoot at how useless I am. I sat weeping and wailing in despair. I would far rather have been looking at books in W H Smith, or CDs and DVDs in Zavvi. I decided to pull myself together.

Right!” I said, I'll go and get the hammer and screw driver and get started”. My wife nearly wet herself in hysterical laughter, rubbing in even further my DIY ineptness. She then reminded me that we had to do the very thing which a man never does, and that is check and count all the pieces. Fighting back my desire to start bashing nails with abandon – or even with the hammer, we checked everything, down to the last nail. It was all there. A miracle. Time to really start the building.

After diligently studying the plans, it became apparent that hammering was not the primary means of holding it together, but screws. Of course, I should have twigged the clue when we were checking all the components – there were far more screws than nails. It was clear that we had some very serious screwing ahead of us. In fact, I don't believe my wife and I have ever screwed so much in one day – it was a screwing marathon, a veritable “screwathon!”

After screwing the floor to the base formers, I left my wife screwing the hinges to the doors, while I took a load of waste to the recycling centre. Unfortunately, while I was away, the hinges found themselves being attached in the wrong positions – too close together instead of at the top and bottom of each door - where they should have been. I decided it would be best if I corrected the mistake, so sending my wife off on a wifely chore, I made my hands and wrists ache with intense screwing.

My wife had already assembled the windows, earlier, just like on Blue Peter, and it was now clear we needed to get it up.

After laying the base on the patio and propping it up with brick supports where it overhung onto the lawn or where the patio itself dipped, we started to get the side in position. This again, involved a lot of manoeuvring and screwing as well as a certain amount of banging. Next, we got the roof on. It was now getting late in the day and we were both shagged out. There's only so much banging and screwing you can take in a day, but at least we got it up.

The next morning was an early start. We had to get laid the roof covering. After cutting it into strips, we draped it over and got banging again tacking it into position. Our shed was now complete, but for the weather proofing which I accomplished the following weekend following a trip to the garden centre. We are now a two shed couple, another step up the social ladder!

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