Weeknd Project: Build a Woodshed

The Weekndr Woodshed. Built from scratch (an no plans).

The Weekndr Woodshed. Built from scratch.

Our neighbor up the road asked me if I had plans for the cedar woodshed I built for our yard last year. In a slightly accusatory toneĀ I quickly replied: “Plans? What do you mean, plans?”

You see, like most of the projects I build, there were no plans involved. I started with a sketch on a napkin and let the details take shape as I cut the parts. To determine the height, I held a board upright and marked a point that looked high enough. Same with the length and width. Then each successive piece was cut to fit the one before it until, voila, a shed appeared.

Cedar shake, siding and trim add some appeal to this simple lean-to shed design.

Cedar shake, siding and trim add some appeal to this simple lean-to shed design.

Working to a plan is almost as hard as drawing one. When building a project to written dimensions each cut has to be extremely precise. If everything is square and accurate then it will go together just fine. But if not, well then, everything doesn’t go together just fine.

With my approach, each part is cut to fit, so who cares if the measurement is precise as long as it fits.

In the spirit of helping out a neighbor, this weekend was devoted to drawing up a plan for what I have now dubbed the Weekndr Woodshed.

The measured drawing mainly features construction details, not actual dimensions since you’ll likely want to define your own dimensions to fit your space. But you will be able to deduct how to assemble the 2×4 and 4×4 framing of the walls and the rafters, the cedar plank siding, the application of the pine firring strips, the cedar shake roof, and the trim.

For example, the diagram in the top right of the illustration shows how to gang-cut a birdsmouth notch in the 2×4 rafters. Clamp the 2x4s together, mark the cut lines on the top, front and back, and then cut with a circular saw. Just below that, you see how the rafters attach to the top plate on the back wall with the birdsmouth notch.

You can open a slightly larger version of the above plan and print it out. Or, if you’re Mr. moneybags, you can support Weekndr.com and BUY THE MEASURED DRAWING in the weekndr store. No pressure, we’re just trying to make a little dough to keep the lights on.

Rustic DIY. My no-plans approach resulted in a rustic look for my cedar wood shed.

Rustic DIY. My no-plans approach resulted in a rustic look for my cedar wood shed. P.S. Adding doors to this lean-to shed would mean paying town taxes for an enclosed structure. The roof overhang seems to keep the weather out.

I read a great article on FineHomebuilding.com that described how to layout and install the cedar shake roof.

I read a great article on FineHomebuilding.com that described how to layout and install the cedar shake roof using 1x3 pine firring strips. The pine strips are equally spaced so each row of shingles can be nailed down. Here's another fun trick: Don't measure the distance between each rafter. Instead, cut up a few 2x4s into 13-in.-long pieces and use them as spacers. That will ensure each rafter is equidistant from the next.

Clamp a board or draw a chalk line before nailing on the rows of cedar shake to get a better result than my eyeballed approach. Plus, make sure to use galvanized nails or the rust from the steel will stain your cedar black.

Learn from my mistakes. Clamp a board or draw a chalk line before nailing on the rows of cedar shake to get a better result than my eyeballed approach. Plus, make sure to use galvanized nails to prevent the rusty steel nails from staining your cedar black, which is why you see black streaks on the shingles in this photo.

MORE: Learn how to build a Classic Colonial Shed with proper framing, siding, roofing, and a solid foundation for all climates. Watch the video series How to Build a Shed, on FineHomebuilding.com.