Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It pays to engineer

As I drove to drop Delaney off this morning at the bus, I saw this:


This is my neighbor’s leanto, just off the road as I leave the property. Apparently it didn’t survive the wind all that well. Part of his roof was ripped off:


I didn’t see this one being built, but I looked at it closely to check out the construction. Seemed flimsy to me. Not a lot of cross bracing, and the roof was 2 4x4s, butt jointed with the posts and screwed in. Not much support there.

And apparently not enough screws.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Wagon Box

My wife has a low garden wagon that she used to use to pull things around. She used to use it to move bales of hay around, and tow it behind the ATV. One of the wheels broke, and it had been out of service for months, but I finally ordered a new wheel and got it fixed last week.

However with the wind, it doesn't let her put loose hay on top. So I decided to put a "box" on top. My plan was to build 4 sides, each independent and then cover the frame with chicken wire. Today I went and bought some 2x2s, pressure treated, with my son while we were out and then got to work.

My basic plan was to cut 4 pieces that would fit in the wagon lengthwise. It wasn't clear quite how long to make them since the sides slope outward, so I cut them 34" long and then placed them in there, whittling them down to 33", which seemed to fit. I also cut 21" pieces (after starting at 22") that would fit the width, and this gave me a basic outline.

I was thinking to make it 12-18" high, but when I used one of the 21" pieces as a spacer, that seemed fine, so I went with that as well, cutting 4 of those to be the vertical pieces. Once I had things cut, it was time for some assembly.

Since I wanted to get done today, I used simple butt joints to assemble two frames that would be the sides. They were screwed together with 1 5/8" outdoor screws that I hope hold. They seemed fairly sturdy, but time will tell. Once they were up, I had to wrestle with the middle parts. I tried to connect them on the ground, but I didn't have anything giving me stability. After staring at it for awhile, I decided that I could just assemble the pieces in the wagon and that I didn't need to screw anything more than the top together.

They say most plans don't survive to execute, and this was one of them. I realized here that I my plans to add a back weren't necessarily going to work, and that a top would also make things hard to load, so I had to build stability into the sides. I thought that stretching chicken wire tightly would help, and I was prepared to add some cross bracing, but first I decided to show my wife.

So I bolted the four bottom pieces to the wagon by drilling through the base. I then walked over my three sided frame (the back had no top cross piece) to show my wife. She liked it, and asked if some of the OSB we had lying around would work for the sides. That seemed like a better idea to me, and since she evidently didn't care it if looked great, I went and sliced off a 24" strip. This was cut into two sides and a back, which were screwed on. The sides don't meet perfectly, but that's OK. It's close enough to get working, and this 3 hour project in the afternoon should prove very handy.

No great woodworking skills used here, but after not being in the shop for a month, it was good to get back out there.