Building a motorbike shed – construction
Building a cheap, simple yet sturdy motorcycle storage shed or mini-garage is a relatively straightforward task. We’ve already looked at the basic principles, so here’s the lowdown on how to go about building, courtesy again of our pal Trev. (For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming that the shed’s to sit on a 10-foot (3m) square concrete platform.)
Use metal T-pieces and right-angled pieces for joining the timbers if you are not very handy making joints. If you are comfortable with making joints, just use half-lap joints.
Side and back panels
You’ll need two panels to each, one 4½ feet (1350mm) long, one 5 feet (1500mm) long. Height as required, not forgetting to make them high enough so that you don’t bang your head, especially if wearing your crash helmet! Joining a short and a long one gives you 9½ feet (2850mm), allowing 3″ (75mm) extra on each side for the base. (Use bolts to join the panels. You don’t need the extra nuts for security here, but the bolts should not be accessible from the outside.) Do this three times, giving you both sides and the back.
Again, you’ll need two panels. To calculate the width you need, take the width of the shed, subtract the width of the doorway and divide by two. The height should also be shorter than the sides and the back by twice the thickness of the timber you are using for the frame.
When installing these panels, lay a length of timber on the ground between the side panels, place the short panels on the timber and screw them to the single piece of timber. After bolting the corners together, place another single piece of timber on the top of the panels and screw to the panels for rigidity. You should now have an opening for the door which has SQUARE corners. Around the inside of this hole fix thinner timber to the frame which protrudes a little, so that the door closes against them and thus will not strain the hinges.
Using the same timber as for other panels, make a panel which will become the door to fit the opening in the front panel. It should be about one eighth of an inch (3mm) narrower all round. Make it any bigger, and you will always have problems opening or closing the door. This door will be heavy, so you will need three good-sized hinges. The hinges should have security lugs on them, like these:
This makes it very difficult to remove the hinge pins and drop the door out.
(To be honest, a sloping roof is much easier to construct! Just make one side panel about 18 inches (450mm) higher than the other and bolt rafters across at approximately 2-foot (600mm) intervals. Fill in the triangular gap over the back and front with remnants from the construction of the side panels.)
To make the gable ends, first construct and bolt together all the sides (do not tighten the bolts too much yet; it will be easier to get everything squared up later). It is then easier to take measurements to make the gables. You will need four pieces: one each for the front and back, and two as supports for the roof.
For the base of the gable take four pieces of timber the same length as the width of the shed, and four pieces equal to the height of the gable. Fix one short piece to the centre of each long piece. (If you’re not good at making joints you should be able to buy metal T-plates from any good hardware store and screw them to the timber.) Make sure you have a perfect right angle here.
Measure from the top of the short piece to the end of the long piece; you will need eight pieces of this length. When you buy the T-plates you should find that the ironmongers have angled plates too, so it may be better to buy these first then make the angles of the gable to fit these plates. At the apex of the roof lay a strip of the same material you used between the frames and the concrete; this will keep out any water.
When everything is bolted together and square tighten up all the bolts to give a solid, unmoveable frame.
I wouldn’t make the roof overhang the walls if you are in a very windy locality. However, a small overhang would allow you to install guttering to collect rainwater for the garden (which saves paying the water company for water to keep the garden going!).
(Thanks again, Trev! Nearly done now – just the finishing touches left.)