Cool Things You Can Do When You Power Up Your Shed!   

Thanks to Richard from WhatShed.co.uk for this guest post about cool things you can do when you add power to your shed.

Ok so the title may make you think that we are talking about putting guns on the roof, zombie proof shutters on the windows and so on. But actually what we are talking about is electricity. That is right in the year 2017 we have  this great thing called electricity and it can be used to make your shed, workshop or just general garden building even better! well actually it has been around a little longer than that, but you know what we mean. We want to give you guys a few ideas and maybe even a little inspiration about some fun and cool things you can do when you power up your shed! We will also share with you a few garden buildings that we think would be ideal for you.

 

Have An Epic Man Cave!

Having  a man cave is the cool thing these days. A space where a guy can do what he wants, watch movies, play videogames, watch the match or just do whatever it is he wants. But in a space that is all his own. Well one way to have a man cave and not lose a room in your house is by using some kind of shed or workshop. For a man cave you will certainly want to make sure that you have plenty of plug sockets as you will no doubt have many cool things you want inside. Also by having your man cave outside the house you have far less chance of your other half yelling at you to come and do something when you are trying to watch Luke Skywalker take down the At-At on your big screen TV!

 

You can easily get a well made and strong garden building that would work well as a man cave for under a grand. So the actual building does not have to be as expensive as you would thin. A great example is this awesome looking Dutch Barn inspired shed. It first of all has a really cool look.

 But it also offers you a lot of space. One thing you really want to watch for is the headroom on offer and this particular shed has lots of headroom. Last thing you want is to be hunched over in your man cave when walking around. Also the higher the roof the more cool stuff you can hang from it. This is also large enough to fit in a couch and an entertainment centre.  

 

Get Fit In Style With Your Own Home Gym

Ok so we kind of see the irony of going from a shed where you can sit on your rear end, drinking beer, chowing down on Pringles while watching football to a home gym, but this is something more and more people are using sheds, workshops or even better if you have the funds is something like this cool garden room.  

A gym membership these days can cost anything from £15 a month all the way up to £50 so really you could argue that in the long run a home gym in your shed is going to save you money in the long run. But what do I need electricity for if I am just having a gym in my shed? Is no doubt what a few of you smarty pants have said. But to have a proper home gym, you will want some kind of cardio equipment in there and to get the best ones, you have to power them up. The last thing you want is a manual treadmill!

Things like weights and a weight bench will not require power, but if you do have power in there then you can put a TV on the wall and a sound system which will make working out much better. For example if you like football then you can go on a cross trainer or a treadmill while you watch the match and best of all as you have a home gym, you will not have to bring the treadmill into the living room, scuff up the carpet, ding the skirting board and get an earful of your other half. Yes you could have a home gym without powering up your shed, but we can assure it that it will not be as cool or as motivating as one that does!

 

Give The Kids An Awesome Place To Play With A Kids Playroom

Having a bunch of kids running around the house, shooting Nerf guns, screaming, watching annoying YouTube videos can test the patience of a saint. Not only that kids seem to go out of their way to cause damage to every room they are in! Then you can make this a dream hangout spot for kids. Now we have heard that people have converted a regular shed into a kids playroom, not put any power in there and everything has been fine. Now for younger kids who like to just run around crazy this is fine, but by putting power in there you are actually future proofing your kids playroom, hangout zone or whatever name they want to call it.

What we mean is that older kids will certainly want at least a TV in there. So they can watch YouTube or play video games or even just listen to some music when they are with their buddies. Which by the way just think about that for a second, your kid and all their little friends are hanging out in the garden instead of in your house! Anyway electricity is essential for a teenagers play room as they cannot go more than five minutes without looking at some kind of electrical device. We guarantee you that if you were to tell your kids that you were making them a special room just for them in the back yard one of the first things they will ask is if there is going to be a TV in there!

 

Become A DIY Master With Your Own Workshop

Ok so this is kind of boring and the most obvious one and that is why we did not put it first. But the fact of the matter is, you can have a way cooler and more practical workshop if you have it juiced to the max with electricity! Now you can have a fine workshop without electricity, but what about if you want to work at night? What about if your battery in a particular power tool is dead and you need it directly connected to the mains while you use it? What if you want to rock out to a little Iron Maiden when you work? These are all important and valid questions that can be easily answered if you have power in your workshop.

If you had something like this large 16 X 10 workshop then just think of all the epic power tools you could have. You could have workbenches with plug sockets built right in there is honestly no end to the cool stuff you could make in a workshop with power. And like we said before you can work through the night as you would have light in there. Although if you are running power tools at night you can expect a rather unpleasant conversation with the neighbours.  

 

Host Parties And Dinners

Ok so clearly from the name, we were not entirely sure what to call this. But the idea of this is having a nice space in the garden like a corner summerhouse for example. Where you can have a dining room table and host some fun little shindigs with some good friends and family members that your other half forces you to put up with. Well while you could sit out here in the dark with candle light like you are in the dark ages. It would be much better if you had power in there so you can have lighting, music and maybe even a TV so you can keep an eye on the match while listening to your brother in laws fascinating story.  

Many people would love to have a spot in their house where they can have people over for dinner, but a large dining table can take up a lot of room. Building a conservatory or an extension can cost a huge amount of money and in all honesty not give you the same kind of space something large like a good sized summerhouse can. We honestly think that anyone who is planning on getting a summerhouse in their garden to enjoy company has to think about putting power in there.

 

Get Creative With Your Own Art Studio

Ok this on may seem a little out there, but please hear us out. Far more people use a shed, workshop or even a summerhouse like this one as an art studio, pottery studio or just as a space where they can be creative than you would think. We found this very interesting and in all honesty, we feel that it is impossible to have this kind of creative space without having power to the structure. We say this because what if you get a creative spark at 9 pm and it is dark outside? Having power in there allows you to work on your art when you want to and not when the sunlight dictates. If you are into pottery then you simply must have some kind of power in their so you can work.

 

Adding electricity to your artistic space will also allow you to do more than just ensure the place is well illuminated. You could do things like have a small electric heater so you can work comfortably in the winter. A TV or stereo could even be put in there to help give you a little bit of inspiration or even just give you something to do when you are at a creative roadblock. If you are a creative person and you want a nice space to work then a shed with some power is the best way to go.

 

A Little Word About Putting Electricity To Your Garden Building

Ok so running an extension cable from your kitchen to the shed is really not the way to go or what we are talking about here. If you are putting electricity in your shed, workshop, summerhouse or whatever it is. Then please, please make sure you do it properly. Actually unless you are an electrician we advise that you do not do it at all and hire a professional.

There is a great blog post here about putting electricity into your shed and please make sure you read it before you try and do a quick and easy job yourself.  

 

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Shed Week Guest post: Shed Inventors

Andy from Workshopshed has written this guest shedblog post for Shed Week 2012 on something close to his tinkering in the shed heart – Shed Inventors.

From my own experience the shed is a great place for making and repairing things, it provides space to work and store tools and allows me to keep projects on the go without having to pack up for other activities such as having dinner; I used to work on the kitchen table.  The shed provides solace so that I can think and work free of distractions. I don’t really see myself as an inventor as my shed projects are mostly repairing or adapting existing items, however there are many others who do use their sheds for inventing.

The shed inventor is often depicted as a Caractacus Potts or Heath Robinson character creating wacky gadgets or perpetual motion machines.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Perpetual_Motion_by_Norman_Rockwell.jpg

This does not really reflect the true nature of the shed inventor who typically creates more down to earth inventions. Recent examples of shed inventors include Emily Cummins who created an evaporative refrigerator for use in situations where there is no electricity, Scottish inventor John Braithwaite who specialises in 3D television systems and Ian Harding who designed a cash machine security device. Both Powergen and the Ministry of Defence also value the input from shed inventors as back in 2006 they both launched programmes seeking new talent.

Shedworking has reported on some famous examples of shed inventors, with automotive inventors being particularly prevalent. Harley-Davidson, Damiler and Renault all started in sheds. Henry Ford also had a small workshop behind his house in which he developed his first car, the “Quadrocycle”. Wallace and Gromit animator Nick Park’s father was also a shed inventor and Nick commented that his constant tinkering in the garden shed was an inspiration to him.

The numbers of shed inventors in the UK is not entirely clear as many don’t publicise their creations. A recent Nesta survey suggested that the number of inventors in the UK could be as high as 3 million, however that does include people I’d categories as makers, fixers or hackers rather than inventors and it definitely includes people without sheds! China is also noted as having a culture of garden shed inventors, these shanzhai builders include people who have built walking robots, human powered planes and even a helicopter. An earlier US study also commented that only 10% of the inventions they had seen were likely to succeed as commercial ventures however they also noted that many of the inventors they interviewed “had no entrepreneurial aspirations.”.

Some shed inventors do have aspirations, for example successful inventor Paul Klipsch clocked up over 20 patents and ran a successful loudspeaker company which was started in a shed. He was still inventing in his 70s with his last patent in 1983. Wikipedia lists many more serial inventors but fails to mention if they had sheds or not.

Not all inventors are based in sheds, some of them have invented sheds. Looking at just US patents turned up 58,000 results for shed. An early example is Franz Blab’s folding shed from 1899.

Patent GB189800206 – An Improved Folding Shed especially suitable for Cycles.

Quotes:
“Lone Inventors are heroes. Unaffordable patents and Blue Chips which ignore them -yet they don’t stop creating” – Patrick Andrews (BritSkills)
“They’re an unfairly neglected and derided innovation resource. “ Graham Barker (A Better Mousetrap)

Thanks to Shedworking, Patrick Andrews and Graham Barker

Reference:
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Review-Business/18482498.html
http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1896/quad.html
http://www.lawdit.co.uk/reading_room/room/view_article.asp?name=../articles/69852-School%20children%20encouraged%20to%20be%20inventors%20of%20tomorrow.htm
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733304000848
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0172219004001449
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0172219005001286
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/12/china-diy-aviators/all/1

 

Shed Week 2009 interviews: Workshop Shed

This guest post is from sheddie Andy who runs the blog http://www.workshopshed.com/, Andy was a finalist in this year competition, and has always been an active member of our forums, giving great advice to the novice sheddie, you can follow him on twitter, where he always gives good tweet.

workshopshed-small
Prior to having a shed, any repairs or projects had to be completed in one day or packed up and put away after each bit of work.

The dining room table does not make a good electronics lab, the kitchen is not the best place for metal work and the bedroom of a rented student house is not appropriate for stripping down and rebuilding a bicycle.

Thanks to the shed I have space to work and tools are readily at hand rather than been buried in the bottom of a box. The shed gives me the freedom to make and repair things at my own speed.

It allows me to spend my time doing rather than constantly packing and unpacking.

The shed has given me opportunities to try new activities such as casting
aluminium and practice skills I’ve not done since school such as metal
turning and brazing.

workshopshed

Shed Week 2009 interviews: @RicoDaniels

This shed week guest post comes from Shed Judge Rico Daniels, I came in contact with Rico a few years back through his son Ciqala, who tipped me off his dad was doing a show on the telly that may interest the sheddies.

The TV show was the successful Salvager and rest is history, Rico was a judge in the first Shed Week, and I hope he continues to support our sheddies with his views on all sorts of things.. you can follow Rico on twitter.

rico_chicken-small

The SHED is one of those great traditions that we can all relate to at some level.

There aint many people that never had some sort of access to a shed whether closely scrutinised or totally unrestricted.

A shed can be a complete shambles or a cherished world in microcosm.

My dear old dads shed is still intact 6 years after his sad demise.

His neatness and care for his tool is still evident despite the cobwebs and it is very definately still MY DADS SHED.

I suppose that’s the attraction for me. A mans (or womans) shed is an extension of
themselves .

You could easily analyse a persons character by looking at the structure, content and layout of their shed. Planning laws are lax enough to allow us to build pretty much whatever we fancy at the end of our own garden and that is clearly evident as we cast a curious eye over other peoples fences.

I’ve seen the most complicated train layouts fitted compactly into a six by three and twelve foot by eights so crammed with broken sun beds and rusty paraffin heaters that they’re as good as useless.

That is the point though. It’s a private world where the opinion of the outside world doesn’t count.

Until now that is . Judging time has rolled around once more and you need to shape up .

I know there’s some good entries but there’s all to play for so good
luck you guys.

Shed Week 2009 interviews: Alex Johnson

This guest post is from Alex the mastermind behind the wonderful Shedworking.co.uk, I am aspiring to be a shedworker and Alex advice and wossnames are always worth a read!

Myself and Alex have been in contact for a few years (4 I think!) but we have never meet, each shed year we are supposed to get together for a pint but we always seem to be busy.

But Alex get that homemade cider ready I will be down for the opening of your new shedworking HQ (2010 shed of the year?) anyway over to him for a history lesson.

stowe_temple_of_ancient_virtue

There are obviously many reasons to enjoy shedlife, but not least among them is that as the owner of a shed you are part of a tradition that stretches back thousands of years.

In China, pavilions were built at least as early as the Zhou dynasty 1122 BC to 256 BC while ancient Romans like Pliny the Younger (“When I retire to this garden summer-house, I fancy myself a hundred miles away from my villa”) were keen on embellishing their gardens with a range of temples, nymphaeums (a type of watery grotto) and monuments: the Emperor Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli had around 60 different garden buildings.

In Japan, traditional wooden tea houses became popular during the Sengoku period, around the 15th to the 17th centuries, built by Zen monks searching for somewhere simple and tranquil, embodying the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, attractive transience.

In the UK, permanent buildings in gardens belonging to men of substance started to feature prominently by the Tudor period at private houses such as Nonsuch in Surrey where excavations at the end of its park have revealed a moated banqueting house. After the accession of Elizabeth garden buildings became even more popular, especially grottos.

These were imitations of caves and remained all the rage throughout the next two centuries as the better off began to enjoy the delights of pastoral play and communing with nature. By the 18th century, and under the guiding spirit of writer philosopher Alexander Pope, they were considered to be melancholy spots associated with creative eccentricity.

The 18th century also saw the growth of the hermitage, a key element in any romantic garden. These were built to look as if the resident hermit, often a retired family servant, had made it himself, so construction materials included tree roots, boulders, branches and moss. Inside, an entire lifestyle was staged with books laid on rustic tables and maybe even a hermit himself sitting reading and working.

Most popular of all were temples which owners believed gave their gardens authority and more authentically replicated a classical ideal. For the same reason, temples were popular with architects since it gave them the chance of achieving classical perfection without the need to consider any truly practical requirements.

At gardens such as Stowe and Stourhead, temples were liberally strewn around the grounds, often providing a kind of punctuation at vistas. These contributed to what writers such as Pope, Horace Walpole and Joseph Addison enjoyed as ‘pleasing prospects’ and abundant use of small outbuildings and follies was a key element in offering good views without compromising the sense of shelter.

Indeed, various garden buildings historians, such as Gervase Jackson-Stops and Professor Alistair Rowan argue that while many of these shedlike buildings were only really built as an attractive adornment to a garden, in fact they were used by architects as experimental models for larger projects and so were the prototypes for various architectural developments such as Gothic revival, Neo-classical and Neo-Palladian. Your shed is not merely a nice place in which to hang around, it’s a key part in the development of world architecture.

Alex’s Book on shedworking is out soon, watch this space