Nine Sheds and Counting.

A Guest post from sheddie Ingleman Dovetail


Welcome to my world of sheds. I suppose one shed has led to another and I am fortunate in having the space and sufficient funds to have allowed this to happen. I currently have nine (with plans for at least another couple.) Oh and three greenhouses. I built them all myself and learned all kinds of things while doing so.

What do I do in and with so many sheds? Well, up to now I have stored the tools and materials to make more sheds, among other projects. Some are just for storage of course and perhaps three are actually for working in although I do have an outside bench and prefer to do a lot of work just on that, weather permitting.

Perhaps I can take you through the list? It will be quicker than writing an essay on each shed (which I could do but you’d probably drift off to sleep before I got to Shed 4 and I wouldn’t blame you.)

Shed 1 began as a simple 8’x6’ store-bought shed which I painted and cherished but the addition of a large workbench and vice made it too small for comfort so I extended it by another 8 feet, using a secondhand but almost identical shed I can’t even remember sourcing at this distance in time. With power and light, it remains my principal work-shed largely because of its proximity to the house and the outside workbench just beyond the door.

Shed 2 is a similar arrangement, two 8 x 6 sheds fixed together but they are separated in the centre and joined to Shed 1 by a 15 foot externally varnished wooden corridor, inhabited by Peta the blue budgie. (My late Uncle Pete used to breed blue budgerigars and he told me when I was ten that All Blue Budgies Are Called Peter. I believed him and to this day every blue budgie I have owned has borne that name. This one is a female, however, hence Peta. However, I digress. (You’ll find I do that quite frequently.)

Shed 2, in two parts, is partly a container for older tools, then nuts, screws, washers and bolts (which reminds me of a joke about an escaped lunatic who goes into a launderette and…well, perhaps we’ll leave that for another time.)

The second half is itself split into two: the 1938 room and the 1975 room, nicely decorated, carpeted and furnished in the style of those two times. I intended to use them as film sets and I still might but nothing has arrived in the form of a decent idea yet. Time will tell, as it often does.

Shed 3, just west of Shed 2 is in need of care and attention. I built it from scratch around fifteen years ago, largely from the wreckage of a nearby house that had been smoke-damaged and needed a refit so I was able to use the wood from the pine-panelled kitchen which, painted up, made an acceptable temporary home for some of the bigger garden equipment: rotavators (in the singular, my favourite palindrome. Yes, I have a favourite, what of it?) strimmers, mowers, that kind of thing. Temporary has become permanent and it has still not fallen down.

Shed 4, just beyond it, was an old feather edge 4×6 shed I bought cheaply and have since lined with old laminate flooring on the inside and tongue and grooved floorboarding on the outside. It still needs to be painted but it’s secure, rodent proof and contains, as one might keep a spare set of keys, a spare set of tools. I like to duplicate tools so I am never found wanting. There’s nothing worse than being without one’s kit.

Shed 5 is currently my darling. I built it in lockdown from a pair of old 4×6 sheds that had cost £100 each from one of the DIY chains which I won’t embarrass by naming. They were really terrible things, badly made and so small as to be virtually useless but, having put down a concrete pad, I bolted them together, added electricity and began a long process of lining and cladding them both inside and out. The result of that is that, including coats of paint and varnish, polystyrene sheeting, CLS and matching, the walls, roof and floor are all around 17 layers thick. The roof was finished off with lightweight composite roof tiles, made to resemble slate and held down by copper nails, then concrete ridge tiles so I have little fear of weather or rodents. It’s over-engineered but contains some of my best tools (the ones not housed in special cabinets in the house) and a good bench with light and many double sockets. I could go on for a long time about Shed 5 but I sense you are becoming restless.

Shed 5 Exterior

Shed 5 Interior

Shed 6 is never known as such. It is the ‘decorating shed’ since here is housed paint, varnish, brushes and much of the paraphernalia I need to maintain some of the properties which form part of my business; a different world and life but sadly necessary.

Shed 7 was a chicken shed. It was warm, dry and spacious and all my little egg-laying ladies (often rescue battery hens) loved it. Age and a lack of time has meant the remaining girls went to live with our daughter and her family a couple of years ago and now their former home contains old fireplaces and metalwork that I cannot yet bear to part with as it ‘might come in handy one day’. Come on, we all do it.

Shed 8 is made of metal. It houses a whacking great diesel generator which powers our house on those occasions when the National Grid chooses not to. We need it two or three times a year and are constantly grateful that we have such a thing.

Shed 9

This began as a flimsy 6 x 15 foot car port which, over the last 20 years I have lengthened, filled in the sides and re-roofed. Last year I added a concrete floor, steel A frames and an electric roller door. I also built a stage area at the rear, for more of these films I have yet to make. I am working on similar linings, inside and out, as shed 5. The whole thing is surrounded by eight inch deep concrete mixed with broken glass, and yet mice are still occasionally finding their way in. It is supposed to be a garage but I haven’t managed to get a car in there more than twice.

And those, larger than life as they probably sound, are my sheds. I hope this account of them does not come across as boastful for that is not my intention. These are the result of twenty years’ worth of gradual growth and development, all for good reasons but each carrying yet another roof to worry about and enough paintwork to keep me busy for the rest of my days.

Ingleman Dovetail.

Ingleman Dovetail lives in Lincolnshire. He hopes to retire eventually. He’s fond of tea, polishing and sheds.