How to build a rocket workshop (part 1: the purging)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an uninspiring simple garden shed in the back yard, and one of my goals for 2020 is to convert it into a workshop, primarily for rocket construction and related projects.

Simple blue garden shed
the eponymous shed

The shed is in good condition, though it’s only a small space, with an area of approximately 10×10 feet. It currently has crude plywood doors and a padlock, no windows or source of light, and it’s full of old junk, ranging from bulky A/C window units to a variety of leftover materials from the previous homeowners and contractors. Extra brooms, lumber, carpet, pipes, empty beer cans – you name it. There is also a layer of dust covering everything, seemingly several inches thick and whose only explanation can be a recent volcanic eruption nearby.

Inside view of shed with plenty of junk
partial progress

This is kind of a big project, so I’ve broken it down into a few major steps. Each of these has its own sub-steps, but I’ll spare you that level of excruciating detail and just leave it in my own personal to-do list. The major steps basically include:

  1. The Purging. Remove and haul away junk inside the shed, and clean it up.
  2. The Defenestration. Remove portions of walls, frame new windows, and install windows.
  3. The Emergency Exit. Remove old plywood doors, frame new door, and install door.
  4. The Butchering. Buy new butcher block countertop for a work surface, stain and seal it, and install.
  5. The Electrocution. Add electrical panel and wiring (running a line from the house) for light fixtures and outlets.

I’ll probably write a separate post for each of these steps, as I complete it. Starting with #1 here.

Long story short: I took some junk out of the shed and cleaned it up a bit. That’s it.

Interior view of the shed, featuring more junk
what is all of this?

This is not particularly fascinating, but it’s kind of fundamental to completing the rest of the process, and to properly document this, I needed to start at the beginning. The previous owners of our house had hired some contractors to do quite a bit of renovation, and as mentioned above, they seem to have left a virtual treasure trove of useless junk in the shed. I got rid of as much as I could, though there’s still a bit left that I need to remove in order to complete the purge. Perhaps I’ll come across a rare antique, or a box full of cash.

But if nothing else, an empty clean shed is a blank canvas. It’s structurally sound, and it was built fairly recently and even has a new roof. Next I’ll add some natural light and really open it up.