THE BOW ROOF SHED AKA THE SAILBOAT RESTORATION FACILITY (SRF)
Shed size--20'W X 16'H X 44" L Total cost--about $1200 Total time-- about one month
After six years of use we took the shed down and sold the bows recovering 1/3 of our investmet.
The restoration work required a shed. Bad weather would cause too many delays and increase the risk to any external finish work we would be attempting. Not only that, once the final gutting began, the boat would be open to the weather. My budget would not allow a hard shelter . . . nor would our neighborhood covenants. Getting the boat into the yard and under a shelter was part of the plan when we moved to North Carolina. When we found the lot we wanted to build our house on we reviewed the neighborhood covenants before we made an offer on the property. Since separate sheds were not allowed we submitted a letter to the architectural committee asking for a waiver for a temporary shelter. To our delight, they approved it. However, it would be four long years before life settled down enough to transport Far Reach from her shed in Texas to our back yard in North Carolina.
Between the time we moved into our house and the time the boat arrived I had plenty of time to research what kind of shed to build. There was not much on the web about temporary sheds and there was even less on one you could build. I seemed to be limited to portable RV style shelters such as MDM Shelters, (formerly Shelter King). However, by the time shipping was included the cost was prohibitive. Plus, the portable sheds seemed narrow and I did not think it would hold up to the wild winds we get here--serious summer thunderstorms and the occasional hurricane. Finally, I went to the Wooden Boat Forum http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/ to see if there was any discussion about temporary boat sheds. There was and it was overwhelmingly in favor of the Stimpson Bow Roof Shed. I sent away for the plans. When they arrived I looked them over and then made an appointment with the local building inspector. Though I did not have a very good alternate plan if the inspector did not approve the building, I did not want to invest the time and money to build the shed and then have someone complain and be forced to tear it down. If I lived out in the country, I would probably have just built it. However, the building inspector looked over the plans and gave me the green light.
Ripping 2x8s for the bows
The biggest issue was the length of the furring strips I would need to make the bows long enough to give me the height and width I would need to be able to work around the gunwale of the boat--the shed would get narrower as vertical height from the ground increased while the boat gets wider. I made some scale drawings and determined that the boat's maximum beam would be about nine feet from the ground. A 20 foot wide bow-roof shed, 16 feet tall, and 44 feet long would give me what I needed. However, even after calling local lumber mills I could not locate any fur strips longer than eight feet. Cognizant of the budget I made up a bill of material and priced it at Lowe's. It seemed more reasonable than I thought it would be. The plans called for furring strips that are as long as the shed is wide. Thus, a 20' wide shed would require furring strips 20' long. Each bow requires two furring strips separated by a series of spacer and filler blocks. I called David Stimpson and he told me I could scarf some pieces together to get the length I needed. I settled on 16 foot long 2X6s of white pine. The beauty of the shed is it does not require expensive wood, however, it does require wood that can be bent around the form in the jig. I would need to scarf on a four foot long piece to get the 20' of length I would need. I decided to make one experimental bow to see if it would work. I bought a couple of 2x6s and took one and cut it in half on my table saw with a thin kerf blade. Then I turned it on its side and resawed it to yield four 16 foot pieces each approximately 3/4 X 2 3/4 wide. I built the jig called for in the plans buy screwing down 2 & 1/2 sheets of 5/8 plywood end-to-end onto a subframe grid of 2/4s on the floor of my garage. The jig sounds complicated but it was very simple. I just followed the plans in the booklet. I cut a few "filler" and "spacer" blocks from 2X4s and attempted to add a four foot piece on with plywood "scabs." They snapped as soon as I bent them around the jig. I corresponded with David Stimpson on some options and he suggested I try through-bolting (1/4" carriage bolts) the four foot extension on via an additional filler block. I tried it. It worked fine. When I took the first completed bow out of the jig I was amazed. It was fairly light but felt strong and solid.
Then I went back to Lowe's and bought all the lumber and hardware I would need. I ended up ripping about (35) 16' 2x6s to get all the wood I would need to make 24 bows and the horizontal and diagonal strapping called for in the plans. The plans called for 2 1/2" galvanized deck screws and 1/4" bolts. Once I got going, it only took about 2 1/2 days to build all the bows.
Using batter boards to make sure the foundation will be square
After building all 24 bows I prepared the foundation for the sills. I used "batter boards" to make sure the shed foundation would be square. The plans call for driving stakes into the ground cut from 5/4X6 decking boards ripped length wise to make stakes 2 3/4" X 1". They are to be spaced the same distance as the bows--in my case every 4 feet. But due to the high winds I wanted something more substantial in the ground. So I sunk (12) 4' long pressure treated 4x4s three feet into the ground--five on a side and one in the center on both ends. I set them in concrete. I knew it would be more difficult to remove when the boat is complete but I wanted to make sure it wouldn't get blown over in high winds.
After the concrete had set. I sharped the ends of the stakes on my chop saw. I drove the 3 1/2 foot long stakes about three feet into the ground and spaced four feet apart down each side where the sills would be. I wanted to make sure the top of the sill was level all the way around because the bows would be set on top of them. I went out one evening and used my laser level to mark where the top edge of each board would go on each stake and 4x4. The next day I clamped on the 2X6s (where the stakes and 4X4s were marked from the laser level) that would serve as the sills and then drilled and through-bolted them. Then I used my circle saw and saws-all to cut off the tops of the stakes and 4x4s that rose above the sills. The foundation was now compete.
Next I needed to ensure each bow had the proper angle cut at the top to match the angle where it would attach to the ridge pole. I followed the plans which basically said to lay two bows on the ground with their bases the same distance apart as the sills with the tops touching. Then I laid out a couple of 2x4s end to end down the center and made sure they were square to the line that established the distance between the bottom of the two bows. I made sure the top of the 2x4s bisected the top of the bows. I used an adjustable bevel gage to mark the angle and then cut the top of the bows. If this sounds confusing, the plans made it very clear. Essentially, the bows have a simple miter cut in the top to match the angle of the ridge pole. Long deck screws secure it. The bottom of the bosw are constructed to drop down over the sill and a 5/4 stake and are bolted through each stake with 1/4 inch carriage bolts. I used 1/2" diameter bolts through the 4X4s.
Except for the first four bows, erecting them was fairly easy. I constructed a couple of "dead-men" to hold the first four bows in place and then, with my wife helping me, I clamped the ridge pole in place and screwed the bows into the ridge pole as specified in the plans. Like I said, the first four bows were difficult to line up and hold everything in place. Once that was done it was a simple matter of scabbing on each additional 2x6 to extend the ridge pole forward towards the bow and add supporting bows. To hold the end of the ridge pole in place I placed a vertical 2x6 on the deck of the boat, secured with lines to the stanchion bases, and then clamped the ridge pole in place until I could add the next series of bows. The picture to the right shows the end of the first day erecting the bows and depicts the vertical board extending the ridge pole.
Erecting the first set of bows
The frame is nearly complete with the horizontals and the diagonals installed
According to the plans, the addition of the horizontals and diagonals are essential to providing strength to the shed. The plans recommend two diagonals on each side in high wind areas. The plans also recommend through bolting every horizontal strap but was not clear on why since most of the spacer blocks are screwed to the bows with deck screws. I corresponded with the designer and he said he recommended the horizontals get through bolted so planks could be laid from one side to the other to aid in putting on the cover. Since I could not do that anyway given the width of the shed and the fact that my boat would be in the way, I chose not to through bolt them. I screwed all the horizontals but I did through-bolt the diagonals on each end.
My brother flew out from St. Louis to help me frame the ends; design, build, and hang the doors; and put on the greenhouse cover. We framed the ends with through-bolted 2x4s. We built the doors as wide and tall as possible and added the hinged hatch at the top to let the heat out and assist in getting a breeze up high in the shed near the deck of the boat. I control the hatch with a line run from it to the ridge pole and tied off on a cleat I built from a scrap of wood. I built the small door on one end to make it easier to come and go without having to open the big doors.
Maximum number of doors and hatches to keep it cool in the shed when it gets hot
Except for the north facing end the covering is all white to reflect the sun better
I bought the greenhouse material over the internet from Gothic Arch Greenhouses. I used white over the entire shed except for the north facing end since it does not get direct sunlight. My thinking was the white would reflect back some of the sunlight and keep it cooler inside. I chose the plastic with UV protection rated to last 4 years. Total cost of the plastic to cover the shed was about $300. The shipping was $100.00!! I followed the Bow Roof Shed plans for attaching the material. It was pretty straight forward. Though the top was one piece, due to its size, it was beastly to attach. We put it on one evening working till midnight under lights since it was the only time the wind went flat. Trying to put it on in any kind of wind would be a no-go.
With hurricane season approaching it will be interesting to see how it holds up. The Stimpson Marine website reports the shed withstanding winds up to 70 mph. I hope I don't have to find out if it can handle more than that.
The Bow Roof Shed Survives Hurricane Irene, 27 August 2011
26 Aug 11: 1600 We have made all the preparations we can for Hurricane Irene (pictures below). This morning we also got the last of the plants, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor things in the garage and work shop.
I finished closing the boat up and taping over any remaining holes. I removed the vapor barrier because it had a lot of UV rot and was beginning to fall down. Also, the bows that held the vapor barrier in place were pretty flimsy and I wasn't sure they would survive the high wind shaking of the shed which I expect will be significant. What I want to avoid is the vapor barrier bows snapping and punching a hole through the plastic cover. I installed two guy lines from the top of the shed, one from each end, to steel engineer stakes I drove into the ground. The eye bolts are probably undersized but that is what I had. Maybe the lines will hold. I also rigged up two ratchet straps rated to 13,000 lbs--one over the front and one over the back of the boat. I hooked them into the steel screw anchors I installed yesterday. Hopefully the shed, and the Far Reach, will come through the storm. If not, I'll deal with whatever is required to get back on track.
3 Sept 11: Hurricane Irene and the SRF (Sailboat Restoration Facility). UPDATED I updated this entry from yesterday. This morning I was able to merge the two separate videos. It took a while to figure out how to do it and the quality is not that great--I am clearly operating at my maximum computer skill level. In fact it took a lot more time than I expected so there won't be many of these in the future. On the plus side there is some good video of the outside of the SRF during the hurricane. I posted the most recent video to You Tube which can be viewed on the link below.
The center of the eye came ashore at Cape Lookout which is about 30 miles east of here. The coast can be misleading here as we are on the Atlantic as well . . . the coast runs almost directly east. In fact, Cape look out is actually ESE of us. We never saw the eye as the west side remained just a little to the east of us. That pretty much put us in very strong winds the whole time to include a ride along the eye-wall. Amazingly, the shed came through without damage. There are a few holes in the top of the plastic next to the ridge pole but that was due to my own fault when I installed it more than two years ago. I normally have a vapor barrier rigged up on the inside to mitigate condensation that forms when the air is warm on the inside but cold on the outside. The vapor barrier also channels these minor leaks to the sides of the shed. For Irene I removed the vapor barrier in case the shed blew down. I have since installed a new one.
The water seen in the video on the ground mostly entered under the edge of the shed from the flooded yard. Some blew in through the cracks in the barn-style doors. The shed really impressed me. It flexed a lot but never gave any indication it would structurally fail. The UV resistant plastic held. We have heard from several sources that the wind speed hit 100 mph in our town but I have not been able to verify it. Nonetheless, it was pretty darn windy.
3 July 14 -- Hurricane Arthur
We spent the morning and early afternoon preparing for Hurricane Arthur. The eye is presently SSE of us about 40-45 miles offshore. Currently Cat 1 it is expected to transition to a Cat 2 tonight. We expect max winds around midnight though at 2100 it is starting to howl a bit outside. Today, I added some reinforcing screws to the shed, screwed the doors shut, rigged the guy lines from the cornice on each end of the shed with 5/8" line secured to engineer stakes. We patched some small holes in the plastic covering and covered the vents in the gables to help keep the shed from huffing. After putting away outside planters and chairs there was not much left to do. I am hopeful the shed covering can last another month as the frame of the bow-roof shed appears to be in good condition. More to follow.
We rigged the guy lines same way as we did for Hurricane Irene.
We secured the guy lines to engineer stakes.
Disassembling the Bow Roof Shed
15 Mar 15
Yesterday, it rained all day. It absolutely poured. I was amused that I felt a little apprehensive . . . like I had developed Stockholm Syndrome with the shed. What a long time it took us to get to get to this day. My friend Steve, along with my sister Tricia, joined us this morning to give us a hand in taking down the bow roof shed. We started by removing the doors, then the fastening strips around the perimeter edge of the shed and along the top of the ridge pole. By then, I was no longer concerned. I just wanted to see how shed looked.
The morning started like any other day for the last six years . . . with the Far Reach safely tucked away in her cocoon.
But it ended like this, with the early spring sun shinning down on our hard work.
Finally, we removed the cover and stepped back to get a better view. It was the first time I had really seen the Far Reach from more than about six feet away in nearly six years. I had become accustom to seeing her in the washed out flat colors caused by the filtering of the sun through the shed's white greenhouse plastic cover. With the sun full on her for the first time the colors popped. It was a stunning transformation that I did not expect. The blue bulwarks seemed to radiate and emphasized her sheer. The redesigned and varnished bowsprit made her look longer and leaner. My initial impressions was that I had got the dimensions right. We were delighted. We spent the rest of the day removing the diagonals and then all but two of the stringers. Tomorrow, we will carefully take the bows down and get our first fully unobstructed view.
16 Mar 15
We had beautiful weather today--Sunny and 68 F. It took all day but we completed the disassembly of the boat shed. By 1500 I had my first unobstructed view of the Far Reach. I am very pleased. She looks great. We spent the afternoon stacking all the wood from the shed. We sold it in less than two days after advertising it. The buyer will come by Wednesday to pick up the bows, the horizontal stringers, and diagonal strapping. To the right is a before and after picture. I'd like to have photos with the sun behind me vice putting the boat in the shadow of the garage. I'll add more later. In fact, soon, I'll put together a "before and after" tab on the web site. We now begin the prep phase for moving the FR to the boat yard.
The Far Reach before.
The Far Reach after.
Even with the bulwark, she looks longer, and leaner.
Almost any boat looks great when photographed from this angle.
I am pleased with the way the bowspirt and the bulwark flow together.
We took the shed down after six years of use. It withstood heat, snow, ice, rain, and three hurricanes. It never failed me. Of all the things we did during the project, building the shed was probably the smartest. The entire project was made immeasurably more user friendly by having the shed protect the boat and our equipments. It allowed us to work in all weather. It allowed us to leave tools out . . . to walk away from the boat for a few hours or days and not have to close everything up and put everything away. It saved us time and ultimately preserved my sanity. I built it out of inexpensive big box lumber and hardware thinking it would be up for two, maybe three years. It lasted six and the bows were in excellent shape when we took the shed down. In fact, we sold the bows in three days after listing them for sale on towndock.com. David Stimpson deserves a lot of credit for designing the Bow Roof Shed. The plans were simple to follow and the shed did everything claimed it would do. Thanks David for designing such a great structure.
The bows, stringers, and doors ready for the new owner to pick up.