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The toy box and the big shop, my New shop Build.

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  I've been meaning for some time to get a continuous thread going dedicated to my shop build and likewise the finishing off of the garage shell already on the property.

  My goal here is to kind of give anyone contemplating a similar project a step by step build with time frame and costs of each step as well as what was involved to get to that stage. 

  For some time after buying an old run down diesel repair garage to work on my cars in and run my business out of up town,  I realized that I would really like to find a property that would contain both my residence and my shop.  

Having moved to a small town lot , roughly a 1/4 acre that my wife bought right after we met I realized we would need more space to accomplish this task.   Our growing family also required something a little bigger than our 1200 (that's stretching it) square foot house.   So after a lot of discussion and actually a couple of years of searching for a larger property with a garage that would suffice,  we decided that if we could find something that we could build one on that would work.

It also meant the house had to be decent as well,  as I wouldn't have time to build a shop and repair an old run down house.

This meant the budget would have to be increased and even pushed to the limit,  including reaching a little past a comfort zone in what we were looking for price wise.  Though I told my wife trust me,  she still had me show her on paper what our budget cap could really be.   

Like most of my cars though,  it always meant so much more for so little extra that it just made sense.  I did require it to have some kind of even slightly oversized garage already needed to exist on the property as I needed a place to put the cars from my shop and existing house which had an oversized garage so we could sell those.

Fortunately after much searching,  while having a casual conversation with a friend and mentioning my woes,  he told me his Brother was thinking of selling his house and he believed the price range was right at the upper limit.  

We looked at it in the dead of winter and had too wade through the snow to even get to it as it has a 600 foot driveway and there was no way to see it from the road.  (it was heated but he wasn't using it to live in anymore as he had, like me, moved to be with his wife. 

Coming from the little house we were in which needed some work, but the wife and I couldn't agree on the direction to go,  she loved it and I saw the potential for where a shop could go as well as the existing garage would suffice nicely to be able to store my cars so we could sell the house in town.  Then eventually the shop.

  I needed to come up with a pretty good down payment but the owner was willing to hold paper as his brother had many dealings with me and gave him his nod of approval, so I decided to cull my collection to make it happen.  A decision I had discussed with my wife well in advance if the right place came along.  

  It took 6 Months but a few cars down and we had our down payment, then another 3 to 4 for the seller's Lawyer to get their end in order.  Our's was exceptional and on top of everything  the whole time.

Now we finally had what I deemed to be a place well worth the effort to make it just what we wanted.  (our dream home). With room of course for the dream shop. The house in town was originally only to be a 5 year plan house then upgrade and again upgrade later in another 5.  We stayed at it for 10 but then skipped the in between step and ended up in 10 years with same result,  so it worked out.  

It took a couple of years to finally sell off the shop,  after really dropping the price and like wise almost as long to sell our small house in town. Though I didn't lose any money on the shop, because of many improvements on the house in town we came out ahead on that.  Which even after having both listed with realtors, sold it our selves. I also decided it would be necessary to sell the house I bought before I met my wife after realizing we were never going to use it again.  (it's more like a vacation cottage in a small tourist town).  This really worked out like a savings account for me,  requiring me to put money away every month which I would have just wasted on cars otherwise. ;)   This with the left over funds from the sale of the shop after paying off the mortgages would give me 100G to build the new shop. 




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I figured I should break this up a bit for easier reading.

Ok enough of the back story now down the garage projects.

Next I really needed to finish the garage here so it has heat. It was for the most part an uninsulated shell with an old forced air furnace and some ductwork.  We started doing this while cleaning out and moving not only my shop,  but also the other house I had which was packed full of stuff as well,  all so that we could complete the sales.  We also decided to empty out a large storage unit I had full of parts.  Much of the contents of the shop and storage unit were wholesaled crazy cheap just to lessen the amount of stuff I needed to cram into the existing garage. 

I decided I really wanted to make the garage energy efficient so I opted to go with 6 inches of Roxull insulation in the walls and 10 inches of Roxull in the ceiling.  I also planned to go over the whole inside with 1 inch of foil faced Hi r Foam. 

Meantime I went down to apply for my building permit to start the new shop.  This was the first week of September after I had an official offer on the shop. 

I told the planning office what I wanted to build and brought down sketches as well as the survey and a ly out of where it would be on the property.  

I had staked everything out ahead of time on the most level spot of land (we have just over 7 acres but much of it is a hill and a lot of rock) I also didn't want it to be a prominent feature of the property as my wife says the size reminds her of Walmart so it really only would fit in one spot.

I began cutting trees and clearing the spot once the planning office told me they didn't see a problem and could approve it in office when I came in with the actual plans,  which weren't going to be any different size or building type than my sketches had shown. 

I realized a few weeks into the clearing process that there was no way I would have concrete in the ground if I did all the excavation by myself.  Especially considering all the other projects we were trying to complete that I mentioned above.  I decided to hire in some pros,  but not until my father and I dropped all the trees,  I bucked them up and stacked them,  then the wife and I chipped all the brush.  I even started pulling stumps but it was a lot of work for my small machine.  I was also running out of day light.  












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Since I decided to hire in a pro for the excavating with bigger equipment,  I was able to concentrate on insulating the existing garage so I could get heat in it for the winter. 

The insulation 6 inch roux in the walls and ten inches in the ceiling with the 1 inch foil faced foam combo ran me about $7000.  That was getting a bit of a deal,  because I bought so much direct from a wholesaler. 

I tried dealing with one of the guys selling reclaimed foam insulation but he proved to be quite flakey and in reality not a lot cheaper,  since I was really getting what I wanted.  

The foam was delivered on another truck and is not shown in these photos.  I also ordered enough 2 inch foam to make garage door covers that could be easily removed and enough to build a custom hatch for the stairway in the middle of the garage to access the attic. 

This its what it looked like before I started tearing into the project.

We spent a few days gutting the garage of what was in there to do it right, including pulling out the existing Furnace and ductwork so I could start with a relatively blank slate.

The existing garage is 28 by 50 foot with a 10 foot ceiling. 




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I should probably explain how I came up with what would fit the bill for a shop at this time. 

After searching for hours on line,  trying to determine size and materials even making up a mock rough scale model and trying a scale car in it,  I determined a clear span garage of 60 wide by 72 feet long would be ideal, as far as not only positioning where I wanted it,  but actual usable space inside,  accounting for a vehicle as large as my 2006 Ford Superduty extended cab 8 foot bed pickup being able to park in it out of the way.  

I figured a garage with one large garage door would be cheaper to build and easier to heat than one with several doors.  I also knew that I didn't want any doors on the eve sides so the layout had to be such that all openings were on the gable ends.  

From experience I knew I didn't want a metal roof that size because of issues of snow build up from sliding so a shingle roof would be in order.  

 Checked into pole barns,  but with what I already have up here,  The house and existing cedar sided garage, I couldn't get away with a tin barn and still keep everything looking right up here. Aesthetics are very important.  Especially with the size of the building I wanted to build. Of course all this on a Budget also makes it tough.   All the advantages of the pole barn were quickly offset by the draw backs.  (It would have been nice to just have a pole barn slapped up in a couple of weeks).  

I also decided a long time ago I would eventually want in floor heat so a slab wasn't going to work and I would have to go with a frost wall so it could be properly insulated and support the massive weight on the walls.  

At one point talking with a friend he suggested I use 2 by 8 studding for better insulation.  I ran the numbers and it made sense as it added only a couple of grand to all the framing lumber.  It proved benficial later as well,  since the truss size would have required extra bracing until I told them it was going on an 8 inch instead of 6 inch wall.  It will also make finishing the building off easier later as it gets rid of the step from the 8 inch concrete to what would have been 6 inch studding.  

It was tough to find sizes of garages on line and what they would actually hold.  One site did let you build a garage and put a full size Dodge truck in it,  but even that was only marginally helpful.   

So off to the architect to draw up official plans.  For this I had to pay $2000 because of the size.  He made good money on that one as I only got a few pages of plans with no mechanicals or inside finishing.  It's specced with a gravel floor even so I could complete it as little as possible for budgeting purposes and to get my CO.  Also figure in another $400 for the engineer's Stamp.  

Now with official plans in hand I went down to get my final planning sign off.  

This is where the wrench got thrown in the works. 

Now with plans in hand the planning officer says that's a big building and he thinks it should go in front of the board,  though he can't point to any one requirement that it needs to be reviewed by the board.  Of course I also just missed the deadline for the next meeting application so. Would have to wait an extra month.  This was September,  that would put me into beginning of November for the approval if I had everything I needed.  

I pressed on having the excavator come in and get he site leveled off,  still a major undertaking and hauling out all the stumps and logs.  

This ended up running me $11,500 and that was a real bargain for the amount of truck loads that came in and went out over the next few weeks.

Here is what it looked like at that point.  In the last photo you can see what it was like before we started even cutting the access road in.   






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As you can see winter was closing in and a final nail in the coffin came from the planning board which tabled my plans as I lacked a survey that included the location of the existing buildings,  though they were clearly;y placed on a neat scale copy of the survey,  but not on the original.  My setbacks are in the 100 to 300 foot or more range from buildings and all but the power line right of way,  when codes call for 15 to 20 feet so this was really more an exercise in the board flexing their muscles to show you who's boss rather than real concerns of infringing on any of the requirements for new buildings. 

I also blame the architect on this as he never provided me with drainage plans which were one of the things I requested when I asked for the initial plans.   (These ended up being 2 gravel trenches under the Eves 2 feet wide by 3 feet deep.  Yup without that on the plans they wouldn't approve the project.  Now with the next meeting coming in December the project was put off until spring. 

So for the first winter the old garage was pretty stuffed as I hate to park anything outside. The shelves in the bak came out and the excavator went in for the winter as I had bought rolling shelving to replace them.  It's tough to finish off a garage when it's this packed and snowing outside.   


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By the time January rolled around I did have heat in the garage via a used Monitor heater and the foam up on all the walls and some of the ceiling.  I was also able to get the garage door covers built.  They are solid foam with only the hardware passing all the way through.  Wood on the inside is just slats fr other srcrews that hold the outside wood in place.  That is just Luan 1/4 inch plywood, stained with Cetol by Sikkens.  All the wood on the outside was glued to the luan before it was through fastened with 3 and 1/2 inch screws.   Used a soft seal that I made (like on nice house doors) for the back side foam of the panels to seal against and the panels sit on top of a piece of 1 inch foam so no wood contacts the cement and you get a real good seal.  The panels actually come off and can be removed and carried,  though awkwardly by one person (me :( ) to get the tractor in and out.  The hard part was figuring out where to seam the foam and luan as I wanted minimal scrap,  no visible seams and the openings were 9 foot by 10 foot each.

With hardware and foam,  I believe I have about $1200 or so into them It probably took about 20 to 30 hours to build them from start to turning the last latch in place with them up.  They were off several times last winter to plow and are actually quite quick to come off and go on,  just a bit awkward too handle. The idea is they will only need to come off and be out on a couple of times a year once the shop is finished enough to store the tractor and other equipment in. The wider trim pieces are 1 by 4 and 1 by 6 pine. The 2 foot overhang on the garage helps prevent them from getting much exposure and the Northwest facing direction keeps the sun exposure minimal so they should hopefully last for several years and pay fro them selves several times over the years.  They do make the garage noticeable cozier,  even after putting all new garage door seals on.  Last winter I heated the garage to 50 degree minimum and it used about 200 gallons of oil.  With the ceiling getting finished and everything totally sealed up,  I'm hoping to get it down to 2/3 or 1/2 of that.  

You can slo see my truck pulled the wrong straw and had to spend the winter in the snow bank,  Making it a nice obstacle to plow around. 



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With the big shop stalled and winter firmly in place,  I decided to work on finishing the inside of the existing garage.  I wanted something easy to hang stuff on and really detest the mess of sheetrock,  especially with all the junk in the way,  so after some pricing and comparing,  I found a deal on new wainscoting. Of course it wasn't premium quality,  thus the reason for the "good price" 

It was 4000 Square feet for about .30 a foot.  I believe the whole load was around $1200 delivered and my tractor had a tough time picking it up off the trailer because of not enough counterbalance. 

It came all bundled tightly together in the dark so. Didn't check it until the next day.  

A lot of it was damaged and what. Thought was going to be a quick job with 9 foot boards took a bunch of reconfiguring until I could come up with enough good pieces to do all the walls. It required sorting enough to come up with over 600 individual pieces of varying lengths to make something work.  I ended up having to add a chair rail just to get enough boards.  Now with them all sorted and stacked on a pallet plus many loose ones,  into the shop for acclimating,  sanding and one coat off whitewash with 2 coats of Polycrylic semigloss for the top and one coat of a cherry mahogany mix minx stain with 3 coats of gloss varnish.  This would reflect a lot of light on the top,  but give the bottom a nice contrast.  The bottom in a varnish would also make it easier to clean if soot blew on the wall or I spilled something that splashed up.  

This process consumed a ton of time.  I kind of lost track of the number of cans of Varnish,  but I would guess around 6 quarts to date and a similar amount of the polycrylic. 

I did manage to get the front corner and all the way down one wall with it,  before the weather started to turn better and I started focusing my attention outside as instead. 

As you can see quarters were pretty cramped but I managed to work around by moving all the crap out and then back in small segments. 

I don't think the guy that built the garage really figured on finishing it off all the way,  as the garage doors original actually went almost flush with the floor joists so the hardware was actually up in them.  I tracked down a guy that was recommended and for $600 he put in new low clearance rails and readjusted the doors so they closed a little better.  It's still tight for finishing but manageable, with the worst pickup being the garage door opener rail which is right against the foam at the door. 

All the lights were also hardwired in and used as junction boxes so I had to pull them all down and wire in actual outlets which I found adjustable depth outlets which are nice as I'm not sure of the final finish on the ceiling at this point.   I'm even leaning toward a tin or simulated tin ceiling like in old houses.  

I also decided that I really hate air hoses on the floor so I installed 2 rapid air kits and bought a bunch of extra blocks and fittings so I have 3 on each side wall.  

Wit the wainscoting foam and nailer's I had to rip to nail the wainscoting to I needed to make custom box extenders to bring the electrical out flush.  Screwing plastic previous construction boxes (with the wings) to a block of wood they cut nicely to the desired depth on the chop saw with a little care.  

Many outlets were broken anyways so it was a perfect time to replace them.  










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Though I somehow failed to take any pictures of last winter's progress on the garage,  I'm back to working on it now with all the wood pre finished.  Here are a few shots of the current progress.  I'm on the last full wall now so finally some good progress/. The chair rail fell right I note middle of the back wall outlets so I had to turn the extenders sideways to make everything look right.  You also need to take a little care when running the boards as they tend to vary quite a bit in width and easily run off especially over longer spans so I'm constantly checking them with a level and cheating them when necessary so they all come out real close on the other end.  There will be a wider chair rail at some point but I'm fitting everything clean enough that it won't matter if I don't get to it in the near future.  

I still will have the windows to jamb and case out,  but already have the lumber in the corner to do that with.  

I also need too move my panel box out a tad, but have to get an extender for the PVC conduit so ti will be the right spacing.  I've just been procrastinating on this.  It will be a good time to remove the plug over the box and put it below where it belongs with a GFI. 

I haven't figured out where t put the compressor yet,  but it most likely will go I note front corner in front of the Hudson and tap into the air fitting I have run there.  Seems like the best dead space in the shop at the moment that's just filled with scrap lumber at the moment.  

I like the clean look of ]rapid air once installed with all the lines hidden in the walls. 

I did have one line in the unfinished ceiling come apart after being used a few times.  I'm still not sure why it came apart,  other than it's a junction real close to where it goes through a joist with a T so it might have not been engaged all the way.  I'm going to double check it and possibly even strap it before I finish that section of the ceiling. 

I also replaced the back solid door that didn't shut right with this glass unit.  The door was under $300 but I think the hardware and matching one with lock sets for the other door were another $80.  

It's all the little stuff like nails,  electrical misc,  etc,  that add up faster than the big stuff.  The worst part is you don't notice it until you sit down and figure it out. 





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So it's now spring 2017 and I'm getting anxious for my approval on my new shop.  

I was on the docket for the April planning board meeting.  I hired the architect to represent me at the meeting and had all my papers in order,  including the drawings and a copy of the original survey with all the buildings added since it was drawn as well as the locations of the new shop.  Everything was to scale.  I even bought a new Lica distance meter to get actual measurements since many were 1 to 200 feet apart or more.  I was ready.  Unfortunately the architect wasn't and forgot about eh meeting,  so they tabled me until the may meeting.  I guess no one knows how to use a phone to tell me my representative wasn't there. 

Fortunately I got on his case,  apologized to the planning officer as well so I was put on the next month's schedule. 

Now it's May and this time the Architect is there,  of course I had to pay him for that though he blew off the first one and set me back. 

Everything is pushed through as it should have been at the very first meeting or yet in the planning office where it should have been approved without incident.

I went down the next day for my paperwork and approval letter to go to the county building department to finally get my Permit.  

Again another hang up as the Approved paperwork given to me by the planning officer,  is not what the building inspector wants.  Of the 5 or 6 sets of  full-size stamped plans I gave the planning board,  none were returned and these not the work books were what the building inspector wanted.  I finally got them to allow me to submit a copy I had made at staples along with one set of originals which I still had.  ( It's as if it was the planning guy's first barbecue all the way around,  yet he's been on the job for a few years in a busy resort town where they pack stuff in so tight everything needs a variance.  

With everything in order I finally got my Permit nearing the end of May.  Another $600 for that because of the size,  though it's a grave floor barn for sake of better terminology.  

Not being able to really work on the new shop wasn't getting to me as the wife came up with another idea to keep me busy.  

What started out as moving the kid's play house back about 30 feet and her starting a shade garden,  led to a 2 week shade garden project during our first blast of summer like heat.  

Ok I'll admit,  when I get started on something I tend to go overboard if you haven't figured that out yet.  

though I have a tractor and bucket I hauled most of the stones in a wheel barrow or on the hand truck for the big ones from around our 7 acre property. I always think well I'll just grab this one so there is no point in getting the tractor out for that.   It's nice to have a lot of raw material,   but like wise there is no such thing as easy digging around here.  










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Now that the wife is happy and permit in hand I'm ready to get back to work on the shop.  

Of course one little snafu was the excavator needed a full 2500 service which I had never done before and one track finally gave up and split on it's way top the garage for winter storage.  

I had t odo a little extra listing to sell enough to come up wit hate $2000 for new tracks.  After servicing and finally digging it out of the garage,  I got to have the fun of changing the tracks.  I bought a pair as the other probably wasn't far behind the one that split.  The first went on great.  The second just about killed me until I remembered exactly why the first one went on so easy.   Needles to say, I hope I don't have to do that again in the near future.   

All of June flew away and we were starting into July when I decided I needed to get this project in High tail to get covered before winter.  

I hired the excavator back to tune up the site,  which experienced some erosion over the winter.  I had him line all the banks with shot rock and bring in a couple more loads of fill.  

This ran me another $1650.   but was needed.  I also discovered that according to the permits I was suppose to put silt fencing up along the downward slopes of the project though the entire thing could wash away and never reach a water source as it's so far from any.  It took probably a good 8 hours or better to blaze a trail through the woods and around the boulders to put the near 200 foot of silt fencing up, but now I was in compliance,  though never actually sited for it.  If you keep them happy and do srtupid little stuff like that they are less likely to give you a hard time. Another expense I hadn't figured on,  though I'm pretty sure it wasn't much.  Now if I was paying for all the incidental labor I was providing,  it would add up real quick.  

I again decided that since I had never dug a foundation and the guy that did my excavating worked very reasonable and wasn't busy I would hire him to get it right.  He was 80 and it wasn't his first barbecue.  Besides he had bigger equipment and a helper which is really essential when trying to dig grade to let you know when you are on the mark.   I bought a new laser and him and his partner decided it would be best to use that rather than their old transit to get the grade right on it.

I worked along with them most of the way,  so I could make decisions as when to step it as I wanted to go to natural grade to prevent settling as opposed top building on top of the fill.   It would cost more but I really wanted to do it right. 

It took a few days during blistering heat but we got it all dug except the land bridge the Mason wanted t drive his pump truck on.  Lots of big rocks were discovered along the way.  I'm really glad I decided to get a bigger piece of equipment in.  

This ended up running me another $1350.  A bargain in my opinion as to the wear it would have caused my equipment.  Plus I think a few of those rocks would have required me building a ramp to get them out.  

I borrowed a friend's tamper and tamped the bottom of the footings several times.  No rain and dry conditions didn't help but I think I got it pretty tuned up.  

Now the mason came and started setting the footings,  declaring he needed some areas widened so it could be properly squared.  He was blaming it on the excavator digging it wrong,  but I noticed when the mason put the lines down they went 2 foot of the corner stakes on each side,  which actually were incorrect since there was going to be an 8 inch wall and inside of the stakes.  I hand dug a bunch of areas to widen it as they only needed trimming  and then pushed the building another foot in a different direction to gain me as much room on the bank sides to give me room for equipment access once it was up.   It's easier to see your building size and location,  once you actually have the footing forms up.  

Now I finally get to see some concrete going in.  You can see the footings after pouring and the walls being formed up. 

Access to the site is a bit tight but the trucks are making it OK.  Of course with the dirt from the foundation in piles all over it makes things worse.  

I decided I could pull the land bridge out myself and dig that for the next phase with my machine.  I was waiting to hit the golden nugget but Fortunately never did.  Digging the filled in end of the project was great.  Digging the natural grade was digging in rocky hardpan so slow going.  Thank god for the thumb on my excavator or this would have been a lot more of a pain.  

I stayed out of the workers way during the day,  but went out and got every phase done pronto as soon as they gave me the all clear.  

The first cement went in the ground the end of August/ first week of September. 











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With the super active Hurricane Season of 2017,  and Getting into the second week of September I was advised by a good friend building a similar but slightly smaller garage at the same time I was to get my Materials not only ordered but delivered as they were predicting sharp price increases and diminished supply.  I contacted the roofer that was going t proof it for me and he put my order right in.   Immediately sent them a check for the materials to assure they were mine.  Lat thing I needed was a building with no roof because shingles couldn't be had.  That order ran me around $5200 as he gave me the materials at cost.  Ironically it's also the guy we bought the house from.  

At the same time I ordered, paid for and took deliver of the majority of the Plywood ( I upgraded to plywood from OSB on all surfaces) 1/2 inch and 5/8 as well as the Dimensional 2x8 framing lumber.  

Here it is stacked I ate only places that weren't in the way.  Of course that's only the Plywood.   Fortunately the Dimensional was able to be stacked in the woods.  

The dimensional and plywood for the initial order ran about $10,500.

Also In the meantime I purchased and traded with my friend  for the siding , 12 inch 16 foot rough cut lumber for board and batten siding. It was around 250 to 300 boards I believe.  He got the indoor scissor lift he had been using, which I was planning on replacing with a better suited rough terrain lift for working around our property and on the new shop.  We figured the lift at 2500 and I ponied up another 1000 for the siding.  During this time the wife,  wanting an outdoor project managed to stain all the boards so they will be ready to go up when I get to siding in the near future. 

Figure atleast another 500 for Behr Stain.  Though I think it's even more than that,  I don't have the receipts handy on that. It looked nice piled in the middle of our circular drive all summer / fall covered with tarps, A great view out the front picture windows.    another $200 or so for those tarps t keep it all dry until it could be put into the hopefully soon to be erected new shop shell. 


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7 minutes ago, victorialynn2 said:

Very interesting to see this all spelled out. I’ve heard you talk about bits and pieces, but this puts it in perspective. 

I was doing this to make it a little easier to follow, as you mentioned it's kind of pieced out all over the place so kind of hard to follow.  This will hopefully show the build all the way through along with a cost and timeline and setbacks/ unexpected expenses to put it all in perspective.  Something I would have loved to have seen when I was trying to plan my build. 

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Glad to see you posting and commend you on your planning and the amount of work you are doing yourself. Not to mention paying as you go as much as possible. Look forward to following!!!

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Now with concrete in the ground an well into September it's time to get the custom trusses ordered.  I checked around and got pricing from a few local Companies,  but being they were just brokers for the same truss company. Went with the one company that actually was tied directly to the truss manufacturer.  The custom 85 lb snow  load 6 on 12 pitch clear span trusses came in at roughly $15,350 delivered, though delivery of course wouldn't happen for another 3 weeks or so as they still had to be manufactured. I upgraded both the pitch and snow load from standard in the area. They were originally specced at 4 on 12.  I didn't want to be the one on the roof shoveling it off when we got nailed with back to back snow then rain storms.  The steep pitch gave the building a better look as well and actually didn't really add to the cost because with the steep pitch you got a better snow load.  

Now with trusses ordered and paid for and the concrete in about mid September it's time to get back to site work.  

After hiring the excavator to dig the foundation,  I decided I would do all the finish excavating myself,  not only for cost,  but because I had the equipment and wanted it done my way. 

After having the walls all poured the concrete bill came in at roughly $14,450. The cost was up there because I wanted a 2 foot knee wall to make sure the wood was well off the ground to prevent any rot and possible water infiltration from running eves and the need for an 8 foot wall to reach natural grade on the  far end we filled. I also plan to some day face it with stone so you have to think ahead of what your end goal is going to be.  Coming from a background in contracting I knew first hand what worked and what didn't in our climate, so I wanted to build this to be as trouble free in the future as possible.  No doors on eves sides, no sliding roofs into door ways,  sun exposure so I can work on my cars in the afternoon in the spring and fall with the doors open.  Little stuff like that I took into account before even putting a shovel in the ground. 

With trusses ordered I needed to get the foundation back filled and the gravel floor inside so I could move the units of plywood inside the foundation where they would be out of the way for the truss truck to maneuver.   It takes a lot of space for a 64 foot by 12 foot load of trusses to be maneuvered into place.  All this had to be done pronto as it can snow anytime from mid October on,  which would add a whole new dynamic to maneuvering the trusses into their drop off point. 

Of course because a lot of the fill had to be dug out and there was no place to put it but in the foundation in the way I had to level it off really screwing up grade inside so the masons could get the foundation poured.  Now that they were done,  I back filled and messed around for a few days getting the grade back.  Fortunately it was close to begin with so I didn't have to dig too much in the hardpan.  

With my Friend At Carlisle and not wanting to bother him I decided to buy a used tamper off craigslist so I would have my own.  Of course that gave me some fits as well,  though it ran perfect when I tried it out.  (I think the loading and unloading In the truck stirred something up in the fuel system and it got In the carb,  though the tank was pretty clean. A carb cleaning seemed to rectify the problem. )  

I hate borrowing tools anyway and figured with this project and all the tamping I should just buy one.  My regret now is I didn't spend the extra money and buy the like new one with a warranty for 900 and instead bought the deal for 350.  Oh well,  we learn. 

It was also time to figure ahead for my future infloor heat project and get the foundation insulated.  the 2" blue foam as you see it ran me another $1000.  I had a few sheets of other rigid foam here I used to help finish it off and save a few bucks.  A friend was throwing them out because he didn't need them, though they were full sheets with nothing wrong with them. I figured that since they will be buried,  it didn't matter if they matched.  You can just see them in the one photo.  

The one side the back filling went easy as it was all sand though I couldn't access it with the excavator and had to hand shovel much of it in place.  Of course that was the corner that was 8 feet deep.    The other was a battle as it was natural dirt loaded with rocks and many buried in the fill so it was even hard digging with the excavator to weed out all the rocks and only put dirt back In the hole.  

This dirt work takes an incredible amount of time even with good machinery,  so don't underestimate time or money to do this on your job. 

With everything finally back filled (all during a stretch of record breaking heat in early October) I was ready for the gravel inside for my "floor" so I could get that lumber moved before the trusses arrived.  

With a planned trip to Hershey for the fall meet and needing to get material delivered so I could work over the Columbus Day Weekend,  things are getting a bit tense.  (I almost skipped the Hershey trip,  but was able to get the trusses postponed one week so that bought me enough time  to do both.) The Hershey trip is also nice as it's the only time during the year my wife and I get to get away though our youngest Daughter tagged along as she likes to go to car show and hunt for treasure in the swap meet,  so a break from the daily sun up to sun down or later dirt work and prep was much welcomed.  

While striking lines on the foam for floor level I almost made a big mistake.  I accounted for 6 inches of concrete so I put my lines at 6 inches from the top to bring my gravel to.  Fortunately I remembered, although it was after I had everything graded, that I needed to go 2 inches deeper to allow for a layer of 2 inch foam between the gravel and concrete.  Atleast I remembered this before the gravel arrived and scrambled to cut the whole thing down another 2 inches.  Of course tamping it all again.   

Little things like this are easy to overlook if you have never done it before.  

Now with 5 loads of Gravel 102 tons worth at a cost of about $1700 I had my floor roughed in.  That laser I bought on clearance for $200 at the hardware store last winter was really paying for itself. 

With the trusses set to be delivered any day it was time to get the plywood units moved in the foundation and out of the way. Unfortunately ,though my tractor has a 1 ton lifting capacity with the  forks,  we still had to split the units to move them,  but got it done in a couple hours. 

Now back to the outside of the foundation to get those rocks cleared out and everything rough graded to get the tractor trailer with the trusses around an in place. 

To say timing was tight would be an understatement.  Everything was finished the night before the nest step started just about every step of the way. 

I think I put 60 hours on my tractor and most of that was moving dirt stone or rocks.  40 in one week I believe.  It's a ,annual transmission with a heavy clutch spring and my leg was starting t feel dead at the end of that week.  You never run it more than a hundred feet or so before you are scooping or backing up again. 









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2nd week of October and the trusses are ready to be delivered.  I had both saws ready and told the driver I would cut anything in his way.  The driver was very experienced though and even though it was a tight squeeze he got those trusses right where I wanted them only having to cut a few small trees that got caught in behind his bumper by the shed.   Now they were  well out of the way under the power line so we still had full access to all sides of the building. 

I also cut and chipped the power line an extra 100 feet or so long so we had room to stage stuff and put the enclosed trailer I bought when selling the shop to store my blast cabinet and other equipment I didn't need right away. 

After looking for a used trailer for over a month and getting ready to buy a new one as all the used ones,  even 20 years old were near as expensive as a new one, I  found this 4 month old one just listed on craigslist by a guy that bought it in Georgia to move one car and his son's possessions from NC to MN and store his 49 chevy for a couple of months until it was finished being painted.  It was a perfect fit and I saved atleast a grand off the sticker of a new one.  It had a lot of upgrades as well. 













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Mid October now with the trusses delivered I struck a deal with a friend to help get my shell up.

It was also a good time to get the driveway fine tuned and properly graded.  

That required another 60 ton of gravel at a cost of $1050.

Due to the way they poured the foundation,  grade was also off so I had to cut down the drive over a foot.  Quite a task as it's all hardpan over 30 feet wide by over 100 feet long.  again my equipment got quite a work out.  I also was running out of place to put the dirt that was coming out.  I decided to cut down all the brush between the old garage and the new one and fill in the hole between the two with it.   That worked well as the hole was really a pain and the material coming out was right next to it so I didn't have to drive all over the property to get rid of it.   I also need t actually go down a little further to properly slope the grade away from the building so water would run away from the building and down the driveway,  where it would run off into the woods.  

All went well until I hit the golden Nugget.  I dug down and finally found the bottom of it but was unable to break it free with my machine.  I hired another friend to come up and pop it with his machine.  We decided to just dig down and bury it as his wouldn't pick it out of the hole either.  Of course it had a slightly smaller twin next to it,  but he made pretty short order of the job.  A $150. bill and he was loaded and headed home.   Now I could finish that grade. 

You can see the nice assortment of rocks I dug out going down that extra foot.  

It was also the ideal time to dig the drainage trenches the planning board wanted and fill them with #3 stone.  My bucket arrangement on the tractor didn't like that #3 stone as they are just big enough to get behind the bucket and sheer the grease fitting off in the upper bushing.  I replaced 2 of them in a couple of days. 

Once the walls were up I would have had a hard time filling that ditch on the bank side so it needed to be done from the inside.  

I also screwed up and originally started filling the ditch with the wrong stone and even got it done before someone commented I should use a different stone,  so I dug all 76 feet back out and put the right stuff in.   Of course it would have been nice if it was specified on my $2000 plans.  Of course what I took out,  I used in the driveway, so it wasn't wasted,  just a waste of time. 

The # 3 stone clean without dust was $765 for 40 ton.   To give you an idea of how much stone that is,  it's 2 - 20 yard dump trucks those are the twin rear axle some times triaxle  trucks you usually see on construction sites,  so I handled and hand  raked the better part of 200 ton or 10 of these truck loads so far.   Though you can spread it real close with the  machines, it still takes hand work to really fine tune it.  

The first photo shows the job before the last load of stone was delivered. 








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First week of November or very last week of October  with my Friend's garage being done to the point he wanted,  we got started on mine.  The days were blending together at this point and I was just watching the forecast for that first snow storm to hamper things. 

The 2 x 8 , 14 foot walls were just a little too tall to put up with my machine so he brought his over.  Though he was very conservative with the hours he charged me for using it they still add up.  

End of the first week we finally had some walls up.  

boy there is quite a sense of relief when you see concrete in the ground and wood erected on your site.  Though far from done,  you feel like small miracles could happen. 






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The way I had it designed there is a second 12 foot door framed in the far end,  but I plan on just finishing it off and just having it as a pre planned option in the future if the time ever comes to need a drive through building.  Not adding the second door now,  saved a little money as I wouldn't have to buy one any time soon.  I was trying to think ahead at this point for future modifications or uses.  

we also upgraded the headers from 3 2X6's to 4 2 by 8's with a piece of Plywood all glued together with liquid nails.    No sense in buying 2x6's when you have piles of 2x8's laying around. 

We also determined his machine just didn't have the rear to comfortably set the 64 foot long trusses, so I hired the mason t boom them up with his boom truck.  Just the end trusses and center truss were real heavy as they were pre sheathed (the center for a draft block by fire code for when I enclose the ceiling.)   Unfortunately they only got 5 or 6 set the first day then the operator had t leave for an appointment.

At this point I had been diligently searching for a man lift to buy or even a Telehandler.   Renting one was going to run close to $4,000 for a month and required a special insurance rider from your insurance company,  which was expensive and tough to get.

I stumbled across what we affectionately call big Bertha.  It's an 80 foot rough terrain 4 wheel drive JLG lift.   She looks rough leaks a bit but runs great.  I struck a deal with the seller for $7250 delivered.  It had to come over an hour on a low boy tractor trailer.

With Big Betha we got the trusses up to the mid point,  then I got the mason back to boom the rest,  including the 2 sheathed ones up.  

Of course another $900 for booming fees.  I was glad to pay,  but hadn't figured into the budget.  

It's all these things that you forget about when you are planning your budget. 








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Wit the lift it allowed us to get everything right into place,  from sheathing to even just working on the building so I wasn't renting my friend's equipment any more which meant saving some money.    It also did the job better than the man cage on the front end loader as it had a much better reach. Another week and we had all the trusses up wit hall the piggy backs in place.  

We wrapped up all the sheathing on the roof the night of our first 6 plus inch snow storm.    Talk about cutting it close.  With temperatures plunging,  I had to dress the site up each night so it would freeze up with the ground all rutted from the machinery.  



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Next. Was able to get the roofers in the week before Christmas to out the roof on,  though it meant I had to go out and snow rake the lower half of the roof from my lift so they could start roofing it.  Fortunately we had a bit of a thaw so what I snow raked bared up.  Meanwhile without even the paper on it,  the water rained down inside when it warmed up where it ran between the seams in the plywood caused by the clips.  

True to his word and probably helped by the fact that they used the lift to put all the shingles on the roof ,  they got it roofed in about a day and a half.  That ran me another $3900. including a few pieces of material they were short.   As funds were really tight at this point I actually had to borrow the money from my wife to pay him.  

The lift had put a big dent in my budget but it was exactly what was needed to get the job done in the time we did.  

Figuring ahead I had came top short on material and down right forgot about others like the nails and tap cons.  Cases of Construction adhesive, the custom engineered headers for the garage doors. (that alone was $700). I fortunately had most of the LVL's left over from a job I did years ago so I saved a few bucks on them.

I also ended up cutting the man doors wider as the mason poured 2 for a 3 foot door but the others closest to the existing garage were only 32 inch,  so there was no time like now to make them all 36 inch.  

all said and done,  Material ended up running almost another $9,000. A little of this I had figured in originally but more t other tune of maybe 3,000.    I never really sat down and figured it out board for board though and the original figure was based on 2x6 framing.  

I was actually in a pretty good hole being over budget and out of money when we finished up in December as you see it,  but I did have a space for all my stuff inside.  





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being self employed in a sales position really helped. I really ramped up my sales and paid my friend's labor off a week after we finished the job.   then I had to work on paying off the credit card I put the last batch of materials on.  I was fortunate enough to do that as well.  Of course while listing 7 days a week and going from selling 10 to 20 items a night to selling 30 to 40.  

Over the next month I was able to pay off that credit card,  so no interest was incurred and over the next 2 pay the wife back and order all new Pella Windows in a green aluminum clad exterior with a raw wood interior and removable grilles.  I ordered 18 3 foot by 5 foot windows,  with the plan to cut 6 of them in half to give me 12 full size windows and then 12 half windows to position over them for extra light.  This was the cheapest way to come up with 12 sashes that matched the lower windows exactly.  

Not ordering screens for the extra 6 windows,  save me almost an extra $450.  

The windows came in at about $9500. 

They were just delivered 2 weeks ago,  but installation is on hold until the weather gets a little better.  Now I have to buy the flex seal tape that is now used for installation so another $200 to $300 I hadn't figured in. 

Unfortunately the driver of the delivery truck wasn't comfortable driving over to the garage because of the remnants of 3 north Easter's so he dropped all the windows in front of the old garage.  I ended up hand trucking all 18 of them over the slush and into the shop where they are stacked on wood and tied to the wall so they won't fall over. 

This is where we are at today.  Plenty of work to do but a pretty good start if spring ever gets here to get the shell sided and get those windows in.  

Looking back it's good it got talked the first year as there is no way I could have gotten it done starting that late.,  We started in August digging.  pouring concrete the first couple of weeks of September,  then tons of dirt work until the lumber started going up the first week of November and that not getting done until the 2nd week of December,  with the roofer wrapping the roof up the week before Christmas. 

Now it's back to finishing the old garage off,  which is going to require a complete reorganizing so I can move the 36 Cord out of the way to finish the ceiling off where it sits.   Unless of course that wether finally starts acting spring like. 





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  • 2 weeks later...

With winter not yielding to spring here in the North East (April 16th revealed about 3/8 of an inch of ice over 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches of sleet). I have been working in the old garage.

As mentioned a painfully slow process because of the need to do a small area,  then move everything to do the next.  

I did manage to finish where the cord was and move that back,  then move the 32 out of the way and a bunch of junk so I could properly run the wire through the ceiling for the lights instead of the through the lights with the wire running across the ceiling. 

I have to add an 8/3 wire in conduit on the base plate for my Air compressor,  then change that outlets location at the panel box so I can finally finish that wall up. 

With the weather being so crappy atleast I have inside heated work to do.  It's pouring right now and about 36 degrees. 

If I'm really lucky I may be able to finish that wall up by the end of the week.  It will feel like a major accomplishment. 

I imagine I could have finished the whole job in probably 1/2 the time if I didn't have to work around everything in the garage.  

As soon as I get the Foam up on the ceiling,  I have to move everything back and then move everything away from the wall.  

I spent $80 yesterday for 50 foot of 8/3 wire.   Again all that little stuff that adds up you don't think about. 








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On 4/16/2018 at 12:39 PM, auburnseeker said:

I imagine I could have finished the whole job in probably 1/2 the time if I didn't have to work around everything in the garage.  


   I followed the previous garage thread and saw many of the same photos while thinking,

   it would be a lot easier in both buildings without all the stuff in the way.  The length of the

   projects and NY weather made that worse.   

   The weather here in the NC Smoky Mountains was kinder to us in our barn build, but experienced    many of the other problems you encountered.  I hired a real good carpenter and two helpers and

   the 4 of us got it dried in, without insulation in eight weeks.   Then a old friend and I did the    

   guests living quarters in 2 weeks just hours before the first snow, and went back to Florida..  

   After 4 years of living in the barn each summer in our motor home, we spent almost a year

   building a house up the hill from the barn an fled Florida for good. That about did the old guy in        physically.  By the time that was done, the barn was full and my stuff was in the way for    

  the foam insulation spraying  part two years later.  I added a gas furnace and can now spend

  the winters playing in my 2000 Sq. Ft. "Barn".   I still call it a barn, but remember the battles with

  the "Building Code" guys who said "if it has a floor, it's a garage and needs plans like a house"

  which I did, but it's still a barn to me.  Holds 6 old cars, our motor home and a lifetime collection  

  of old stuff and space to work on it all.   (The guest quarters are now a shop too.)

  Thanks for sharing your story and pictures, brings back good memories.


Barn 5.jpg

Barn 7.jpg

Barn shed.jpg


Edited by Paul Dobbin
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I was going to put the Hudson out in the big shop but with the cold and temperature swings still holding on,  I didn't want it to sweat.  It's got some paint issues I don't want to aggravate and a battery blew up under the hood before I got it, and I don't think they got it all neutralized so keeping it dry is pretty important until i can get that rectified,  maybe this summer.  I wanted to pull and blast everything under the hood,  but my blast cabinet is in my trailer as is my big Air compressor which I finally am making a spot for in the toy box. 

I may set the blast cabinet up in there temporarily until I get a floor and maybe electric in the new shop.  It is nice for all that under hood detailing. 

I got all the foam up on the ceiling today so now I can address the panel box and get that wall finally closed in.  Then move some more crap so I can put some more wainscoting up. 

Just not enough time in the day or money in the bank.  As usual. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I never thought I would finish but I finally got all the wood up on my walls in the small garage.  I hit a few snafus including running short on a few boards, which i had to then prefinish. 

Replacing the Master cylinder on my Wife's Rabbit conv't also took priority.  

I was going to try to pull the panel box out further so it was flush with the wall,  but decided to tunnel it in as all the wiring just wouldn't really let me pull it out far enough easily.  This in the end wasn't to complicated and came out fine. I also had to run the 8-3 wire in some conduit to the corner for an outlet for my Air Compressor or a welder.    All I have left to do is actually hook the plug up. 

Of course with all the junk in the garage it's hard ot see how it came out. 

Maybe now I can start finding more permanent places for everything.  

Some brake work on my daily driver diesel one to truck will eat up tomorrow, then I have to go buy a bunch of literature a few hours away the next day,  so not much will get done on either. 

A wicked wind storm shredded my tarp door on the big garage and blew out the cover on another man door,  so I'm going to have to jump out there and get my windows in,  buy 4 doors and hang those,  then build some bifold swinging doors for the garage door opening so I don't have to deal with a tarp anymore. 

I also have to get the dirt work cleaned up and some grass seed going pretty quick here. 

I got my friendly reminder to renew my building permit for the year as well at $324.  Another chunk I wasn't expecting.  4 doors at about $300 each totalling $1200 plus another $200 for lock sets.  Probably about $300 for the window sealing wrap to put my windows in and $200 for hardware for the garage door.  That's another $2500 for all before the smoke clears.  

I better start playing the lotto before this project eats me alive.  

If I get enough rainy weather I'll start finishing the jamb material for my windows to get this project wrapped up a little more.   Atleast I already have that on hand.








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I think you need a little more working room in that beautiful new shop so I can stop by and take the big boy off your hands. Best of all I won’t even charge you shipping! 

I do love the look of that truck. The shop looks great too. 

Dave S


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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Looks great. Now you just need a prewar multi cylinder Classic to finish it off........maybe a V-16 or a DV-32?

Now Ed, you Big Dogs apply the term "multi-cylinder" only to cars with more than eight cylinders, so the DV-32 doesn't qualify...  :-)

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3 hours ago, Jim Bollman said:

My last two shops I had recessed power panels, then put a wood door on the opening to blend it into the shop wall to give a cleaner look to the wall.

I thought of that.  I might just wood grain the thing.  Maybe a tigerred mahogany look would blend in nicely with the lower paneling. ;)  I have the Grain it kit already. 


I finished the brakes on my truck today.  Ended up just replacing the rear Calipers.  Solved the sticking brake problems.  Now i have to run a few hours away tomorrow to buy a literature lot.  Some leaf blowing to do Thursday,  Hopefully I can get back at the big garage by the weekend and maybe get some of those new windows in,  If I'm not still hauling literature as it's a very large lot.  Guess where that is going.  Probably on a pallet in the big shop so I can atleast move it around with the tractor.  I still have a brake job to do on the 40 Ford as it's been sitting for a number of years and the pedal feels too high and hard to me. 

Does the work ever end or do I just keep acquiring more.  

The wife is also talking about a new trampoline for the kids since the wind storm hurled ours in the woods and damaged the frame,  as well as a new Minibike for the Son's Birthday.  (both of which will require Dad's Assembly I'm sure) 

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On 4/6/2018 at 9:54 PM, auburnseeker said:

I did have one line in the unfinished ceiling come apart

I relay like to use old hydraulic flex line as air hoses that are buried permanently in the wall . -- home runs .in the walls . Takes a wile to find some but worth the effort  . I like to put the air compressor out in it's own box, out house, for peace & quiet .

Your shop looks grate .-kyle

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I would have liked to put the Air compressor some other place as mine is really loud.  Maybe if I ever get around to building a boiler building between everything,  I can put one in it and bury the air lines with the water lines.  Then I would only need one Air compressor,  instead of 2. 

I plan to spend some real money on the Air Compressor for the big garage.  Some of the big ones,  turn at much slower RPMs so they aren't as noisy and an automatic drain will be real nice. 

Unfortunately it all seems to come back around to that time and money thing. :(

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On 5/8/2018 at 11:21 PM, Grimy said:

Now Ed, you Big Dogs apply the term "multi-cylinder" only to cars with more than eight cylinders, so the DV-32 doesn't qualify...  ?


George, anything with more than 140 horsepower is interesting, and in the multi cylinder race........sort of a slight of hand.......... but a DV-32 is just as interesting as any twelve or V-16. I may even include the W.O. Bently's even though they were 4 and 6 cars. Maybe a 851 SC Auburn.........I guess it just a low class Frenchman slang..........."multi-cylinder" means interesting to me.........

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32 minutes ago, edinmass said:


George, anything with more than 140 horsepower is interesting, and in the multi cylinder race........sort of a slight of hand.......... but a DV-32 is just as interesting as any twelve or V-16. I may even include the W.O. Bently's even though they were 4 and 6 cars. Maybe a 851 SC Auburn.........I guess it just a low class Frenchman slang..........."multi-cylinder" means interesting to me.........

Agree that a DV-32 is "interesting."  I'm just amused by your application of the term when, in the English language, a two-cylinder REO or Buick--and a three-cylinder DKW--are also "multi-cylinder."  And your application of a threshold of 140 hp is also benighted--drive my 1918 48-B-5 dual valve (121 bhp per Pierce engineering documents) at the PAS Meet in July.  :-)

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Wow, I just found this thread and have read through it.  I wasn’t expecting it to be in the General Discussion forum.  You’ve got a very nice shop and garage and the area looks remote and serene. 


Too bad to hear about the bureaucratic bull crap that caused you so much delay and several grand for absolutely nothing in return but a giant headache.  


I see a lot of premium stuff here; 6/12 pitch, trusses on 24” center, 2x8 walls, massive foundation and concrete stem walls.  You are doing this in great style and workmanship.  


I completely agree about all the unexpected expenses and the little things adding up.  It absolutely never ends and with a shop as big as yours, there’s a lot of everything you need.


Around here, these “out-buildings” add about half of their cost to your property value and that’s only if they are tastefully done and done at a reasonable cost.  Doing a lot of the work yourself will help.  What this all means is that you need to make it what you want and then use it!


I’m glad that you decided to share your build with us and took the time to let us in on the ups and downs of getting it out of the ground.


keep it coming!

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