Scaffold board workshop

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28 Mar 2023
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So I’m looking to build a new workshop in the garden. I recently helped a friend erect a pre-cut log cabin, it was very quick easy. However my budget is a lot smaller than his and to get the volume of space I hope for, pre-built or pre-fabricated is not going to happen ££££ (wrinkled tin cans of eBay, need not apply for this position).

To that end, we have a merchant of used scaffolding in the next town over, peddling 13 foot scaffold boards just under £12 each. The thought was use a router to, tongue and grove the scaffold boards and affix to some 2x3 inch reclaimed roof timber I already have, put some sheets of OSB on top and call it a workshop ;).

Problems so far;

1, I can’t find a YouTuber that’s done a step by step silly person proof guide.

2, I can’t find a router v-grove join bit set for 38mm timber.

3, My Wife thinks I’m nuts (this is not unusual).

The timber will be checked with a cheap metal detector for nails etc. (Not tried or tested method :unsure: ).

Cheers, thanks for any participation…
If you can’t afford to build/buy a workshop, how are you going to afford the tools / timber to build anything in it?

I think you’d be better off looking for sheds on Facebook marketplace - most will be free if you dismantle and take away. You could get plenty of cladding for free that way and a lot less effort
I don't think it's a goer:-

Unless you cut the boards into 2 width wise so 110mm X 38mm, as they will bend to much with being dry one side and wet the other.

You would have to find the right cutter which will be a job and a half without a spindle moulder at £500+.

The you'll have to accurately cut the notches for it.

Then you'll need intermediate supports every 2 ft to stop it bending.

Also insulation and weatherproofing ..
This could work, but it might not be the best way.

I assembled a log cabin with 44mm wide timbers for my Mum years ago. I wouldn`t build a workshop like it given the choice.
They actually have a sort of double tongue and groove setup, quite shallow, I suspect its a set of spindle knives that you could probably get "off the shelf"
doing it with a hand router could be a ball ache.
You might be better off using a spline method, then you only need to do grooves in all the boards and make up lengths of spline to lock it together.

The other issue we found with the log cabin was massive seasonal movement accross the boards (so it grows and shrinks in height ) this is why they use floating window and door frame designs which are not good for various reasons.

The best way would be to have the boards vertical and rather than mess around trying to tongue and groove them use firing strips over the joints.

Thank you everybody for the participation, keep it coming. I do appreciate it all.

I see your point BucksDad, however as mentioned in my new members post; I’ve already accumulated too many tools to fit in my existing tool shed, so need the room to utilise them. As for materials I drive an extra-long wheel base minibus and have a keen eye for skips etc. New is nice, but I’m coming around to the up-cycle/repurpose way of thinking. I’ve got four kids & two grandkids so far, would be nice to leave them a bit of the planet left we’re consuming. Most of the sheds on offer around here are not fit for a kennel and still want £ hundreds. I do a lot of maintenance, repair and fettling of things as well (wife wants me out the kitchen makes a mess when welding).

Jameshow yes, I did consider splitting length wise, but twice as much ripping for router/spindle moulder, I hoped the boards would warp/cup in the same direction, if I pay attention to the annual rings at end of boards? Insulation is a luxury for a later date or a bargain, weatherproofing would be felt on the roof, maybe a breathable membrane inside before any luxury insulation. Cutting the notches doesn’t worry me; I’ll make a jig / template. If I do a decent job of doing v-grove board shouldn’t bend, I theorise.

Ollie78, a ball ache is a good way of describing it and probably a days’ worth at least. However I’ve not got a spindle moulder yet and as Jameshow mentioned out of my budget for now, I can sometimes get a bit of time in a shop with a firm I worked at, but they’re never going to let me run second hand scaffold boards though their spindle moulder. So the ball ache method 'is the way' (of the Mandalorian). The floating door frame will be challenging (security is a concern). The windows need only be one whole board high near the top more slit like for a little natural light, most of the light while working will be LED or spots anyway.

Spectric, your idea would never have occurred to me, however some serious thought will be spent pondering and sketching your, logical simple solution that brings far more flexibility to the overall dimensions’.

What frame work would people suggest to support this vertical boarding firing strips and spacing of boards?

I imagen the boards semi float and fire strips clam them allowing expansion/contraction?

Again thank you all, I am an overreaching optimistic at times. But where’s the fun in boring?
One aspect to be conscious of - and a lot depends where in the UK you are, however wind protection particularly in relation to the roof is an important aspect.
My shop was in an exposed position and we had up until recently fields front and back beyond my boundaries and I used plenty of metal internal roof straps to hold my workshop roof down - when it's blowing hard here I can step out of a side door with a mug of beverage and within minutes up to 50% gets swept away....
So by all means go cheap but don't skimp on the basics!
I understand your wish to recycle and re-use stuff as much as possible, was thinking about the scaffold boards and the many different sheds I have built.

I would use the scaffold boards as a framework making corner posts, joists etc from them, this way you use a lot less and can get the framework up quickly, this also gives you oportunity to insulate the structure a bit. I would housewrap the thing in tyvek or similar roofing membrane then counterbatten it and clad it with whatever you can get hold of, my neighbour did the front of his with old pallet boards and it actually looks nice after its varnished.

Last time I did a shed for someone I researched the cheapest cladding materials and the cheapest per m2 was good old corrugated iron sheets (from SIG roofing), next was feather edge fence boards, so we did the metal on the back and side you can`t see and feather edge on the front, all windows and doors second hand upvc.

Where abouts are you?

I have a source of cheap steel roofing sheets
Thank you for the offer jameshow. I did consider metal utilisation as easy and cheap per sqm, however I'm very close to the coast/estuary, the salt air is refreshing, but no 'ford cortinas' survived around here ('insert any 70's/80's car'). Rust eats any ferrous metals to quick here.

Spectric's, vertical boards suggestion is gaining traction. (y)
I have built a garage with vertical larch boards, double nailed to horizontal rails, top, bottom and middle, the gap covered by a firing strip, 50mm wide, single nailed. This allows for movement of the wood. Biscuiting of the boards together would be a disaster. The covered gap method is very common in France, coping with 40 C summers and wet winters. The timber frame and cladding are built on a concrete block base, ‘to keep their feet off the ground’.
do you have a plan? I have heard that scaffold board has a very high moisture content which will mean a lot of movement, so you will have to account for that.
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Thank you for the offer jameshow. I did consider metal utilisation as easy and cheap per sqm, however I'm very close to the coast/estuary, the salt air is refreshing, but no 'ford cortinas' survived around here ('insert any 70's/80's car'). Rust eats any ferrous metals to quick here.

Spectric's, vertical boards suggestion is gaining traction. (y)
Presuming those sheets are galvanized, like I'm presuming every car made since beyond 2000 being galvanized also.