Shelves for the Men’s shed.

The men's shed

The men’s shed

With my foray into men’s sheds I decided, as a warm up, to try and install shelving in my garage. I would get to use an electric drill, chisels, an electric saw and a hammer. Above all, it would give me an opportunity to get the feel of being in ‘a shed’. A man’s dream come true. I would get saw dust in my hair and dirt under my finger nails. H. would be so proud of me. All that staring at a computer screen has made me lose sight of the real essentials of life. Making things happen with my hands. I would regain my real inner self, my proud manhood. I’ll be beating my hairy chest once again. Like I used to.

I found my tape measure and wrote down the timber length needed for the shelving. The shelving would fit between brick piers of the garage wall. I needed to find space to store the tools needed to build the shelving. I know this sounds a bit circular but a man needs shelving to store his tools needed to build the shelving. No cost would be spared. I would use cedar wood all dressed to a butter smooth finish. My chisels, electric tools and hammer would feel nicely cared for, even after I have gone.

Last week during a ferocious hail storm twister, a huge branch of a Manchurian tree broke. It fell across the driveway hitting the roofs of the opposite town-houses. Someone must have called the Emergency Rescue squad even though no one was actually pinned down under the tree. A few sturdy men in fluoro jackets turned up very quickly.

They had large lettering printed on the back of their jackets indicating their status as Rescue experts. They wore helmets and ear-muffs. They carried and exuded authority and a large chainsaw. In little time the fallen tree was cut into small pieces and dragged away from the drive-way. They would have extremely proud wives and partners. Have I missed my vocation? I too could have been a chainsaw carrying emergency Rescuer. Instead, I am nothing but a fiddler in a shed building shelves to store tools to build shelves.

Even so, no good fretting and regretting of what could have been. I could just as easily have ended up sleeping rough or living a life without a hammer. I drove to the Home timber yard and had 6 cedar shelves cut. They measured 1020 mm long by 190mm wide.

I remember reading of a man who built his own coffin. He put this coffin in his lounge room. He did not want anyone else to be responsible for his own death. He felt that at least he could ‘own’ his own death.

The storm

The storm

He also built the two trestles that the coffin was resting on. Truly a diligent man. I have rarely heard anything even close to someone having that kind of foresight. I can well imagining him waking up each morning satisfied that ‘all was now in order’. Perhaps he even tried it out occasionally. Perhaps while watching TV or listening to a Mozart concert. There too would have been saw dust on the floor and dirt under his fingers.

He had found himself.

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24 Responses to “Shelves for the Men’s shed.”

  1. Nick Ryan Says:

    Really, Cedar for humble shelves, you do the cedar a disservice Gerard, Pine would be cheaper and is more sustainable than cedar.save the cedar for more fitting uses – PLEASE . . . . .

    Like

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    What are “the real essentials of life”?. Surely that must be in the eyes of the beholder. I’m still, like a blind man, looking for those essentials.

    Aren’t cedar shelving more for books?

    Like

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Ah Gerard, you are now dubbed Mr Handyman. One who wields a hammer, nails, saw, tape measure and the like. What an assest for H. to now know that she has a “real inner self essential man” who knows how to build shelving.๐Ÿ™‚

    I can not imagine how it took so long for you to discover your inner self. Oh the wisdom we gain as we age.๐Ÿ™‚

    Actually, I have to agree that cedar is/was an excellent choice. Here in the states it it used to line closets to keep out moths that chew on woolen clothing.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks petspeopleandlife. We can only truly know ourselves when having built a shelf.
      It might take some just a day others struggle for years. It doesn’t matter. It is the journey towards the shelf that counts.
      I sometimes put my crankiness on the shelf. It often comes in handy.

      Like

  4. Brian Says:

    I’m pretty sure I know the home timber company you got your timber from Gerard… Mittagong ? I also bought my shed shelving timber there .. Amazing coincidence. But I even went further and built a mezzanine floor with big flight of steps in my shed. …wow ! Trouble is ,its so big I’m have no idea what I m going to put up there. I’m not about to build a coffin though !
    Brian

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      AMAZING Brian, welcome. I did buy them from Mittagong Home timber yard. How did you know? Were you the guy that measured and cut it? I haven’t reached the level of building a mezzanine yet.
      I suppose you could put a skylight in the mezzanine and stare at the stars during the night. I know I would.

      Like

  5. Andrew Says:

    I rather like the idea of building my own coffin but I fear Mrs. Ha would not have it in the house. And my skills with a hammer, drill or saw are likely to result in more work for the person brought in to sort out the catastrophic results. I can wire a plug and I have drilled holes in walls for rawl plugs and the like but when it comes to putting up shelves let alone building a mezzanine floor with stairs, then I am happy to leave it to the experts. I admire your choice of wood, Gerard. I think a nice piece of walnut or cherry would do well, too. Pine ages well though, I admit. Oak is probably a bit OTT. No point in skimping on a shed though.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You put in raw plugs? Now I am amazed. It means you would have access to a hammer drill. I use my dad’s old drill. It has a slow and fast speed AND a hammer action. This is essential for drilling into brick or cement. It needs the drill to rotate and with the pneumatic action of the ‘hammer’ facilitates the drill to make its hole. The plug expends when the screw gets screwed in and with the serrated edges grips the side of the hole unable to move anywhere. Oh yes, there is nothing like the satisfaction of a raw plug working to hold the shelf into place. (or anything else)

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      • Nick Ryan Says:

        Gerard, I doubt your drill is Pneumatic . . . . I would say more like percussion, I know you feel ready for the big boys toys league after installing a shelf but … maybe not yet. I think there may be a minimum of rawl plugs before you can move on up – say 500?

        BTW I laid 12 ton of concrete in my shed a fortnight ago, I have to pour another slab for Sheree’s art studio, 8 metres x 8 metres so if you want to get involved, do please grab your wellies and come and help.๐Ÿ™‚

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      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Who squabbles over mere pedantic details? I am more for the big artistic cedar shelving . You preferred pine.
        Surely pneumatic action has more poetry to it than percussion. The latter is for drummers. By the way Nick, did you ever read ‘the tin drum?

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      • Nick Ryan Says:

        I don’t prefer Pine Gerard, I did not say that! I say use cedar for a much nicer purpose, Cedar is such a lovely timber & much more suited for a nice piece of furniture. Lets face it a shelf full of tins or whatever you have decided for its fate, only really has the one face visible about 12 mm high, I have a lot of cedar in my wood store and agree it is incredibly light with a beautiful grain, mine will certainly not be used for shelves, which if erected properly will not warp, the knots matter not Gerard and are more character for the shelves. I think it is a shame a lovely cedar tree has been cut down to make shelves when it can do so much more๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andrew Says:

        Gerard, I own a hammer drill๐Ÿ™‚ Cost Centre 2’s ex-boyfriend borrowed it. I must check whether it was returned. It is/was a very good Black & Decker.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I think I’ll forgo the coffin and opt out for the oven. It will allow essence of Curt to be scattered out more widely. Besides, having just turned 71, I don’t need a coffin around to remind me of my mortality. Building shelves definitely seems to be the way to go in becoming a manly man. Tell me, do you make Tarzan or great ape sounds when beating your chest? And which is better for using cedar. Inquiring minds want to know? โ€“Curt

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Curt, I do make prime evil noises after the success of a shelf put into place. I used to climb the Manchurian tree and let loose a little but ear piercing scream. It would make Mrs Mavis South Kensington opposite come out of her door. Since the tree got shorter with it being blown down (see photo) I now stand on my pair of steps and shout my primitive but triumphant scream.
      It helps to get things of my chest and I become a better more wholesome person.
      Hope this helps.

      Like

  7. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Gerard, I’ve clearly married the wrong man. I have been waiting for shelves to be put up in the new kitchen for 4 months. I make hints, I nag, I’ve even succumbed to a tearful outburst, but to no avail. Fancy a trip to Southern Spain?

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks for the invite Lottie. We are seriously thinking of a travel trip but will wait till the double glazing gets done. We have chosen Euro-glazing as the contractor. Winter has announced itself! 14c this morning! Tell Irish to smarten up and put shelving up for the kitchen.

      Like

  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Yes, Gerard you clearly have your priorities in order. Build shelves to store your tools. Dr Advice built many shelves in my sculpture studio for drying pots, sculptures, tools, etc. Now that I can no longer handle the “big stuff”, the shelves store paint cans, garden tools, Dr. Advice’s tools and whatever else catches his fancy. One might assume that he was thinking ahead for his own comfort and pleasure, but I would never think that.

    BTW I once saw a wicker basket designed to carry deceased bodies from the home used as a coffee table. Clever but macabre. I have two antique potty chairs often used as extra seating. It was good enough for Bette Davis who had a collection of them.

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  9. paul walter Says:

    Men’s “shedding”, one of the great feminist issues of our time.

    What do they get up to ? Knowing men, it must be some thing dubious: drinking cheap plonk on the sly, reading coarse erotic literature, listening to the races or cricket on a pocket-wireless.

    Anything but work, of course…they are work-shy. hiding from work….”BASIL!!

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  10. A very important story about my wife's family background Says:

    This in my opinion this is Gerard at his best (men’s shed) A shelf for a shelf for a shelf. Sorry but I think you are much better as a writer compared to a hairy chested SES worker. Can’t imagine you in fluoro jacket, no way

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  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks Herman, This is a blast from the past. Did not even remember having written this. The shelves are working very well.

    Like

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