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The Outdoor Space

We planned to create an outdoor area in front of The Hog to allow us to work outside in all weathers, powered by our portable battery packs.

Fundraising is now complete, thanks to some private contributors and a very kind donation by the Lionel Abel Smith Trust. Design work is complete and the build is now underway.

Our Vision

Our vision is to provide a “full” shed facility encompassing various practical fields. This will start with basic woodworking and metalworking, but longer term encompass more advenurous activities such as woodturning, a metal lathe and milling, carving, welding and maybe even a simple blacksmith’s forge.

The Hog is a perfect starting point for our activities, but we now have permission from WPC for an expansion to our current site usage on Hogtrough Lane. We plan to build an outdoor covered area in front of The Hog to allow us to work in all weathers (and on which to mount our solar panels). We will also install a small (8ft x x8ft) traditional garden shed for storage of materials, plus introduce some form of toilet facility. Being next door to the wounderful old stable building, we also plan to sympathetically incorporate this into our overall shed space at some point.

Thnaks to a very generous donation from the Lionel Abel Smith Trust we are now able to start the design and build of the outdoor covered area!

Long-Term Plan

Workshop and Outdoor Space

We are now starting to fit out our workshop and based on information from other UK Men’s Shed it is beneficial and safer to have an outdoor area for work involving some power tools. Ideally this outdoor space should be covered to allow shed opening and operation in all weathers. Wendover Shed, therefore, plan to build an outdoor covered area, a temporary wooden structure, in front of The Hog.

We feel that now The Hog is in place next door to The Stables, it looks like it has always been there. The Hog’s slightly urban feel oddly blends with the rustic nature of The Stables next door and the surrounding trees. Any outdoor covered area we would create would be carefully designed to keep this blending of styles. We have a shed member working on a design and a costing and can present a detailed proposal in due course.

Off-Grid Electrics

Wendover Shed has always planned to use off-grid power, a mix of solar and wind generated electricity stored in modern Lithium batteries. We have already secured funding for this from the Clare Foundation and the Wendover and Villages Community Board. Our proposed set-up leaves us with some residue funding to build a means of mounting the solar panels.

Given the locational aspect of The Hog, the sun’s path mainly tracks behind the unit and the trees to its rear. This is not ideal for solar power generation. We would, therefore, ideally look to mount the solar panels on a raised structure in front of The Hog, moving them slightly away from the trees. The covered outdoor space would hence serve a dual purpose, an all-weather working area and a mounting structure for our solar panels.

Storage and The Stables

We have been donated a small garden shed (8ft x 8ft) which we plan to position immediately to the left of The Hog for some storage in the short-term.  This will require a concrete foundation pad.

However, as mentioned above, we feel that The Stables already feels an integrated part of Wendover Shed, and one day we would like to renovate this, in a sympathetic way, and somehow incorporate it fully into our shed activities. As a starting point The Stables will also make a very useful store for materials, mainly timber, but we need to secure the door, something our shed members can easily do.

A Toilet

Having a membership which will likely include a number of men of older years, we will need some form of toilet on site.  We have been offered a spare chemical toilet by the Rifle Club.  Our thought is to eventually turn this into a composting toilet, positioned in between The Hog and The Stables, hidden behind some screening.  Separate fundraising and planning will be required for this.

Proposed Site Plan

Our long-term plan is to utilise a wider area around The Hog.  We will create the outdoor space reaching out3-4 metres in front of the unit, plus use a 3 metres area to the left of The Hog for our “garden shed”.  We will also establish the toilet facility between The Hog and The Stables.

Our initial use of The Stables is for storage, securing the door of the building.  Longer term, we will propose a sympathetic restoration of this wonderful space, but we would present a separate proposal for this activity.


Phase 1 - The Garden Shed

Phase 1 completed the installation of the 8ft garden shed for wood storage. This required the construction of a concrete base and a good memory of how to put the thing back together!

Phase 2 - Outdoor Covered Space - Design

Phase 2 mainly comprises the build of the outdoor covered area and a flat ground working surface in front of The Hog, currently envisages to be wooden decking.  The design is envisaged to be a pent pergola style sloping into The Hog to aid positioning of the solar panels towards the back of the site to face the sun.  We would also collect rainwater from the structure and The Hog itself.

The roofing would be plastic to allow light through.  Solar panels would be mounted at the front of the structure to move them away from the shade of the trees behind The Hog.

We have completed our design and constructed a 1:50 scale 3D printed model. Thanks to the Lionel Abel Smith Trust we now have funding for the build.

Phase 3 - Outdoor Covered Space - Build

Watch this space, as the below image hopefully starts to become reality. The plan is to bring in expert advice where needed but our Shedders will build the structure, learning along the way.

The Foundations

Our first job was to dig some foundations for the upright 150mm x 150mm wooden posts. We decided to use steel post supports which we would cement into the ground. This required digging eight 600mm deep holes with a top pad of 250mm x 250mm. We started these holes with a 6" auger but eventually resorted to a fence post shovel.

Understanding the Joinery

We decided to use ancient techniques to build the outdoor covered area, specifically pinned mortice and tenon joints. We would use modern power tools to speed up the process where possible but sticking with ancient principles. Our joinery turn out to be fairly complex with a significant number of joints to be cut and assembled.

Finding a Master Carpenter

The large amounts of timber on site and the bemused and puzzled looks of our shedders attracted the attention of a friendly local master carpenter who kindly volunteered to show us some of the skills we would need to proceed with our build. He started with the mortice and tenon joint we would need to join our vertical post supports tour horzontal cross beams. These are both heavy duty 150mm x 1500mm (6" x 6") timbers!


The site of our outdoor space is on uneven ground. We decided to layout the concrete pads on which the vertical posts would sit at ground level and adjust the height of the posts to cater for the difference in ground level. We decided to try an ancient water leveling technique involving water in a clear tube. This was then checked by our master carpenter with a laser level.

First Cuts

Most of us hadn't tackled anything like this before. Even those with some carpentry experience hand't tackled anything of this scale.


Although the practical purpose of building an outdoor space is obvious, one of the main aims of the project was the benefits our shedders could gain from the build itself. This involved learning new skills and working together, bonding, as a group. Some of our shedders hadn't touched a chisel before, some were less comfortable with power tools. There is also a lot of laughter.


Once we got started and became more confident and proficient with our new carpentry skill, progress started to speed up. We built the structure in four quadrants brought together by the roofing rafters. This enabled us to celebrate progress at each stage.

One of our shedders devised a "jack" to help us draw our gallows brace mortice and tenon joints together more tightly.

The jack worked a treat and we are all extremely proud of our newfound joinery skills.

It seemed like we would never reach this day but we finally finished all four sections of the structure, plus added purlins to the rafters in readiness for its roof.

The Roof

We decided to use 32/100 Box Profile Steel Roofing for our roof. This was supplied by Cardinal Steels. The initial design included a polycarbonate roof, but on review we decided a steel roof in the same colour as The Hog would be more in keeping with our rural, agricultural feel, plus it would be easier to fit and longer lasting.

Our biggest challenge was to lift the roofing sheets on to the structure. We brain-stormed (a lot) but ended with the simplest soloution. We just braced the end of each sheet to stop it folding and hauled it up with two ropes!

There was then fun and (literally) high jinx to get the roofing fitted and secured. We had two shedders who have high-ropes or climbing training, so they had climbing harnesses and ropes to ensure this was done safely!

We are very pleased with the end result. A 9.6m x 4m covered area enabling us to work outside in all weathers and importantly an area to mount our solar panels. Take a look at The Electrics project for more details on our solar panels and off-grid energy set-up.

The Deck

We debated whether to build a deck or lay a stone patio under the outdoor structure. We ended up with a deck, mainly as we didn't have the energy to level the ground and lug heavy paving slabs around!

The decking build is under-way with half the frame in place. The main surround is secured to our 150mm upright posts, with joists and noggins secured with additional fence post legs concreted into holes in the ground. Digging the holes has made us question our ease of decking vs. paving decision!

Watch This Space!

Our efforts are contuining, so watch this space for updates...

Our Supporters

We would very much like to thank our supporters for this projects:

  • Lionel Abel Smith Trust for their king donation towards building the covered outdoor space

  • The Timber Group for providing a hefty discount on all the timber.

  • Cardinal Steel for supplying the box roofing

  • Various private contributors through our private fundraising activities

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