When we bought our home, we knew right away what we would do with the large, new, unfinished shed in the back yard: convert it into a rope studio where we could offer classes.
Of course, the first goal would be to create a second shed that could actually hold shed stuff! So we got one of those nice vinyl sheds and spent two weekends (with the help of a few friends) making a foundation for it, assembling it, and then moving all of the items we’d put in the original shed over to the new shed.
Once the original shed was empty, we got to work on the first stage of the conversion: creating and installing secure anchor points for the suspension hardware.
This part of the project was far more complicated than any of had expected. The original design ideas was to create three steel A-frames that would mimic and lay along side the existing rafters and then attach steel cross-bars to the A-frames. The cross-bars would be the things to which people would eventually attach their suspension hardware.
The idea was fairly simple, and a rather elegant solution. And in the end, the final product is just that: simple and elegant. But getting from idea to final product was not a straight line.
We used 1/4″ steel flat bar (3 1/2″ wide) to make the A-frame. The width was our first mistake. If we’d gone with 2 1/2″ wide, the structure would still have been plenty strong, but we wouldn’t have had to worry about making the fit against the existing rafters so precise, and we wouldn’t have had to deal with the flat bar hanging down below the rafters in places where the wood wasn’t exactly level or our fit wasn’t 100% precise.
The next struggle was that we made the full A-frame and then realized we didn’t have enough play between the rafters to lift it up over the top of the wall and pivot it into place. That meant we needed to cut about a foot from one side of each A-frame and create bolt plates to attach the legs. That way, we could get one side of the frame up and over the wall, into the rafters, and then attach the leg on the other side and bolt it into place so that both ends rested firmly on the wall. That process involved a lot of additional cutting and welding.
There was other work to be done during this process, of course. We had to tear down the shelves the previous owner had built into each side of the shed to make more room. We also had to deal with moving some of the existing wiring and reinforcing the wall in key areas beneath the A-frames.
But eventually, after about four weekends worth of work (which was three more weekends than we’d expected), we got the frames in place and secured. They’re very sturdy (they pass our “Godzilla” test … in that, it would take something like Godzilla to compromise the structure) and the final product looks really simple and elegant … just three steel beams across the ceiling.
We want to thank everyone again who donated to our GoFundMe for this project. We keep our prices low for classes to make rope education as accessible as possible, and this project is taking a big chunk out of our personal finances. So, every little contribution is very helpful and very much appreciated!
Still to do: making some changes to the wiring, framing out the ceiling, hanging drywall, adding floors, and finishing touches.