Kit and caboodle

It’s been a long time since I last bought a kit of any kind – certainly a woodworking kit – but I’ve just done exactly that.

A few weeks ago I discussed building a storage shed so I could get all the nonwoodworking stuff out of my shop. My two ways to go were to buy all the materials and build it from scratch, something I’m perfectly capable of doing, or to just buy a complete kit. The kit was a bit more expensive than individual components and materials, but a huge savings in time. After checking out the various offerings at the two flavors of big-box stores in my area, I found pretty much what I was looking for and decided that the first store that put them on sale would get my money.

That happened this week and I bought my kit. It weighs about 800 lbs., plus a few hundred more for shingles, treated 10’ 4×4 skids and other materials, so I didn’t just toss it into the back of my car. Instead, the whole pile of stuff will be delivered next week.

I’m pleased and excited about building this shed, because it will enable me to really lay out my shop properly for the first time in the four years we’ve lived in this house, but I can’t help but admit to a bit of guilt. The last woodworking kit I bought was probably more than 20 years ago, back at a time when my tools were minimal and my skills still developing. At the risk of sounding immodest, I think I can honestly say that my skills and shop equipment are far beyond the need to do woodworking from a kit. Kind of like Rachel Ray picking up a “Suddenly Salad” mix at the grocery store.

And yet, here I am. We’ll see how it goes. Expect a report on the kit experience in the next few weeks.

Till next time,



  • David McDonnel says:

    AJ you’ll probably say to yourself: “I wouldn’t have done it that way” a million times but if you can supress the urge to re-engineer the job the time you save can be spent reorganizing the shop. After all you are only trying to put a roof over the yard tools not write a shed building article for Fine Homebuilding! Keep your perspective and you’ll be making sawdust in your reorganized shop before you know it!

    David Mcdonnel “Mac”

  • A.J. Hamler says:

    Oh, I absolutely know that I’ll be re-engineering it as I build the kit — beef this up here, replace this with something better there, add yet something else somewhere else. I know myself pretty well, so I know this will happen. Besides, I also know that there’s no way this “kit” will have everything it’s supposed to. Or, more likely, it WILL have everything it’s supposed to, but one in every five items will be broken, warped, cracked, too short or otherwise unuseable. I have no doubt whatsoever that once I start taking inventory of what’s in the package that I’ll find a lot of broken/missing/etc parts that will require another trip to the Big Box store to replace it/them so I can get started. Further, I’ll be downright shocked if construction doesn’t come to a dead halt (probably multiple times) for the same reason, requiring additional trips. Fortunately, the store is only five miles away.

    Just as fortunately, it will give me material for future blogs.


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