My Shop ~ Part 3 ~ Walls Going Up

We are now about three weeks into building my shop and the walls are going up.

We have had a lot of interruptions; both Armando and I have had head colds, I took some time to wash the mold off the wooden ceilings in our rental house, I’ve had to make trips to the city to take care of other business, and there has been rain, rain, rain. But still, we are making progress and when I look at today’s batch of photos I am satisfied with all we have accomplished.

Early in the day when it is not raining, Armando works out in the open. But by 10:30 or 11:00 he moves under the tarps. The tarps are a minute to minute affair as the wind whips them, strings break, and the tarps get torn by the rebars sticking up from the columns.

After the house is finished, Armando will go back to working for us one day a week doing yard work. He’ll need a bathroom outside of the house, and it will be more convenient if a bathroom is near my shop so I don’t have to tromp dirt through the house. We decided to take a corner of my shop for a small area for a toilet and shower. In the next picture, Armando lays block by the bathroom door. By the way, wherever a block meets a column, Armando drives a concrete nail part way into the column, then makes a hole in the end of the block, lays the block, then fills the void in the block with mortar, thereby locking the block to the column.

As I mentioned in a previous post, block work here in Panama is not perfect. It’s okay, I keep telling myself. In the next picture you can see that a lot of the blocks simply fall apart.

Here is the same shot but later in the day. I decided to put a small closet in the corner. The main reason for this is to strengthen the door jamb for the main shop door. The door will be eight feet wide. I’ll put a security door on the closet and I can keep small tools such as drills and grinders in the closet.

Here’s an overview of the shop to date:

In other news, I am making progress on fabricating the window frames that will get welded into the container walls. I’ll have a post on that soon, but for now know that I am welding and grinding away on the project. I am welding square 2″x2″x1/16″ metal tubing. If I had an unlimited budget I would have liked to use 1/8″ tubing because it would have been a breeze to weld. The 1/16th inch thick tubing is much more of a¬†challenge¬†as it is oh so very easy to burn right through the tubing while trying to weld. Some of my corners have been great successes, such as this next photo looking straight down on a corner.

Other times I haven’t been so lucky and the welds are, um, ahh, UGLY. In this next picture I am working with two pieces of metal that I cut slightly too short. The magnification of errors resulted in a 3/8″ gap that I had to bridge by using a piece of 3/8″ rebar. All of this mess will of course be ground smooth and will disappear after a few coats of paint are applied. But still, ugly is as ugly does and I present it here without shame:

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

2 thoughts on “My Shop ~ Part 3 ~ Walls Going Up

  1. Hey Fred,
    I don’t think you have to worry about the quality of those welds at all. In fact, I could use someone for a day to help me assemble a wrought iron railing I had shipped to Pedasi, Panama. The house is on the beach and maybe the both of you could use a break. Interested?

    Sorry lost your email addy.,


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