Monday, June 2, 2008

How to Build a Wooden Ramp for a Shed

Most American home-owners mow and care for their own lawns. This necessitates a wealth of lawn-care equipment such as lawnmowers, weed eaters, wheelbarrows, and miscellaneous hand tools. Traditionally these are stored in a shed near or attached to the back of the home. Such sheds are either pre-fabricated or assembled on site. They're waterproof and keep your outdoor tools safe from the elements. You'll find that the lip of these sheds are rarely level with the ground. It's no great hassle to carry in the hand tools you use, but there's no chance you'd be able to carry in bigger machines like riding lawn mowers. They’re just too heavy. That's why many people have a shed ramp. You could pay a carpenter several hundred dollars to build and install one for you, but why spend the money when you can build your own easily and on a shoestring budget? This guide will explain how to make a quality wooden shed ramp quickly and affordably.

Things You’ll Need:
Wood drill bits
Metal drill bits
Through bolts
Two-inch nails
Circular Saw
2 Wrenches
One treated lumber 2X4
Multiple treated lumber 4X4's
Sheet of 3/4 inch plywood
Tape Measure
Wood Pencil
Asphalt Shingles (Optional)

Building A Wooden Shed Ramp
Step 1:
Use the drill to bore holes into the lip of the shed about an inch below the door. You'll need to use a specialized drill bit to get through the shed wall if it's made of metal. Three holes equidistant from each other should be sufficient. These holes should be only slightly smaller in diameter than the through bolts you'll be using.

Step 2:
Cut the 2X4 to be as long as the shed's lip is wide. Line up and mark the holes from the shed onto the 2X4 with a wood pencil. Bore holes into the 2X4 of a slightly smaller diameter than the through bolts you have.

Step 3:
Line up the shed's lip and the 2X4 and attach the two with the through bolts. Use your wrenches to make sure the bolts are as tight as you can get them.

Step 4:
Take your circular saw, tape measure, and your 4X4s. You'll need one 4X4 for every two foot width of the shed's lip, but you should use at least two. The length of your 4X4s is determined by how high off the ground the lip of the shed is. The 4X4s should be at least one foot long for every three inches that the shed's lip is off the ground. If the ramp is too steep your heavy equipment won't be able to get enough traction and either slip down or tumble off.

Step 5:
When you've cut the 4X4s to length, lay them on the lip of the shed and mark the spots where the other ends touch the ground. Dig a small trench the full width of the shed's lip where the 4X4s will touch the ground. This will help to anchor the finished ramp in place and keep it from slipping away from the shed when under a heavy load. The 4X4s will only more solidly embed themselves in the ground as time goes by.

Step 6:
Cut one end of each of the 4X4s at a 45 degree angle using the circular saw, so instead of a flat end you have diagonal ones.

Step 7:
Lay the pointed ends of the 4X4s horizontal to the ground. Use your tape measure and pencil. Measure two inches back and one half inch down from the long tip of each 4X4. Mark this point and draw a vertical line down as well as a horizontal line back to the slanted end of the wood. Cut along these lines with your circular saw. This has effectively notched the ends of the 4X4s so they will fit easily over the top of the 2X4 that you have anchored to the shed.

Step 8:
Place each notched length of wood over the anchored 2X4 and drive a few nails into each to hold them together. The other ends of the 4X4s should fit snugly into the ditch you've dug.

Step 9:
Lay your plywood over the 4X4s and mark their dimensions on the plywood with a pencil.

Step 10:
Follow the line's you've marked in the plywood with your circular saw.

Step 11:
Nail the fitted pieced of plywood into place. Your nails should form nice orderly rows that travel down the length of each 4X4 stud under the plywood. You should have a practical and very effective shed ramp now. You also have the opportunity to take things a step further and increase the traction on the ramp by tacking a series of asphalt shingles in rows along the plywood surface. This is entirely optional.

Tips & Warnings
Once your ramp is complete you may want to seal the wood against the damp, mildew, and mold.
Be careful when working with power tools

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