Chicken Shed to Carriage Shed (or whatever we decide to call it)

If you want to skip the words and do it in pictures - click here! (mind you, you will be missing some riveting text!)

We needed more space for our rolling stock.  High Hole was full to the extent that we were "double decking" some coaches.  We were tipped off about a chicken shed that was slowly rotting away on a different part of the site. A bit of trading later and it was mine!  All I had to do was move this 12' x 32' wooden structure a mile across the site

Stage 1 - prepare base for the chicken shed in its new location

Stage 2 - enabling works to help the dismantling process

Stage 3 - dismantle

Stage 4 - re-fettle

Stage  5- re assemble

Stage 1 was completed by the students at Wiltshire College Lackham as part of their education.  To them and their lecturers I am very grateful.  They dug out the foundations, laid concrete and one course of concrete blocks.  I supplied all the materials and the concrete mixer. They also dug out and concreted the base of the steaming bay/ash drop.  They then went off to build paths/lay hedges elsewhere on site

Stage 2 was quite tricky, whilst the building was made in wooden sections, they were held together by aged (and very rusty) coach bolts.  There were 8 roof panels and they joined together in three places using three bolts at each joint. That was a total of 54 rusty bolts (overhead) to remove!

We saw this as the biggest obstacle, but in fact my youngest son (Robert) and right hand man at Lackham suggested that we do it from the top on the day we dismantled using my Aldi crocodile saw with a hacksaw blade (a well spent 20 at Aldi's).

In the mean time we removed all the bolts holding the side panels and ends together and replaced them with brand new bolts.  We also removed all the old partitions and got rid of the rubbish.

Stage 3 Dismantling day arrived. The college had left a trailer adjacent to the Chicken Shed, all we had to do was create a "flat pack"!  Roberts suggestion worked and in no time the roof was off.  With new bolts holding the side panels they came apart very easily, it was then loaded on the trailer to be moved to its new home.

Stage 4 started on the Thursday before the Whitsun holiday when Grahame and I sorted out the sides and roof panels into matching pairs (we had marked everything before we dismantled it) and assessed what new timber was required.

Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend and Robert, Richard and myself spent the day removing rotten and wormy timber with new timber.  This applied to most of the lower timbers of the sides and the lower trusses of the roof.  By 5pm we had finished. The forecast hadn't been too good but it stayed dry and I even had a sunburnt neck! 

Stage 5 and we had a team of 7 on Whit Monday.  Some minor re-fettling was still required but remarkably quickly it was all back together again!  It was surprising that until it was fully complete it felt relatively shaky, but when that last panel was fitted and all the bolts tightened, it became very rigid.

It is still not perfect, the lower 18" of the outer cladding is fairly rotten and will require replacing, in fact I think I will treat it with bitumen paint and cover it with a plywood "skirt" to improve the looks. The roof will be over-skinned using 11mm OSB then felted.  I then need to level the ground inside and lay track in, but we will get there.

Watch this space (or bookmark this page)  I will update it as we work on the building.

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