Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 4
May 2007
The Log Workshop - Part 2

Raising the Log Workshop

Editor's Note: The following is the second article in a series of three. Part 1 can be found in Volume 1, Issue 3. Look for the final instalment in an upcoming woodworking newsletter.

Diehard woodworkers like me can easily see the potential in just about any old, derelict log building. But such vision is hard to sustain when the same logs lie in a snowy, jumbled pile, reminiscent of dried bonfire fodder. As winter lingered on, I willed spring to come, as I was eager to begin the process of transforming this inauspicious mound of logs into my long-anticipated workshop.

The snow-covered logs
They may not look like much here, but eventually these logs would become the author's dream woodworking workshop.

Originally, my seemingly aimless pile of logs had been a sturdy homestead — the hard work of a Scottish stonemason by the name of McKinnon. Starting anew in Canada, he built the log house in 1812. It was home to generations of McKinnons until one winter's day when the last lone occupant, John Dan McKinnon, passed away in the early 1970s. John Dan was set in his ways, so the house never had hot running water, electricity or direct access to the road. However, that was about to change.

The first step in raising the old McKinnon house was to pour the slab-on-grade foundation. Embedded with cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing and surrounded by perimeter insulation, it would serve as a radiant heat source for the building. As fate would have it, I farmed this job out to a local contractor, Jim Bourne, who befriended both the project and me. A jack-of-all-trades and a character to boot, Jim freely lent his advice and his tools.


The workshop floor
The author built the workshop floor to serve as a source of radiant heat by using PEX tubing surrounded by perimeter insulation.

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