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Shop Ages Gracefully

May 15, 2009
By: Darrell Smith, Farm Journal Conservation and Machinery Editor

There comes a time in a farmer's career when it no longer makes sense to build a new farm shop. But you don't want the shop you have to show its age, either.

Just ask Brian Andrews of Rossville, Ill. While he plans to never completely retire, he has scaled his corn and soybean operation back from 2,000 acres to 400 acres. He now serves as township road commissioner.

"Earlier in my career, I did more mechanical work,” Andrews says. "Now I buy new equipment, and today's machinery holds up well, so I make fewer repairs. These days, I use my farm shop for general maintenance and hobbies and to build stuff for [the Vermilion County] Ag Literacy Foundation fundraising auctions.”

A few upgrades, often using salvaged materials, has ensured that the shop will continue to meet Andrews' needs for many years to come.

The 45'x45' shop bay, inside a 64'x136' building, was on the farm when Andrews moved there in 1975. One corner could have been turned into an office and bathroom, but with his residence just a few yards away, Andrews opted to install an overhead door and use the area for storage instead.

Andrews made the shop seem bigger by pouring a 24'x22' apron of 8" reinforced concrete, sloped for drainage, outside the door. "It extends the work area and provides a nice place to work in good weather,” he says.

More recent improvements include a new door, more economical lighting and new windows.

Andrews replaced the shop's original 22' sliding doors with a 22'x14½' hangar-type door, made by Hi-Fold Door (, with 14' clearance. He hung the new door with the help of a neighbor who furnished a fork lift.

"We had to reinforce the end of the building because some of the weight of the door extends outside when it is in the raised position,” he says.

The cost of the door was about $1,600. Andrews insulated it and paneled the outside to match the rest of the building. The paneling was—you guessed it—salvaged from a factory.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Late Spring 2009
RELATED TOPICS: Machinery, Contests, Shops

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