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Bright Lights, Cool Breezes

March 26, 2011
By: Darrell Smith, Farm Journal Conservation and Machinery Editor
crossley shop
A roomy, uncluttered bay lets Indiana farmer Tim Crossley work on several projects at once. A separate building provides storage.  

Abundant workspace, bright lighting and comfortable working conditions size up the shop that Tim and Lisa Crossley built on their farm near Greens Fork, Ind., a couple years ago.

Perhaps best of all, Tim says, the shop contributed to the sustainability of their farm operation. "If our farm had not grown in size, I might have opened a repair business in the shop to utilize my spare time," he adds.

Fortunately, the farm did grow, and the shop has contributed. "Since building the shop, we seldom send any repair jobs to a dealer," Tim says.

"My favorite aspect of the shop is plenty of open space to work on projects. I can tear a machine apart and not feel crowded, even if the job takes a week," he explains.

It was Tim’s wife, Lisa, who recommended making the building 50'x80' rather than 40'x60'. "That turned out to be the perfect size," Tim says. "I can pull in a semi and have plenty of room all around it to work."

The building sits on a bed of gravel, which was required to level the area, with a plastic moisture barrier on top. The interior is lined 8' high with fiberboard to absorb sound and make it easy to fasten hangers. Above that is white metal paneling to reflect light.

Sliding doors. Two sliding doors on the east end of the building create an entrance 25' wide and 14'3" high—big enough for any combine Tim expects to ever own. "I chose sliding doors for maximum clearance and for economy," he says.

Latches at the top of each door ensure a tight seal during cold weather. To prevent drafts at the bottom, Lisa made "draft dodgers"—beanbag-type denim containers filled with a cat litter–like material designed to soak up oil (chosen because it would not attract mice).

There also are two 10'-high, 9'-wide garage doors in the side of the building, creating an entrance for cars and pickups. "The overhead garage doors in the shop are only temporary," Tim says. "When I build an attached garage on the house, I’ll make that wall of the shop solid."

Concrete aprons extend outside the sliding doors and the overhead doors. There are two walk-in doors.

crossley shop entrance
Sliding doors, chosen for maximum clearance and economy, create an entrance 25' wide and 14'3" high.

Concrete in the floor ranges from 4" along the outside edges to 6½" in the center, which sees traffic from semi trucks and combines. Polypro-pylene fibers in the concrete help prevent chipping.

"We left the surface of the concrete just a little rough," Tim says. "A mirror-smooth finish can cause you to slip if you walk on it with wet shoes. This is a little harder to sweep, but safer."

Tim ruled out an epoxy sealant. "We wondered if a sealed floor would dry out or evaporate water as quickly," he says. "My dad’s shop was always damp because moisture couldn’t get out. In ours, the concrete is so dry it seems to absorb some of the water and then gradually let it back out."

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Early Spring 2011
RELATED TOPICS: Magazine Features, Shops

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