Or, why the M-5 is not finished yet

When I moved to Dartmouth, Mass. in the middle of the truck restoration, I knew that I wanted a proper home for the Wagonaire, the M-5, and one future sibling.  I spent a couple of months talking with builders and garage suppliers.  I read books and magazines on the subject.  In the end, I got a set of plans through the web and used some of the concepts as the basis for a new, 24x36 ft, 3-bay design of my own.  Of course, I had to get permits from the town, permission from the conservation commission, etc.  It all takes time.  Having a free-standing garage, rather than joining it to the house, made the permit process easier.  I thought about erecting the garage myself, but decided that I was already in over my head with projects.  My local building supply company recommended a small, local contractor to do the framing and roofing.  I also got recommendations for an excavator, concrete foundation contractor, electrician, and garage door supplier.   Eventually, the plans and permits were in place and we broke ground adjacent to the existing 2-car garage where the previous owner had located a dog kennel.  I was about to learn how to be a general contractor.

An enormous Caterpillar 315B tracked excavator dug the foundation hole one morning, and that afternoon the form work was put up.  In Massachusetts, a 4 ft foundation wall is normally needed to get below the frost line, but since the site dropped off at one end, mine had to be 6 ft deep.  When I got home from work, I found the form guys finishing their work in the dark.  I asked if they were going to pour concrete the next day , but they said, "No, the truck will be here in a few minutes."   And, so, they poured concrete in the dark.  They were back the next morning to strip the forms.

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Site before construction.

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Concrete arrives.

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The forms in place after the pour.

To keep moisture from getting under the floor, I coated the foundation with tar and building paper.  After the concrete had set up for 10 days, the excavator returned to fill in around the outside and where the floor was to be.  After making a very expensive, concrete-filled hole in the ground,  were now ready to begin the real construction.  The first load of wood arrived and the framing crew threw it up.   I designed the building with full 8 ft studs to gain extra height inside and allow 8 ft high doors.  The M-5 truck is tall, and who knows, maybe I'll want an M-16 truck someday!

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The foundation coated with tar.

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Ready to build.

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Putting up the frame.

Once the first floor was framed, the roof trusses went on.  With the 24x36 ft frame, I used 26 ft long trusses to give a foot of overhang to keep the rain and snow off the front and rear walls.  I used special attic trusses which made a room 12 ft wide and 36 ft long in the loft.  While the height in the center is only 6'1", it's plenty for me.  Maybe I should have a hard hat for tall visitors.  There are windows at each end of the loft plus three large windows in the back on the ground floor.   The outside is sheathed with T1-11 siding which got painted gray.  To prevent those New England ice dams on the roof, there are ventilated soffits and a ridge vent at the top of the roof.  Continuous chutes from the soffits to the ridge allow for air flow under the roofing even with insulation in place. 

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With future winter activities in mind, I put a plastic membrane under the floor to keep out moisture and put down 2 inch thick foam boards before placing the reinforcing mesh for the concrete.  Soon, the concrete truck returned for pouring of the floors.  The floor guys did an elegant ballet in their high boots as they waded through wet concrete to place and screed the pour.  As it began to harden, they strapped on pontoons on their feet and danced the polishing machine across the surface to flatten and smooth it.   After that, some hand finishing completed the job. 

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A 2 inch layer of foam boards insulates the floor.

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"Step-2-3, kick-2-3" seemed to be the ballet motion while wading and screeding.

There is no furnace in the garage yet, but I did insulate the walls and roof, as well.   I put OSB (oriented strand board) on the inside walls so that I could screw things anywhere on the surface.   While I had at first considered a pull-down stairway to get to the loft, I eventually decided on a full stairway.  I mounted the railings with threaded studs and wingnuts so that the railings can be removed to bring large things (fenders, surfboards, etc.) up to the loft.  I painted the plywood floors in the loft and added a Studebaker logo to the landing at the bottom of the steps.  There are now a few sturdy shelves to hold parts for ready access and long-term storage.  In the general spirit of "anything worth doing is worth overdoing", the garage got wired for 60 amp service, lots of 120 volt outlets, three 240 volt outlets for welder, air compressor, etc., and lots of lights for my tired old eyes.  Since I had to put in an underground conduit for the electrician, I put in another one for electronics.  So, the garage also has phone jacks, Ethernet wiring, and cable TV outlets upstairs and down.   Outside, I put up a Studebaker sign and made exterior lights from a pair of 1930 Studebaker headlights.  Gee, I love overkill!

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At last, I could put cars in the garage!  There are six 8 ft fluorescent fixtures to light things up from all angles and to see under the hood.  I put a motion sensor inside so that a few regular bulbs go on for a few minutes when you walk or drive into the garage - no switch needed when your hands are full, no need to remember to turn the lights off when you leave (it's tough getting old!). cars_in.jpg (29743 bytes)

As the last details fell into place, we got ready for another winter.   Cars were in the garage, though the truck still lives in the old garage, the one with heat and all the truck parts.  I don't want to move everything again before all is back together. 

Can you imagine what you could do with the local deer who come to eat all of my shrubs and garden?  Now I'm not saying that these are native Massachusetts reindeer, but they could pull a Wagonaire for Santa if he ever needs to replace that old sleigh of his.  Did Studebaker ever build sleighs, I wonder?  Now you know what a sliding roof is really good for.

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