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May. 23rd, 2005

Started to put up the new canopy over the parking pad. The canopy itself is 12 feet by 26 feet, which is about the size of a one-car garage, maybe a little bit longer and narrower. However it fits perfectly on the old garage pad, and even extends out a bit farther-- it actually matches the length of the neighbor's garage-- which leaves me a nice working space that can be rain-free as well as being shaded from the direct sunlight.

The canopy isn't rated for snow load. However, the old one actually stood up pretty well except for a little problem that happened during the assembly that put some undue stress on one of the connectors and broke a weld. It also wasn't anchored properly and tended to "walk" if the wind got vigorous.

So as I'm putting the new one together, I'm making a few modifications to it, adding some bracing where it will do some good, reinforcing the ceiling panels with some netting and possibly some woven poly to give them some added resistance to snow, and wiring in some lights ahead of time. I'll also get some concrete blocks to anchor the footpads to so that it won't fly away.

I've also been adding bolts to the unit to help hold it together. There are holes pre-drilled, but they don't provide bolts (or pins) for them as a cost-cutting measure. Adding the bolts adds some structural strength to the whole thing.

I'm probably doubling the amount of time it takes to assemble. I'm pretty okay with that if I can keep it up for a year or two. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than a garage, and means that I'll be able to do some of the work outside even if it's raining, or full-on sun, or getting a little dark... and it makes a nice party shelter too, just in case I ever rent that hot tub.

It also means that I am at more leisure to repair the old canopy (one of the connectors needs to be straightened and re-welded).

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