Rationale: I’m not sure yet if I want permanent structures down in the fields, and where I’d want them.
Concerns: shelters are, by nature, hangouts. The soil around them gets muddy. Mud is bad for livestock feet, besides being unpleasant for everyone to walk in, and unsightly. Adding bedding to shelter areas to dry them out is costly and a lot of work.
Potential Solution I’m trying: creating temporary structures from T-posts, which I can hopefully move without too much effort. The Wedge-Loc hardware caught my attention, as it promises easily built structures. Unfortunately, their marketing materials are poor– just a pamphlet with hand-drawn sketches. They leave a lot to your imagination (and maybe on purpose?). But, lacking other ideas, I decided to give them a chance. The first picture you see is the finished product, a very simple shed roof, 4’x8′.
The first Wedge-Loc widget I bought was the all-purpose angle bracket. The pamphlet suggests you can use this for a roof. But, I found that these are very flexible, intended to be bent to the desired angle just with your hand. So, not strong enough to hold up a shed roof. I think wind forces would bend and mangle them. So I set those aside for some other project.
The next bracket I tried and stuck with was the 2×4 holder. I just ran two 10′ treated 2x4s across four T-posts set to accommodate a 4×8′ sheet of plywood. I found the 2×4 brackets were also very flexible, so I had to put screws and washers through them on both sides to make sure they’d stay formed around the board.
So, here is how the Wedge-Loc brackets work. There is a main piece that slides over the top of the T-post like thus:
Then, a “wedge” slides in on the back part of the T-post, holding the bracket in place. It sort of wedges around one of the nodules on the post, so that it cannot slide down or up.
Once this is in place, you can attach a variety of other brackets to this to hold things. Here is a U-shaped bracket inserted, that holds a 2×4:
Here is the trouble with these, they bend:
But, with some extra screws, it seems to hold well, like this:
Here is a side view of the finished roof. I put corrugated roofing on top of the plywood, which now leads me to realize I can probably skip they plywood and just screw roofing into the 2×4 cross-pieces.
It seems to have worked; though it appears it may wiggle in the wind, I think it’s strong enough to stay put. And, it should be easy to un-wedge the brackets, lift off the roof, and move the shelter with minimal effort. The one thing is cost- the brackets are fairly expensive. So I don’t think this is any cheaper than builing a “real” shed from wood; the only advantage is the quick assembly and portability. Not to mention, it’s not terribly attractive. But I think I may make a few more of these, because we are just not firm yet on where we want permament buildings.