Yearning for a new shop
Years of working in cramped conditions in a drafty wooden shed had Brad and Terri Minor yearning for a new shop. "It was a fine building for its time," Brad recalls. "But our equipment outgrew that shop."
All that time, Brad was making plans for a new shop to accommodate the family's growing operation near Rutland, South Dakota. The family kept a folder with the best shop ideas they saw in farm publications. "That was my design book," Brad explains. "My family and employee, Mike Carroll, were the design team. We put ideas down on paper until a plan was created that we all liked."
That planning became an 80x126-foot structure with many features that won the Minors the Best Shop Design category in Successful Farming magazine's Top Shops (TM) contest.
Lost in space
What strikes you when first entering the Minors' shop is its spaciousness. The structure was built with 18-foot sidewalls and a raised truss with a 22-foot peak. "This provides 18 feet of clearance for the overhead doors," Brad says.
This cavernous interior readily houses the farm's largest equipment. The family had considered walling off the end of the shop for cold storage. "We held off on that, and I am glad we did," Brad adds. "We've since found we needed that extra space. We discovered that a nicer shop encourages us to do more repairs and fabrication at home."
The shop's spaciousness is made more useful by great illumination. The ceiling was finished off with white metal sheeting and then wired with 34 high-pressure sodium lights.
The Minors are still adding finishing touches to their shop. Some of the outstanding features already in place include:
An automotive hoist and a drive-over work pit located near lubricant storage. "The pit has fluorescent lights and electrical plug-ins," says employee Matt Carroll. "It also has a tank for waste oil. We installed a line under the floor that leads to an outdoor waste oil tank. We use air pressure to blow the oil to the outside tank."
A room on the storage loft that houses the air compressor and power washer. "It is insulated with 6-inch batt insulation to absorb the noise," explains 11-year-old Mike Minor. The compressor and washer are on rubber mounts attached to 3/4-inch plywood false floor. Styrofoam board, 2 inches thick, is sandwiched between that false floor and the loft's 3/4-inch plywood deck to absorb vibration.
A 12x40-foot office lined with stained wood siding. The shop's bathroom, electrical panel, and plumbing for the floor heat (a waste-oil boiler is located on the loft) are housed in a separate room.