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Expandable shop space

The Hargus operation may well fit more work into its 48×48-foot shop than a structure twice the size. The secret to that ability is credited to keeping the shop's floor space as unencumbered as possible. “Basically, everything outside of 2 feet from the shop wall is movable,” explains Paul Hargus, who farms with his father, Dwayne, near Jackson, Minnesota. “Nothing is bolted down. It either moves on its own wheels, or we can move it with a forklift.”

The Harguses built the shop in 2005 for around $60,000. “It cost us about $26 per square foot, which is really very reasonable,” Paul notes. “We did make an investment in 18-foot sidewalls so we could drive our combine into the shop with its bin extensions up. That was well worth the extra cost (as opposed to 16-foot sidewalls). And because of its size, the entire shop costs just around $100 per month to heat. We keep it at 60°F.”

The shop is configured so that its main entrance, a 24-foot-wide door, is facing south and centered along that 48-foot-long wall. The west wall of the shop is home to all hand and handheld power tools (kept in movable cabinets or work benches), fastener bins, workbenches, and a paint center.

The shop's 10×12-foot office is located in the northwest corner. The northeast corner provides room for racks that hold vehicle fluids. The east wall is “designated the equipment area, and it's home to such tools as welders, a band saw, anvil, vises, torch, grinder, and a drill press,” Paul explains.

Several vehicles at once

The mobility built into the shop allows the Harguses to jockey up to two tractors and a combine, if need be. “That is a tight fit,” Paul admits. “But, even with that much equipment in the building, we still have room to work.”

The Harguses did provide for an additional work area: a large cement platform located outside the main door.

“Because my tools are so mobile, I can move a tool cabinet or workbench out there to work on equipment, if I need to,” Paul explains. “Another advantage of portability is that my tools are positioned right next to my work, and that saves a lot of time.”

Not a storage shed

Dwayne notes that prior to building their shop, he and his son visited other farm shops to get ideas for their future structure. “During those visits, I noticed that in some cases the shop was being used as heated storage, with equipment being parked in the shop for the winter,” he notes. “We have storage sheds for that purpose. Our shop is for work only, not storage.”

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