Columnists, Tyler Mahan, V7I1

A Tribute to Shed Builder Craftsmen

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the shed building industry! 

When I started in Byars, Oklahoma, back in 2003, there really was not much of an “industry” in this area. 

The local lumberyard sold sheds built from their cull lumber. Most of our rural population consisted of men like my grandfather who would build something themselves if they needed more storage space. 

My grandpa’s storage shed is one of my earliest shed memories. He died the same year I started working for Better Barns. His shed was like many of those in the neighborhood at the time. I still remember walking into that dark building and standing in amazement at all the stuff hung neatly on the walls. 

Grandpa’s shed had a dirt floor, but everything was always exactly where it belonged. The shed seemed clean and tidy. The ancient lawnmower was parked in the same spot every visit. One of his old shovels is in my shed now. No, it’s not for sale and you can’t borrow it. 

Our sheds today are much nicer, commercial structures. I am thankful for the innovations of creative folks all across the country to improve the durability and function of today’s sheds. 

I hope we haven’t lost the care that men like my grandpa put into their sheds. His tools were old and woefully inadequate by today’s standards. His materials were rough, and we would not allow them in our shops. However, he did his best with what he had because he cared. 

Here at Better Barns, I have been privileged to work with a man like that for many years. His name is Billy. He and I are good friends. He has built more sheds than anyone I know, but I still see that same care for quality and doing his best that I saw in my grandpa. 

We videoed Billy and his crew building a shed from start to finish recently. I was again amazed by his skill. The entire project took just over two hours (not counting waiting on urethane to dry in our cold shop). 

Our marketing director and I set up our cameras, hoping for the best angle. The plan was to create a nice time-lapse video for our YouTube channel and other social media platforms. 

You can see the action in warp speed on YouTube (just search for “Better Barns Economy Shed Build” or click here). Even though they were not moving quite that quickly in real-time, these guys did a great job putting a shed together in a hurry. 

What I love about this crew, though, is that even while trying to build as quickly as possible for a video, they still paid attention to detail and made sure the building was built correctly. 

By now, those of you who regularly read my little column have figured out this column is a little different than my typical story. My goal here is to simply pay tribute to those men who still care about craftsmanship in our fast-paced world. 

Grandpa built with rudimentary tools and materials, but his shed was the very best he could do. Billy, and most of you, build with much nicer tools and materials. I’m thankful for every shed builder who still views themselves as a craftsman. 

To every “Billy” out there in the shed building world, thanks for all you do! Thanks for taking the time to make sure that ugly spot on that stud was hidden. Thanks for cutting that defect out of the piece of siding and finding a place to use the rest. Thanks for making sure that spot was touched up, even though you didn’t think anyone would ever see it. 

To all you great shed builders out there, go have a great day!

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