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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Building a Cold Frame

I actually managed to get one of the things done that I wanted to while off work!

Ever since I’d heard about cold frames, I’ve wanted to build one. Getting the tomato plants started a little early is never a bad idea, after all. We have plenty of scrap lumber around the manor, but not much scrap glass, so on Saturday I asked the local FreeCycle chapter for a glass shower door. By Saturday afternoon, I had two pieces: a 5½-x-2 foot door, and a 39x35 inch random piece of glass — both just straight glass. Sweet! So...

Glass lumber

So after helping Mrs. Fetched with the chickens today, I started sorting through the scrap lumber we had, then measuring out each piece against what I needed to build the frames. Interestingly enough, using the shower door frame worked out slightly better with the least wasted wood, so that’s the way I went. Naturally, I couldn’t find my circular saw (I think it got used at the chicken houses and “relocated” by one of the workers), so I borrowed one from Mrs. Fetched’s mom. It’s kind of cool; it has a laser pointer… not terribly practical for cutting 2x4s (as seen below) but really nice for plywood.

wood cutting

With the 2x4s cut, I proceeded to put the long sides together. I didn’t have nails long enough, but I had 3" screws and a drill… so I screwed it up, so to speak. I did managed to screw up a Phillips screwdriver bit, but fortunately I had another.

Once I had the long sides done, I fastened them together with a pair of 2x4s on each end:

completed framework

It turned out to be easier to cut the plywood on the table saw, so I struck my chalk lines and fired the big guy up. After that, it was simply a matter of screwing the cut pieces onto the frame and dropping the shower door on top… well, I had to remove the handle from the side facing the wood and find a couple of shorter screws to keep the handle I wanted, but that was a minor detail. Here’s the completed project, minus painting:

completed cold frame

The astute reader may notice a pair of 2x2s screwed to the front of the completed cold frame. There’s also a matching pair in the back; they’re to keep the door from slipping off when propped up. I didn’t put the glass on hinges, which lets me take it off so it’s not in the way when putting seedlings in or taking them out. It also lets me prop the thing up on either side, so the wind doesn’t blow straight in.

Considering I had all the wood laying around waiting for a purpose, and I got the glass for free, I’m pretty happy with the result. I just need to paint it & put it outside.


  1. Cool cold frame. And the price was right. Good work.

  2. Nice job bro!!! I was wondering why you were using a circular saw when you had a nice table saw right there. solar

  3. Thanks, Wooly!

    Solar, the table saw is kind of finicky when dealing with 2x4s. I've had the thing jam once or twice. The plywood worked better with the table saw though.

  4. Wow FAR -- that's awesome! I can't wait to see what you grow in there ... very kewl ... :D

  5. Thanks, O. I'll probably have shots of it in "action" when Spring#4 rolls around in late Feb. (We're having Spring #1 now, Winter #2 will be here Monday.)

  6. Nice job Far! I can't wait to see what you'll be growing. You can always send any extra produce up here. ;-)

  7. Cool

    I first thought when I seen the frame that it was way to tall and impractical for my needs. Then when the plywood was added my hand smacked my forehead Do'h!

    Thanks for posting this and keep up the great photo work. Loved the pansy photo. Put a bunch of those on a cake I made last spring.

    Yummy and beautiful.


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