In the summer of 1981, I picked up a hitchhiking Hubert Germain-Robin, whose family had produced cognac since 1781. He told a sad tale of industrialized production, and wanted to return to ancestral methods. He went back to Cognac to look for an old hand-operated still. In June, 1982, I dug the foundation for a small distilling shed up on my ranch. We had zero money: I dug the footings and leveled the site with a mattock and shovel, and poured a slab.
In August, Hubert arrived and helped me put up the shed.
This is me cutting into a stud for a diagonal brace. I found that old metal-cased Craftsman skillsaw in the ranch shop in 1973. I used it for 20 years.
Hubert is holding a center rafter (notice the notch) while I get some nails.
Nailing the rafter.
We used old-fashioned, channel siding and a metal roof, and found old sliding barn doors at a junk-yard.
Here’s how it looked in November, 1982.