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November 2007
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Great Clients

My posting as of late has been spotty as I am working on the New Temporary Workshop at the casa, and am up to my neck in the Master Bath Project for my client.
Currently on the MBP, the walls are down, decisions are being made on stuff to go places. There have been a few surprises like the ceramic tile being laid directly over sheet linoleum, (this required three scrapings, 1 for the tile, 2 for the thinset and linoleum, and a final to get the glue and cutback adhesive off the floor.) I love the Makita Electric jackhammer!
The Great Foam being used as a spacer for the supply valves, the party wall and hidden cleanout.
The bath tub which has been a it stays, it goes, …
In any case the experience has been pleasant as the client is amenable to ideas as well as having no problem pitching in or picking up materials.

But what makes a client great is, this morning, after meeting with the plumber, I told her I had to go home and dry in my roof, as it was beginning to rain. You never, never, ever leave OSB aka chipboard exposed to water, unless your pain threshold and dumb index is in outer space.

She followed me home and dug right in, from trimming flashing to rolling paper, nailing it off, and doing all these things while it was sprinkling and the wind was blowing. She is not the sort of person that normally uses ladders. She braved the elements and also was on the roof with me. Great Client!!
Saved the roof, she did.

In other news I got the windows in.

The New Temporary Workshop Episode 4

Yesterday, after working on the Master Bath Project, I thought I could get some work done on the patio. I only got one wall up as it gets dark at 6.

Today, the painters are painting the master bedroom so I had the day off. This means I had some serious time to devote to the new temporary workshop 2. I have been staging materials for weeks, so that I could get some progress going.

So this morning I started framing. This is a view of the bottom of my walls. the bottom plate is pressure treated lumber (the green stuff) with sill sealer attached. This works remarkably well in preventing moisture disintegrating the frame over time.

Attaching the walls to the slab are my favorite fasteners, sleeve anchors. Like I said, if this lifts up in a storm I will already be in Kansas. The posts are pressure treated as well, only because when I was buying lumber they were the only 4×4” that were straight. Unless you have worked with pressure treated lumber, you have no idea how weird this is. Most pressure lumber looks like it belongs in a boatyard.

So by 1, I had the framing up, and went off in search of some new movies.Patioframe9

By 6, i have gotten this far. I sheathed, I cut out and set the door, and sheathed across the front and down the west side. I will cut out and install the windows tomorrow evening.
There is only so much you can do with a 150 watt light bulb.

The New Temporary Workshop Episode 3

Having gotten the post and beam frame up and the roof done and sheathed, It was time to tackle the reefer opening. If you have been following along, the original plan was a 4×8′ pad to cover the water heater and to bump out the wall to tuck the refrigerator into the opening where the old door was. I discussed Scope Creep previously.

My friend Carl lent me his little electric jackhammer, which made short work of the stucco and lath. Behind that was a piece of chipboard. Behind that was the frame and the damn door! No insulation either.
Good thing I have that jackhammer as I have to trim the block to get a large enough opening to finish for the refrigerator. Beats using a skil saw with a masonry blade. A lot less dusty. So I will be working on that in the evenings, and framing up the walls, and applying siding.

The dogs are used to this….

The New Temporary Workshop Episode 2 – Post and Beam

Working on the new Temporary Workshop, I placed the anchors the other day. My son Patrick and my friend Carl came over to help me get the frame up.

I have the posts up and Patrick is marking the lines where we will cut them. Used one of those laser levels to establish the lines. What a difference a little technology makes. This used to be done using a long piece of plastic tubing and water.

I built the beam out of 2×6’s and a 1/2” plywood center. Nice having a 75′ driveway for laying this out. I started with a 8′-2×6 and a 4′ plywood spacer. I butted a 12′ 2×6 and more plywood, until I had a 29′ beam. I built this so as to stagger the joints. Triple nailing on both sides and it is done.

Anything to do with roofs and beams, you need to crown your material. Solid wood has a natural tendency to bow, so that when you look down the edge you will see that one side has a bow in it. When this faces up, the material is crowned. This helps you when you apply material to roofs and beams. The additional weight is pushing on your structure, but it is flattening it out, rather than forming a bowl.

While waiting for Carl, we measured, and installed the joist hangers, and crowned the joists.

When Carl arrived, we hoisted the beam and screwed it in place. I used #7 Deckmate Screws which are the greatest screws for this type of work. (Yes I could have used joist nails, but I don’t like stuff falling apart)
Work went quickly, as we had pre staged everything possible. I attached the roof joist to the beam using hurricane straps and screwed them in place.

I used 12′ 2×6’s as I had a 10′ pad and my house joist was attached to the rim joist of the old roof. It has a 1′ overhang, giving me a three foot eave off the end of my project. This is Arizona. I had to cut a maximum of a 1/2” off the ends of the rafters, to square them up for the eave joist.

Here is a shot my son took as Carl and I were decking the roof. I used OSB for the roof, but I used 5/8” material as my rafters are 24” on center.

4:00 pm and the frame is done and the roof is decked. That ate up Saturday.

Berkeley Solar Project

This is very cool. Berkeley Ca. is going to go solar in a big way.

Pocket Door Retrofit

I am a fan of Pocket Doors. A big Fan. They just make more sense, especially if you have a small house. I have one now and am planning on 4 or 5 more.

Retro fitting a pocket door where there was the other type is not hard.
You need enough space for the door and frame.

Typically it is twice the width of the door plus 2”
Example: (36”) x 2 =72” +2” = 74”
The Height from the finished floor is 84″
So your rough opening is 74” wide by 84” high.

Here is a typical location between a bedroom and a bath.
There are a couple of things to watch for. This photo shows an outlet in the wall. Check both sides of your location to see if you are going to have to re-route electricity or plumbing.
Opening before start

The first thing to do is to remove the old door and trim. Here we are using the original stud on the knob side.
Open the wall up, to see how far beyond the width that you need, you find a stud. In this case the line 1/2 way up the wall on the left is where the stud was. You can see the stud post that formed the wing wall that is in the bathroom, that was a closet and part of the Walk In closet project. You can also see the band joist that framed the ceiling in that closet where there was a heat/ac duct.

Draw a line from the top of the door to the ceiling. On the other side draw or snap a plumb line between the floor and the ceiling. Take a utility knife and cut the ceiling wall intersection so when you remove the drywall, it comes away clean and you will not have a large patch to repair.
Drywall removed and wall exposed

Do the same thing on the other side of the wall. At this point, you will need to cut the bottom plate to your rough opening width.

Rough wall opening

By cutting your drywall straight, you can build a wing wall that you you can place between the top and bottom plates, and tuck it 1/2 way behind the drywall, so that you can attach the drywall securely. Then measure and build a header for the top of the rough opening. The squarer you build this part, the less shimming you will need to do.
Assemble the top track to the pocket door frame, slide it into position, shim where it needs it, and fasten it. The bottom of these assemblies have a steel plate with holes in them. Blue screws are just the ticket for concrete floors.
Install the clips on the top of the door.(Remember the ‘handle’ is below center as you are looking at the door) Install and adjust the door so that it rolls smoothly. Plumb and install the jamb piece being sure to get it plumb, so there is no angle gap when the door is closed. Make any final adjustments on the door rollers, and then tighten them down.
Framing and pocket door in place

Drywall and finish.
Pocket door with sheetrock and second coat of tape

Two Notes!!
1. Use screws no longer than (1”) when fastening the drywall to the horizontal pocket frame members. Anything longer, you risk screwing the frame to the door, which will make you feel dumb.
2. Use Painters Blue Tape on the exposed wood, so that clean up and painting is easier.

The Walk In Closet Project Series End

The Walk In Closet is Finished.

This is His side. We had the cabinets painted to match the rest of the room. The client found some containers that fit nicely above the clothes racks.

This is Her side. After assembly, we did some sizing, and added shelves.

This is the other side of her side. You can see the little window which the client will be making a stained glass panel. Also in this picture is the shoe shelf.

The clients reused the track lighting that was removed from another bedroom.

I like the hollow core idea a lot. So when I get my house situated, I will build a closet like it.

The New Temporary Workshop Episode 1

Two of the most dreaded words in remodeling are ”what about”. In other circles this is known as Scope Creep.
Scope Creep is when you have a project nailed down, and then bright ideas begin to appear.Tthe ‘what about’ moment

Let me demonstrate.
The original idea was to pour a small slab behind the house, to be able to open up the original rear doorway, and tuck my refrigerator into it. The slab also was going to contain a spot to enclose the water heater. At this point a 4×8 slab with a small roof and a door for access to the water heater would have done the job. Couple hundred bucks, maybe 10 hours and I am done.

Well, having won a few bucks at the lottery, allowed me to get the block fence, and the driveway. The siren song of expansion began eating into my brain.

I had already contracted for the little slab, but I noticed that I have an impressive collection of garden tools. Lawn Mower, wheelbarrow, rakes, weed eater, leaf blower, shovels, axes, and so on. Quite a collection of stuff for a guy with no grass. So I talked with the concrete guys and for a few dollars more, could make my slab 8×10′. This would allow me to build the fridge alcove, get my water heater under cover, and have enough room for my garden tools.

Now the back of my house would have this slab jutting into the backyard, and I would have my garden tools put up, but I just got a new 10” Table saw, and for a few dollars more could get another slab poured at the same time. It was inexpensive as they are already on site, and concrete gets cheaper the more you order.
The old temporary workshop is where I enclosed the carport two years ago, to build an office.

Now I have a 10×21′ slab that will become the new temporary workshop.(the endgame is a freestanding 18×24 shop with a 18×12 patio)
Having said that, on the left is the back wall of the laundry room. So I will pull plumbing out of it, and be able to install a sink in the new temporary workshop. I will also be able to reroute the dryer vent to scavenge waste heat in the winter.

It will be a modified Post and Beam construction, the posts being 4×4” with a built up 4×6 beam. The beam members will be 2×6 boards with a 1/2” plywood gusset in the center with staggered joints, allowing me to span the entire distance with one beam. Built up beams used to be standard building practice before the advent of glulams, and TGI Joists. They are more time consuming to construct, but are cheaper in materials.
Nowadays the only time you see them is over small windows. The other reason is that there are too few folks calling themselves framers that can read lumber and crown joists correctly.

I have the post anchors installed using Simpson ABU44Z anchors and 1/2”x 4” Red Head Sleeve Anchors. Trust Me, if these ever lift in a storm the rest of the house will be in Kansas, it is that good an anchor system.

So I have gone from a small shed for my fridge and water heater to a 300 square foot enclosure, that will hold my garden tools, my remodeling tools, and will double as a workshop for building cabinets and other things.

Solid Oak Credenza

Solid Oak Credenza
Doors, Sides, Top, Drawer Fronts, even the drawer sides and dividers are Solid Oak.
Those are 4” grommets on the back.

The Keyboard drawer is a full suspension with network, phone, and AC outlets. The wings above the side drawers are solid oak on both drawers.

The drawer sides and dividers are solid oak, with full dovetail joints. The bottom drawer is a legal or letter size file cabinet. Full Suspension.

The bottom unit has a place for stuff and came with an auxiliary power strip unit. Came with Keys and shelf pins. Took 4 guys to load it in the van. Weighs around 300 lbs. Had to call my son to help me get it out of the van.
Damage? Scratch on top I rubbed out in 30 seconds.
Price? $138 bucks….