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November 2009
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Not so Simple Truss Repair

Note; This is probably one of the most dangerous techniques that I have posted. Unless you are comfortable with all of the suggestions and tools and techniques, farm this out to a professional.

Found a cracked truss at in a clients house. This is not normally a concern as engineered trusses are built pretty well. But things happen. This truss is underneath a HVAC roof unit. It was probably a combination of heat as temperatures in Arizona get insanely hot in attics, and vibrations from the heating unit.

The open crack tells us that the top chord of the truss has bent due to drying out and the extra weight of the HVAC unit. To repair we need to close up the crack and add some reinforcements. We will need to jack this up.

To straighten this I am using a 2 ton bottle jack found at the auto parts store. Any more than this, the risk of damage and or injury goes up.You don’t need any more power than this.


You need to be sure that you have a secure platform for doing this. I used a piece of 3/4” plywood spanning two joists to give me a solid jack point.  If you do not do this, you run the risk of bowing the bottom truss chord and causing nail pops on the ceiling below.

You want to perform a straight lift. It will also take some time. You need to jack slowly, let it rest before attaching the plywood reinforcements, and allowing time for the glue to set before releasing the pressure from the jack.

The diagram below shows the jack resting on the plywood, the jack, the temporary post, and a block of wood screwed to the rafter portion to prevent the jack post from sliding out while jacking.  To help my repair I am using PowerGrab in the crack before I jack it closed. Checking it with a level upon contact and before jacking will keep the jack and post from tipping over.


The left side of the photo below shows the wood post that is sitting on top of the jack for straightening and closing the crack. Notice that I cut an angle on the jack post so that it will contact my block and not tip the jack and post. Having jacked up my truss, I glued the back sides of my plywood and am using quick clamps to hold them in place before I screw them to the truss.

To repair this I cut 2 pieces of 5/8” 5 ply plywood,  3”x72” as reinforcements for either side. I am using 1 – 1/4” Deck Screws spaced about 8” apart staggered to attach them, taking care not to screw into the crack area we just fixed.

After about 30 mins., we slowly release the pressure on the jack, (it will sag a bit) and remove our jack and tools and materials. All Done.


Like I say, this is a dangerous repair due to being awkward, and is being presented for information only. You probably want to farm this out to a professional. This is only one method and I disclaim any responsibility for  injury or damage.

Yeah it really is that dangerous.

Gift Ideas for Home Improvement DIY’ers

Over at One Project Closer, the lads have a list of gifts for the DIY’ers and remodelers. Some nice stuff.

I would like to add to the list with a excellent plastic storage container. This is a Workforce parts container I picked up at the orange store about 3 years ago. They are around 12-15 bucks a copy. You may only think you need one, but like potato chips, that won’t fly long. These are very durable made with thick plastic.
They are 18” wide, 12 1/2” high, and 3 1/2” deep. The handle is integral, and comfortable, especially when you have it filled up with stuff.

The dividers are very well made and sit in the boxes well.  They are adjustable and come with the box. The lid holds them in place when transporting.
This is the one I use for nails.
The top from the left I have 16d sinkers, 10d brights, 8d sinkers, 2” ringshanks
Next 6d commons, 6d finish, 4d finish, and 16d duplex
Next 8d finish, 3d finish, 1 1/2 ring shank, and 4d galvanized.
the bottom spaces on either side of the handle are for misc. stuff although under the plastic bag on the right I have a number of nail sets.

My screw box.
Here I have deck screws from 1 1/4 to 3”. Drywall screws from 1” to 1 5/8”, both coarse and fine thread. I have specialty screws in 1/2”-3/4”. This is where I keep various plastic wall anchors, and all my counter sink bits.
Did I mention that they are stackable?
These are well designed and tough. A worthy addition to your remodeling arsenal.

Toxic Drywall

As the Chinese Drywall mess continues, CBS News is reporting that there may be problems with American drywall.

Homeowners Charge U.S. Made Toxic Drywall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received more than 2,000 complaints to date. The agency recently released details on 44 of them under the heading “imported drywall.” But CBS News discovered that 10 of the cases – nearly a quarter – actually involve drywall made in the United States.
Source CBS News Online

Here is a video

Old House Web Blogger Contest Vote for Charles & Hudson

The folks at Charles & Hudson are finalists in the Old House Web Blogger Contest. Great folks and a great site.
Here is their entry. Click on the Stars to Vote!



Chinese Drywall Update Nov 2009

There is growing evidence that the Chinese Drywall Hazards are becoming more definitive. A Nov Press release[PDF] from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, is showing that the ongoing investigation is tending toward proving the health hazards of this drywall.

While the Commission is not concluding this drywall as the culprit, the New Your Times reports:

The commission has sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service asking that the service allow homeowners to deduct drywall-related costs as a casualty loss on their federal income tax returns.
Source NYT

For homeowners this may be bittersweet news, as insurance companies are already denying claims, and doing a ‘to the studs’ demo including the electric, plumbing and HVAC is gonna be expensive for those builders still in the market, impossible for those who have already gone bankrupt, and will have folks tied up in court for a long time.


blackie0Blackie arrived in my life back in dec of 99 as a four week old pup who has been discarded as part of a pair. Our vet told us that the dogs would not make it through the night. Silly Vet.

1/2 sharpai 1/2 pit bull and all heart.

She protected our home, helped raise our children, our other dogs and cats. She learned to paint, not well having such short bristles but she tried.

She saw me through my divorce, and curled up with me at night. Until last night.

This morning she died.


We has a hell of a run.

CFL’s may not be the bargain as advertised.

The Daily Mail posted an article that

“warns that CFLs lose ‘a significant amount of brightness’ over time.
Even a quality bulb could lose 20 per cent of its light over its 8,000-hour lifespan.”
Read more:

The Institution of Engineering and Technology report is Here

Overall they still save energy, just not as much as advertised.

Flat Screen TV Install Episode 4

The TV is installed. That was relatively straightforward minus the electric untangling.


The closet is done and getting populated.









Putting in the TV boxes and making popcorn.

Bomb Proof Wall Paper

I guess if you need to use wall paper, you might as well get the toughest stuff around.

Best Of What’s New 2009: Bombproof Wallpaper Test from PopSci.com on Vimeo.