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September 2021
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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.


In the closet behind the Flat Screen TV Install we built a couple of wide shelves out of a Bi-Fold Door. We needed to shelve the rest of the space. Because of the width of the space(41”) and the depth of the shelves (15”) we made them out of 3/4” plywood.

The client decided how much space she needed between the various shelves which determined the spacing. In small sizes plywood is a sound shelf. In larger sizes you need to stiffen it for use.

Having determined our locations, the first order was to install wall cleats to support the back and sides of our shelves.
These were made with 1×2 pine screwed to the studs with 2- 2” deck screws at each stud location. The right side pictured here has the cleat extending beyond the face of the shelf due to the location of the stud. Not elegant but sturdy.

Here is our closet with the cleats installed.  You can also see the outlet mounted for the TV toys, Dish receiver, DVD/VCR Player, surround sound, etc. Also are the holes for passing the cables between the boxes and the TV. I offset the holes between the front and back to that light was not an issue. Yes I know it is a picky detail.


Shelf Edge Detail

The fronts of the ply shelves are  reinforced with an aluminum channel. Here is a photo showing the edge detail at the front of the shelves. This is an aluminum channel cut to length and glued and screwed to the front edge of the shelf. I used a countersink bit to drill the holes to keep the top of the screw below the face of the channel.  We also sanded the channel and sprayed it with KILZ primer sealer as a base coat for the finish paint. Latex paints do not stick to metal very well.  We are using Shelving and BEHR Premium Plus Ultra   Semi Gloss in White.


Speaking of BEHR

We bought a can of BEHR Premium Plus Ultra to try out. I will not recommend or use it again. The theory is that having the primer and paint will save time and or steps. It doesn’t.  The cost of materials is basically the same within a buck, and your savings come from having to cover the area once.  It did not seal and cover the mill stamp(the black printing that is stamped on all lumber telling you where it was produced) and the two areas we used it in had an uneven finish. Part gloss part flat. We ended up second coating it. No net savings labor wise.

It is still better to use primer and paint as separate operations. Priming coats and seals your wall surfaces, as well as pointing out defects that get covered by sanding so you can fix them before putting down you final color.

I am still a Fanboy of BEHR Paint, just not the primer/sealer paint.

Here is our closet with the shelves installed and painted.


Artroom Expansion 18

Having hung the cabinets, I built the counter for that wall. 16 feet of counter. It is 3/4 plywood with angle brackets for stud wall mounting. Building 16 feet of anything in a 22 foot shop is challenging.

But with careful measurement, it mounts quickly. The counter is designed to hold a number of rolling carts underneath. The brackets are designed to  screw through the wall into the studs behind making it strong enough to sleep on. The brackets stop short of the floor to make cleaning the area easy.

Here is the wall with the cabs and counter in place. I also installed 3 more glass blocks above for more indirect light.

Here is a view from the other side.

Artroom Expansion 16

The first set of custom shelves is ready for a coat of poly.
These are made for a container that the client has a lot of storing various materials.

Made out of my favorite plywood with a rabbeted back, and the unit on the right is built for storage of fusable glass rods.

Meanwhile I am building the sink unit made from an angle shower pan. The left side is a ponywall and backsplash. The right side has a built out wall that will tuck under the window, and contain the plumbing. It's depth is dictated by the counter that will run along the wall to the door.
Sink3 In order to make this work, I added an 1/8'' masonite panel behind where the FRP will be attached, as the shower pan has a lip. This gives me a flat surface for gluing the FRP.

The sink is pretty much ready for paint.
I still need to find trims for the outside corners. FRP is a 1/16'' thick and the vynle trims at the big box stores are made for the 1/8'' masonite panels which are produced in the most mind numbing ugly colors and patterns. Yet another demonstration of big box store weirdness. The only FRP panels have a texture on them making them hard to keep clean, and no trims in stock for them. –sigh–

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

I need light, am not buying anymore windows, and will not install skylights. So I am gonna  shove bubbles in my walls.

Glass block is an intriguing material. I have wanted to play with them, and have been circling around them for some time. I finally found a pattern that I liked. This is a pattern called Seascape, made by Pittsburgh Block. This photo is poor but you get the idea.

I built a series of frames for the blocks. The frames are 3/4'' plywood just big enough to fit around the blocks. They are deep enough to go through the wall completely. This is the inside of the frame. I have glued these in here with GE Silicone II XST which is supposed to be a paintable silicone caulk. Says on the tube that it will do everything but have your children. We will see.
The outside has a face frame of plywood, whose inside dimension is just a little smaller to act as a lip for the block and provide a surface to caulk to. Since this is an almost pure silicone, I am letting it dry before I trim it.
I am also experimenting with Elmers ProBond Wood Filler. I won't use it again. You can see where it has shrunk back. after sanding. I didn't have any ZAR handy.

Tommorow I will punch some holes in my walls and mount these.

One Sheet Wonder – 55 Gal. Aquarium Stand

My son needed a stand to get his fish off the floor. The fish  tank is 48 1/2” x 16”, across the bottom. It also weighs around 700 pounds when filled with stuff.
I built the stand in two parts. The cabinet and the base assembly.
This stand is 48 1/2” wide by 16” deep and 16” tall with base.
The cabinet is 48 1/2” wide, 16” deep, and 12” tall. I used 7 ply Arauco AC Sanded plywood as this is going to be painted, and the prep work after assembly is minimal. The base is 48 1/2 ”wide, 12” deep and 4” high.

2 16” wide rips provided the material for the carcase,  2 4” rips made the base pieces.
Off fall from the remainder of the 16” rips provided the brackets for the back of the case and the screw plates for the base.
I build the base unit separately to allow for the base to be attached after the location is made and before the tank is placed. This allows the base to be attached with space at the back for clearing trim while allowing the tank to rest next to the wall. The brackets at the back of the unit allow it to be attached to the wall for extra safety.

I used a number 6 pilot hole drill for my screws, and number 7  1 5/8 Deck screws to hold it together. Deck screws are frightening in their holding power. I used ZAR wood putty to cover the screw heads. Great Stuff.

33 bucks for plywood, 2 bucks for screws and a couple of hours cutting and assembly. A one sheet wonder.

Fun with Plywood 2

In building the various shelving units around the casa, I neglected to point out the star of the show, being the brand of plywood.

Both the 9. ply and the 7 ply are Arauco, made in Chile. Amazing that they can build, ship, and offer it for around 35-40 bucks a 3/4” sheet. Below is a closeup photo of the 7 on top and 9 below. These are ACX grade, meaning that they have a clear face and a C grade back, with Exterior glue.


This is far and away superior plywood for making case goods for the home remodeler. There are a couple of notable features with this plywood. One is the clear face. No knots, pitch staining, or discoloration. Two is the consistency of the plys. They are equal and have almost no voids in the sheets. Those that are there are very small.

I had to get mine at Home Depot, despite that Lowes says they carry it locally, but do not. Yes I am a Lowes shopper every time I can.

Fun with Plywood

Having decided to build my own cases for DVD’s,I built another one. I realize that I will need to build some book ends or some other sort of end as my collection builds so they are not flopping around.
Plywood DVD Cases
I am not a knick knack person so I don’t have a large collection of figurines or other weird stuff to act as blocks for partially filled shelves. Besides. I am doing this because I already have a dust problem.

18mm plywood note:
The 18mm plywood has a paper thin veneer which chips when you cut it. There are ways to minimize this. Beware, or plan the face sides. I used to work in an architectural millwork company and ran a Holzma Panel Saw. It had a scoring blade as well as a main blade for just such a deal. It had computer controls, air tables for moving material, and could cut 3” of 5×10′ material. Yes they make it that big.

I build my first paperback case the other day. I used 3/4″ 7 ply A-C sanded plywood. It has a much thicker face than the 9 ply. Same deal with the shelves being a 1/2″ smaller than the width of the books. 9 shelves. I filled this one up with the loose books floating around. I still have boxes I have not unpacked yet.
Plywood vs Particle board
Next to it is a standard birdshit particleboard bookcase. The plywood case is lighter, stronger, and fits my books better. I will be running the old cases to ReHabitat so somebody can use them until they build their own cases. I just happen to have one about a mile from the casa.