Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Getting Back Into The Swing...

It's been a rather uncomfortable journey, but I am now getting back to work on the house.
While the old clawfoot tub is pretty and gives a good deep bath, it isn't always the most practical and efficient way to bathe. In short, I miss the shower! While there are plans for a second bathroom that includes a shower, I wanted one now. So, some fourteen dollars and two hours later, I have one. In fact, it's quite the trend to have an outdoor shower, and We now are on the wave of current home fashion. I built it just off the back deck with treated lumber framing and cedar planks that were reclaimed from the kitchen ceiling.
Upon finishing it up, we all took our first christening shower and loved it! Everyone grabbed a bathing suit and took their turn (I haven't built the door to the enclosure yet), then I sent everyone inside and took a "real" shower. If you don't have an outdoor shower, you are missing out.
I also took the last part of last week and reworked the railing on the front deck. What a difference it made. Cost was zero as I just took the old 2x2 uprights and cut them down to 1x2. They had 12" spacing and I reduced it to 4 1/2" which really improved the overall look.
I'll try to get some before and after pics up sometime soon. I'm so happy to be able to get back to something productive.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Temporary Setback....

As I reported in http://gimpedredneck.blogspot.com I was on the roof the other day and while trying to adjust the new guttering, I got myself into a rather odd situation and broke one of my ribs...so, lot's of pain and not much progress is going to be made for a little bit.

I do intend to be posting in the other blog, and if I find some information or knowledge I wish to share, I will post it here.

Do Right to Be Right!

p.s. I am trying out a different font. Shoot me an email or post a comment if you like it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thanks Nathan Merrill....

Thanks to Nathan,I can now show you the pix of the work to date, as discussed below.

One thing that I might mention is that the guttering had to be adjusted a bit. Other than that, it is time to start on the windows and get to building the door.
We've taken a brief break to get the garden underway...

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Good Step Forward...

Things have moved forward at a good clip. We had come to a point of not having the funds to get much done until someone jumped in and assisted with a bit of financial and physical help. All the siding is up and the roof is complete. New guttering was also provided.

I've made a temporary door until I can get a real one built. Now I will be in the process of sealing everything from the pad to the eve's. The window's will be the next project I will start on concerning the addition, and the insulation and drywall will soon follow.

In the meantime, I will be working on the cabinets for the kitchen, getting the walls ready for paint and setting things in place for the new floor treatment, which will be bamboo.
I plan of getting some pix posted of the progress to date in the next couple of days.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Spiral Staircase...

Here's a couple shots of the spiral staircase from ground level.

Well, I must say that I am quite impressed with them and can't wait to get them into operation. Being handicapped, I really thought my wife was nuts when she said I would like them better than what is already in the house (see the pic). The old stairs do not have a handrail and really are quite shakey. My personal handicap involves to a great degree, my legs, and I must admit that the current old stairs really are becoming a very real pain for me.

The spiral staircase on the other hand, I have found to be very easy to navigate. In using them, there is a limited space to move from side to side (a big plus when my walk is unsteady) and the handrails make is so that one can assist themself with their arms, which I find of great help.
I would have to say that if one is handicapped, have small children or other limiting factor's in their life and they are making a decision about a staircase, do consider using spiral as an option. Go somewhere that has some and try them out; I think you just might be surprised!

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Moving Forward

Here the floor joist's are up, the subfloor down and the long southern wall standing on the last phase of the "southern" addition. The siding is also shown in the stage where the decision to either stop the addition or continue on had to be made. As can be seen, it just seemed to make too much sense to continue while the work was at hand.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Engineered Floor Joist

During the process of adding the spiral stair's and making the enclosure to bring it to the inside of the house, I decided to extend the second floor in order to keep the addition from looking like a shaft on the side of the house, in addition to adding much needed floor space. I had plenty of 2X4 stud's, but lacked the floor joist, which I decided that 2 X 6 would work due to the fact that the addition was less than 8'. In the original part of the addition, the 2 X 6's worked fine in terms of strength. There was a small bit of spring, but they were plenty strong for the task at hand. One thing I didn't like was that the material delivered was not of uniform quality or measure (width).

The money for more 2 X 6's simply wasn't there and after kicking around a bit, decided that the project would need to be put on hold until more material could be purchased. I went inside and turned on "DIY Network", and more specifically, "This Old House" with Norm and happened to catch an episode where they were putting down floor joist in a second floor addition. The joist's they were using were engineered and they couldn't say enough about them. They were basically an OSB (orientated strand board/wafer/chip-board) spline with a 2 X 2 dadoed and glued on each side. This I could do! I had plenty of 7/16" OSB, some liquid nail, and the time.

After a couple of hours I had produced what I needed and was quite happy with the results. While the standard material was somewhat sufficient, these jewels were rock solid, exact in measurement, not too hard to make and are quite economical.

The standard 2 X 6 ran me around $6.00. The material for the homemade engineered joist worked out to be quite a bit of savings.

2 X 4 = $ 2.00

OSB spline = $ 0.50 -->I ripped 12 spline's from a standard of 7/16" 4 X 8 OSB at a cost of $5.00 per sheet....$0.46 per spline

Liquid Nail = $ 0.50 --> one tube @ $2.50 each makes five joist's.

1 joist = $3.00

Savings = $3.00

I can make eight joists in an hour (now that I have the technique down) which means I earned/saved $24.00 in that same hour over using standard board stock.

While I'm not advocating that anyone use this technique without the use of an engineer, I present how I managed it.


Cutting the Rail's

The Rail's consist of a 2 X 4 split down the middle. To make sure the rail's are both of equal height, set the rip fence to 1-3/4" and reduce it a very small increment (less than a 1/16") and make a practice cut on a 2 X 4 scrap, but only cut it until you can see the blade on the top surface. Next, back the sample board out and flip it top to bottom (not end for end) and see if the blade lines up to the cut. Keep making small adjustments until both sides are of equal width. The reason for this adjustment is to make up for the kerf (wood the blade turns into sawdust).

You will also notice in the pictures, that before the boards were split, they were numbered with arrows pointing in. This will keep the flat cut edges pointing in (toward the spline) during the dado cut and assembly, and also keeps the rails matching; not sure that it is important to keep the rails together, but it's just something I do...



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Cutting the Dado in the Rails...

The dado's in the rails are cut to an approximate depth of 3/4", which would leave about an inch of solid wood for nailing the subfloor to.
To cut the dado, one could use a router set up with an 7/16" dado bit, but the bit was not available. Another option is to use dado blades on the table saw, but my set will only cut to a depth of 1/2" due to their diameter. The dado's seen here we cut using multiple passes on a single blade on the table saw.
The first cut was set to leave 1/2" on the side at a depth of 3/4". Next, the rail was flipped and ran through again to make the initial cut on the opposite side. All the boards were ran through this process of establishing the outside cuts.
The process of removing the middle "meat" of the wood from the dado involved moving the rip fence out in small increments, making a pass, flipping the rail around and making the next cut, and finally moving through all the remaining boards. It only took three adjustments to the fence to dado the 7/16" from the rails.
In the initial set-up for the outside dado cuts, use scrap 2 X 4 pieces and keep the measurements tight; you really want a snug fit here!
Be very careful in this phase of cutting the dado on the table saw. The guard cannot be used in this step and after many passes, it is very easy to get lazy with safety. A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT WILL INCLUDE HAVING ALL TEN FINGERS WHEN THE DAY IS DONE!

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Joist Splines...

For the spline's, 7/16" Oriented Strand Board (OSB-Waferboard), was cut to approximately 4" in width. Before making the individual cuts, the sheet was cut down to the final length to save cutting each individual spline afterward. The width of the spline is determined by the depth of the dado cut into the rail's. I always cut the rails first and then use a scrap piece of OSB cut just slightly wider than I think I need. This allows me to slowly remove material from the width until it is exactly what I want (clamp everything tight to simulate the finished width of the product). After I have achieved the right specs., I move onto cutting/ripping the actual splines.
I have learned to never experiment on what would be the finished product. Take the time to do the set-up, measure everything twice and err on the side of having too much than too little. You can always remove material, but never put it back after a bad cut.

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