Monday, July 31, 2017

Day Three

**Actual boat building update. Bought plans last night for a 1 Sheet + boat, a simple one person craft made from one sheet of plywood. It nests down to something small enough to fit in the trunk of a car. Looks like a really fun project that I should be able to get into very cheap. Might end up building a bunch of these to give away or sell later.

Day Three of the deck build was actually not very productive. Day 2 ended with level 2 getting floored and level 3 getting the rim job. We had to start out with a very finite list of supplies to get from Lowe's. We knew exactly how many remaining framing parts were still left and had a rough idea of flooring. Also I had a plan for the handrails so we eventually agreed on a design for those and calculated some of the materials to pick up. Most of my day was spent carving out the handrail posts.

By 1:45 the AM work was done, joists in place for Level 3

Kelley is pleased with this progress

The day ended after sundown with some flooring there, but you can see the first part of the handrail on Level 2

Daylight pic from before we did anything on July 4
The handrail system we came up with took a lot of prep work. I had 9 posts to cut out with 5 cuts each on the circular saw. Didn't get a picture of the plain cutout. I drew a template, fitted the template to give me the right finished height, then traced that outline with a sharpie onto each of the rest of the 4x4 boards. Once the first two posts were installed, I cut 4" blocks from 2x4 scraps and screwed them for spacers. Ran a 2x4 horizontally along the spacers and the top, then I could get the measurement to cut the ballasts. Then it was time to cut about 100 ballasts to the exact same length.

While I was doing that, Kelley was on her own cutting and installing the flooring on level 3. That process goes a lot faster if one person can cut while the other is screwing it down. We both made a lot of progress for having a short work day, and really don't have too much to show for it.

But that means that on Day 4 it should all come together, right?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Day Two

**In actual boatbuilding news, I am getting really close now to picking the plans for my next boat. I may actually draw something up myself, or pick up some existing plans and modify the decking for what I am looking for. I'm planning for an 18' sailboat out of plywood and the mathematics could get a bit difficult to get the hull shape right and get enough sail(s) for that much hull space. Most of the plans I'm finding don't have enough seating or burn too much space on a cabin. I don't care about sleeping on the boat but being light enough to sail by myself or fit 4-8 people for an afternoon on the water has a lot of appeal.

Day 2 of our 4th of July holiday deck build started with a massive Lowe's run for lumber and fasteners. We ran out of deck screws with two boards left on the first level of flooring, right? My goal was to stay ahead of Kelley. If She was ready to hang the joists on level 2, then I needed to be working the rim joists for level 3. The lumber we got was massive, so we lost most of the morning with that run. Still, we start with the mid-day pictures.

Level 2 got to smoke 2 joists in the morning

Morning progress on Level 3 rim job
And there is a crapload of flooring piled up on the level 1 deck already. Got to use that before we can screw down the last 2 boards on level 1. Also really looking forward to finishing the rim on Level 3, it's the key asymmetrical design element that really makes the entire deck fit.

The Level 3 rim joists
 Level 3 got a completed rim, and we put in a double joist in the middle. We wanted to orient the floorboards in the opposite direction for that level to add some visual interest. The double joist in the middle lets us hang the framing members  in a way that will give us the flooring we want.

Now we have a complete outline!

Really starting to come together!

It's nice to see our final layout/design on full scale now

We need more joist hangers!

Level 2 is floored!

We finally got to finish off the last 2 boards on level 1 as well

Kelley and I enjoying that night's refreshing adult beverages on a floored level 2!

After a hard days work
Level 1 is 10' x 10' square. Level 2 is a step down, and there is a kicker in the exterior wall. It's just over 12' long, sometimes 6' wide but sometimes 7' wide. Same 2x8 framing and 5/4 flooring all around.

We're halfway through this holiday build out and ready for the next Lowe's run. Need some more joist hangers, and now we know exactly how many 2x8's we still need to buy. We're rolling, and ready to keep going. Day 3 is next.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day One

So demolition is pretty much done and the ledger board is hung on the side of the house with glee. Now it's time to start building the deck! I have four days off from work, so Saturday through Tuesday is the time we have to build this thing. We have our design laid out in our heads, and the kind of drawing you would expect to find on the back of a napkin, and know roughly what we want the basic final product to be. So let's see how this builds out.

Started with rim joists and hangers

Got level 1 rimmed and started on level 2

the consistent perspective

Happy framer
The morning was hot already. Like over 90* hot. I wanted to get started on framing, and once we made some progress Kelley could start hanging joists while I rimmed the next level. Because this span is 10' I had to add the double joist below the rim joists to stay within code. We used joist hanger brackets inside of the rim, then doubled up the front edge (also req by local code).

my Evil Genius is the first to step out through the door to nowhere

Kelley is laying flooring

Going through the afternoon we got level 1 joists in place and the first couple of floor boards laid down. It's 10' by 10' square, so we used 10' floor boards. Actually the width is slightly less than 10', we left a 1" overhang on both sides of the rim.

End of the day - level 1 is mostly floored, level 2 is rimmed, and level 3 has been started

We ran out of screws with 2 boards left

Enjoying the fruits of a hard days labor

Aviator brewing is a local NC beer

Youngest is happy with our progress.
We were able to use whole boards to floor level 1, but we ran out of screws with 2 boards left. Since they didn't have to be cut, Kelley was able to lay those boards without assistance. We really feel that screwing the floorboards down instead of nailing them helps them hold better. We used 2x8 floor joists on 18" centers. That platform was really solid when it was all said and done. I wanted to stay ahead of her with the rim joists so we could see the final outline of the whole deck as we worked through the levels, but didn't finish level 3.

Got to save something for day 2, right? This was a solid day of work and the end product turned out better than we expected.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Demo Time

It's time to wrap up this door install. Next steps are to finish the inside of the door, hang the ledger board for the deck, and demolition the rest of the backyard. Should be easy, right?

Supplies have been acquired

Drywall starts to go up, insulation is in there

Drywall is installed

There's mud on them walls
Kelley got the insulation installed and I hung the drywall that night. It took a pretty good sized Lowe's run to get the 2 sheets of drywall, mud, and all of the molding/paint/trimmings to keep going. Mudding and sanding drywall to prep for paint is one of the worst parts of these jobs for us. Kelley and I both hate it. But if that's what you have to do to get a smooth wall....

Time to get back outside while we wait for the mud to dry.

The first ledger board is installed and flashed!
 I sized the height of the board to fit one floorboard below the door frame, that's the sample floorboard leaning up against the house. In retrospect, this would be a bit shortsighted - I wish I had lowered that first board by a few inches at least.

This is the existing pergola after all of the greenery around it had been cut down
 The pergola was originally one of the features that drew us in to buy this house. It was surrounded on three sides by azaleas and a few other shrubs, and had an English Ivy growing up from two of the corners. We expected this ivy to fill in the roof and create a more shaded effect but it didn't grow in the pattern we expected so we added a wisteria vine that popped up. Pretty soon the entire thing was out of control.

I wish I had gotten some better "before" pictures. But the azaleas took up about three feet on the side with the door, about eight feet on the back side, and a full row of them on the far side as well. They had grown from small, compact shrubs that accented the pergola into large choking bushes that killed the grass and overtook everything else planted nearby. That angel statue was completely hidden by shrubs.

Inside the pergola the furniture we had used on our last screened-in porch was completely rotten out and unusable. The stone patio had sunken in place into an uneven tripping hazard, but since it was completely covered in rotting leaves and dirt that was ok. It was completely unusable because we didn't take very good care of it. The pergola had to go
back side, note the angel statue
Almost gone, note the stacked chairs that are rotten

The poles came down and there's a fresh stack of pressure treated lumber there now

Got the steps crumbled only to find a rotten floor joist behind that concrete

Rotten wood is replaced and the entire ledger board is hung & flashed
The contractor we used to renovate a bathroom (thanks to rotten floor joists) last year was able to make a quick trip over to replace that rotten floor joist under the door while I was at work on the day before the July 4th holiday.

This is how I left it on June 30. The first couple of stairs were down, that rain barrel was gone. Chris got the rotten wood replaced in the morning, the office closed down early for the holiday so I got to hang the entire ledger board for level 1 and level 2, the only parts that attached directly to the house.

Funny thing was the level 1 board was attached to the dining room door, and level 2 was attached to the kitchen door. They are on the same floor of the house, yet you have to take one step down between levels of the deck. crazy!

Day 1 of the July 4th build out is coming up next.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A New Project

This may actually just be a distraction from starting my next new boat build, but the wife has a project for me. There is one door that goes off of the kitchen to the backyard directly to some concrete steps that are starting to crumble. They go down to a stone path that was starting to buckle and crumble. The pergola at the end of the path was bright, clean, and open when we bought the house, and we used it regularly several times over the first year or two we were here. Now it's overgrown, the furniture in there is rotten and the entire thing has become an eyesore.

So the crumbling stairs go down and a nice large deck goes up in its place. And my boatbuilding blog is getting some general woodworking and home repair content. The first part of this formula was to take a window in the dining room and cut it out into a large hole. Then install a french door in the hole.

Inside starting point - I already had the doors off of those corner cabinets by the time I took the "before" picture

Cabinets are getting relocated

And the plaster wall came down

I could go ahead and install some framing to rough out the door opening
We started with a 5' window, and picked out a 6' door. Our house was built in 1932, so there are plaster walls and no insulation in the exterior walls. This drives me nuts. Every chance we get, we rip down the plaster walls to install insulation and drywall. We made it this far during the week, but we had to have the right day to actually put huge hole in the house. Some thunderstorms delayed our progress for a bit.

Window is out! Kelley wields a mean demo hammer

bloody demolition man

Starting to cut out the hole

ah, that's a nice hole

Ella approves
cut. it. out.

that does go all the way through!
We picked up the door from home depot. Actually, we got a quote from a contractor first. If we supplied the door, his crew would do all of this and install the ledger board for the new deck. It looks like we're going to be able to do the entire project ourselves for about 1/3 of the cost. Now that the hole is all cut, let's install the new door!

Got the header into the framing and the door is installed

Exterior of the door

Finished product of the weekend
So now we have a door to nowhere. But both doors open and close, they are level square and plum. Of course we did this on a 95* day in North Carolina. It was a long and very painful day to get that door installed. But we got it all done ourselves and it did not leak (at first). Now for step 2.