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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

It Floats!

The water test on the Pirogue was a reasonable success! It floats! There was a small leak that I still have to fix, but after an hour in the water with 2 passengers there was about a centimeter of water in the back. That's not bad.

We took it out to Lake Johnson here in Raleigh for the water test. It was a warm day, but nothing unusual. They have a hand launch for small boats, it's not the kind of lake you can drive trailered boats down a ramp. It does get a bit crowded though. Kelley and I carried the boat from the parking space to the launch, and let it float around for a bit. I really expected it to just sink as soon as we put it in the water. After watching it float for a while, Ella and I got in to paddle around some. We went all over that lake! She was loving it. Then my youngest got in and cried once we got in water more than ankle deep.

Have to test these things on dry land first

Floating! We sat on pillows

Ella the Eldest is loving it

It's a pretty big lake

This is as far offshore as she would get. True Evil Genius.

we had some company

EG had fun playing around the lake.
So this wraps the Pirogue I named My Busted Foot. We tied the boat to the top of my wife's car to get it out to Lake Johnson, and I need a better way to transport. Thinking about trading in my convertible for something larger with a roof rack and/or trailer hitch.

Transportation issues aside, this was an incredibly fun project. I am now totally hooked on boatbuilding as a hobby and am already planning my next one. I did start with the easiest boat I could possibly find. It sits about 3" below the water surface (draft) and is easy to turn. Moves really well in the water. Ella says "we're boat people now Daddy" she loved it so much. My Busted Foot was fun to build and fun to scoot around the local lakes. Try it!

For the next one, Ella wants me to build a sailboat so she can name it "The Black Pearl". We'll have to see what I can do with that. I still have to cut out the forms for my canoe too.