Wood and Stone

A site to track our progress as we build our FirstDay Cottage Canadian house kit. Come on in, get a cup of coffee, set a spell and follow along on our journey or join in if you like. Check back for the weekly update (usually by Wednesday when things are going right) to see what we are currently up to!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rain on the Scarecrow

This weekend the rains came on Saturday, like a deluge. Being as we don't have a roof on yet, we tightened up the tarp and went to visit Mimi and Pop (my parents) downstate for the first time since July. Meanwhile the rain poured both here and there.

Sheathing the South wall is done
We returned for Sunday, but it was hard getting back into the swing after the day off. We bought an extension ladder (I have a feeling we will need two, but at $200+ a pop, the second once can wait until we absolutely need it) and brought it up to the house. It was mighty useful in finishing up the couple boards needed tobe able to say we have completed the wall sheathing, without moving the scaffold inside.

Sheathing the North wall is done too, except that very top window
Wendy selected and cut more roof sheathing boards while I puttered around with the final wall sheathing boards and the finishing touch of putting in the pieces of trim where they are needed to close up beneath a window sill or above a header. We considered starting on the housewrap, but as it was so windy, we decided to leave off with that for now.

This coming weekend I am taking my last two vacation days off at work, and the objective is to finish the roof with a four day weekend. The kids are going to see Mimi, so that should help since we will be able to push a little more.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up, Up and Away (the Sheathing remix)

Over all, it was a beautiful, quiet, Indian Summer weekend at the lot. The weather was mostly in the high 60s and 70s (untypical for late October in NY, at 1400 feet) and we had no helpers - Mimi and Pop were just returning from adventures abroad and we hadn't found anyone willing to whitewash the fence with us this weekend. Just as well, as we needed a little us time to just work on the house and enjoy the pace of it.

Friday, I had taken a day off work in anticipation of getting in a long weekend of work. We almost bagged it because of weather reports, but by Friday morning, it looked like the rain and thunderstorms wouldn't come until the afternoon. We worked a half day on sheathing the lofts up to the bottoms of the windows. At lunch time we went out to a local place to grab something, since we forgot our customary lunch meat (leaving mustard and mayo sammiches on the menu). We cleaned up before we left in case, and by the time we finished lunch, the rain had started, so we went shopping instead.

We hit a local bath supply place to see their "showroom" and look for shower enclosures for the main floor bathroom. I think the main floor of our house is as big or bigger than the showroom was, and their prices were fairly outrageous - $515 was their cheapest 36 inch one piece fiberglass shower enclosure. Double that for acrylic. Our next stop was the new Lowes in Colonie, which had the same brand enclosures for half as much, so I think we know where we are getting the shower. We browsed the bath kitchen sink area and found lots of inspiration for our letters to
Santa this year. After doing some much needed restocking of comestibles, we headed home for the day.

Saturday was one of those days where it felt like so little got done - there was a heavy rainstorm on Friday, which wet the floors good and filled the tarp on the roof on one side with water in spots where it hadn't been fully retightened. These bulging sacks of water were leaking slowly, dripping into the inside, and I had to get on a ladder and scaffold and lift them over the little bit of roof sheathing to empty them out. Since the tarp wasn't fully down, as the water cascaded down the sheathing and over the edge it dripped through the sheathing in places, adding to the puddles on the floor. The bigger contributor to the water problem was the water running back in the windows as it ran down the side of the building. Wendy swept the water toward the door, since with all the walls on at floor level there are only two places it can get out - the doors. I also adjusted the tarp so it was tighter and sitting right.

Sheathing up in the living room exposes the windows
Once we finished cleaning up and then setting up (no sense putting all our tools in a puddle of water), we got to work - Wendy cutting boards she had measured during the week, and me setting to finishing the framing. I got everything cut, measured and assembled while Wendy cut sheathing and filled in some of the loft areas. At that point, I helped her with some of the higher work in sheathing, in the cathedral area of the living room. I am a little crazy in that heights don't bother me much. From time to time I get a little dizzy or feel weird being up there, but generally I have no problem being up high. Once we finished up as high as we felt we could there, I had Wendy help me nail some of the high framing in place while I held it in place and plumb. Once we finished that I was tuckered out and didn't want to be up high anymore, so we called it a day and packed up so we could go have dinner with Grandma Lana and the kiddos.

Sheathing up in the Study exposes the windows
Sunday we came back early and hit it hard. I finished up all the framing and Wendy got sheathing ready, then we finished sheathing up the front study wall up to the collar ties, using scaffolding, which made it easier to get up higher (to a point). We moved the scaffold to the back and added a level for two purposes - 1) to get the top of the cathedral area sheathed without a handy window hole to work out of in the middle of the wall, and 2) to see if the scaffold would fit under the roof sheathing for our roof sheathing adventure.

Sheathing up to the collar ties on the back of the house
What we found was that we could get all the way up the wall with the double high scaffold and that it would just fit under the roof sheathing (between the rafters) if we remove the coupling pins (which are wired in) where it comes closest to the rafter. This will allow us to do most of the roof from the inside. Along with the outriggers we got with our scaffolding, we may be able to do the whole roof from the inside!

Sheathing up to the collar ties on the front of the house
All in all a productive weekend - now we just have the peak areas above the loft (and the corner above and around the upper window in the front living room cathedral area) to finish before we start the roof. If all goes well on the extra day this week, we should start sheathing the majority of the roof next Saturday. The plan is to use the scaffold and outriggers from the inside, with some plywood screwed to the scaffold planks to make a nice wide deck to work from once we get off the outriggers.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doo, Doo, Doo, Sheathing Out My Back Door

Wendy hanging out at the back door taking a break
This was a big weekend for help. Jay came back to help us out for both days and we had help from Ravi, a co-worker of mine and his friend Rajan on Saturday, and a former co-worker of mine, whom we call T, on Sunday. It was also a chilly weekend. I think I spent the whole weekend in a fleece and tuque.

I had planned on taking a day off from work on Friday in order to work on the house, but what with a crazy schedule, funky weather and not getting things done that needed to be done, I just took my normal half day and we worked a half day after the rain broke, which worked nicely. I worked on measuring, cutting and assembling the back wall framing while Wendy did some work with picking boards for the roof and back wall in anticipation of the weekend help. I got the living room back wall frame assembled on the deck and ready to raise before it was too dark to continue working.

Jay 'the Hammer' and Wendy raising the roof, yo.
Saturday morning, having gotten an early start, Jay arrived shortly after us. He and I got started on the roof on the opposite side of the house from the road. Once Ravi and his friend Rajan arrived, Wendy took over with Jay while Ravi and Rajan helped me raise the living room back wall. Ravi and Rajan helpd it in place while I toenailed it in.

Ravi getting crazy with the wall sheathing
I set Ravi and Rajan to sheathing the newly raised wall while I worked on the other back wall frame (for the bathroom/study/stairs end of the house). I found it worked best to assemble the framing flat on the deck around the tall member. The cripple stud pieces are attached to the middle bent post and and the outer wall post before raising the frame up. This gives the frame something to sit on while the vertical members are being aligned, leveled and toenailed, after which the horizontal header is attached to the cripple studs on each end.

Rajan helps to close the wall in
Ravi and Rajan made short work of the living room wall, at which point I had them move on to the rear kitchen wall. As they reached the top of the larger portion of the kitchen wall, I was ready to raise the back wall frame in the staircase area. They helped with that process, and then had to get going. Because it was so cold, we hadn't brought our customary cold cuts for sandwiches (we thought it wouldn't be too satisfying) and figured we would go get something warm from the store downtown. Well that hadn't happened, so not long afterward, we finished up for the day and went to get an early dinner.

Sunday morning, we noticed a sheathing board backward in the back living room wall, so Jay and I spent a while trying to figure out how to turn it around. After some brainstorms about using my nifty hole saw set to make swiss cheese of the offending board, which we could then knock out and replace by sliding a new board into the space, we ended up taking 5 boards off to get to the backward one. We got much better at removing the boards as we went down, and were able to reuse some of the boards when we put it back up.

T goes to town on the other rear wall
By this time my friend T arrived. He and Jason kept sheathing up the living room wall, going up as high as they could onto the rafters. That is a continuing issue we are encountering - there is a point at which we can't really reach to continue between the outside wall and the bent, where the rafter gets too high. I think the scaffold will reach with 2 levels, but I am not sure it will work. I have to check that out.

A fine looking interior wall
After bringing the wall up as far as they could, they moved to the other wall until Jay had to get going. T stayed with us for another hour or two, and he and Wendy started working on the top portion of the front living room wall while I finished up the framing for the windows up in the loft. All in all, a good weekend, and something looking considerably more like a house than before we arrived.

The sum total of our accomplishments

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

I just wanted to wish my sweetie a very happy 8th anniversary today. Despite my occasional crankiness, we have been having a lot of fun working on the house together. I can't believe that by our 9th we will be moved into our own house. I love you this much!

We're a-workin on a building

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chapter 73: In Which We Sheathe Half of the Front Wall and Start the Roof

In this week's episode (the 73rd post to the blog), Wood and Stone receives unexpected (but always welcome) help from family along with expected help from one of Sean's coworkers, contributing to some quick work on sheathing the front wall, and starting the roof. Let's watch...

Mara and Aunt Sandra sheathing the south wall.
Saturday, I went up first thing while Wendy stayed home until Grandpa Tom was up and ready to watch Quinn and Emmet for the day. I wanted to get a head start as I expected my coworker Mara to be coming to help and I wanted to work on sheathing the basement window wall with her until Wendy arrived. I also had the south side framing to do in the kitchen which I could work on until Mara arrived. I figured we would need it later in the day.

Not long after I got there, Aunt Sandra and Uncle John arrived. We hadn't expected them to be helping, as they were going to head home before the weekend. It turns out that they decided travelling on Columbus Day weekend might be difficult and decided to come help us out again since they would be around. I saw an opportunity, and set Uncle John and Aunt Sandra to sheathing the basement wall so I could start my framing. When Mara and Wendy arrived, they each joined in the sheathing fun and worked faster than me.

The south wall from the dining area, inside.
By lunch time, the Dream Team had sheathed the front wall up into the first floor and I had framed out the windows on the south kitchen aisle wall. Mara had to go, so after lunch, Wendy and her Aunt and uncle finished up to the top of the first floor while I framed out the north kitchen aisle wall (the back door) and the window up in the cathedraled area in the living room aisle.

The south wall up to the top of the first floor.
Uncle John really ran the sheathing crew and did great work. They won't be back until the spring sometime, so wished us luck and headed out. Wendy went to get more gas as the generator ran out, and while she way gone the thunder started. I started picking up and shortly after she got back it started raining. We got the tools into the storage unit, but the wood was mostly uncovered. We headed home early as the lightning got closer.

Sunday we had a later start and we brought the kids up with us. Mara came back with her daughter, Kai, and her dog, Buster Brown. Kai babysat for a few hours while we worked. We decided to start in on the roof since we didn't want to raise to south wall beyond the first floor until we can start evening it out on the north side, which requires more framing in the living room and stair aisles respectively. This in turn requires more 2x6s than we had available presently.

Mara and Sean getting in over their heads.
We worked on the roof and got between six and seven feet of it done, until we were above our heads on the scaffold. After looking at ways to get more height, we decided it would be easier to go to the other side and sheathe up until we matched the road side, figuring out what to do for height in the middle of the floor later.

Buster Brown in the house!
Meanwhile, Buster Brown climbed the ladder to the deck to be closer to Mara. I'm not sure if I have every seen anything like it.

Grandpa Tom had come up, and brought us some more 2x6s to finish framing the north wall. The kit plan called for using doubled 2x4s, but we decided to use doubled 2x6s. We thought this would continue the size and look of the bay framing as well as lending extra rigidity, since the walls are so tall in the cathedral ends. Because it wasn't called for in the plan, we didn't have many extra 2x6s. We did have the ones that were to be attached to the sill plate to use, as we decided to use treated 2x6s there instead. We now have enough lumber to finish the North wall framing, so we can close that in at some point. He took Quinn and Emmet home, and after moving the scaffold Mara and Kai called it a day too.

What we got done of the roof with one height of the scaffold framing
At this point Wendy and I decided we should get the tarp on. Earlier in the week, after looking at the weather report for the coming week, which said, approximately, "Rain Monday through Friday", I had a flash of inspiration. The green tarps we have for the lumber piles are 30' by 50' which should cover the whole roof with some overhang on all ends. Even better I happened to have an extra tarp of this dimension sitting in the basement. This should hopefully keep a good portion of the rain off the decks and out of the basement. We are getting tired of sweeping the water toward the sump every week.

The house tarped as it gets dark and funny weather rolls in
We tied ropes to the tarp and I pulled it up to the peak before throwing the rope down to Wendy. She pulled while I helped shepherd the tarp across the peak. Once we got it over the top, we pulled it out so it was fairly taut and then tied rope from one side to the other to help keep it in place. It was amazing how much that defined the space inside the house. No pictures of that yet as the camera was already put away and we still had to clean up tools and tarp the wood.

On the next episode of Wood and Stone: It's a roofing spectacular, with the return of special guest, Jason, "The Hammer". Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.