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!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rap Yt

Last week I started to mock up the walls we need for the study/bath/closet area of the main floor using Google Sketchup 6 (free). I have to say this program is pretty awesome - you can see the results I got below. Also, I know some folks who work there from the good old Boulder, CO days.

Here is the plan for the walls, let's see how well I follow it
When you are moving large piles of lumber around your mind gets to wandering a bit, since it is not a really mentally stimulating excersise. On the otherhand, there is a great physical excersise regimen based on it:

1) Get yourself a bundle of 2x4s.
2) Place the bundle on one side of your house (or lot if you don't have a house yet)
3) Now move the lumber to the other side of the house (or lot)
4) Repeat once a day until you reach your desired weight.

* You may wish to upgrade to a larger dimension of lumber such as 2x6, 2x8 or 2x10 based on your strength and results you wish to see.

Too bad I can't make iut more complicated - then I could sell it. Anyhow, while moving the last of the lumber, I was looking at the window hole covered with Typar, and saw the Typar logo from the wrong side. From that side it said rapyT (or Rap Yt, or Wrap It if you really strrech your imagination). I had a vision of a bunch of Marketing guys sitting around a table in a conference room, wondering what they would call their house wrap product.

"Well, we could call it WrapIt"
"No, that's way too obvious, besides, it makes me think of Saran Wrap"
"Let's riff on that idea..."
"What if we reverse it?"
"Tiparw? What does that mean? It doesn't even make sense!"
"How about we remove some unneccessary letters? What do you think of Tipar?"
"I think it needs a Y - like Typar."
"Hey, that even sounds kind of like Tyvek! I bet we can get some marketshare based on that!"

OK, maybe I was crazed after moving piles of wood for like 3 weeks, but it seem reasonable at the time...

Once I finished moving the lumber out of the study/bath/closet area of the main floor, I got down to cutting lumber for the main study wall. I got all the pieces cut by time the light gave out on Sunday, and next week I can actually do some construction again.

On another note, Wendy went back to the doctor last week and found she had Bronchitis again. The doc told her she will be good as new in about 2 months, so she is off the job until April or so at this point. I miss having my co-worker and the good times we've had. I had to replace her with my Ryobi battery operated radio, which keeps me entertained and lets me know the time, but isn't very good at lifting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Updated Typeface

Today I replaced the typeface that came with the original template (Scribe) that I used when creating the site. The font in the sidebar header images was a bit hard to read, and a little more refined than our house is. I created new images using a more appropriate font and created a new header image in the same vein. After the weekend (and when I can get some pictures of our walls) I will be replacing the background image. Cordwood Masonry isn't as appropriate now that we aren't building that style in the house.

No work done this past weekend - I took the kids to visit Mimi for her birthday, and Wendy stayed home and rested up - after the previous weekend she was still exhausted. Pneumonia is a real bear to get over fully. So I'll be working alone this weekend - perfect timing for another lumber moving fiesta. I have to get all the lumber I moved back in early December (remember that?) to the other side of the building. When I originally moved it, I put it right in the way of the only interior walls I have to build. If you are thinking of building a FirstDay, get used to moving lumber. It is never where you need it to be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Updated Description

Today I added links to other Firstday builder sites and updated the site description. The site has become much more of a narrative to keep folks informed of where we are at in the process than a notebook for our own use, so I updated that to match. I will also be doing some updating of the look of the site soon to reflect our house design more. For historical purposes, the description used to read as follows:

"This is an online notebook to keep track of where we are and what we need to do to move forward in building our FirstDay Cottage. If you find anything of use or interest, you have hit it big, and should probably cash out your chips and go home for good measure."

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Great January Thaw

Our house is at about 1640 feet in the Taconic Mountains, east of Albany, NY. Down in the 'flatlands' we experienced one of those weeks that often comes in January, where the temeratures rise and the accumulated snow and ice melt off. As the week progressed, I found myself getting excited about the possibility of being able to get at the building materials still remaining outside without having to shovel snow or chop at the ice still remaining from the ice storm that kicked off winter's early arrival.

Despite the altitude, even up in the mountains we felt the thaw this past week. The piles of snow that had accumulated around the house melted down and exposed the tarps that are still covering those remaining building materials. Not all the snow was gone when we arrived Saturday morning, but more than enough to make getting under the tarp in front of the house where the siding lay an easy task.

The front of the house after the thaw
This pile of wood in particular needed to be moved since it was keeping us from putting up more foam and putting in windows. The foam we had already put up was put up from the extension ladder, but just getting it that high was a precarious situation, since we didn't have enough room to get a nice angle to set the ladder up. Going any higher required that we be able to move the base of the ladder out from the building, which was impossible with the siding in the way.

Wendy and I started in moved the wood inside, and then up into the loft to be restacked for storage until we get nice enough weather again to stain the siding outside and put it up. This proved a taxing job, especially for Wendy in her weakened state. By mid-afternoon she was feeling dizzy and lying down between handing pieces of wood from the main floor up to the loft. We called Grandma Lana to come pick her up so she could take a rest, but I was a little driven to keep moving siding. I managed to finish moving the first of piles of siding Saturday before calling it day around 5pm.

Sunday was a half day. We had to go in the morning to pick up a half pig we bought that had been butchered and frozen for us by our friendly farmer. After getting home with that and putting it away, I went up to finish moving the other pile of wood by 1pm or so. This pile didn't get stacked neatly in the loft like the first one did, but ended up mostly vertical inside the house to let it dry out - the thaw has made it quite moist, and I didn't want to stack it wet. Wendy stayed home to rest while Grandpa Tom took the kids to a model train eexhibit, so I was all alone. I finished up again by 5, after getting the last of the pile moved into the house, and another week was done.

The back of the house with the paper in place
Moving and stacking wood can be a real drag. It takes so long to take apart the pile, clean it up and put it back together somewhere else. The up side is that out siding is all snug inside the house (which has remained dry since we got the Typar up) and we now have enough space to put up the rest of the foam and hang the windows if we get a decent day to do so.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

After our Pneumonia/Holiday break, we have finally started working again. We went back for the first time last weekend, working only half days. We want to be careful tot take it easy so Wendy doesn't get sick again (far to easy to do after having Pneumonia).

The first thing we did was clean up. It had been a while (since we closed the walls and roof at least) and there was plenty of debris inside the house. We had leaves, dirt, sawdust and quite a collection of boards all over the house, but now that the openings are all covered over, no more outside junk will blow in. We picked up the boards, seperating them into a pile we could use for building and bags of scraps we could use for fires. We swept up the floors and took down the scaffolding (it was still up from when we closed the roof) to make more room in the study, where we need to build walls. It was a nice transitional day, like spring cleaning, getting the house ready to do work inside.

The next day, Wendy wanted to learn how to put the insulation and strapping on, since it was warmer out (in the 40s). We covered the road end of the house in foam and strapping, with just a 6" strip across the top of the wall at the eaves and an 8" strip down the side of the front door hole to finish before we called it a day.

Foam on the road side of the house
This weekend we went back to work again. Saturday was still cool after the snow earlier in the week, and after shoveling out the container and the front door, we worked inside (honestly, shoveling around the house to work on the other walls was not on my list of things to do right away). We started by realizing that there are 2 large piles of lumber in the area we need to build interior walls in. Instead of setting to moving them out of the way we decided to use some and start the half wall between the kitchen and the living room, where the lower kitchen cabinets will be.

The kitchen/living room dividing wall
We went as high as we dare with that wall (about 3 feet) and started measuring and cutting some boards for the halfwall up in the loft. We decided on a half wall to seperate the loft from the living room a bit more, and for safety sake. The timer rang and it was time to go. Grandma Lana has moved closer to the house site (~18 minute drive away) and we stayed in her guest room for the first time, so we could cut our morning commute time. It certainly won't be the last time we stay, that is for sure.

Sunday we finished up the foam on the road side, before it got too warm and melted the snow on the roof. By time we finished it and went inside, it sounded like it was raining from the water dripping off the roof onto the building paper. Inside we put up the halfwall upstairs to a bit better than 3 feet. Time to go again, so we cleaned up and headed home for another week.

The don't fall off the balcony wall