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!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exquisite Timing

Today I read an email from my ISP, dated 2 days ago, with a subject line of Final Notice! Don't Lose Your Home Page. It told me that the home page (and associated space and hosted files) they had been providing was being updated, and that I needed to get a new account. The old page would be shut down as of December 10th (yesterday) and if I didn't migrate my files by then they would be deleted when the old server was shut down.

I hurried up over here and found the place a bit of a mess since all the section images and the background image were being hosted from that site. I have everything backed up so I uploaded the images to a hosting service and now things are back to normal.

Since I am here I figured I would post. I had promised some pictures of the heating system. Well, here you go - heating system from Radiantec in progress.

This is two days worth of work.
We decided to do copper for the heating system because we didn't have all the PEX stuff yet and wanted to get going. Copper is easily accessible and a good skill to learn anyway, so I headed into it with Pop's help. Well, sweating pipe is pretty tedious and takes a lot of skill.

Sean with the PMP (Plumbing Mechanical Package).
I think I am going to be very glad when we start the domestic water that we are using the PEX instead of sweating pipe. Fortunately much of the complicated work (putting all the little components together) is done for you in the package, but you still have to get it all together, and getting the offsets from the wall correct with the copper joints is a bit of a bear. But, a couple more workdays and it should be all done. Of course, the weather is against us too - it is icing here right now and some reports say we should have 3-6 inches of snow on top of that. But this too shall pass.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quarterly Update

OK, so despite not wanting to be 'that blogger,' here we are - over 2 months later, and 3 months since a real post. Life got in the way for a bit, and then inertia, the worst enemy of these type sites, kicked in. So let's get an update of what we have done in the past 3 months, and then we can try to start fresh, eh?

Getting a start down the third side.
We finished the siding. After getting past the side with 13 windows, which took 7 weekends and many weekdays of staining put in by Wendy and Lana, (the most uttered phrase during those weeks was "Who in the hell decided it was a good idea to put all these windows on one side and stagger them!?!"), the remaining 2 sides were a breeze, and finished in a mere 4 weekends with a little help from our friends. We had to finally put the back door in to finish the last side, but it was a breeze compared to the front door since it fit correctly.

Hank monkeying around on the scaffold.
Our friend, Hank, came by for a few weekends between camp season and ski season.

The Famous Triple Tiered Thompson Family. OK. Yeah, that's me at the top, not a Thompson, but I couldn't resist some alliteration...
Carol and Jaime brought their family out from their homestead to ours and helped us power through the end of the last side together, buttoning the siding up before they went home!

Pop all ready to work on some siding. Note the mark of the house on the left shoe.
Pop joined us often to manage the ground duties with Wendy. I think he convinced her to join the union.

Starting the cement board.
The next job was to cover the foundation foam (finally!) with cement board which we'll stucco (in the spring at this point). This took a few weekends but only because we kept running out of screws to hold it on and didn't want to run out to try to find more, since 4 1/2 inch Tapcon screws with hex heads seem to be a very tightly controlled commodity around here. I had to hit 4 Home Depots to find a couple of boxes.

Cement board all around.
Once we had the piece of cement board up behind the ground wire, we were able to drive the ground rods, hook up the ground from the service panel and get the electric service inspected. The inspector in our area seems great and was interested in the house kit. He passed my work and within a week national grid had hooked us up and metered us, so we now have power without the noisy generator. When I hooked up the first temporary outlet and plugged in a work lamp to test it, I called Wendy down to see the excitement. She told me "Turn that thing off! It costs money you know!"

The ground wire hooked up and ready for inspection.
With the outside work mostly done, it was time to get the well line put in, so we got the well-driller and our excavator up there to dig the trench. Well, we found out that we have rock ledge everywhere we didn't try to put the house. A day and a half of hammering with the large excavating machine later, the well line is in a trench 6 feet deep and covered over and the well pump and pressure tank are installed!

The final step outside was to get rid of our ramp - our chicken ladder. It worked fine in warm weather, but as the weather started to go colder, it was slick in the morning with frost. We took it down and built the sturdiest set of temporary stairs ever constructed, which is good since they will likely be there longer than anticipated. We built the stairs out of cast offs - decking the carpenter ants chewed holes in (wow, to think how long ago that was), left over scraps of two by stock and the rejected stringers and treads from the inside staircases.

Finally, real stairs to go up and down!.
At this point we are buttoned up and have moved to work inside for the winter. We started working on the rough electric, hanging boxes and when my brother-in-law, Michael, came up with Pop, he became an expert in drilling holes in posts with the right angle drill.

A portrait of a man and his drill.
Though the house stays warmer than the outside world, we decided we need the heat working, so while Wendy and Michael worked on pulling electric cable, Pop instructed me the fine art of sweating pipe. I caught on pretty quick since it is the same concept as electronics soldering, except with a blowtorch instead of a soldering iron and a lot more area to solder. I decided to use copper for the heating system even though I am using PEX for the domestic water system since I don't have any PEX or PEX tools yet and didn't want to wait for it to arrive. It is also good to know the sweating part since I may still need to do it at some points anyway where the PEX has to marry up to copper.

The past few weekends have been less than productive. Over Thanksgiving, i pulled my Achilles' tendon, which was excruciating and kept me in a chair at my parent's house until Sunday. We worked a bit on Sunday until sleet moved in and we decided to go home before the roads got too bad. This weekend, Quinn had a ballet performance, so we worked Friday night and took Saturday off to attend that and visit with my folks who came up to see the performance. Tomorrow we will go back and try to finish up the heating system. I will get pictures of that system and post them then as well.

I know there are holes in the narrative large enough to put our house in, and I'd like to say I would go back and fill them in, but I might not. If you have any specific questions ask and I will make sure to address them. I am also going to try to keep this up to date with our inside progress. If you notice I am late in posting, please feel free to let me know - maybe knowing someone is looking for an update will help keep me motivated.

The current plan (yes, we hear the question "When will you move in?" or "Isn't it done yet?" a lot) is to work over the winter inside, getting things all done and try to move in once spring comes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Labor Month

Life has been hectic, but progress on the house continues...

The front is done, on to the rest!
Don't be fooled.... We have just those 2 sides done, though the other short side is over half done as well.