Monday, September 27, 2010

Nature Trail To Hell!

     We've been planning this ride for some time...Recently AnnaMarie and I were at the Ocean Beach street fair and saw this poster.  I stopped to try to figure out where it was exactly.  The lady selling the poster and matching t-shirts knew what I was trying to do and said, "C'mon, you can do it; you'd be the first!" 
    I realized it's exactly where we planned on ending the ride, right where Highway 78 'T's into Highway 86 at Salton Sea. 
    58 miles, starting at my house at Lake Cuyamaca (elevation 4800') ending at this sign (elevation 227' below sea level).  October 16th.  We will leave early morning; if you want to get here the night before and carbo-load, great!
    What You Need--- 1) A bicycle (duh) 2) Sustenance 3) Spare inner tubes 4) A good attitude.  We will leave cars at the endpoint and drive up the road a few miles to one of Mike Friese's Salton City homes for a victory BBQ.
    What We Need--- 1)A chase driver.  There must be somebody wanting to participate but not wanting to pedal. 2)Hot chicks to staff the victory BBQ.  AnnaMarie's the first volunteer meeting all requirements.  3)A cool t-shirt would be good
     Other info---this is a fun ride intended for non-riders.  Not a race.  Anyone that wishes to bail and ride in the chase truck will be welcome to do so.  Alternate plan for the ride if the Santa Ana's are blowing (a headwind would be unfun) we'll go the opposite direction to Mission Beach.
    This is a not-to-miss event.  Celebrity bicycle mechanic James L. Vandewalle will be coming from NorCal at great expense to participate.
     Back to the lady with the poster--I may be getting this wrong but I think she said her husband, who is going blind, took this photo and they are selling the posters/shirts as a fundraiser and awareness raiser for blindness.  If there's interest, I'll contact her and see about buying her shirts with this image

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Smaller Beams

Perfect combination of good weather and days off and a minimum of other have-to-do's makes for some good progress.  You can kinda see why the big beams went the way they did. The heavy timbers are where the wrap around deck is.  You have to have a minimum 1" step down from inside to outside.  The interior framing is 2" higher than the exterior since the decking is 1" thick.
The part with the funny angles is where the bay window will be.  It's cantilevered out like the deck.  It's about 6' off the ground already, and there's two stories to go---this is going to be a tall and skinny house!
I'm learning to really like the I-joists.  They are perfectly staight and very stiff and light.  The hangars go in pretty quick then you cut the joists to size and they just snap in.  I made the mistake of pre-staging some hangars upside down over some already installed joists.  The vibrations from pounding made them settle down and clip themselves in.  They don't come off easy...Oh well, lessons learned.  The part that isn't done yet is where I have to do the rough-in plumbing.  I'll hang a few of the joists so I can hang the drainpipes from them but still move around without having to crawl underneath a completed floor---one of the advantages of doing everything myself is planning steps out like that.
The floor frame is very sturdy, even before the subflooring is down. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big Beams

With a few days off in a row, lots of work can get done.  There was a bit of a delay (again) caused by suppliers---I wanted the sill (the pressure treated lumber the house sits on) to be splice free.  I made a special trip to buy a 3x6x 20'; got home and noticed it was only 16' long.  How do you not notice 4' of board missing??  Then, what was really frustrating, the metal column caps (that's the piece where the beams intersect) were all custom special order.  The supplier called saying they were in; I made the hour and a half drive to Escondido, only to find out my order WASN'T in, they were looking at a different order.....
Finally with my last day off I had all the parts and a whole day to work.  It was a bit scary getting the big beams from here to there but it all worked...It was really enjoyable to be working with big lumber on land I own on a beautiful day---until my sports-freak neighbor came up and really scolded me for missing Patrick's soccer game.
It may look like I have beams going every which way.  I do. Since I really wanted the deck to wrap around two sides, and the new fire restrictive codes don't allow for stacking cantilevers, this was the solution.  There are still a few more big beams to put in, then the rough in plumbing; then I'll be ready for the next inspection.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cost Of Doing It Right

       When you decide to build something, you have to decide what kind of builder you're going to be.   You can be the kind that does it as cheap as possible.  You can just do what it takes to get something up, or you could design based on your current skill level.  I'm of the opinion you draw up exactly what you want to end up with and figure it out as you go.
Now that the foundation is done, I'm installing the sill plates---the pressure treated lumber that sits on the foundation, and the whole house rests on these plates.  Well, this lumber was at the very bottom of the wood pile, so I had to spend time moving things up to the lumber rack.  It gave me a chance to figure out what was what.  There are some parts missing.  
I wanted a deck that wraps around two sides of the cabin.  The normal way to do this is to have some heavy timbers stick out (cantilever) one direction, then have the floor joists on top of those timbers, cantilevering out in a perpendicular direction.  Problem is with the new fire resistive construction you can't stack exposed framing members.  Eliminating the deck on one side would be the easy thing.
Instead, I have very heavy timbers (they are the 6x12's wrapped in white paper) that sort of herring-bone pattern off each other, with the joists hung between them.  Added bonus--the overall elevation of the house is 14" less.  However, I have to support two heavy timbers on the outside floating edge of these beams, and there's a 6x6 post at each junction that will support the porch roof.  All this requires some very beefy steel hangers.  They are custom order items.  If you look at the picture, you have to imagine it inverted, and the post straps are used instead to hold the 6x6 columns.
I need 6 of these.  Not all the same.  Some of them are $228 EACH!  Whoa.  Not in the budget, but there aren't options.  I ordered them; they come in Thursday.
So, instead of framing, I'm picking up overtime shifts (always available in the Summer) and a modelling job that will pay 'several hundred dollars' a day for four days, which should just cover the expense.
Delays, Delays!