Friday, April 29, 2011

Taking Shape

     Had three days in a row to pretty much just build---all in really good weather.  AnnaMarie kicks me out early but as a courtesy to the neighbors no power tools until 7:00 am.  Sometime around 11 she'll call me home and we'll have lunch together, then back at it until sunset.  It takes a little while to put things away for the night.  Then shower, help with homework, visit, eat dinner, then off to bed---typically with a few things to figure out for the next day.
     All the steep rafters with compound angles are in.  All the curved rafters, too.  The rafters on the back side are pretty simple, just an angle where they meet the beam, a birds-mouth cut where they rest on the wall frame, and an angle on the rafter tail for the soffit later.  I have 5 out of 11 of those in--should be able to finish that tomorrow if I get off work at a reasonable time.  The back upstairs wall was plumb on the two ends but about 2" off in the middle, so it got pulled into shape and held there with a board until the rafters are in place to secure it (if you don't do this, the wall is forever held in the wrong position.  Doors and windows stick, pictures don't hang straight, all sorts of bad building karma)
     We're slowly regaining our driveway, too.  What had been three semi truckloads of building materials in our home's driveway, eating up three parking spots, is now down to a little stack.  I'm going to have a fair amount of wood left over.  Maybe for a single car garage, which would be nice
   Here's the boards that become the long rafters.  They're 20' long 2x12's (80-100 pounds each) The old truck just keeps chugging along.  It isn't a far trip---across the street---but then up a very steep driveway.

Monday, April 18, 2011


      There were a few challenges with the gable.  One was working 28' off the ground, and it gets pretty windy in the afternoon.  Dealing with compound angles is a headscratcher sometimes (OK always)...Another problem was, the valley beam doesn't come out over the corner of the house and that makes the eaves not match up.  So either one eave is a lot bigger than the other (which would look funny) or where the eaves meet at the valley beam one extends out more than the other (which would look funny).  So the fascia on the gable actually angles back from the standars 16" down to 4" so everything meets up.
    The wall to the left has a big window in it---it's boarded up now to keep snow from blowing in.  It didn't help much.  The roof framing to the far right is the first curved rafters---that same curve will be matched for the porch roof.
  Here's the gable roof framing looking up from the second floor.  You can see how that valley beam doesn't pass over the corner.  The rafters must, by code, oppose each other on either side of the ridge and valley so you have to get the angles correct.  The boards going perpendicular are called bachelor studs---they support the fascia boards that are cantilevered out.  The column to the right, one of five in the house, has to be supported all the way down to the foundation and the foundation underneath is deeper, wider, and reinforced with more steel to support the load of the house.
  When people imagine building, I think this is the stage they think of.  It is probably the most fun and rewarding stage as you really see progress at the end of each day.  But it actually represents a very tiny fraction of the overal building process.