Friday, September 30, 2011

Da Roof..

    Shelter really isn't shelter until there's a roof.  Roofing is one of the more rewarding parts of the building project---everything underneath is now protected from the elements, and you can get work done regardless of the weather.  First you have to get the materials up there, though.  I built a temporary stand-off since the roofing goes 3/8" past the drip edge, and put some stops so the ladder can't slide off.  Then it's a matter of shoulder loading the bundles of shingles----3/4's of them weigh 68 pounds, and every fourth weighs 76 pounds.  (one in four bundles has more shingles so it will work out to 4 bundles per square, a square being 100 square feet covered)  
    Hard to tell in the picture but it's 26' to the ground.
   I made a work platform out of scrap to hold stuff.  You need a flat surface to cut the shingles on.  There's a specific pattern to cut each starter shingle, working left to right from the roof's edge---that way the seams don't overlap.  Every 5 courses I snapped a chalkline to keep everything straight (or else when you get to the top everything looks un-even)
   The valleys......This roof has every challenge there is---steep valleys, gable junctions, roof to wall junctions, even curved rooflines.  I'm of the opinion there is only one correct way to roof valleys when using composition roofing, and that is to lace them.  The cheap shortcut is to put metal flashing down and simply cut the shingles at the bottom of the valley.  The metal tends to cook the shingles causing premature failure.  The shingles are cut right where the water flows.  Leaves and pine needles accumulate and get under.  Other than chimneys, valleys are the most likely origin of leaks.
    Three reasons roofers don't lace valleys----They don't know how (I exchanged free labor for an experienced roofer that DID know how for a roofing lesson) it uses up a lot more roofing material, and it takes more time.
    This steep gable comes right up against the pop-out roof, creating a snow-trapping funnel.  I put down this sticky sheet rubber stuff in the valley all the way up the sidewall, then flashed the vertical surfaces with lots of flashing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

September Lightning Pre-Position

     It was a bit ironic, just because I was working a 48 hour shift over the 9/11 weekend and concurrently on the bubble and rostered as a Technical Information Specialist (TIS) for the Urban Search And Rescue task force (just in case there was an attack)... Midway through the shift sometime after midnight got the call to report for something completely different, managing a military aircraft for fires up North.
   It's kind of a neat program.  If the private helicopter resources are exhausted, the large campaign fires can call up National Guard helicopters to fight fires.  The copters have to have a fire representative aboard trained as a Military Helicopter Equipment Manager (MHEM). 
    SouthOps set up a rental car for me.  My relief came in, I got the car, and started driving.  The helibase was in Tehachapi, only a few hours' drive, but I had to drive through and continue on another 6 hours North to Stockton to get my helicopter.
    Flew South and fought fire for a few days.  It was cool to see areas way off the freeways I'd driven by so many times before.  They re-deployed us up to Bishop, crossing the Southern portion of the Sierras right over Lake Isabella.  The fire in Bishop wasn't really much, so we then crossed over the central Sierras---the only landmark I recognized was 'Balloon Dome'.  It's gorgeous country and just goes on and on.  Flight following was hard---there's little radio communications in or out back there.
    Days' end always involved a small army of mechanics crawling all over the helicopter checking everything over.  It's big, can lift a lot, yet flies much faster than our 412 back home.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Free Building Materials!

    At work out by the airport dumpsters, there was this hunk of wood someone left there.  It sat for months.  I really don't just salvage stuff, unless I'm absolutely sure I can use it.  I figured, at least it could be firewood.....It had a deep weathered surface, was 7" X 12" X 8 1/2'.  Just looking at splinters I thought it was Douglas Fir, but it was very heavy.   So it sat in my yard for another year.
    Byron loaned me his table saw, which also sat for a year.  It will cut much deeper than the skilsaw most of the house was built with.  When I started making the cuts, a rich chocolate smell filled the cottage--a distinct old oak smell.
    It took a few hours just to cut the rough shape and the blade wasn't quite deep enough, so a sawzall finished the cuts.  The wood is so hard the circuit breaker kept popping and the wood burned as it cut.
    After trudging through the plumbing and fire sprinkler steps, doing some artsy work was a welcomed change. 
    I really like the contrast of the old weathered wood and the newly cut/deeply sanded oak.  It was very tempting to make the mantel oversized just to not waste the wood, but I think this is correct.  You can see the small dry rot section in the first picture.  Sanding some of this out made the bottom edge kind of crookedy, which I could have sawn straight---but I kind of like the feel now.  My brother Bob would call it 'organic' I think.
   Craigslist had this wetsaw listed for $50.  I bought a new blade (another $50) spent some time getting it working, grabbed the closest rock, and started cutting.  It's beautiful.  This will face the fireplace and chimney.
   The other free find are some large wood bifold doors that will fit the 8' closet space.  The whole 'repurposed' theme is NOT part of goal with this place,  but when you find really good stuff that fits and is free,  all the better