Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Trudge To Success

  Here's the fireplace, with the cut local stone veneer.  It might not look like much accomplished for a days work, but today was one curveball after another.
  When I got off wrk this morning, I had a wicked sore throat and plugged up ears.  It was raining, too, and AnnaMarie needed stuff from Walmart.  I really wanted to just spend the day lying down but the kids volunteered to watch three little kids for one of their teachers for the day.  I could just see passing this crud to a kid, to teacher, to whole school, so decided I'd just work on the cedar lining for the closet.  Low braindrain, no heavy lifting.   The compressor had other ideas.

  The little gasket on the pressure tube where it goes into the valve housing was shredded.  The part is $1.17 and shipping is $14 so I also ordered a new valve assembly (Byron's feeling on the cause of another compressor issue) and gaskets.  Total $27.77.  A new compressor is over $200.  No cedar work until the parts come.  So, the other indoor 'shovel ready' project is the fireplace.  Lauren had puzzle fit the stones on the template for me but all the edge ones needed trimming.  Lugged the wet saw inside and got it all set up.  It was working intermittently and I thought the burning plastic smell was from the space heater, until the smoke tipped me off to a failing plug.
If you are going to take on any big project, keep a supply of plugs around.  I have a tool repair kit all ready to go.  Electrical tape, cords, spare blades, motor brushes, allen wrenches.  (OK the kit is a cardboard box full of junk but it's somewhat organized)
With that repair done and not needing any special order parts, back to the veneer job.  You smear the mastic on ( make sure you buy the right kind.  This is high temp for stone) then spread it with a notched trowel.

  I put some carboard down to protect the hearth from the mastic.  The picture doesn't show how the notched trowel furrows the mastic.  I didn't angle the camera right, I guess.  Then you just start sticking the stones to the wall, pressing them in.  I kept a variety of tiny stones near to fill in.  You can put them in really tight to each other and skip mortaring the joints,  you can mix up mortar and use a mortar bag, (kind of like a frosting flute bag) or, if the joints are pretty small, you can buy elastomeric repair mortar in a caulk tube and just gun it into place.   In the top picture you can see under the hearth where I didn't mortar it yet, so there's white mastic showing through the stones. 
I feel a little guilty.  Projects like this are usually saved as a reward for completing a larger, more tedious step.  I have to get the exterior done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Siding, Inside and Out

   I'm set up now, to get work done regardless of the weather.  With some beautiful days and some help from Byron, got the tall wall all sided.  The soffits are in, all caulked and painted.  The shingles up in the gable have a wavy look---they were cut from regular siding boards, freehand.  The pattern is matched for the gable under the eyebrow, too.  You can see the color the girls picked.  It's really going to stand out from the highway.
   Then Winter pays a visit.  Howling wind, sleet, in the 20's.   Time to get some indoors stuff done.  I set up the wet saw I bought on Craigslist for $50 and start making tiles from the stones that I found when the foundation and septic were dug.
     The kids were home for MLK day so I recruited Lauren to puzzle fit them together for the fireplace.  I made some templates the exact shape out of cardboard.   I'll get high temp mastic and put them on the hardiboard that's already in place--another cold weather project.   Right now, though, I'm getting some of the tongue and groove interior siding in.  It's very rewarding to work on stuff that will show.  This is the bedroom window with a window seat built in.  I added a reading light in the ceiling and a switch because it looked like an inviting place to sit with a book.  The picture of the lake is out that same window.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not Falling

   So many days are spent getting work done, either here or at the fire department.  So much of getting work done requires putting distance between myself and my home planet.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this; however, the return trip is always top on the mind----taking off is optional.  Landing is not.  When you do return, you want to return to the correct place at a comfortable speed.
   It was time to get the tall wall done.  I promised Mom I wouldn't attempt it alone.  Once again, Byron to the rescue---he came down and helped set up the scaffolding I borrowed, even brought some missing pieces that were needed.  It made the work safer and more productive and we made it up almost to the very top.  I'll finish soon if the weather holds, then final painting on the way down while taking the scaffolding back apart.  We started cutting siding boards into wavy lined shingles for up in the gable.  It came out really well.  Most of the caulking is completed too.  I had to take A.M. to an appointment and returned to find Byron had cleaned everything up inside.  This, by the way, is what I consider the ugly side of the house but the only person that will see it is Keith, who owns the dome home next door.  Oh and soffits---the eaves have to be filled in with this concrete soffit board stuff.  I really don't like how it looks but it's required in fire resistive construction.  It went in easier than I had anticipated and really doesn't look all that bad