Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The porches.

It took a while for my vision of what this house can be to form, but a few weeks back it jelled, and lots of porches was a critical component of the grand scheme.

Monday evening I stripped the siding to prepare for the tie-in to the sides of the house and removed the porch/awning thing that was in place.

Tuesday I had all the materials delivered, but lost most of the day to other things.  I spent the evening, with a headlamp, attaching the supports on the house side.  I enjoy doing this stuff by myself, the peaceful time alone in my head, the solo sense of accomplishment, but there are times when an extra set of hands would make things a little easier.  This project has brought several to light.  Mounting a 12 foot long 2x12 to the side of a house, and making it perfectly level, is one of them.  A handy pivot-mount I threw together made this feasible, but the boards were still heavy on a ladder by myself, while juggling sa nail gun.

Wednesday morning I had all my supplies in place, the house side prepped, two kids with nowhere to go, and Alexe off for a very busy last-day-before-Thanksgiving at the store.  The kids and I were outside, bundled and ready to go, before 8 am.  At this point, after the slow, boring concrete work, all the components were here, and all I had to do was assemble.  It was like Christmas morning.

Moving the first 6x6 cypress post, 10 ft long, put the previous lifting in perspective.  These suckers are heavy, need to be hoisted into position, and then tied to diagonals mounted on stakes to hold them in place. 

Eventually they get bolted in place at the bottom bracket, but I didn't want to lock these first two in place until I had the corner completed, and all my angles perfect.  It meant lots of temporary braces.

The kids were champs.  They kept me company, staying outside of the danger zone, and I took periodic breaks to attend the dinner parties they were putting on.  The food, serving plates, and utensils were all locally sourced from a 50 foot radius of the work area.  The stories that went with each meal, the menu descriptions, and the strict rules about where to sit and hw to pretend-eat, were very hard to take without smiling, but Annaliese was very serious about her restaurant/pancake party/soup kitchen.  Caspian worked as forager and sous chef.  And disgruntled patron.

Finally hoisting that cross member in place was satisfying.  It completed the first box, and locked everything in place.  From there the rest of the porch had something to grow from, and things picked up.

Again, getting that 11 ft 2x12, true dimensions, of cypress, up that ladder and in position, made the previous heavy lifting seem like a cakewalk.  I received the messages from my legs as I walked up the ladder holding this thing in the middle, and similar messages from my arms when I lifted it to set on the notches cut into the vertical posts, but having no other options, I ignored all the whining.  I had to lash the piece to a cross member I temporarily put in place for this purpose, to hold it while I went to each end, confirmed the positioning, and bolted this in place.

It wasn't exactly lighting, but after the first box was formed, the next few sections went up more quickly.

By the end of Wednesday, before heading in to start on the Thanksgiving pies, I had completed the front section.  

On Thanksgiving morning, while Alexe cooked the turkey and the kids collected decorations for the table, I put up the next section, a bit more difficult, as it reaches beyond the edge of the house by eight feet and turns the corner.

Waiting on a final piece of cypress from the mill, I went ahead and filled in the floor joists for the front section.

Hmmm.  Since this picture on Friday, the framing is completed around the next two sections of the house, and the cedar decking, which has taken two full days to install 2/3s of it, (8 hour+ days sitting/kneeling/bent at the waist pre-drilling every hole, and screwing down the 1" cedar boards with 3" long deck screws,) has been a bit of a drag. However, I should have that wrapped late tomorrow, and start on the next set of verticals to support the roof.  


Anonymous said...

I think you might be the very best husband in the universe...That Alexe is one lucky girl!!!

Anonymous said...

actually, you are both amazing/