Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

After getting all the walls stood for the first floor perimeter, we framed in the partition and bearing walls in the conventional manner, 2×4 non-bearing, 2×6 and 2×8 bearing walls that will extend up and carry the second floor roofs.

Doesn't that say "not a step" on the top of the ladder??

You can see the strong wall in the back of the picture above.

Me and Bob after framing in the 100 degree heat.

Of course it was 100 degrees most of the week and with the walls stood there was no air circulation inside the structure, needless to say we consumed mass quantities of water! With all the interior walls framed, it was time to run the second story rim joists and then roll out the floor joists! This is definitely not like framing in the “old days” with all engineered wood, check out the length of some of these joists…..

25' and 29' lengths on some of these!

We had to make a quick trip to LA to get the exterior doors ordered and Darryl our neighbor kept everyone hopping  until we got back. We got all the joists run on Friday and will start sheeting the second floor this Monday.

Darryl "gettin' her done!".... it's good to have a neighbor who is an excellent contractor as well.

And now, the whole thing looks like this, ready for sheeting….

Simultaneously, Andy and his crew poured the walkway and back courtyard area this week as well.

Walkway, landing, drainage....what a great job they did!

So it is starting to move quickly and we gotta hustle and beat the rain if we can, so this next week is going to be all out!

Read Full Post »

We have been too busy to post any information up until now, so there is a whole lot of progress. Once the plates had been SDS screwed to the floor Andy and his crew came in and poured the concrete floor over the whole first floor. The weather was in the 100’s so we postponed the pour for a few days until it cooled off a bit and then set up lights and started pouring at 6:00 a.m. We made sure to tell all the neighbors in advance…..

pouring the floor and using the vibra-scree on the 3" plates.

This pour was a lot of concrete and a very exotic mix. Originally we were going to color the concrete, but Andy was concerned with efflorescence because of the mix so we decided to stain it later instead. Besides, the adding color to the mix would have added $1000 to the price of concrete.

Having a good concrete pumper is essential

All finished......

It might seem counter-intuitive to pour the finished floor before standing walls, but it was so much easier to pour and finish without the walls and we can try and protect the concrete with plywood. After a couple of days curing, we shot down 2×6 plates around the perimeter to set the SIPS panels on, and then stood the first panel.

Setting the first panel.

Make sure you mark the location and number of each panel on the bottom plate, along with locations of doors, windows etc. We also drilled each electrical chase down through the subfloor in case the electrician needs to route wire up from the sub floor.

First wall stacked and connected. Making the corner first braced the wall in two directions

We laid OSB down over the floor to protect the concrete from getting damaged.

We took marking paint and marked all the chases, red for electrical, and yellow for low voltage.

I thought that was a clever idea, except the electrician is red/green color blind!.. He said “why did you only mark one chase?” But after telling him they were all marked he could make them out. Next time use blue and  black I guess. I punched a cat door into through the wall by the doorway. So now it’s a matter of glueing in splines between the panels, setting them up and fitting and adjusting them as necessary, but it fits together pretty well.

The Queen of Green! All joints get 3/8" beads of special non-VOC mastic.

All the seams are shot in with 8d nails where there is a spline between panels. The top, sides, and bottom are recessed to receive, splines, headers or top plates, binding it all together.

Ariane shooting in the panel.

Don't piss this woman off!

Read Full Post »

It’s been a while since I posted, and we got a lot done, although it may not look like it, but we finished the first floor, insulated it, decked it, installed the under-floor utilities, poured the front porch, and screwed down the “bottom plates”. I put the bottom plates in quotes because they are actually 3×6″ and 3 x4’s that were milled. Because we are going to pour a finished concrete floor , we need to hold the walls up to the finished height and that is what the 3×6’s do. Here are the progress pictures:

Framed floor with insulation installed.

You can see all the water and sewer pipes sticking up through, as well as any hold-down bolts.

Decking off the floor with 1 1/8" tongue and groove plywood.

The 1 1/8″ plywood and 12″ floor joists should provide a pretty stout subfloor for the concrete to pour over.

Here is the floor decked over. The 3" material marks out where the walls will set. Beside raising the walls to the finish height, they provide scree boards for pouring the concrete floor.

We put in about 12 square feet of vents for subfloor ventilation, and installed an attic fan in the crawlspace for moving the air around so it will stay as dry as possible in the future.

Subfloor with ventilation installed.

We also had some of the finish grading started, especially between the existing garage and the new structure, we want to get it leveled off and any drainage put in before it rains.  Speaking of which, we are pretty anxious to get to setting the panels in place, but  for better of worse decided to pour the concrete floor first, just so it will be easier to access and finish. As soon as it is hard enough to walk on, we will cover it with plywood to protect it and then frame the interior walls.

We also had the front porch poured.

This is the front porch, the blocked out area is where Ariane will build a fountain.

Ok…concrete floor here we go!

Read Full Post »

We have a family of foxes that come to the site every day. They are very bold. Here are some pictures of one.

Pretty relaxed fox.

checking out some deer

They sure make a lot of noise at night!

Read Full Post »

With the ok of the pad for compaction and water density, it was finally time to start digging the footers.

Footer location laid out and ready to dig.

And the first bite!

Forming the stem walls.

The shape of the foundation is taking place with the completion of the perimeter walls.

View where the front entry will be, we had to over excavate in the corner where a post will be. That is the big hole in front

We “accidentally” found an abandoned tank in the back corner where the excavator is located and we have to remove part of that and fill the rest up….bummer.

A view of the site from high atop the Terry mansion!

Now if all goes well, we might be able to pour this by next Wednesday, which would be quite exciting! We are scheduled for the delivery of the SIPS  panels on July 29th, so once this is poured, we are going to have to get busy framing the floor. We are pretty much ready to be done with all the digging and excavating, and the constant dust settling on everything. When we get the floor framed and decked we are having a big old barn dance!





Read Full Post »

Yay! We got the solar array installed and just need the the inspector to ok the installation, then PG&E will change out the meter (no more “smart meter”) and we will have full solar power! We are pretty excited about that. As for the grading, we should have that completed today and can lay out and start digging the footers. It is sure nice to have those dirt piles disappear.

tomatoes, blackberries and electricity!

Solar array...a thing of beauty!

The site looks a lot  better without the piles to climb over. 

Read Full Post »

Continued filling and tamping to compact the hole, should be finished by tomorrow….









    almost there,  still have to get rid of that big pile of fill in the background. In the meantime, they began installing our solar array today! The system will be pretty trick and supply us with all the electricity we need. It includes what is called a Tigo system that allows you to monitor the output of each panel via your computer. So we will have a solar-powered hole in the ground, but in reality, we will  be supplying all our own building and housing electricity and should be able to sell the surplus back to the power co. Nice!….

that metal roof is pretty slick, so they roped off.

WTF? where is my house??






Read Full Post »

Some more pictures to show the place coming down.

Getting started

The Bobcat made pretty quick work of the front,  and it ate up the house pretty quick.

piling all the material in the basement

Didn't know about the lovely checkerboard pattern linoleum!











now it looks like this

Guess there is no going back now!

Now it is time to fill in and compact the hole. The green machine in the rear of the picture is the crusher, we were able to crush all the concrete from the foundation and basement to use for material.

Read Full Post »

The Celtic knot banjo is all assembled and ready for a bridge and strings and final adjustments. I thought I would show my neck attachment system to anyone who might be interested. I wanted a little more security and found a good site on neck attachments from Taylor guitars that was quite in depth and I applied some similar hardware. I still want my necks and attachments to be primarily wood, but I think adding a brass set screw was worth it, I am extremely happy with how  the neck is locks in place!

This is the basic set up, threaded wooden dowel and brass set screw with insert in the base of the heel.

In the past I used the threaded dowel and then an indexing pin in the heel. The set screw performs the same function as an index pin and adds additional force to the mating of the neck to the pot. I imagine if necessary it could be used in making slight adjustments to the neck angle.

This is how the dowel stick looks threaded onto the wooden stud.

I am going to use this  combination for any future banjos.

So here are a couple of picture of the banjo assembled

Ready for strings!


I will get some sound files up as soon as I can. thanks for dropping by.

Read Full Post »

I finished inlaying and fretting the fingerboard and glued it to the neck blank. I felt I executed the design pretty capably. I ordered a book on inlaying and there was some great information in it that made the job much easier. Due to the delicacy of the design, I was tempted to have the inlays made for me by DePaule Supply, but I decided to try and cut them out myself. I want to try and do as much of the work as I can on each piece and thought it was at least worth a try, and I think they came out quite nice.

Triskele and personalized with initials on the peghead


I hogged out a bunch of wood to rough shape the neck but you can now get an idea of how it will look. Here are a couple of shots of the roughed out neck and the pot together….starting to look very banjo-like……

triskeles on the fingerboard side

celtic knots on the rear peghead and heel cap.

I should be able to complete the finish shaping of the neck tomorrow. The dowel stick is finished and it’s second coat of oil is drying. I will go over the pot one more time and then start oiling it tomorrow as well. This banjo is getting real close.
I also laminated the neck of a banjo for another customer today, this project is a solid cocobolo banjo, very spare and clean design.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »