Welcome free folk of Middle Earth! Glad you could make it back. Yes it is an unusual title but relevant none the less. I really don’t know how I didn’t include this earlier on but somehow my thinking cap must have been off. Let’s just be honest about it. Hobbits are shoeless creatures with leathery hairy feet. These creatures take fine care with their feet and take great pride in moving noiselessly about the woods. The short version is if a Hobbit showed up to your house in his bare feet you wouldn’t have a problem letting him in and giving him something to eat. End of story.
On the other hand my son and his dopey friends went out trick or treating in the pouring rain and came back to our house soaking wet. (They didn’t go as creatures of Middle Earth though. I was a little disappointed with that. They went as humanoids after the apocalypse. Not Zombies though. I’m still not getting the zombie thing for some reason.) Anyway, somebody got the bright idea to take their shoes off, so they all took their shoes off. My wife and Icame upstairs and my wife says, and I quote, ” Why does it smell like cheese up here.” Then she adds, “We didn’t have fettucini alfredo last night!” Then we saw the feet. The boys are all laughing and trading candy,I fall to my knees in nauseating agony. Before my hands hit the ground I scream out “Get those socks out of the house!!!!” My wife barely made it to the window to start the airing out process. I went downstairs to get fresh socks on these disgusting boys feet. Thank God the neighbors don’t live too close. My wife’s final quote of the night, “Do you think the smell will go away by tommorrow?”
On another note. Jude backed up into a tree with the truck after school the other day. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it had only been a dent in the truck.Which of course there was one. But he broke the Trac Rack off as well. Terrific….just terrific. We don’t call Jude Jude anymore. His new name is Crash. Well nobody got hurt and the truck isn’t badly damaged. If that’s the worst accident he ever has that will be a blessing. He’ll be working for free at the Hobbit house for a while to even out his debt.
Let’s get back to building a Hobbit House shall we? Oh yeah, Crash went to see brother Ethan up at SUNY Cortland this weekend which is Cortaca weekend. It’s the weekend the big rivalry between Cortland and Ithaca College takes place. My father in law,who lives in Arizona just called, and said there was a riot at SUNY Cortland yesterday. It’s on CNN. Nothing like getting good news from Wolf Blitzer on a Sunday morning.
Are we ever gonna talk about this Hobbit house or what Jim? That sounds like a good idea.
So we really got into building out the roof this weekend. Like I said Crash aka Jude is in a holding pen with brother Ethan in upstate New York so he wasn’t available. But Jude’s friends Kevin and Mikey showed up along with Terence “The Good Son.” So last weekend I had noticed that some of the stringers were not level so before we really got into things I wanted to make sure that was taken care of properly. I went over things with Mikey and Terence and the two of them had at it. They did a good job too.
So we all know guys need skills. Girls like guys who have skills. So I showed these guys some skills today. Specifically skill saw skills. Technique and safety. While these guys were jacking up the stringers I showed Kevin how to handle the skill saw and what I needed him to do with it. I know we talked about it before but we need to use the templates I created a few weeks back to create 30 or so of the exact same template. This involes taking a sheet of used HDO plywood and then tracing out the original template on that ply. Once that is done you pull off the template and cut out the tracing. Repeat 30 times. Or until I say stop. This is a slow process.You have to take your time tracing out the template and you also have to take your time cutting it out as well. They all have to be exactly the same or things aren’t going to look right. We went over blade depth,ear and eye protection, using a sharp blade, saw kickback, balance and a few other things as well. Here’s a picture of Kevin just getting started.
After Terence and Mikey finished up the jack up I had them work on template number 2. Pretty soon we had three skill saws going and it was sounding like a busy construction site. Check it out.
I wasn’t in the truck drinking coffee while all this was going on just so you know. I was pretty much setting up for roof template installation. You have to remember that we are not going to be standing on plywood upstairs. We have to install these roofs templates and we have to feel safe and comfortable walking around up there. I also wanted to take some extra precautions because these guys have little to no construction experience. Worst construction accidents are usually falls. We don’t need anybody falling. Here’s a picture of the roof deck just before we started working up there. It was absolutely gorgeous out Saturday.
Although it seems like it would be easy to walk around up there you still have to watch where you’re going. You always have to be aware of your position and there’s absolutely no horsing around.
So let’s get started. I’m not going to go in the right order here because I kind of forgot to take pictures once we started. Remember the centerline of the Hobbit house I snapped on the stringer? Well that is the starting point of the first template. You bring the edge of the plywood to that center mark and nail it to the 2×4 kicker. Here’s the picture.
We used 8 penny double head nails so when we’re finished we can clean everything up and save it for the next Hobbit house. Here’s a picture of the kicker we nail the plywood into.
So once we get the template nailed into the kicker we nail a 3×4 stud half and half onto the joint of the plywood. We use this 3×4 stud to brace off the template and then plumb it up. We also use it as a nailer for the adjacent template installation. Once you start putting things together everybody starts to get what’s going on. Check it out.
Now we’re cooking. So I’m like really getting into it now. I could hardly contain myself. Actually I woke up saturday night at 2:30 and was trying to figure out how many of Jude’s friends I could use next weekend to help with this. You can totally go into high production now. It was pretty much just me and Mikey doing the installation with Terence as our cut man downstairs and Kevin finishing nailing all of the kickers out in front of us. I really wanted to have something cool to put on the blog so I was working like a demon. Or as they say in the Fellowship of the Ring… A demon of the ancient world.Here we are moving right along.
Here’s where we finished up Saturday. Man, it was so beatiful out I felt like a million bucks.
I knew I couldn’t do it. My wife knew I couldn’t do it either. I had to go back Sunday. I mean how could I not finish that first block of framing? Especially with all the lumber up on the deck and ready to install. So I did go back and I added a few things that I didn’t get a chance to do on saturday that are pretty important.
Remember there’s going to be a tremendous amout of weight put on this structure when we pour so it’s critical that everything gets braced properly. Although I’ve brace each of the 3×4 studs at the joints of the templates I also want to brace the horizontal 2×4’s forming the roof decking. I’m going to brace them at the location of the plywood deck seams. This way when we start to nail the decking down the plywood won’t pull the 2×4 out of the slot we cut for it. The plywood is going to want to stay in a flat position so it is going to act a little like a diving board taking the weight of a person at the end of it. We’ll see this next week. Let me show you the bracing.
So Sunday was great. It took me only an hour and a half to square up the framing. I also came up with an additional detail for bracing the center of the templates so that they stay perfectly plumb. Once I had the 2×4 braced I sandwiched the plywood between two cleats that I nailed into the 2×4.It’s really important that the plywood stays vertical while we are pouring. This detail definitely does the trick. Check it out.
I’d like to get into the loading of the structure with the concrete but I’m running a bit long so that will have to wait. Here’s a quick shot of the structure at the end of sunday.
Ethan sent a funny picture from Cortaca of this guy jumping off a roof into a crowd. It kind of looked like this kid got shot out of a cannon.These kids are nuts! Have a great week and I hope to see you next weekend!
Have a good one!