Posted by: greenpinkies | October 30, 2010

Moving On


How sweet it is!!  We built a wall.  True, it consisted of a top plate, a bottom plate and three studs, a simple closet wall.  But, before those of you in construction die laughing at us…think back to that first time you actually built something.  This is sweet action. In fact, it took us a long time to think this through. And that’s the beauty of construction as opposed to destruction.

We were beginning to think that the demolition of this house would never end.  It is mindless work and requires constant lifting and carrying and wrenching. This is very hard work on a body.

But the opposite is true for construction.  This is work you must consider carefully as you are doing it.  It is not constant motion for there is ‘down time’ while you consider your next step, take measurements, etc.  It’s downright relaxing after the demolition part.

The actual walls we need to move and the door frames are not much at all. Therefore, we decided to do the work with actual hammer and nails as opposed to the air gun nailers. (a practical choice when you also consider that we have no electricity or generator).

beginning the construction

This hand work, in itself, is pure enjoyment.  The nails sing as you hit them. Not only that, but the song varies in pitch according to where you are in the process. The nails let you know what’s going on.  The tone starts on one note as you begin striking them. Then the pitch changes as the nail works through the first 2×4 and hits the second and then changes again when you’re finished. We find this as interesting and satisfying as splitting logs with a maul. The pitch of the chop will also change markedly when the log gives way and begins to split. This is so noticeable, that others working in the woods can tell when you’ve ‘won’ against a very stubborn log.

Addendum: Foreign made nails do not sing in a foreign language. They simply don’t sing at all.  In fact, they are “five hit wonders”. At least we named them that.  Why? Because you get five hits to get that nail in before is starts to ‘heat up and warp’. Once it starts doing that ‘belly dance’ you might as well pull it out and try another nail.

The Final Verdict on the Floor

Thirty years ago, original floor was made with ½ inch roofing deck nailed down over the floor joists. Next 30# roof paper was laid as a moisture barrier.  Then 5/8 inch particle board was nailed down to complete the floor. As mentioned in the previous blog, the particle board is now not much more than a fetid sponge.

We discovered that we could remove the damaged particle board with the ‘shingle remover’ shovels. After  we took up the roof paper, we discovered that most of the sub, 1/2 inch, decking plywood was intact and with very little, leak-through, urine staining.  (The kitchen and bathrooms are the exception. They are totally ruined down to the joists). Should we stop here?

Plan of action: We have decided to use ‘Kills’ primer on the few remaining spots, cover the floor again with roofing tar paper, and then screw down 5/8 inch plywood to form the floor. If any smell remains after this….beats us where it’s coming from.

Slowly this house is starting to take on the wonderful smell of fresh wood!

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