Monday, January 17, 2011

The Agony and The Ecstasy

I've got some good news and some bad news.  I am going to start with the bad news so that I can end this post on a positive note...

The Roof
A few weeks ago, we noticed that there was water dripping from the roof's rafter vents.  Dean talked with our family construction experts - Tom and Bert - and got a few ideas about what it could be, and how to go about diagnosing the problem.

The first thing we discovered after putting a thermometer in the attic is that the temperature is too warm.  It should be close to the outdoor temp, but we have been registering 47 degrees on days when the outdoor temp is 10 degrees. 

So now we had to figure out why, and Dean headed up to take a look around...

The first thing that we found is that the professional insulators had covered the rafter vents with insulation, thereby rendering them ineffectual.

So Dean went to work trying to move the insulation out of the vent openings...

This lead us to some closer inspection of the rafters.

And we discovered quite a mess!

It is clear that something is not venting correctly.  We are still in the process of trying to figure it out.  The ridge vent does not seam to be working correctly, and we have a call in to the roofer who did the job.  In the mean time, Dean continues data collection using his new weather station's remote monitor to get temperature and humidity measurements.

OK - on to the good news...

The Entryway

We have started work on the entryway/mudroom (that really is not a room).

First we needed to lay the cement backer board and here is Dean cutting some to fit the space.

Here Dean lays down the mastic for the cement board.

And now the board goes down and is secured with screws.

We've been laying the tiles in small sections.

All the while our supervisor keeps watch to make sure we do a good job!

This has become one of her favorite spots to take a nap - right in the flow of traffic from the main entrance into the house.  Do keep this in mind when you come visit so that you do not ending up tripping on a dog!

A Door

We got a door installed on the hall closet.  Yay!

Cathy's Cookbook Shelf

You might remember that I mentioned starting this project back in a post from mid December...

This project, which I had the naivete to think would be simple and straightforward, and one that I would do mostly be myself, turned out to be a beast!  It was so difficult that I had a small meltdown and had to hear Dean say (not for the first time in this home building adventure)  "There's no crying in carpentry."

So here is the whole sorted story...

I had installed some small L brackets to hang the shelves on.  Then I measured for the shelves, and started to fit them, and discovered that the "bump-in" that had been framed for the shelves is not square.  Not a surprise, as we have been finding un-level, un-square walls, doorways, etc, throughout the house.

So when I slipped the shelves in place, there was a gap of about 1/2 inch on one side where the back of the shelf meets the wall.  So I scribed the wall contour onto the shelves, and Dean cut them to fit.  So now they were ready to  be attached them to the brackets.

Here I am drilling the boards so they can be screwed to the brackets.

Because we had to remove so much from the back of the shelves to get them flush with the wall, the front was now too short, and in places did not meet up with the brackets.

The solution was to cut narrow strips of wood to increase the depth of the shelves.  And because what we had cut off the back was not straight, these strips of wood also had to taper about 1/2 inch over the length of them.

So here is Dean at the table saw cutting the strips.  (He still has not taught me how to use the table saw, and expresses his reluctance to do so each time I ask.)

Here's what the strips look like.

And here we are checking the fit.

And here they all are waiting to be attached.

Our attempts to nail them in place failed.  The nails would follow the wood grain, and curve up, and stick out on the shelf's upper surface.  So it was on to plan B, which was to glue and screw them in place.  So here we are doing that.

Choosing the correct size drill bit.

Pre-drilling the wood strip with a clearance hole and a countersink hole.

Applying some wood glue.

And attaching the first strip.

Wiping off the excess glue.

Installing more of the strips.

Our supervisor.

Now the screw holes needed to be filled with wood putty.

A batch of wood putty.

This is a tool that I know how to use!

So then there were the 1/16th inch gaps at the sides of the shelves created by the brackets.  These we filled with silicone.

 Finally, we are ready for paint!

After the first coat of paint, I realized that I did not like the gaps at the backs of the shelves, so it was another round of silicone caulking before the second coat of paint.

And finally, today, I put my cookbooks in place!  A real moment of triumph!

The shelves are not exactly as I had envisioned them, but they are good enough, and I will enjoy them!

And look!  There is room for a few more cookbooks!

Enjoying our land

Here and there, in between our various project's, we have been taking some time to take walks around the land.  Our supervisor loves these walk-abouts!

Here are some cool sitings from out in the woods and down at Locke Brook.

Cool ice formations.

Monitoring the weather

I will leave you with a little video of Dean enjoying the wind meter for his new weather station...