Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Things to come: Building To Existing Structure Is Hard.

When I was a ranch hand for my 17th summer, a large portion of my job was helping an alcoholic carpenter (and by "help," we mean, keep him sober and working) to build out an existing small 700 square foot hunting shack into a rambling 2500 square foot house with an upstairs and a patio. We kept it in the original theme of cedar, with corrugated steel roofing.

A problem was, that a shack that's been standing for 50+ years will pretty much never be square to anything. Wood warps. Ground shifts. Carpenters who thought that they were just building for a humble one-room building had no idea that this would become the great room (central living room) off of which the rest of a rather nice rustic show-home would be built. And did you catch that it stood in the middle, so that we had to build out away from it, in multiple directions?

In the end, it would have been a LOT easier just to have demolished the original structure, and started over. But we didn't. We radiused out our squares to obtuse and acute angles. We checked every abutment with a plumb bob and a protractor before cutting.

That's what I'm doing now, to fit a story of my own, built out of several experiences, to a story of Ambulance Driver's, again.

Stay tuned.

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7 Comments:

At Friday, November 05, 2010 8:48:00 PM, Blogger JPG said...

And a fine job y'all did of it, too. I've often wondered what became of that place. I flew over it 12 or 14 years back and it looked good then. I'll look forward to reading your collaboration with AD.

 
At Saturday, November 06, 2010 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

That had to have been an experience on MANY levels Matt :-)

 
At Monday, November 08, 2010 2:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that process well. We live in a wooden house built in 1908. Ketchikan receives an average of 13.5 feet of rain a year. Even then, we are less than half a bubble off level.
Raw lumber in most of the house, some still showing blade cuts. The main longitudinal members are 12"x18"x45', CLEAR.
Look forward to the AD stories.
Hunter
Alaska

 
At Monday, November 08, 2010 2:04:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

HUNTER:
I hate you, just a little bit. If I didn't have other priorites, sir...

I'd be AK LE. Maybe after retirement.

 
At Tuesday, November 09, 2010 12:42:00 PM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

Can we expect a third on this one, like the old days, or is this a two-man flight?



tweaker

 
At Sunday, November 14, 2010 8:17:00 PM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

When adding to old work, toss yer square, yer level and yer plumb bob. Learn to think like a marine carpenter. Nothing in a ship or boat is square, or plumb. The bevel gauge is your friend.

 
At Sunday, November 14, 2010 8:29:00 PM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

@Anonymous of 2:01, November 8.

I, too, hate you a little bit. The ex-Sweety's recently built house does not have solid joists under its floors, but rather built-up ones, just like the wing spars in a wooden airplane. If you jump up and down in her house, you can feel the whole place shake. I like a bit more redundant toughness in my structures than that. Besides, what if a crazy electrician shows up with a saw and a drill?

WV: autimasc. Not me, I don't mask my autitude.

 

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