July 19, 2008 update status

The past few days haven't seen much glory work on the exterior, but they're adding up in terms of completion.

Most importantly, though, I repaired the framing nailgun. The little feeler foot had broken off, and for some irrational reason, I though that was affecting things. $2.30 + $3 S/H got me a new feeler foot from Stanley-Bostitch, but that didn't make the nails go any better. Go figure. $6 of parts for new brass airhose couplings, however, DID make the difference. The F33PT will now happily send a 10d nail straight through your foot into the I-beam beneath your boot. I still can't believe I got the part I needed, though, for $5.30 total from Stanley Bostitch. Properly priced parts: What a concept!

Over on the South side, the soffit ends were still open. A properly cut piece of old roofboard, and some one-and-a-quarter inch drywall screws were the official prescription. The 12v Ryobi drill pictured previously was a garage sale find this spring: $4 with two 12v batteries and a charger, and the woman promised it worked. I'm glad she wasn't lying. The little 12v Ryobi goes and goes and goes. The spacer in place. The little black dot in the middle of the Tyvek in that picture is a 2" drywall screw with a washer on it--the phone lines hang on this when I'm not busy siding the garage. The space, meanwhile, will allow the line of shakes to extend out to the soffits, and prevent a possible ingress point for critters and wasps. The SouthWest soffit end got a more curved cover piece because that soffit has a more angled approach. I'm still not terribly thrilled with the aluminum soffits, and may eventually replace them with wood.

South view, shakes in place, soffits sealed, and garbage truck on the left making it's rounds: proof these pictures were taken on a Wednesday morning. Note that I haven't taped all the Tyvek seams yet -- the 17' aluminum extension ladder you see is not tall enough for me to comfortably reach all the seals, so I overlapped them all by eighteen inches. As I work my way up, I'll tape the seams. The next step is to run in 2x2 strips, which will hold the soffit plates in place. The Stanley Bostitch F33PT is on the fritz, so nailing them isn't so much working. I have to put these in place with screws for now, and it's a bear to try to hold a 6' 2x2 in place, at the proper distance and angle, while running screws in with the other hand. Here is the SE soffit stringer in place. When I ran out of time to work on July 16th, This is what the South side looked like.

July 18th brought more time for work. Here Thorwald sweeps up buckboard I've cut off the header above the garage door. I ripped the rotten trim off the garage door, only to find the buckboard wet from rain two days before, and a hella big colony of ants. Off came the buckboard, which is disgusting poo to cut off. Note the sag in the garage door behind the header, which is a pair of 2x6s, spanning sixteen feet. City Code requires house numbers, but does not require that they be made of rotting wood (like the old numbers were). I love Sharpies. You can also see in the previous picture that the damage to the garage door headers is not particularly deep. Here is a closer view of the moisture damage to the header. Note that the damage is never more than about 3/8's of an inch deep, and as the header is no longer a load-bearing member (we've taken the load up with the LVLs which sit behind it), the headers do not need to be replaced. The trim board above the door is actually fine--the brickmold took the brunt of the moisture infiltration. Still, I don't like ants, so I resorted to chemical warfare.

After saturating the header and buckboard above with the previously shown toxin, it was time to cover the header with sheathing, so the shakes above the door would be properly spaced. I actually pre-wrapped the boards in Tyvek (using scraps that are sitting around), then screwed them into place with two inch drywall screws. I needed half-inch thick boards, so I grabbed scraps from the wood pile and ran them through the table saw to get them to size. Note the contact paper on this board -- apparently it had once been a shelf. Here is the recycled shelf, screwed up, and the Tyvek taped down. More progress on the header covering. And finally, the header covered again.

City ordinance prevents me from running powertools after 10PM outside my garage, and I hate filling the interior with sawdust, so I had to find something else to do. Priming the shakes with Valspar oil-based primer seemed like a good use of time. I used some old chipboard and metal sawhorses to make tables, then would prime the shakes after the kids were in bed. And to think, I'd been wasting the 9:30 PM to midnight work window before this!

After the shakes had dried, they would be stacked carefully upstairs in the garage (the same place they were painted).

Dad came up to help some more, and it was time to pull down the trim board above the door since we were going to replace the side trim boards with PVC trim boards. In this picture, you can see a little of the curve at the very end. The curve is more obvious in this picture. Nothing like vintage craftsmanship, eh?

The biggest change for the garage, though, would be the stairway. A ladder has been the only access method to the upstairs until now. We cleared out the junk, and bought stringers from Menards to build a stairway. The stringers and steps are in the left-hand side of that picture. We have to work around one of the posts for the ridge beam, so we used a left-over piece of post to properly space the first stringer from the wall. Fancy metal hangers connect the stringer to the garage door header. Also, note the weed-whacker collection behind the ladder. I'm going to have to pare down the gear I have one of these days.

Dad carefully marks where the next stairhorse should go, with level and Sharpie. The floor in the garage is uneven, so we had to shim the bottom of the stringers to level them as best we could. The pictured 2x12 (pressure-treated of course) is a left-over from the neighbor's Summer 2007 remodel. The chipboard shims are leftovers from some shelves I put in the basement in '04 or '05.

The Menards headers were fast to install, and very strong. But they are VERY inconsistently made. The steps wouldn't line up! There were variations of up to three-eights inch in step height, which is fine when you're using two stringers. Because my stairway is thirty-six inches wide, I needed three stairhorses. The first step went on okay, and as you can see, the nailgun is working great again. Note the half-inch gap behind the step, so we can slide bit of chip or ply between the step and stringer if we wish. We also needed to do that so the 2x10 steps would have a decent lip. All three stringer hangers, locked into place with one point five inch joist hanger nails.

More steps in place. With each step the whole structure tightened up remarkably. Thorwald is our inveterate sweeper. If there's scrap wood around, he happily totes it to the firewood box. If there's sawdust, he happily sweeps it OUT of the garage (thus putting him well ahead of most helpers twice his age). The completed stairway also affords storage space beneath it. There is even enough space to walk in front of the Protege5 to get to the stairway. Note the second ladder alongside the passenger side of the Mazda: It's the new, $235 28' extension ladder from Menards. Now I can get the peaks completed.

The view of the garage from the steps. Thorwald heads around to the South side of the garage, where we normally keep firewood. Why would he be doing such a thing? Because Thorwald also enjoys scraping old paint off of shakes.

I still haven't figured out a decent payscale for him, but I think I've paid him about $15 so far for the sweeping and scraping he's done.

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