Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 16 Gazebo Project - Rafters

We installed the first 8 rafters for the roof.  These are the main support rafters and get installed into the slots we made in the 4 x 4 posts what seems like a very long time ago.  We have 8 more 'intermediate' rafters to install on another day.  This was enough for one day that's for sure.

The day started out wonderfully when our amazing helpers arrived.  My nieces came to the rescue once again.  As Brook wrote on my whiteboard wall, "Aunt "D" you're lucky we love you".  Believe me I know how lucky I am. We couldn't have done this without them.
As an added bonus they just got their first car and this was the first time they came to see me and drove themselves!

We made our 'king post' earlier in the week.  The king post is the center support for all of the rafters.  We had to cut a 6 x 6 pressure treated post into an octagon.  We had no way to do this with the tools we had so we headed to Club WorkshopClub Workshop is one of the locations where I teach my classes and I am very grateful we had access to the use of their band saw.  Thanks to the assistance of Sherman we were able to get our post cut in no time at all.

It is critical that all of the rafters are installed at the same height.  If they aren't installed properly it would be difficult to install the sheathing for the roof and have things flat and secure. We decided to install small blocks at the proper height on the post to help us locate the rafters.  Especially since the installation would be done 10 feet off of the ground on ladders.  I love this picture of the king post because I think it looks like a castle :)

We cut the first 2 rafters and attached them to the king post on the ground.  The plan was then to lift them into place and secure them to the posts, just like that.  Well, after we wrestled them into place with a lot of  swearing and sometimes what bordered on shouting we discovered the slots in the posts needed to be modified and the rafters pulled apart from the king post.  I was very worried that we might be at an impasse. Bill, my husband, saved the day by diligently working with the reciprocating saw to make each slot larger.  I was too frustrated to be much help with that so I busied myself with other not so frustrating tasks. With the slots opened up we had much greater success with setting the first 2 rafters but we did lose about 1 1/2 hours with the first attempt.  We recovered nicely later in the day so all was not lost.

We then set the 6 remaining rafters without too much trouble.  Of course since the angles of several posts were not square, a mistake I made at the very beginning of this project, we had to make some minor adjustments but they were not as problematic as before. We started at 9 am and were cleaned up and on our way to dinner by just shortly after 4 pm.  It was a full and productive day.

Enjoy a safe and joy filled Independence Day and remember all those who have sacrificed their lives to secure and maintain our freedom and liberty. Happy 4th of July!

Day 16 Gazebo Project - Rafters

We installed the first 8 rafters for the roof.  These are the main support rafters and get installed into the slots we made in the 4 x 4 posts what seems like a very long time ago.  We have 8 more 'intermediate' rafters to install on another day.  This was enough for one day that's for sure.

The day started out wonderfully when our amazing helpers arrived.  My nieces came to the rescue once again.  As Brook wrote on my whiteboard wall, "Aunt "D" you're lucky we love you".  Believe me I know how lucky I am. We couldn't have done this without them.
As an added bonus they just got their first car and this was the first time they came to see me and drove themselves!

We made our 'king post' earlier in the week.  The king post is the center support for all of the rafters.  We had to cut a 6 x 6 pressure treated post into an octagon.  We had no way to do this with the tools we had so we headed to Club WorkshopClub Workshop is one of the locations where I teach my classes and I am very grateful we had access to the use of their band saw.  Thanks to the assistance of Sherman we were able to get our post cut in no time at all.

It is critical that all of the rafters are installed at the same height.  If they aren't installed properly it would be difficult to install the sheathing for the roof and have things flat and secure. We decided to install small blocks at the proper height on the post to help us locate the rafters.  Especially since the installation would be done 10 feet off of the ground on ladders.  I love this picture of the king post because I think it looks like a castle :)

We cut the first 2 rafters and attached them to the king post on the ground.  The plan was then to lift them into place and secure them to the posts, just like that.  Well, after we wrestled them into place with a lot of  swearing and sometimes what bordered on shouting we discovered the slots in the posts needed to be modified and the rafters pulled apart from the king post.  I was very worried that we might be at an impasse. Bill, my husband, saved the day by diligently working with the reciprocating saw to make each slot larger.  I was too frustrated to be much help with that so I busied myself with other not so frustrating tasks. With the slots opened up we had much greater success with setting the first 2 rafters but we did lose about 1 1/2 hours with the first attempt.  We recovered nicely later in the day so all was not lost.

We then set the 6 remaining rafters without too much trouble.  Of course since the angles of several posts were not square, a mistake I made at the very beginning of this project, we had to make some minor adjustments but they were not as problematic as before. We started at 9 am and were cleaned up and on our way to dinner by just shortly after 4 pm.  It was a full and productive day.

Enjoy a safe and joy filled Independence Day and remember all those who have sacrificed their lives to secure and maintain our freedom and liberty. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Days 14 and 15 Gazebo Project

We finally got the top rails and lattice panels in place.  It was quite the assembly project.
We calculated that it took us, on average, 1 hour per section.  That didn't include set up and clean up.
We got the first 2 sections done on Sunday afternoon and then spent most of the day on Monday finishing the final 6.







A few notes about this phase of the project:
The plans said to put the lattice rails up before installing the hand rails..  We didn't have that option because we used the composite decking material and had to install the post covers which required us to remove the post supports. We couldn't put up the lattice without the posts secured in place which is why we changed the order of construction.  I don't think this will result in any issues for the roof.

Since the top rails and lattice panels are part of the structural support we had to use real lumber.  My darling husband spent a good few hours staining all of the wood to match.  This is not included in the time listed above.

I kept a drawing of all the angles we used when we installed the hand rails so we had a starting place to cut the angles for this section.  When we got to the door way I had to find those angles for the first time. Fortunately by now I have a quick system.
The plans say to 'toe-nail' everything.  For those unfamiliar with that terminology it just means to nail at an angle.  Well besides the fact that it is very hard to do it would have looked like crap. Fortunately we had a pocket hole jig from our cabinet making project so we used pocket holes to attach the top rails and the lattice panels to the 4 x 4 posts.  It looks so much better and actually made the job easier.

Here's a picture of my sweetie when we were taking a break.  He is such a good man.
Tomorrow we start on the rafters.  We will have our helpers back (our nieces Brooke & Bridgette), Yeah!  They both have off of work and because they love their Aunt so much they are willing to work in 94 degree heat to help us get the roof up.  We sure are lucky.

Days 14 and 15 Gazebo Project

We finally got the top rails and lattice panels in place.  It was quite the assembly project.
We calculated that it took us, on average, 1 hour per section.  That didn't include set up and clean up.
We got the first 2 sections done on Sunday afternoon and then spent most of the day on Monday finishing the final 6.







A few notes about this phase of the project:
The plans said to put the lattice rails up before installing the hand rails..  We didn't have that option because we used the composite decking material and had to install the post covers which required us to remove the post supports. We couldn't put up the lattice without the posts secured in place which is why we changed the order of construction.  I don't think this will result in any issues for the roof.

Since the top rails and lattice panels are part of the structural support we had to use real lumber.  My darling husband spent a good few hours staining all of the wood to match.  This is not included in the time listed above.

I kept a drawing of all the angles we used when we installed the hand rails so we had a starting place to cut the angles for this section.  When we got to the door way I had to find those angles for the first time. Fortunately by now I have a quick system.
The plans say to 'toe-nail' everything.  For those unfamiliar with that terminology it just means to nail at an angle.  Well besides the fact that it is very hard to do it would have looked like crap. Fortunately we had a pocket hole jig from our cabinet making project so we used pocket holes to attach the top rails and the lattice panels to the 4 x 4 posts.  It looks so much better and actually made the job easier.

Here's a picture of my sweetie when we were taking a break.  He is such a good man.
Tomorrow we start on the rafters.  We will have our helpers back (our nieces Brooke & Bridgette), Yeah!  They both have off of work and because they love their Aunt so much they are willing to work in 94 degree heat to help us get the roof up.  We sure are lucky.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 13 Gazebo Project

Day 13 was almost 13 hours of work to get all the rails assembled and installed.  We were both exhausted but it's a good exhausted because it's finally starting to look like a gazebo. We took yesterday off because both of us were tired to the bone and we do have other responsibilities to handle.

We are using a Trex brand product for the decking and rails. You can see from this picture that we also got post sleeves to cover the posts to match the rails.  The composite decking materials are not structural so they can only be used for the components you see here.  All structural parts must be from lumber.

I think I might have mentioned this before (maybe 12 times) making an 8 sided structure makes everything more complicated and this was no exception.  The rail kits come with supports that are designed to fit up into a slot under the top and bottom rails.  The problem is that they don't fit if you try to install them at an angle...back to the hardware store for more angle brackets.

We came up with a pretty good system for measuring angles, assembling the rails and installing them.  After the first section things went pretty smoothly but no matter what it was still a lengthy process.  Fortunately we have an awesome neighbor who had a ladder for us to borrow.  I was very concerned about how we would get the post sleeves over the posts but in the end that was the easiest part of the project so far.

So here is what we did step by step.
  1. Slide the post sleeve over the post
  2. Measure, cut and fit the bottom rail
  3. Using the bottom rail as a template cut the top rail
  4. Install support brackets on bottom rail
  5. Measure, space and square balusters. Attach with a screw through the bottom rail,
  6. Attach support brackets to top rail
  7. Fit bottom rail/baluster assembly into place
  8. Place top rail and align assembly in place
  9. Attach bottom rail, then top rail to posts
  10. Square up each baluster and using a pneumatic brad nailer secure balusters to top rail.
All together this took almost 13 hours. Of course that included set up, trip to the hardware store and clean up along with several breaks along the way. 
We are getting closer but we still have a number of hard days work to get this done.  The next step is installing head rails and lattice panels around the top of the structure and then onto rafters!

I'm getting tired just thinking about the trips up and down the ladders for the next few days.

Day 13 Gazebo Project

Day 13 was almost 13 hours of work to get all the rails assembled and installed.  We were both exhausted but it's a good exhausted because it's finally starting to look like a gazebo. We took yesterday off because both of us were tired to the bone and we do have other responsibilities to handle.

We are using a Trex brand product for the decking and rails. You can see from this picture that we also got post sleeves to cover the posts to match the rails.  The composite decking materials are not structural so they can only be used for the components you see here.  All structural parts must be from lumber.

I think I might have mentioned this before (maybe 12 times) making an 8 sided structure makes everything more complicated and this was no exception.  The rail kits come with supports that are designed to fit up into a slot under the top and bottom rails.  The problem is that they don't fit if you try to install them at an angle...back to the hardware store for more angle brackets.

We came up with a pretty good system for measuring angles, assembling the rails and installing them.  After the first section things went pretty smoothly but no matter what it was still a lengthy process.  Fortunately we have an awesome neighbor who had a ladder for us to borrow.  I was very concerned about how we would get the post sleeves over the posts but in the end that was the easiest part of the project so far.

So here is what we did step by step.
  1. Slide the post sleeve over the post
  2. Measure, cut and fit the bottom rail
  3. Using the bottom rail as a template cut the top rail
  4. Install support brackets on bottom rail
  5. Measure, space and square balusters. Attach with a screw through the bottom rail,
  6. Attach support brackets to top rail
  7. Fit bottom rail/baluster assembly into place
  8. Place top rail and align assembly in place
  9. Attach bottom rail, then top rail to posts
  10. Square up each baluster and using a pneumatic brad nailer secure balusters to top rail.
All together this took almost 13 hours. Of course that included set up, trip to the hardware store and clean up along with several breaks along the way. 
We are getting closer but we still have a number of hard days work to get this done.  The next step is installing head rails and lattice panels around the top of the structure and then onto rafters!

I'm getting tired just thinking about the trips up and down the ladders for the next few days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 12 Gazebo Project - Decking is complete



My knees hurt, my back hurts, my arm hurts but really I'm not complaining...really.
We canceled our planned motorcycle trip to the Sand Dunes to continue work on this project.  It turned out to be a good decision because riding a motorcycle in the rain is much worse that having to stop working periodically and we have a nice dry house right nearby.

We finally finished decking the floor.  The morning started out rainy so we spent a lot of time starting and stopping in between mini rain storms.  Help arrived about 10:30 am when my niece, Brooke, joined us.  Her sister, Bridgette, came by after work about 2:00 pm. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I have the best nieces in the world.

This part of the project has been very labor intensive.  Every board had to be measured, cut, put in place, cut again, placed, holes pre-drilled then screws driven in.  If we hadn't had help I can guarantee you we would be working on this again today.

Since this day was a lot of repetitive work I don't have much to add but I will list a few things we learned along the way.
  1. Framing accuracy is EVERYTHING. I know this from hanging drywall but I was reminded of the importance here. We did our best to be precise when laying out and installing floor joists and posts but even with the best of intentions we had to spend a lot of time getting things to work out.

  2. Wear knee pads.  I spent most of the day making the cuts on the compound miter saw but even spending a short time crawling around on the deck sure caused some pain. My husband was the smart one and wore knee pads all day but he was still hurting at the end.

  3. My next project will be a square structure not an octagonal one :)

Our next step is to put on the post sleeves, install the rails and balusters and be sure our posts are plumb before moving upward to head rails, lattice and then the roof.

 Here are some more pictures:



Brooke holding the boards in place
Brooke and Bridgette working together.

Bill and Bridgette working. 
A photo op.  Putting in the last piece.
The last screw goes in.  High fives all around after this one.

Day 12 Gazebo Project - Decking is complete



My knees hurt, my back hurts, my arm hurts but really I'm not complaining...really.
We canceled our planned motorcycle trip to the Sand Dunes to continue work on this project.  It turned out to be a good decision because riding a motorcycle in the rain is much worse that having to stop working periodically and we have a nice dry house right nearby.

We finally finished decking the floor.  The morning started out rainy so we spent a lot of time starting and stopping in between mini rain storms.  Help arrived about 10:30 am when my niece, Brooke, joined us.  Her sister, Bridgette, came by after work about 2:00 pm. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I have the best nieces in the world.

This part of the project has been very labor intensive.  Every board had to be measured, cut, put in place, cut again, placed, holes pre-drilled then screws driven in.  If we hadn't had help I can guarantee you we would be working on this again today.

Since this day was a lot of repetitive work I don't have much to add but I will list a few things we learned along the way.
  1. Framing accuracy is EVERYTHING. I know this from hanging drywall but I was reminded of the importance here. We did our best to be precise when laying out and installing floor joists and posts but even with the best of intentions we had to spend a lot of time getting things to work out.

  2. Wear knee pads.  I spent most of the day making the cuts on the compound miter saw but even spending a short time crawling around on the deck sure caused some pain. My husband was the smart one and wore knee pads all day but he was still hurting at the end.

  3. My next project will be a square structure not an octagonal one :)

Our next step is to put on the post sleeves, install the rails and balusters and be sure our posts are plumb before moving upward to head rails, lattice and then the roof.

 Here are some more pictures:



Brooke holding the boards in place
Brooke and Bridgette working together.

Bill and Bridgette working. 
A photo op.  Putting in the last piece.
The last screw goes in.  High fives all around after this one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't let something like this happen to you!

This story is too important not to share even if it is too graphic for some.  A young man, who lives alone, went into his basement to fix his furnace and ended up in a tragic situation. Fortunately he will live but please learn from his awful situation.  Please think about how you will let someone know if by some chance you injure yourself.

Man caught in furnace while trying to do a repair.

To all of you dedicated Do-It-Yourselfer's out there any time you plan to work on ANY project or repair, please be sure of 2 things:
  1.  Let someone know what you are doing, when you will be doing it and that you will contact them when you're done
  2. Always have your cell phone with you and within reach.
This advice is especially important to those of you who live alone.  As a home inspector my cell phone is always in my back pocket and on the rare occasions when I am alone doing an inspection I call someone before I go onto a roof or into a basement or crawl space as an additional precaution even though there are already several people who know already know where I am.

It's never something we expect to happen to us but as you can see it can. 

Judy Browne

Don't let something like this happen to you!

This story is too important not to share even if it is too graphic for some.  A young man, who lives alone, went into his basement to fix his furnace and ended up in a tragic situation. Fortunately he will live but please learn from his awful situation.  Please think about how you will let someone know if by some chance you injure yourself.

Man caught in furnace while trying to do a repair.

To all of you dedicated Do-It-Yourselfer's out there any time you plan to work on ANY project or repair, please be sure of 2 things:
  1.  Let someone know what you are doing, when you will be doing it and that you will contact them when you're done
  2. Always have your cell phone with you and within reach.
This advice is especially important to those of you who live alone.  As a home inspector my cell phone is always in my back pocket and on the rare occasions when I am alone doing an inspection I call someone before I go onto a roof or into a basement or crawl space as an additional precaution even though there are already several people who know already know where I am.

It's never something we expect to happen to us but as you can see it can. 

Judy Browne

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 11 Gazebo Project - Decking and Rain

We took yesterday off from working on our gazebo because I had a video shoot and then an inspection plus we had a lot of chores to do that we have been neglecting.  My taskmaster husband reluctantly let me meet a friend for coffee this morning before we got started.

We are laying down the decking now.  I'm not sure if I mentioned in an earlier post that we are using Trex brand products for the decking and railings and we got some post covers for the 4 x 4 support posts from the same material.  It was important to me that this be as maintenance free as possible.  However we did run into a few issues with using this on this project.
  1. Since this is an octagon we are decking in triangular sections and had to put screws close to ends that had been cut.  Our first screw, even with pre-drilling split the end.  We had to regroup and install all the screws at an angle.  If you were using this on a square deck 95% of your screws would not be near a cut end so this wouldn't be a problem.
  2. It is twice as expensive as redwood.
  3. It is gumming up the saw blade so I'm going to need to figure out a way to clean it.
It started to rain after we got 2 sections done so we put everything away then it stopped so we got everything back out again and managed to get 2 more sections done before we got rained out for good.  The second storm came up so quickly we only had time to through a tarp over the saw. 

We won't be able to get back at it until Sunday.  I'm hoping my next post will be deck complete and on to head rails and lattice sections.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Day 11 Gazebo Project - Decking and Rain

We took yesterday off from working on our gazebo because I had a video shoot and then an inspection plus we had a lot of chores to do that we have been neglecting.  My taskmaster husband reluctantly let me meet a friend for coffee this morning before we got started.

We are laying down the decking now.  I'm not sure if I mentioned in an earlier post that we are using Trex brand products for the decking and railings and we got some post covers for the 4 x 4 support posts from the same material.  It was important to me that this be as maintenance free as possible.  However we did run into a few issues with using this on this project.
  1. Since this is an octagon we are decking in triangular sections and had to put screws close to ends that had been cut.  Our first screw, even with pre-drilling split the end.  We had to regroup and install all the screws at an angle.  If you were using this on a square deck 95% of your screws would not be near a cut end so this wouldn't be a problem.
  2. It is twice as expensive as redwood.
  3. It is gumming up the saw blade so I'm going to need to figure out a way to clean it.
It started to rain after we got 2 sections done so we put everything away then it stopped so we got everything back out again and managed to get 2 more sections done before we got rained out for good.  The second storm came up so quickly we only had time to through a tarp over the saw. 

We won't be able to get back at it until Sunday.  I'm hoping my next post will be deck complete and on to head rails and lattice sections.

Have a wonderful weekend.