Monday, January 14, 2008

Sprinting into the weekend

Remember how we were threatening to hire some folks soon? Well, we did.

Thursday morning, around 7:15am, a couple of guys showed up to line our chimney. The masonry isn't in good enough shape to safely handle a fire, so we had it reconditioned and lined with a stainless steel tube. They showed up, cleaned out the chimney, and plugged up three of the four "thimbles" with mortar. The thimbles are the ports in the chimney where a stove pipe (from a furnace or stove) would connect. We want to have a small wood stove in the living room for winter power-outages, cozy nights, and those in between season days when it's inefficient to run the furnace.

I finished insulating the exterior wall-wedge above the kitchen sink. Around 9:30, our drywall guy showed up. Yes, our drywall guy. We are heeding some sage wisdom here. The areas of kitchen wall that were left exposed from the vaulting of the ceiling total about 200 square feet or less. You'll remember that we took care of all the framing concerns with regard to drywalling. But here's how we figured: It would take us about a week to hang that stuff and we'd sand and sand and probably not get the quality of work that a pro could do in just a handful of hours. So, for the sake of time and sanity and priority, we chose luxury.

And luxurious it was. It was kinda nice to sit there sipping coffee in the kitchen, looking up and watching someone else deal with this.

Insulated, and before drywall:

drywall hung:

It was definitely a little weird to have people working; I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I just kind of walked around and made sure everyone had what they needed. I'd duck into the woods and take little walks.

The chimney guys had everything installed and were ready to pour the TherMix. This stuff is granular and dusty while they work with it. It gets poured between the chimney and the liner and expands. It's an insulator and also adds strength to the chimney itself. I heard the stuff coming down the chimney and went over to listen. That's when I noticed a stream of dust shooting out the side of it, in the living room.

I called one of them down to check it out. He patched it with some mortar but told me it would stop on its own by virtue of the material. We checked the basement and attic, the attic needed a quick patch, too.

And they were gone by around 12:30. Wow.

Drywall was hung and taped, but he wanted to run back to his shop to grab a heavier drywall mud because, surprise, there's a lot of offset and irregularity in the plane of the wall. He left and came back, and by 2:30, was done for the day. He planned to come back a couple more times to add mud and do some sanding.

That evening, we put two more ceiling panels up (one of them was pretty big). I checked the time again, we're still averaging an hour and a half per panel - that includes everything measuring the bay, marking, cutting, marking the neighboring panels' hole locations, transposing, marking, drilling, and installing.

Friday night we got three panels up. We pushed ourselves so that come Saturday, we'd only have one panel left. The first two went very well. The last one would be a bit trickier, and would have an arm on one side so that it would go along the edge of the stairwell. The beauty of this design would be that it would keep the same seam edge as the neighboring panel, giving the impression of a larger panel with a notch cut out of it.

This was going exceptionally well...the marking and cutting, that is. It was one of those panels that requires the circular saw as well as the skill saw, and a little freehand cut. While executing the second to last cut, I just zoned out and zzzzing, cut the arm off the panel. I was supposed to cut up to it and instead, just cut clear across it. What a dunce. No biggy though, still looks good. We're over it.

- John

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