Friday, March 19, 2010

The Shop Progresses

First let me voice an opinion. I don't think pole barns are the best buildings to build unless you just need something fast. To be fair, the previous owner never wanted a finished space as I do.

I just think anything that rely's on wood in the ground for a "footing" and horizontal boards on 9' centers for supporting snow loads on the roof and hanging siding on the walls is cheap. Once you beef up the structure to accommodate insulation, wiring, cabinetry and ceiling, you have the typical framing needed for a stick-built structure. Cost becomes a near wash either way.

That said, I've probably overdone the framing in my typical way of doing things. I could have gone a faster route of plugging up the vented eves and soffets and added blankets of insulation to the walls. But after consulting the original contractor/building manufacturer and the local lumber yards, no-one could tell me any easier or more efficient way of installing a ceiling that would allow insulation. Plus, I wanted walls that could be insulated & support cabinets and windows. Plus, if the underground wood should ever rot the walls and structure will now ride on the concrete slab which has a perimeter footing. Kind of a building within a building.

Framing, Wiring, Hanging Ceiling, More Wiring, Insulating. It would sure progress faster if I didn't have to move all the "stuff" every time I needed access overhead or on a wall. I've been doing me best at being a good husband this winter. I've left room every night for my wife's vehicle which is kind of like completing a puzzle at the end of each nights work.

At least it's coming along. Can't wait to get the lighting and reflective surface materials installed.

Additional laminated beams to free span the 30' width were added to support dropped ceiling since original trusses were never meant to support the additional structure & load.

Pink polystyrene installed to isolate the fiberglass batt insulation from the potential of wet sweating steel siding.

Framed walls on right are from office previous owner had installed. Photo in prior log entry shows it at rear of garage. These walls, which include an entry door for the shop, will be re-installed as a movable wall dividing parking from shop space. This allows reconfiguration of the space as different projects require.

Framing around garage door opener. Finished ceiling height will be 9'.

Installed finished ceiling in raised center section of shop to allow easier maneuvering of sheet goods, etc. Height is 10'+. Hole is for ceiling fan.
Uninsulated section will be window. This faces south for light & winter passive heat. Eve's and oaks will provide shade during summer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winter 09-10 Shop Project

My initial goal was to insulate and heat my garage shop so I could complete other projects this year. Among them a bench I started for my parents a few years ago in my previous home. Which was coincidentally, the last time I used most of my stationary tools.

Since moving I've had to cover them all in oil & grease to stop the work surfaces from rusting due to cold and humidity. Waxing just didn't help. This really chaps my insulation allowing efficient winter heat & summer a/c along with using a dehumidifier is the plan.

Here's the before shot. 30Wx40Lx9H. Open-vented ceiling, small office in the back, non insulated.

See that stack of lumber and white metal sheeting on the left and the pallet of insulation to the right of the office? I'm embarrased to say that was delivered 3-7-2007. I could give reasons for delays of this project, like selling our other house or wondering if I'd be better off returning the materials and moving somewhere else, but they'd only sound like excuses. Like I've said before, life gets in the way some times.

I'm really looking forward to utilizing this space. Without a basement I've been lost. And, if I do eventually have to move at least I won't have to take all that material with me. I just hope I'll be able to take full advantage of this improvement and not some other guy.

Keeping me busy III

Fall Chores Continue

Putting away the Airstream for the year leaves me free for all sorts of other fun stuff.

Once the Garden was done, the old plants composed and the soil turned over I could move on to more destructive tasks. Like trimming trees.

Seems every year I have a big pine die off and while I'm not afraid to drop them myself I'm also not foolish when it comes to getting help with the dangerous stuff.

Like pruning my multi century old oak. This I didn't want to screw up. So since I had a professional over to to drop two split top pines way too close to my house I had him tackle the oak. I had an 80lb branch drop on the driveway during a storm...right where I stop every day when picking up the mail.

Late fall is also the best time to trim oaks around here to allow time to heal before summer and avoid oak wilt.

Unlike the local hwy department yahoos who use a flail chain brush mower to "prune trees". This little job took me a day to repair, cutting back each damaged branch of each tree all the way down the frontage.

Carnage courtesy of the hwy department morons. And on the coldest day of the year too. Glad I pay taxes for this brain trust.

Moving on the the back of the house. Making room for what we hope will be an addition. Hated to see these healthy trees cut. But they were way too close to the house and once down, each had splitting visible in the crotches of the split crowns.
The clean-up took the better part of a day, plus a really nice bon-fire once we had a layer of snow on the ground.

My best attempt at lumberjack impression.

I've peeled the bark on each tree I've dropped. Not sure what I'll use them for...yet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keeping Me Busy II

This fall we decided to replace our old pellet stove. We suspect ours was leaking CO2 into the house, even though our detector wasn't sensing it. With the current tax credits and the new features on stoves now; thermostats, safety shut-down, higher efficiency I know we'll enjoy it.

It is our primary source of heat through the cold winters here in Wisconsin.

I'll rebuild the old stove and use new pipe when I install it out in my workshop this winter.

With all our "companions" I always have plenty of project assistance.

Building the base to raise the stove and allow use of the same exhaust hole.

Preparing for tile.

Tile done.
Stove mounted and working with only trim left to do. I called my wife and left a caveman grunting type message. Something like, "We Have Fire, ar ar ar"
She said she'd save it and play it for her family. Great, as if they didn't already think I'm paddling in circles with only one oar mentally in the water.

What else has been keeping me busy???

While not really a Project I haven't missed a fall motorcycle ride to Tomahawk Wisconsin, 14 years running. Here's a few of the standout photos. You can learn and see more at:

Getting there is half the fun. And just riding straight to Tomahawk, like I did this year, isn't nearly as fun. Normally, a buddy and I will find a new route each year to see something new. One year it was riding down to Iowa and taking the Great River Road up the Mighty Mississippi.

The following year we took both his kids along. They were troopers as it stayed below freezing for most of the ride.

Last year we rode up Wisconsin's "eastern seaboard". Cruising along Lake Michigan, then over to Lake Superior before heading south to Tomahawk.

Ready to leave my house. My buddy Pete on the left. Hard to believe we've each been riding more than 30 years.

Lake Michigan

"Roughing It" on the shore of Lake Michigan

One of the water falls feeding Lake Superior

Lake Superior From Above

Lake Superior "On The Beach"

Pete wanted to walk in two of the great lakes on the same day.

Lots more riding including Porcupine Mountain, some rain, three different meals of Pasties (a Michigan favorite of breading stuffed with meat, potatoes and sometimes vegetable) and on to Tomahawk in time for Friday's parade.

Here's a picture of the main drag through Tomahawk, WI.

On Friday night they shut down the town and start the festivities with a bike parade. Harley hosts through HOG (Harley Owner's Group) participation, demo rides, bike shows, vendors, food and fun.

Tiny Tomahawk, which boasts two Harley manufacturing facilities, swells from roughly 3000 residents to 30,000 bikers looking to see some fall colors and enjoy the last big ride of the season.

Bikes range from new.

These sidecars give a group of blind riders a neat opportunity to feel the wind and bugs in their teeth.

To bizarre...

To classic...

To the very old...and cool.

After the parade, main street is shut down. Semi trailers with bands already playing are driven into place at either end of the main drag. Bikes line the curbs and middle, along with all the side streets. It's like a little Sturgis.

In addition, churches, schools, sport groups like the local hockey league host tents providing every imaginable form of food and drink for the attendees. Good stuff.

There's always plenty to do over the week-end. Maybe you're into racing. How about garden tractors hopped-up and screaming?

Or maybe you'd rather race on a bar stool?!?

Then there's the car & bike shows that range from the smooth...

To the Rat & Rough...

Too much to see and do. Always a good time, rain or shine.

Where does the time go?

So, one minute I'm standing on my driveway, inside my trailer...admiring my handiwork and then it's nearly spring. I've found that unless I'm really in the mood and don't have anything else pressing (when is there not?) I don't update as I should for far too long.

Truth be known it's my fault due in no small part to my camera. I finally spent an afternoon downloading, categorizing and deleting about 1500 of the 3000+ photo's on the memory card. No small feat in itself. Now newer photos will download to my computer much faster.

Well, fear not, I've actually accomplished a few things. And just as I hoped, this blog is serving to remind myself that I'm actually getting something done around here.

Before winter struck, I managed to put my chrome home back together...mostly. Here are the photos.

Old rotten rear floor with mild rust on frame.

Found the source of my leak in a cracked pipe pictured lower left. Also, typical rot under rear channel in trunk area.

Old floor to be used as template for new. High Density Polyethylene in background.

Big Hole.

The MONEY SHOT: Standing ON driveway, INSIDE trailer.

New flooring, NO PLYWOOD. Underside is sheet of same material used on hockey rink side boards and dump truck bed liners: high density polyethylene. I originally wanted to use a 5/8" thick layer but weight was major factor at 70+lbs for a 4x8' sheet of 1/2".

Instead I used thin layer under combined with a sample of fiberglass/epoxy hybrid I received to equal original floor thickness. I would have used a single sheet of the hybrid but couldn't source a 5/8" thick sheet at that time.

Prepped frame with hours of wire wheel work. The original grey and black paint was still stuck on pretty well. I didn't want to sand blast since frame was relatively clean and sandblasting tends to leave sand and dust everywhere that keeps filtering out for years. Plus, if you believe the advertising, the two coats of Por 15 that followed are supposed to stick better to light pitting and surface rust than to raw steel. If this was a frame off, it would have been faster and more effective to media blast.

I upgraded from 1/4" to 5/16 bolts, washers and nylocks around the perimeter. Lesson learned here: nylon lock nuts gall stainless bolt threads. Never happens to me with normal stainless nuts and lock washers. Tried to remove one and found bolt had to be overtorqued until it snapped. Guess that will be a job for the next owner...since I hope this floor lasts the remainder of my life.

I used plated elevator bolts. I found that standard 1/4-20 x 1-1/4" length weren't long enough where floor overlaps and frame is lowered. Picked up some extras at 2".

This photo shows additional angle stock I welded in across rear under trunk area between frame rails. After talking with Inland RV I agree the flat bar stock is flimsy and reinforcement makes sense. I happened to find a 1-1/2x1-1/2"galvanized angle at my local scrap dealer. I ground off the coating at the ends before welding and fit it under the repainted flat bar. Up top I reinforced the body u-channel with 2 pieces of 1/8" thick 1"x1"aluminum angle inside, riveted to each other to form a U and then inside the original. The bolts across the back now pass through 1/4" galvanized angle, the original 1/4" flat stock, the flooring, then the original aluminum body channel and 2 layers of 1/8" aluminum angle.

This baby's strong now. Hey Frank, you won't see my bumper bouncing now!

And NO, I didn't install the sewer hose cover. I'm going to find a different way to skin that cat so I don't funnel water into the back of the trailer like the original design did.

View from rear, no tanks, belly pan lowered only where flooring repair done.

New floor top view. This side is the 1/2" thick fiberglass/epoxy board I'm testing. They didn't have 5/8" to match original floor thickness, but it could be custom ordered. This is the same material high end boats are using due to it's weather resistance, high compressive and shear strength along with lighter weight.

Weight of 1/2" 4x8' sheet of materials are:
Plywood=42-48 lbs depending on core, treated or non-treated.
Solid HDPE (High Density Polyethylene=70 lbs.
What I used: Glass reinforced urethane=32 lbs.

Costs will vary by suppliers but for a single sheet replacement like this all products I looked at were similar in price.

Note to self: instead of using a spade bit to countersink the elevator bolts, next time use your forsner...much cleaner and easier!

*Dark spot on right is water. Dark spot on left is spilled Por15...oops.

Here's a close up of flooring, showing woven mat. Some surfaces during the factory sanding process. Cost isn't bad, compared to treated or especially marine grade plywood. I didn't have to spend time with chemicals and epoxies sealing edges, etc. Weight is as mentioned, lower than plywood. The only downside might be screw holding ability. For that I can block under at closet & cabinet locations.

We'll see how it all works out as the miles add up.