Sunday, July 31, 2011

Frame of mind

The other day  I turned to John and asked him what his favorite tool is. To clarify, a tool we currently own. I mean, once we have a welder that will obviously be my favorite, but we don't have one yet. He thought for a minute, and said the chainsaw. It was a lot of fun using the chainsaw to dissect the tree we took down.  My favorite is the new framing nailer we just bought.
That's right...We are learning to frame! YAY! We are framing the shop! But before into details about that, I think it has been long enough for this story to be funny.

The Story of How We Got 100 Salvaged 2 x 4's for Super Cheap.  You know how part of what we want to do is use recycled materials as much as possible, so we spend a good amount of time on craigslist. One day about  2 months ago we find an ad for 100 2 x 4's and jump on it. It is a little far away but we decide we can make a trip of it. So off we go in Johns little truck with a rack over the bed. And we loaded it up. Overloaded it. We drive to the ferry and on the way hear a thumping noise and think we have a flat tire. We get out and look, no flat. Huh, we say, that's funny. We keep going. By the time the ferry docks and we roll out the thump has gotten much worse.  We get about 2 miles from the ferry dock ( we have 40 to go) and the thump is very loud, consistent , and scary.  I pull over, john gets out and we do this song and dance where he runs beside the car while I drive and he tries to see what is thumping. We do this dance at least three times. Hilarious. Oh, and it is now 9:30 on a Saturday night. Oh, and we are starving. We decide we can make it if I drive on the shoulder and do not go over 15 MPH.  Off we go. We get about 1 more mile and BOOM! The entire Wheel COMES OFF THE CAR and bounces down the road. Just shears right off. Needless to say, we joined AAA and got towed. Now we are stuck at nearly 11 at night 65 miles from where we live and we have to get back to close up the chickens. Car rental places are closed, the buses don't run that late or the next day. We end up taking a cab from Bainbridge to Quilcene. ( this means something to some of our readers) Moral of the story? Sometimes it costs a lot to save money.

Back to framing. As usual, we got a rocky start. The J bolts were placed in the foundation for 2 x 6 walls. That means that after we put down the treated sill, the J bolts were directly in the way of the soleplate going down. We decided to use a 2 x 6 soleplate and then do the rest of the framing with our hard won cheap 2 x 4's.  This further complicated the matter because that means we would need to build a nest on the floor so that the 2 x 4's would sit flush with the edge of the soleplate.  To FURTHER complicate the matter, our foundation floor slopes by 2 inches for drainage purposes.  The best way to frame a house, or in this case the shop, is to build one wall at a time on the floor and then lift it up into place.  I have been reading all of these house building books like mad, and they say you can build it in place, but it is much harder to get plumb walls. So, per usual, we devised a system. The system includes shims and wood stacks on the floor and drilling 2 inch holes in the soleplate. I was nervous about starting and I think I read too much. I got it in my head that this was going to be really hard. And it was confusing at first, but once we started I relaxed and realised that framing is really alot of fun. It starts looking like something and it moves quick. Especially with the awesome Porter Cable pneumatic nailer. It's all about your frame of mind.
Here is a picture of two of the walls we have up now:

We chose to start with the easy walls, obviously. The wall I am holding has no windows, and the adjacent wall only has one. It looks so darn simple in the picture, but I swear there was a day learning curve! The framing nailer is amazing ( yes, it is a very dangerous tool, but we have respect for it and use the safety features). I did not want to buy it and called John from the store, saying it was too expensive and I thought I should just buy a framing hammer.  I am so glad he talked me into buying it!

Also ..........

We have a House Foundation!
here it is getting poured over the radiant tubes! There are many reasons why I love this picture, (one of them being my 5 year old sense of humor) but mostly I like how you can see where the concrete is smooth in the right corner and the texture of it coming out as well as the tubes going under. Coming soon... pictures of the smoothed finished stained ending.

And now, a new table in our lives. We found this palette and sanded and oiled it. Lovely huh? It must have brought something from Brazil.

Stay tuned for more framey- goodness. Please let us know if you want more actual building details and I will happily elaborate.


  1. .haha..I almost had that happen to me in my old 1979 econoline van. Coming baack froma long trip and I was getting crazy noise no flat though. I got home and did a close inspection and I had sheared off 3 of the 5 bolts..on the last 2 km of the trip my leaf springs were literally falling off as I drove they were so far gone..that was the last trip the van ever went was a deathtrap.

    Looks great! I had never framed before I did the coop last the end of the project I felt comfortable enough with it..Also by the end I wondered why I did half the things I did..I have a tendency to overcomplicate things. LOve the pallet table too! hehe