So after four iterations of the plan and much useless discussion with the parents about how better it would be to spend less money and have a better and more functional staircase that what’s on the market, I finally pushed hard enough to have them listen to their son and make the jump.
First order of business: enlarge the basement opening, too small for anything else than a ladder, there’s just no way that I let mom go up and down a ladder carrying anything. It took us three full days to get to the point were we had a full opening, first day I drilled through the concrete to prepare for the heavy destruction (I considered using explosives at one point – no kidding, this thing is really rock-solid) and then it was a matter of using the big boys toy and destroy it all. The holes I had made on the first day really helped keep things under control and we managed to get the armed concrete to break exactly as we wanted it to.
You can definitely tell we had a blast here… well, not quite, but at last we got the job done. By the way, how do you get a 20+ kilogram (~40 pounds) electric hammer in there and use it against an horizontal concrete slab without too much effort? by hanging it to the upper stairs of course (with the strong nylon flat rope I use to pull out stumps with mom’s ride :D). We had no effort to do to keep it where it should be and completed the actual dismantling in around an hour.
Secondly, we made a nice mold to tidy up the opening (which will be encased with wood eventually).
This is where you can definitely say: there is no such thing as scrap wood. I used polystyrene blocks to fill the gaps and wood spacers to keep the mould from touching the sides and preventing us from putting the cement where we needed it.
Gotta love daddy’s looks in his heavy duty outfit ;)
Next we coated the walls with a stone-colored, erm, construction stuff which name I don’t know in english (“enduit” in Froggish). I had dad buy a real compressor and projecting device for that – and later told him about the pneumatic nailers and the possibility to hack it into an air pump to build a vacuum press, which idea really got him excited. I made the most out of my free Facom baseball cap and managed to get very little sand in my huge metalhead hair ;) These compressed air projecting devices can really make a mess in no time. I couldn’t get decent pictures of that part of the process but imagine a nice warm yellowish stone colored wall in a basement and you get the idea of what we ended up with.
I’ll split this post here and continue with the staircase construction in part two.
-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...