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House Projects #1: It was Inevitable...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 03-16-2016 03:06 AM 986 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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(The House Purchase last year made it inevitable that a new Series would need to be begun…)

Debbie and I enjoyed our first Holiday Season here very much… So much so in fact, we were loath to see it end!
But after the last of the tinsel, glitter, and sparkle were finally stowed away for next year, we discovered just how costly the Holidays had been…
It was mid-February, before we again found ourselves on firmer financial footing and with that, our thoughts again turned to our on-going home renovation…
If you recall, last year saw our Bedroom and downstairs bathroom get a face lift…
First up in the plans this year (and possibly all that might get done) is our Kitchen…

The Kitchen here, is the first Room that is going to need more than just “Cosmetics”...
While we’re not planning on gutting the room completely, the work in it will be major, including a New Floor, Counters, a New Breakfast Bar, New Appliances, Exhaust Fan, and probably some New Plumbing and Lighting Work as well…
For Christmas, I bought the Paints that will be needed for the room, and in mid-February started preparing and washing the Walls and Ceiling

The first color we chose was Green, and a first coat of it was applied on 2/29/16 (an auspicious date!)...

A week later, a second color was applied (one of the trim colors, light Gray), to all of the cabinet closet and drawer fronts…

And that’s about all that I could do, without facing the real problem here, which is namely… the Floor!
The House we own was built in 1900 and as is usual in such cases, the floor joists are quite large…
I can easily imagine the Carpenters and Framers laying them in so long ago, pausing to wipe the sweat off of their brow, and perhaps reflecting on their day’s work with pride, knowing that their work would last a l-o-o-ong time!
But truth be told, it has been a “L-o-o-ong time”, and the beams that they labored so hard to move and shape, despite their size, are as dry as old sticks now…
And the years were not kind, as the house didn’t completely protect them from the ravages of Wood boring insects and the like either…
Of course we knew all this when we bought the place, and while there has been cause for concern, we were assured (and it is apparent) the House is in no imminent danger of collapse!
The Beams might sag a little, but they are never-the-less Solid Still!
All they need, is a little help carrying the weight…

Before we moved in, Adjustable Lolly Columns (or Floor Jacks, if you prefer) were positioned extensively around the basement… I could continue to put one everywhere one is needed, but there would be a forest of them down there, with room for little else… And they are not cheap either, running about $50 apiece…

Some Friends suggested putting in a couple of Steel Beams… While that would certainly solve the problems, it would have cost a fortune, putting the whole house on blocks, while getting permissions and variances from neighbors and the City…

After staring at and thinking of it all, for a little over a year, I came up with a Plan that meets the criteria and stays within our Budget…
Saturday, I went out and bought four Pressure Treated 4” x 4” x 8’ Timbers…

The idea here, will be to have a “Forest” of beams rather than Jacks, but have them organized into dividing Walls (and a couple of smaller connecting Walls)...

Initial installation began Sunday and is a relatively simple process… As has been said, a year has gone by staring at this situation, so I have a fair idea where these will be going…
A place is selected and measured, and a timber is cut slightly shorter than necessary…

Some old shingles, cut and used as opposed wedges, will do the holding…

There is an incredible amount of force generated by smacking those two shingles in, but they’re each being helped out by Floor jacks as well; i.e., the overhead beam is raised slightly higher than necessary, then settled onto one of these standing timbers and the Jack is removed…

Anyway, in the course of 5 or 6 hours these three and one other had been set in place…

Two Jacks (out of the 10 or 12 that are down there) were removed entirely and re-placed…
Five of the other Jacks were re-positioned too, to places more needful and appropriate…

Still, there is no denying… I’ll be at this for a while!
35 or 40 of these will ultimately be placed (and almost every one of them is a unique situation)
You probably noticed that the electrical will have to be re-bundled and re-organized while this is happening too…
And there is also someone’s poor attempt at a dropped ceiling in places that will have to be removed…

But the point of doing it this way, is that it is not only immediately helpful (the Floor is already noticeably sturdier upstairs, even squeaks less), but I can also break off from doing it and continue where I left off (when time allows)...

Sorry for my absence around here my Friends!
Life has been Good (and Busy)... I hope all of you are Well!! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.



15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#1 posted 03-16-2016 03:09 AM

Looks just like the kind of work I don’t like,good to see your post Mike

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

3055 posts in 2966 days


#2 posted 03-16-2016 04:21 AM

It surely doesn’t fit in the “Just for Fun” Series Jim, but it’s not that bad…
I picked up four more timbers Yesterday Morning, but only got one more set in place today…
My day started with mixing a smidgen of cement, to make a small step for another location where the floor is not at all level… I’ll have to give the cement a few days to set before I can work in that area…
There’s also this: When raising the Floor, the actual raising is done in small increments (with time in between) rather than all at once… Allegedly, that gives everything a chance to ‘ease’ into the new positions…
Very fortunately for me, the house is startlingly close to level and true for its Age, so won’t have to be ‘raised’ very much to begin with…

That will help, but again, I’ll be at this for a while…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3140 days


#3 posted 03-16-2016 04:31 AM

Glad to hear you are happy in you new home Mike. For some reason or other, I could see posts and wedges coming as I read your post ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

3055 posts in 2966 days


#4 posted 03-16-2016 11:10 AM

Wish you were closer Bob!
I’d Love to pick your Brain about some of this Electrical work… There are some unusual ‘things’ hanging around downstairs that I’d bet you’ve at least seen before…

There was some evidence that one of the former owners partook in the CB Craze and maybe at least dabbled in Ham Radio… My guess is, is that they were also toying around with Mr. Edison’s low-voltage power… Perhaps to power Car Radios in the house?
I’m hesitant to tear it all down yet (until I’m sure which one is our Doorbell!)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3219 days


#5 posted 03-16-2016 12:38 PM

Great story, Mike! Aren’t old homes fun?!?

About the electrical stuff- I think the first picture is an old telephone interface for landlines. The second looks like your doorbell. Not sure about the third, but it might have been a doorbell transformer at one time. The white insulators are remnants of the original “knob and post” wiring.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View patron's profile

patron

13536 posts in 2805 days


#6 posted 03-16-2016 01:59 PM

” .... the men of yore, sweating thru their work
building this great country
one post at a time ….”

the pride of accomplishment continues

well done yank

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Porchfish's profile

Porchfish

751 posts in 1996 days


#7 posted 03-16-2016 02:04 PM

Those are some electrical relics of a bygone era ! Keep up the good work with the renovations. No more important project than this.Good looking Kitchen make-over ! Go Mike !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

3055 posts in 2966 days


#8 posted 03-16-2016 04:20 PM

Lew: I am having Fun with it, that’s for sure! The first ‘thing’ pictured…

It looks like it hearkens back to the days of “Ringing Up” the Operator, so they could dial the Number for you!

David, that sounds remarkably like LJ’s, “The Men of Yore, sweating thru their Work, building this Great Website, one Post at a time…” :)

Thanks a lot Don! It seems like I haven’t gotten a lot accomplished here, but there are actually quite a few little things that did not happen by themselves…
The Timbers are being brought in through a basement Window that I worked on last Fall…

While we were moving in last Winter, I noticed that the Plexiglass that someone had used to protect the basement window, had been utterly demolished by the falling ice (it laid in pieces in the driveway)... So I put some 1/2” Ply over it instead… With hooks and latches (and even a knob), it makes it pretty easy to remove and replace…
Of course, in the event, we had a very mild Winter here and it was never an issue (but I was ready, in case it had been worse!!)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View ~Julie~'s profile

~Julie~

600 posts in 2498 days


#9 posted 03-16-2016 10:37 PM

Ha ha, we too have a “forest” in our basements (we own two houses over 100 years old). Some are metal posts, some are wood… lots of fun!
Still, nice to have your own place, isn’t it?

-- ~Julie~ followyourheartwoodworking.blogspot.ca

View Roger's profile

Roger

19868 posts in 2268 days


#10 posted 03-17-2016 12:14 AM

One step at a time. Work/Play safe

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3140 days


#11 posted 03-17-2016 08:10 AM

Mike, 2 of them are door bell transformers. The other one I can’t place, but it looks like something I’ve seen before, long long ago. Possibly in the 70s. Didn’t do much in houses after that and not a lot when I was.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3219 days


#12 posted 03-22-2016 11:35 PM

Mike,
Here’s a picture of one very similar to what you have. The one in our house is almost identical to yours.

The “thing” acts like a safety device from lightening. Just a bit of trivia :^)

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 2655 days


#13 posted 04-03-2016 02:48 AM

Looks like your having fun, building a new kitchen is several months in just cabinet building. We have one great wood supplier here.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2798 days


#14 posted 04-04-2016 01:54 PM

Good start on the kitchen Mike. It looks like you have your work cut out for you with those floor problems, but I know you will get it fixed with time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

3055 posts in 2966 days


#15 posted 04-04-2016 08:24 PM

Thank You all very much for your time and comments!

The Work continued…
I now have 16 new “Trees in the Forest” in our Basement…

The area around the Boiler is getting special treatment… A concentration of Floor jacks will slowly be used to raise that section, before permanent posts are added…

Some attempts at Bracing were made here before I ever arrived, but are… less than satisfactory…

Just as I’m raising things slowly, I’m also lowering the weight off of this bracing slowly too…

All and all though, things are going very well… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

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