Reply by Dallas

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Posted on Frustrating Carpentry work

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3599 posts in 2454 days

#1 posted 08-29-2011 09:07 PM

Hee Hee Hee…. I’m working on an Avion camp trailer right now and there is no single place that it is square, plumb or true. Even the bathtub is built like an hour glass sideways.

Don’t worry so much about doing as you would when you are building cabinets, build the framing part as if you were a framer, then do the trim part as if you were a trim carpenter. By the time you get to the fancy stuff, like cabinetry, you’ll be able to cut and nip and stuff until it all works.

In the 80’s I was the layout guy for a large remodeling contractor in Atlanta. I could lay out a pad, have it within 1/16” and by the time the framers got to the top plate it would be out by up to an inch. The concrete guys wouldn’t lay the pad right, leave too much area for the J-bolts, etc. The framers would see the J-bolts, and center the walls on those. The walls would bend and warp with changes in humidity and temp, besides being really crappy low end lumber, and by the time they got to the roof peak, it was all just fine.
Framing doesn’t need perfect joints. Shims hide a lot of problems with trim work, once the dry wall is up, no one will see it and you build the cabinets to fit the space.

Spin forward to 1992….. I worked as a supervisor on a crew for Jim Walters Homes. 3 weeks, start to finish for a 3200 sq ft 2 storey house. This means ‘move in ready’. What a load of crap. I watched some of the worst building practices I’ve ever seen. Everything from studs with one nail so they would swivel to top plates with gaps 6” wide. Roof trusses that weren’t nailed into the top plate, sub floor that was held down with nothing more than glue. Concrete that was too wet/dry to support the structure. 4” footers.

I love working on old buildings! I once worked on the Pike Place Market building in Seattle. 9 floors from top to ground, the top floor east is three blocks of the bottom floor entrance west. I was responcible for the flooring replacement of 4 floors. If you go in there to this day, you will not be able to tell where I replaced a piece, a whole board, or a 10’X10’ section, and none of it was square.

Good luck, Keep your stick on the ice!


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