Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fiddly prep work.

Tuesdays, I have a morning available to work on the shop/house since I only work 5 hours at my day job. I try to "set the table" monday so I can get real and significant progress done with my big block of time. That didn't happen this week. By the time tuesday AM rolled around, there were 429 little details that demanded they be looked after first. So even though it wasn't very satisfying, I got a bunch of piddly stuff taken care of.

For example, when we hung the fascia boards on the tails of the trusses, Christina and I worked together because that's a four handed game. To maximize the utility of my trusted helper, we would clip right along, just putting one nail in each truss. They really want two nails per truss, so I went around and got everything nicely tidied up. There was one last piece of trim/fascia that needed installing on the west gable, so I got that taken care of as well. As an aside, I used sort of an unconventional material for the fascia boards. Traditionally, you used a 1x6 piece of pine. A hundred years ago, when it was good old growth pine, the boards were really an inch thick, and we still used the evil oil based paint, fascia boards could last 80-100 years with modest care.

These days, about the only old growth pine out there is in places where logging is not allowed. I once saw a house over by Detroit that still had the original 2x20 pine flooring. And they were actually 2 1/2" thick. Trees like that are just gone.

Since the big old giants are unavailable for lumber use, we use the quicky designer Spruce/Pine/Fir trees from the managed renewable forests. These mature in about 1/4 of the time of the old species. The down side is that some of today's SPF lumber is, in some cases, slightly stronger and more durable than styrofoam. So, renewable is good, but there is a down side. A 2x4 from a mature old growth hemlock tree could easily be twice as strong as the modern SPF wondertree equivalent. The immediate consequence for me is that using cheapo SPF 1x6 pine for the fascia board might produce rotten no-good worn out wood in 10-15 years, no matter what you paint it with.

Since I am lazy, AND a good steward, I chose instead to use pressure treated deck boards. In theory, these are 2x6's doped up with either CCA (copper-chromate-arsenic) or the newer friendlier borate/borax treated stuff. The great irony here is that these special "deck" 2x6's are almost exactly the same size as the traditional 1x6 from 100 years ago. They are thinner than the normal 2x6, which itself is only 1 1/2" thick. Please please Lord may we switch to metric now??? Anyway, the additional thickness and preservative pretty much assure that I will never have to replace these in my lifetime. I may also oil them with used soybean oil as additional treatment rather than latex paint. Much less expensive and probably more durable, along with being far more water repellent.

Thus, pretty much all the insignificant yet necessary details are behind us. Plywood dead ahead! I got a couple sheets put up before work this morning and should be able to get ALL of the roof sheathing done by next sunday, PM. I know it's dangerous to set goals like this, but oh well. Perhaps Christina will start an official plywood count. The total number of sheets for the roof will be 81 and we are presently at 40. I can do slightly better than 2 sheets an hour.

Finest regards,



David said...

your work ethic is inspirational Troy

in the time you accomplished all that, I read 2 papers :)

troy said...

Thank you David. It has worked out well for me. I often wonder what I could do if my life depended on it. I would rate my work ethic as somewhat above average, but nothing special. I often waste an hour or two on that scurrilous device, the television. My dad can still outwork me about 2:1 and he's getting old and decrepit (Hey dad! No disrespect of course.)

I once saw an interview with the guy who _actually_ invented the internet when he was in grad school. He later went on to found several wildly successful companies which took huge amounts of work and time on his part. During the more strenuous start up, he said he often slept in a cot at the office for 4-5 hours and then went back at it for 18 hours. He also made the comment that he felt you weren't really showing much commitment to your job if you were working less than 80 hours a week. I think he said that partly tongue in cheek, but from a guy who worked more than 100 hours a week for long periods of time, one wonders...

I would also point out that lots of third world workers put in 60-70 hours a week just to survive. North Americans really have a limited view of how the world actually works.

So my 60-70+ hours per week are really not that notable. I'm also not that efficient or organized.

And just to add some context, our goal is to discover our God given talents and employ them in such a way that the distinction between work and play becomes meaningless and our work empowers and energizes us. I don't know if that's even 100% possible in this life, but I know with dead certainty that it is possible in the next life.

Finest regards,


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