Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Monday, May 17, 2010

68: Homemade Block and Tackle

Building this house I have had to lift many things that were either heavy or bulky (or both). I knew I needed a electric winch or a good block and tackle to help out. All the blocks I've seen for sale were usually 4 wheel models and awfully expensive. Since I wanted the extra mechanical advantage a 6 wheel model would provide, I decided to build one.
So, it's off to the scrap metal yard to find 1/8" flat steel plate. The side pieces are roughly 3" x 6". All the hardware is 1/2" diameter. Locknuts were used to prevent things from coming apart at inopportune moments. The rope is 3/8" poly, rated for (I think) about 175 lbs. At first I thought 100 ft of rope would be sufficient, I have since added another 25'. The pulleys are 2.5" diameter and came from the local welding supply house; they are rated for 700 lbs.
This thing paid for itself the first time I used it. It has been used a lot to lift and move, particularly in lifting and moving those 20 ft tall A-frame scaffold supports used to side and paint the house. Once, I even used it to straighten out a bowed 2x6 wall stud.
Realize, this was not designed by a professional. It has not been tested, so I have no idea what it's load capacity is. Build and use one at your own risk. If you do build one, don't ever stand under a suspended load. Be careful.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

67: Porch & West Wall

While siding the porch was a snap (no scafolds), the west wall made up for it in difficulty (scaffolds everywhere).
The siding went on smoothly until I got up on the garage roof. Since there is an 18" overhang to work under, about the only way to do it was laying on my side. The garage roof is metal also, so unless you keep one tennis shoe bottom flat on the roof, you slide down the roof all the time. Needless to say there was lots of frustration and more than one four letter word mumbled (no, they were pretty much spoken out loud) until I got all the siding finished.
Then came the soffit and fascia. The soffit is the easiest and most enjoyable part of siding a house. I used a big carpenter's square to draw a line on the Tyvek parallel to the bottom of the barge rafter. The top edge of the vinyl J-channel gets screwed to that line. Now we measure and cut the soffit, in most places each piece was 16" long +/- 1/4". I found I could get nine pieces out of each 12 ft long soffit blank. To install it I just slide it into the J-channel and put two drywall screws into the bottom of the barge rafter. Using screws, if I ever need to remove them I can.
Then comes the fascia. My barge rafters are 2x8's and I have metal drip edge and gable trim
already installed so the exposed wood to cover is only 5" tall. I used trim coil to make the pieces and borrowed the bending break at the rental store to bend them. I've found that they are happy to let me use their equipment in the shop (don't have to rent it). I always contribute something towards their party fund.
One last point, where the garage roof ends, be sure to install a kick out flashing so rain coming off the garage roof won't run down the side of the house, get behind the siding and rot out the sheathing. Pic 2 is the kick out flashing.