Friday, May 31, 2013

Pick it up and Put it Down

Yesterday saw lots of work on tap. For years I'd wanted to take our shed, which has a nice canted, overhanging roof with an open section, and close the open section off. My ultimate goal is to be able to take the shed proper, which is actually built less like a shed and more like a small camp, and finish it off as a guest room. Even more years back, I'd planned to build another shed all together. Using the some of the leftover PT lumber from the deck that we tore off of our house when we put an addition on, I'd gotten so far as to build the deck for the new shed.

That deck has been sitting there for years unused and unloved. A few years back it occurred to me that if I wasn't going to build a new shed, I could modify that deck which was 8x12' to fit under the overhang of the existing shed, which had no floor. The deck was made of 2x8' PT with 5/4" PT decking. It would need to move about 30' in one direction and about 10' in the other direction. How hard can that be?

So I started off yesterday with some prep work. That included first mowing the lawn with the antique and dilapidated $89 push mower that we bought at Walmart when we got the house. After that there was the matter of temporarily relocating a wood pile. Pick it up and put it down. Finally I was at a point where I could start doing some of the work that I intended to do.

My plan of attack was simple. Throw down some boards and skid the deck along into place with a set of come-alongs. I knew that it would work as I'd skidded numerous rocks and cars up unbelievable grades with this simple hand winch. I screwed a hook into the deck so that I'd have something to attach to, drove an iron prybar into the ground a few feet and then hooked onto it at the ground and started winching. It was by no means easy but steady progress was made despite a fair amount of plowing of the Earth underneath. Pick it up and put it down.

Eventually once I had the deck closer to the shed, I had to cut the excess from the side in order to meet the finish width of the opening into which it was going. This involved skinning a few rows of decking off the joist framework so that I could cut each of the joist. Pulling rusty nails embedded into wet and old PT is loads of fun. Once that was done I measured twice and started with the cuts. First I used a circular saw, which worked OK on the ends but not on the internal joist. Then I tried the sawzall which didn't work well at all and eventually chose the right tool for this and in honesty, most jobs; the chainsaw. Perfectly square cuts were easily made and no limbs were lost.

Next I had to add on a new outside PT header to tie the joist back together. I needed new as the header had to be longer, in order to tie into my 4x4" uprights that support the roof overhang. They are spaced 14' in total length where as my deck is only 12' long. That gives me a foot on each end of extra roof overhand that won't have as much snow collecting at the door. The result will be that the new closed in section will be slightly shorter than the old shed, which will help visually break up the total width and look better as well. It will also make it easier to tie back into the shed for framing up the ends and bottom line, I had a 12' long deck sitting there already that cost me almost nothing to use. Recycle.

For hooking the deck platform into the existing shed I wanted to hang it down a bit from the bottom of the shed in order to maximize head room in the new part. My idea was to use metal plates lagged into the deck header and then lag then into the header of the shed. I bought the hardware and got everything into place, re-centered my hook started dragging it into place. A bit of twisting, turning and wedging and it slid right into place. I then braced in up on the shed side and tied it into the shed header permanently. Then I moved to the outside, leveled it and lagged the overhanging ears from the outside header plate into the upright outside 4x4" posts. For the center upright I had to skin some decking off in order to get in and lag through the header to the 4x4".

The end result was rock solid, had good head clearance, reused something that I already had and was much better than what I had before. Still lots of work left on the first stage in order to sheath the side, frame and sheath the ends and then move the various doors from one shed to the other. That said, it is still forward progress and that feels good.

After the day of fun outside Cathy and I decided to go for a little bike ride. We headed to Gorham with plans of doing Pinkham Notch to Bartlett and then back. It had gotten quite warm and the wind had picked up a bit as well. We struggled mightily up the shallow flank knowing that if the easy part was this tough, the hard part would be brutal. Pick it up and put it down. Sure enough, it was. I usually hate out and back rides but for some reason this one doesn't seem that bad. The terrain and views make it worth while and frankly, you are too busy suffering to notice.

Another great day and many more to come. I'm not sure how ambitious the ride will be today though. I must admit that I'm pretty beat from yesterday.

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