Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

End of Week 8: Getting Ready For Walls

Visually, there isn't much difference this week from last week until you start looking under the covers. The under floor plumbing and other pieces were completed along with getting the inspection passed means that next week the walls start going up. The crawl space beneath the flooring is deeper then I expected so that might provide some uses that I originally didn't think of. The crawl space is fully enclosed by concrete walls and should be a nice dry space.

The crew is doing final prep before installing the plywood floor decking:


It's hard to get a feel of the depth in this picture, but the plumbing and pipes can be seen:


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saw Options

Having a saw is, obviously, very helpful for woodworking. It's pretty difficult to do stuff if you can't cut and while I've mostly asked the stores to cut pieces to length for me it isn't always convenient. I decided to start doing some research to find a saw that fits my constraints: safety, space and cost.

Table Saw -- Recommended by nearly everyone as one of the important tools to have, a table saw is versatile and precise. It requires a lot of space (even the portable contractor's table saw), is expensive, and one of leading tools associated with woodworking accident (I'm not saying that it cause the accident, but rather a lot accident happens when people use the table saw.).

Jig Saw -- Handy and can do my types of cuts, not as expensive to buy, but not very precise.

Circular Saw -- Inexpensive, versatile and portable. Circular saws doesn't take much space and can do rip and cross-cuts. Even though it is common to see homeowners with circular saws it can still be dangerous. Whereas a table saw might kick back the wood back to the user, a circular saw can kick the saw itself back towards the user.

Miter Saws -- Can do many types of cuts, but not rip cuts. Moderately expensive and requires some space depending on the length of the wood being cut. Make sure you don't have your limbs under the blade while holding the materials to cut.

Plunge/Track Saw -- Similar to circular saws, plunge saws are portable and the blade is on the understand. The saw is completely housed inside until used for cutting and can start on the side of the wood. These saws also ride along a rail to give precise cuts. Some have anti-kickback features and with jigs can do the work of table saws. As it is hand-held, it doesn't take much space and for cutting plywood you can go to the wood instead of having to bring the wood somewhere. Moderately expensive.

Based on my criteria, I think a plunge saw fits the most with what I want, but I'd love to hear people's opinions.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Woodworking an Expensive Hobby?

Like many people, I wondered whether woodworking would be an expensive hobby. Seeing those fancy workshops like the New Yankee Workshop and all the different equipment workshops have I imagined that it would be incredibly expensive. However, like any hobby, how expensive it gets is really up to the person. A person can go and buy everything under the sun and easily spend $30k, or they can get buy with a block of wood and a knife/hand saw. In my case, I build simple stuff with just a hammer and power drill and ask the store to cut the wood to size for me. At some point, however, depending on others for things like cutting becomes limiting and so there are some basic tools that is nicer to just invest in. One advice I found is "buy as you need" and not try to buy everything up-front where you might end up not using many of them. This is the method I'm going with.

Relative to many other hobbies such as photography or computer/technology woodworking doesn't seem any more expensive. Most equipment suitable for amateurs costs $50-$500. Compare that with photography where lenses are in the same price range and the high-end lenses costing as much as a table saw.

The one thing that woodworking requires is a decent sized space and that might or might not be expensive depending on the person's living situation.

Bought a Bosch Router

A router isn't usually the first thing that experts advise beginning woodworkers to get, but it is such a versatile tool that can do so many things. From reading on the web, a saw of some kind is what is usually suggested, but while one can ask stores to cut for you they won't do the things that routers provides.

After researching the web and magazines, I settled on the Bosch router with both a fixed and plunge base. I might write up my experiences with it after using it for a few projects, but for now information on it is easily found on the web.

router box


Ordered Appliances and Checked Out Roofs

Appliances got ordered and we decided on the roof color. At this point, we're done with pretty much all the decisions on finishes and details. We're keeping a careful eye on budget to see if anything else might eat into the contingency funds. If nothing unexpected comes up, some of that fund might flow back into the house on a few items that we dropped earlier, but now it's really just about waiting and watching the house come together.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

End of Week 7

Week 7 brought us closer to getting out of the ground. The under floor plumbing is going in and the floor joists are being installed. The dirt is being put back on the outer parameters of the house so soon all the concrete foundation forms will be buried and invisible. All the work from the past 2 months will be like it was never there to the naked eye...

End Week 7

Floor Joists

Friday, September 10, 2010

A small spice rack as an exercise in woodworking.

To practice the finer details of woodworking and get exposure to using more tools, I built a small spice rack. This is a pretty common woodworking learning project. The wood is a Walnut and for the finish I just used gel-polyurethane. Honestly, I have no idea what I would use this for in the house...

As for the heart, well, it was to practice using the scroll saw so I needed do to something with curves...



End of Week 6: Concrete have been poured.

The concrete part of the foundation is finally complete. What remains is to pack the dirt on the inside and layout the gravel so that we can start on the floor joists and under-floor plumbing. We're running about 1/2 week behind schedule.



Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of Week 5: Foundation blocks

With the support piers poured, the next phase is to do the concrete forms and inserting some materials that deals with expansion and compression of the soil. The plywood is to hold the concrete when it is poured.



From the first picture, the layout of the house becomes clearer.

This is the picture of what's between the plywood:


At the bottom is the cardboard like things that will deal with the expansion/compression. Once the concrete is poured, we'll never see those things again even though they cost me an arm and a leg...