Visualize, Measure Six Times, Rethink…

A full day in the house, a few things crossed off, and exhaustion — physical AND mental. And Marsh is exhausted to the depths of her soul after some ungodly wordcount attained (3,700?). We are sitting in the camper gazing dully at the dogs and waiting for bedtime.

Got the bolts into the load-bearing beam in the basement (10 1/2-inch diameter, 7-inch long bolts, if you must know):


This let me take down the center post and its jack for use upstairs and in other projects. Voila! No center post!:


Then up to the kitchen/bathroom, where a load-bearing wall has been waiting to be built boxing in the utility stack (heat ducts, plumbing drains). I took great pains with the measuring and planning — first to check for parallel/perpendicular walls; second to doublecheck the construction plan for each wall intersection; third to triple-check my calculations for how the load will transfer down to the just-finished beam in the basement; fourth-through-tenth, check and measure lumber inventory, maintain my own safety, bring tools up from the basement and down from the 2nd floor, and critically, make sure nothing at this stage will impede the plumber, electrician, or myself at a future stage.

But the BIG puzzle was: How would I hoist a pair of 10-foot 2×6’s to the 8-foot ceiling and hold them there while positioning triple 2×4 posts under each end? When I could barely lift any one of those things alone?

I considered ropes, I considered a portable T-brace (such as one might use with sheetrock), I considered attaching the beam to the ceiling first (but how?) — and finally settled on the idea of constructing a pair of temporary brackets that would put the beam within 9-12″ of its final position. I got the 2×6’s up there individually:


The back bracket is boxed, to prevent the beam falling out to the side, and the front bracket is open, to aid in lifting and setting.

I was then able to jimmy them into alignment, nail them together, and shove them closer to their correct position. The brackets were at slightly different heights but that didn’t matter:


Then I brought up the assembled posts, and with brute force shoved up the far end, wedging the post at an angle. But when I did the same with the right-hand side, I couldn’t get the beam high enough (tight enough against the rafters) to get the post seated on the sill.


Enter the jack for a return engagement:


I used the jack and a 4×4 to push up on the right side while alternately bashing the left end into position, and constantly checking all my true verticals and alignment marks. Soon the jacking provided just the hairs-breadth of clearance to get the right-hand post in as well.

The new and old load-bearing structures, side by side — in each picture, the old is on the left and the new on the right:

IMG_3136   IMG_3137

These still need some braces and brackets bolted to them, but basically it’s done.

When the second 10-foot load-bearing beam goes in across the rest of the room (one foot nearer the center of the room, which is why this isn’t a single 20-foot beam as in the basement), all that old stuff can come down. I’m leaving the front facing wall of the bathroom incomplete until we get the tub/shower in.

I think it’s bedtime now.

Oh, one other thing:

Happy Birthday to my dear, dear little sister Lisken, who has, it seems, long-since achieved what I am lately discovering: a life of labor, love, purpose, and constant growth that fits her many extraordinary gifts. She has, moreover, dedicated these gifts to others — her karate pupils, her school pupils, her orchestra audiences, her poetry readers. Thousands, perhaps, are happier and more fit for having worked with her.

So while I start this journey of making, sufficiency, and life-centered art, I look up to my sister, and look for the day we can begin to reach outward as she has.