Heating Installation, Phase 2 (April 26 – May 7, 2010)

After a bit of a hiatus due to the Easter holiday and Pete holding a festival on his property over that time, we all finally came together after a five week break for Phase 2 of the Heating Installation project.  From my post on Phase 1, this next phase of the project was to consist of the following:

“Phase 2:  Opening up of kitchen/living room wall and installation of structural wall beam and installation of reinforcing beams in attic space  {April}”

This was going to be quite an undertaking.  Pete hauled up five steel beams on the back of his trailer:  three to be used to frame and brace the wall between the kitchen and living room and two to be put up into the attic.  It took five people to lift the beams off the trailer!

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We were a large crew this go around with me, Bruce, Pete, Kat, Ollie (who is a builder friend of Pete’s and whom we met at Easter and who happens to have just moved up to our neck of the woods), woofers Krista and Stephanie, and friend Hippie Tim who came for two days to help, and lastly our San Francisco friend Mei who arrived during the tail end of the week.

Task 1: Tear down the wall!   Pete, Ollie, and Kat were the work crew for the first few days and they took down most of the wall between the kitchen and living room.  We opened up the wall on one side about five feet and opened the wall up to the ceiling about three more feet.  What a difference it made in the flow of the space.       A couple of 2×4’s were erected to brace the ceiling during construction.

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It’s amazing to dismantle a house as you get a glimpse at some of its secrets.  When we took off the gib board that was lining the kitchen wall, underneath were preserved weather boards from the existing exterior of the house.  We’d suspected that the kitchen had been an ‘add-on’ at some point, and now those suspicions were confirmed.

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Task 2: Pete worked on the beams as he had to weld on metal plates to which some very large bolts were going to be fastened.  Meanwhile Ollie dug out and framed up the holes in which the two vertical beams were going to be cemented into place.

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Task 3: All hands on deck!  It was time to move the three beams into place and it was going to require all seven of us to work together to carry them into the house.  First came the lateral beam which, once inside, was held temporarily into place by a pulley system.

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Once latched on, we all then lifted and hoisted and lifted and hoisted to bring the beam up about nine feet.

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Next, it was time to bring the vertical beams in and put into place.  These were a bit lighter and shorter but still took six people to carry into the house.  Getting them into place took a bit of finagling as we didn’t have a lot of leeway to maneuver them.  But we did it!

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Now it was time for the most ingenious part yet.  Pete constructed a dual jacking system whereby he could slowly jack the lateral beam up to the ceiling.  Ever so delicately, like a lovers’ dance, he knelt on the ground and cranked one side and then the other, back and forth, as we watched the beam move ever so gently higher and higher.  It was truly a fascinating feat.

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The lateral beam was then bolted on to the two vertical beams after some wiggling about.
The next day Tim and Ollie mixed and poured the cement into the vertical beam footings.

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Task 4: Ollie and Pete then gibbed up part of the wall around the beam and re-adhered the molding.  Ollie also did some gib stopping (plastering) on the new walls.

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Task 5: We were running a bit behind schedule, but one of the last things to do was to move the remaining two steel beams into the attic space.  These beams are going to be used to brace our three hot water cylinders which are to be installed in the next phase.

Now these steel beams are about eighteen feet long and required five of us to move.  The only way to get them into the attic was to take off part of the roof and slide them in from the back lawn.   Behold the power of Pete!  One, two, three.  We carried them from the driveway to the back yard.  With Pete balanced on the roof, the remaining four of us heaved and hoed and shoved those beams through that hole.   Truly amazing!

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I really was in awe of the work we did this go round.  We had a great crew and had a great time and the universe blessed us with a double rainbow on the crew’s last day on site.

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Go team go!