Sunday, July 30, 2006

Like Building a Ship in a Bottle

Two days and three trips to Home Depot later, the rail is back in the wall and completely fixed - and I didn't have to punch any holes in the drywall/plaster!!! I've not rehung the panel doors since I want the termite guys to be able to see into the wall cavity. And I also want to give the other door some time to unwarp (its laying flat on the ground with the good door on top, pressing it flat).
Fortunately, the destroyed header was not anchored inside the wall cavity (or the termites ate the anchors out). I was able to remove it completely.
Here is a shot of the old plate, now anchored to two cross-headers that sit on 4 x 4's that were on either side of the destroyed header. These parallel headers are actually beefier than the original one so I'm not worried about their ability to handle the load.

Here is a three foot section of threaded rod attached to the iron rail. I drilled a 4 inch hole in the attic over the void in the wall that I poked the rod through. It went in suprisingly easy given that the rod was 4 feet into the wall and the rail weighs a good 40 pounds. The hardest part was getting all the measurements right for drilling the hole.
Here's the second section of threaded rod joined to the first and then anchored on two cross headers in the attic. The end of the rail now hangs on the rod instead of being slid into a hook hanging from a header. Once the door is hung, there will be a bit of fiddling to get everything level and centered. Then I can toenail in the cross-joists to prevent things from moving. The monster joist behind is one of the two that takes the load of the great room's ceiling since the center wall was removed to make it one big room.
Finally, a shot of the rail in the door frame. It's really solid and I can't wait to put the door back in after the termite guys look at things on Wednesday. I just hope the other door has straightened out.

I Love the Smell of Saws-All in the Morning

I was up at the crack of dawn today thanks to the alarm cat from hell. So before I hit the shower I decided to cut out more of the beam. I almost made it all the way through it before I ran out of battery power. I should be able to wrap it up this morning.

Just a small bit of the beam left!

A shot of the side of the opening where you can see one of the other beams I hope to rest the cross-beams on.

Pieces of the termite buffet everywhere!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Panel Doors, Round Three

Since Holly took Will and Kate to Mobile this weekend, I decided to resume work on the second set of panel doors in our house. One of the doors is badly warped after dipping it to remove the paint. I've laid that out on the floor and set the other door on top of it (along with some 5 gallon water containers) in an attempt to flatten it out. The other, more serious problem is that one side of the rail the doors hang from is attached to a wood beam that has been completely eaten away by termites. It is old damage - there is no evidence of active termites in the wood and from what I can tell, the previous people who worked on the house just framed around the dammage when they made our double into a single residence. Just to be safe, I have our termite company coming next week to confirm my diagnosis.

Tonight, I came up with a plan which I hope will let me rehang the rails in the door opening without having to open up the drywall and plaster lathe. I'm using a saws-all to cut out the damage section of the beam through the narrow door opening. It's sort of like playing an incredible filthy version of that kids game named Operation. I have a three inch gap to work through. If I can get enough of the beam out, I hope I can set several pieces of 2 x 4 on top of the beams that run parallel to one that is destroyed. I then plan on reattaching the rail's mounting plate to these new cross beams. This will give me two of the three rail mounting points back - and that should be enough to rehang the doors.

My backup plan is to rehang the rail on 3 foot lengths of threaded rod anchored in the attic. I may even have to do this for just the third mounting point if the first two aren't enough to hold the 150+ pounds of a door. This would involve cutting small access holes in the wall and the difficult task of getting the rod position properly from the attic. So I'm hoping that the third times the charm when it comes to fixing these panel doors.

This is the saws-all next to a four foot section of the destroyed beam that literal fell out of the door frame when I started cutting out the bad section. It's one "face" of the beam and you can see how the termites ate away everything inside of the beam.

This is the bottom of the small section of beam that I cut out - you can see the main hole for the rail's mounting bolt and the two holes on either side for the screws. I removed the iron mounting plate before I cut it out to make sure I did not damage it.

This is a shot up into the door frame that shows the destroyed beam that the doors hang from. The blue tape is marking the exact position of the bolt hole for hanging the rail from. This gives you a bit of idea how small the opening I have to work with (I would hate to have to remove the door trim). I still need to cut out about another 3 inches of depth from the destroyed beam. Unfortunately, my rechargable saws-all battery ran out after the first cuts. I'm going to recharge it (and its spare) tonight and resume the demolition tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Silly Monkey!

Did I mention that Will is one of the silliest kids I've ever known. He must get it from his mom...

Signs You Might Be A Geek

When your desk looks like this...

And your closet looks like this...

Bookshelves Done!

The bookshelves were actually completed about a week ago but I've been too busy relaxing to post anything on the blog. The week before that I managed to wire the bookshelves with a cable and newtwork connection (for a network printer that we'll eventually get). After that, it was just a matter of priming them, caulking them, and then painting them with two coats. After they dried, Holly and I were able to remove a lot of the clutter from my office by stocking the shelves with our books and supplies.

I'm really pleased with how they came out. I'm now toying with ideas for how I can build a matching desk with more shelves for the other end of the office.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

More Progress.....Finally

Yesterday morning Holly took the kids to a music class at what will be their new school once it opens. I took advantage of that hour by myself to break out the chop saw and nail gun and install all of the trim on the shelves in my study. I was also able to wire up the outlet in the shelves and install the box for the network hookup. I haven't pulled those wires yet but since the shelves are right next to the wiring closet, it should not be a problem at all. Today I hope to find the time to reinstall the baseboard and door frame.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It is hard to feel sorry for New Orleans....

....when this is business as usual around here.

I am amazed that the article was even published in the newspaper. Not that anything more will happen to hold these people accountable for their actions.