Friday, February 29, 2008

"Price-Conscious Individuals" Club

I used to work with a couple of guys who were self-proclaimed "Price-conscious Individuals". (At least that's the politically correct term.) They referred to themselves as "Cheap B*stards".

They'd be proud of me for this one. I've had to rent a rebar bender many times to bend and cut rebar. It was only $15 a day to rent it, but it was a half-hour drive each way to pick it up and return it, so there was also the cost of time and gas. I often thought that there had to be a better way.

There are two things to deal with when trying to bend rebar. 1) You need a way to hold it down, and 2) you need a way to get a good grip on it to bend it. My solution was to drill a 1" hole through a tree in front of the house, and then drill another hole edge-wise through a 2x4. Now I just stick the rebar through the hole in the tree up to the point where I want it bent, then stick the 2x4 over the remaining part. I just pull on the 2x4, and ta-da... I've got a nice 90 degree bend. Works like a charm.

As far as cutting the rebar goes, I bought a diamond blade for $20 for my circular saw. I cut about 1/2 way through the rebar, then pull on the end. It snaps easily.

There, I think I just joined the PCI club.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No More Rest

Well, my ICF blocks have arrived and I'm back in full production again. In the picture below, the two openings are for two doors; the one on the left will go into the future garage, the one on the right is for the back door. Being that I won't be building the garage until next year, for now I'll actually frame in that opening with 2x6's and finish it just as if it were an outside wall, complete with drywall inside and siding outside. When I do build the garage, it will be a relatively simple job to tear out the temporary framing and put in the door.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Forced Cleanup Day

I'm at a bit of a standstill right now because I'm waiting for another shipment of Logix ICFs to arrive. However, it does give me a chance to do some much needed cleanup around the site. I try to spend a bit of time at the end of each day doing some cleanup, but... well... sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Last Front Window Buck

I've got the last front window buck installed now. This window will be an octagonal window, but the buck is built as a square, with the corners being filled in later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Front Wall Work

I managed to get a few more ICF blocks up and another window buck installed. It's interesting to see how even a little bit of "upwards progress" allows a person to get a sense of the scale of a room.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Unexpectedly Useful Tool

Last fall when I was doing the foundation waterproofing I needed to find a way to get rid of the frost on the ICFs before I could attach the peel-n-stick membrane. I used a heat gun at first, but I found that it got too hot; and it would melt the styrofoam if I wasn't careful.

My next idea was to use a blow dryer. It worked perfectly... it melted the frost but didn't get so hot so as to affect the styrofoam. I bought two cheap units and since then I've used them almost on a daily basis for one thing or another. I use them to dry things out, remove frost and ice, melt snow, and warm my gloves. A few times I've even clamped them to the leg of a ladder and let them run overnight to melt some snow or ice. It's really surprising how well they work.

For the last few days, I've been using them to remove the ice that has accumulated on the tops of the ICFs. Those surfaces need to be clean and dry so that the ICFs fit together properly. I just lay the blow dryers on their sides on top of the ICFs... then I work on something else for a few minutes. When I come back, the ICFs are ready to go.

However, today it was rather chilly, so I needed them for something else first thing this morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Window Bucks In Place

I've built the window bucks for the two living room windows. They're built from 2x8 treated lumber, and they're built to the rough opening size that is specified for the windows. The plywood gussets will keep them square until the concrete is poured.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Front Wall Taking Shape

The front wall is starting to take shape. The two cut-out areas are for the living room windows.


I've used three bars of reinforcing steel in the first row of ICFs to provide extra strength underneath the windows. There will be extra steel in all the wall cavities surrounding the windows.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Up We Go

I started work on the main floor ICFs today. It seems so long since I did the basement... I'm not sure if I remember how to put them up.


The gangplank comes through where the front door will be.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Temporary Work Platform

I've built a temporary work platform in the corner where the basement stairwell will be. This will give me a place to work when I install the ICF blocks in this corner of the house.

The frame is made of 2x6s and it's covered with plywood left over from the subfloor installation. It simply sits on top of the ledger boards, and plywood gussets attached to the ledger boards stop it from moving.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ta Da! The Subfloor Is Done.

There was only about 1/2" of snow last night so it didn't take long to clean it up this morning. Then I was able to get right to work on the last little bit of subfloor.



By coffee time I was almost done.







Finally... the last screw has been driven and this task is done!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

This Is Getting Repetitive Isn't It Isn't It

Lots more snow. A bit more subfloor done. That's it. Over and out.