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Monthly Archives: June 2009

I’d like to mock up the exterior siding with the second layer of insulation on the first wall component, but the carsiding and insulation added quite a bit of weight, so handling it requires more forethought.  The key is balancing the components against each other, which means that I need to finish the interior of the other wall component.  (I realize that this photo is similar to my “malfunction” post, but I assure you, the placement of the components is intentional this time.)



In attempting to lower the wall components, I failed to consider the additional weight of the recently added carsiding and insulation in the west component, and it pulled the east component onto the base.  Hard.

Luckily, the damage was minimal, and I was standing (intentionally) beside the component, not under it.


I’m really glad that I switched to a 24″ on-center framing layout; the insulation fit between the studs quite nicely.  (I’m a big fan of questioning convention.  The trick is knowing when convention is actually the best way.)


When things get out of balance, there’s an easy way to address the problem: compare your “in’s” and “out’s”.  Never seem to have enough money?  Either increase your money in (work harder) or decrease your money out (don’t spend as much).  Overweight?  Either increase your calories out (exercise) or decrease your calories in (don’t eat as much).

The same method applies to energy.  Global demand is constantly increasing (energy in), but creating that energy is becoming more difficult and expensive (energy out).  Renewable energy has a lot of potential, but according to this article, the most cost-effective way to solve the issue is through energy efficiency:

On Saturday, I drove to southeast Iowa to pick up my cotton insulation (Ultra Touch by Bonded Logic), and I just so happened to go through Eldora, where the house from Grant Wood’s painting, American Gothic, is located.  AND, it just so happened to be “American Gothic Days” in Eldora.  What timing!  The mock pioneer village was interesting (I got a few tips on how to waterproof canvas with smoke), the power pedal pull was entertaining, but the highlight of my day was the freshly grilled bratwurst and ice cold Budweiser that I had for lunch.  Prost!


It might seem a little early to be installing the interior finishes, but I wanted to get a feel for the carsiding before I finished the rest of the components.  I chose carsiding because it’s warm, strong, natural, and relatively air-tight (air infiltration is one of the biggest contributors to energy loss/gain, not to mention moisture transfer).  The corner gaps definitely need to be addressed, and I’d prefer not to use caulk.  Hmm.


Today, I successfully raised the walls onto the base.  But it was much tougher than I anticipated.

First, I connected the three components with simple hinges:












Then, I raised each wall component with a tractor:










Finally, I used winches to pull the walls upright, and added temporary bracing:


I’m feeling pretty good about the new framing layout.  Since I’m using half as much lumber, it’s taking half as long to build each component (obviously), and they’re much easier to handle.  The metal bracing, however, isn’t quite as rigid as I had hoped; I’m going to stick with it, though, hoping that the whole assembly will be stronger than the sum of its parts. 


IMGP5495Since this was meant to be an experiment, I don’t feel too badly about totally disassembling everything I’ve built so far (see photo right).  The components were too heavy, so I switched to a single-wall assembly; I’ll achieve the double layer of insulation by using furring strips.  I’m hoping that using steel instead of wood for the diagonal bracing will be lighter and more effective.  I also switched to 24″ on-center framing, which will make the installation of the insulation batts more efficient.