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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Snug as a bug in a rug.



Why does it always take so much time to get back up to speed after a long vacation (a triple vacation, nonetheless)?  Oh well.  At least the components are coming together faster now that I have the bugs worked out.


Joe Lstiburek is my hero because he’s a building science nerd.

John Straube is cool, too.

Technically, I’m on summer vacation (let’s consider this vacation x1).  Lydia’s birthday was Saturday, so I flew out to Berkeley to surprise her (vacation x2).  She wanted to get out of town for the weekend, so we decided to drive up to Lake Tahoe (vacation x3).  As Joe Walsh says, “I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.”


Justin helped me raise the west component, and Grandpa helped raise the east component.  After installing some bracing, I removed the blocks, and everything seemed to fit together quite nicely.  Now that I have most of the bugs worked out, I’m hoping that the remaining wall components can be built quickly.


It’s amazing how powerful leverage can be.  Otherwise, my gimp for a brother wouldn’t have been able to help me lift a 500 pound component 32″ above the floor.


After several days of helping Dad with a re-roofing project, it was nice to get back into the shop this weekend.  With the second wall component complete, I attempted to lift the walls onto the base like I had done earlier.  Unfortunately, the additional weight of the insulation and outer skin overwhelmed the hinges, which reinforced my hunch that there’s probably a better way to do it.  Instead, I’m going to raise the wall components up on blocks, much like the cribbing under a house that’s getting a new foundation.  (I’m gaining an entirely new respect for the people who built structures before the availability of  machines, etc.)


The canvas of the exterior skin is obviously not going to be waterproof, but I would like it to at least repel water, in the event of an accident, etc.  After some research, I decided to use a mix of soybean oil and turpentine.  By chance, there’s a biodiesel plant nearby, and they were gracious enough to fill up a couple of empty milk jugs for me.


The outer layer of insulation and the wood frames for the exterior skin for the first wall component are complete.  Had I known the canvas concept would work so well, I would have purchased more canvas while I was in Omaha.  Luckily, Chris is passing through St. Joseph, MO, this weekend, and he’s going to make a stop at Menards for me.


With any type of batt insulation, it’s really important for the installation to be void of gaps, etc.  Since I’m laying the outer layer of insulation over the studs instead of between them, they needed to be held in place somehow.  Cap nails worked well to support the weight of the batts, and since the insulation is cotton, I thought, what the heck, I’m going to stitch it together with thread.  It takes a while, but it works.