I've had the pleasure of working with a number readers of this blog on their own projects via email and phone calls. I'm discovering a few areas in the construction process that seem to universally trip up those building for the first time. A suggestion was made that I do a seminar - supposing there would be enough interest, to demonstrate some of the more advanced techniques.
We're in the early stages but the plan is to find a little house project and work with the owner/builder with the attendees present and chipping in where possible. Ideally it would be in an area convenient to the most participants, good access, nearby lodging/camping, be small enough to be completed in 2-3 days.
Topics we are considering covering
-Tools for remote building and their safe use
-Post and Pier foundations
-Framing Layout and assembly techniques
-Roof framing (this is where most stumble)
-Door and Window installation
If you have a project that you would like some free skilled and apprentice help with send me a note and we'll explore the possibility.
Last year I had the pleasure of working with CM to modify a version of the 'Outpost' into something that better suited his needs. Now that the snow has retreated he's underway and off to a good start.
The 'Bear Camp' is structurally based on the 'Outpost' but encloses the porch and will add a full length covered porch on one side.
I'm excited to see this one (and the others) progress. I'll post pictures when I get them with the permission of the owners. The 'Outpost' and its variations have licensed owners in a half dozen states now (FL, WA, OR, CA, TX and AZ) and so far the feedback has been good and the modifications give each one its own individual flavor.
It's been a while since I framed anything this size. This economy has got me back "wearing the tools" during more phases of the project than usual. It's been enjoyable, I surprised how much heavier everything feels compared to way back when I did this regularly. Body held up OK but it did complain some.
It is pretty much impossible to make a slab completely crack free, the bigger it is the more likely it will crack. Even loading it with steel won't prevent it. Finding the real world balance, good fill, steel, good mud and some kind of joint seems to mitigate the bad ones. At minimum I use tool joints but that isn't compatible with a power troweler. With a slab this big (2100 sf) we opted for cut joints.
This is the realization of a shared dream. The challenges my wife and I have overcome, our partnership and the surrounding natural beauty make the achievement even sweeter. We know we are Blessed. Life is Good!