Saturday, May 26, 2012

It Seemed Like a Simple Project

We have had extremely hot and dry weather around here and we have been very busy but the other day we were at the lumber store in the big city (pop 6K) and I decided to pick up a couple pressure treated 1x6s to repair the end wall of the stone garage. The garage had been built in the late 1930s and the back end wall above the stone work looked like they had decided to use board and batton without the battons. The old oak planking was extremely weathered and warped and it wasnt weather tight at all.

We came back to the farm and I tore off the first couple boards I was going to replace and I realized the entire endwall needed to be reframed and rebuilt. None of this is really structural as this building style (unique to the Ozarks I believe) used green oak slats laminated together and bent to form a rounded roof that was anchored to the stone walls and covered in barn tin. Simple and effective and the oak even after 70 some years is like concrete. When the green slats dried it formed a pretty sturdy structure even though it tended to warp a bit and looks wavy. The endwall is above the back stone wall and encloses the rounded opening formed by the roof so its not a big area but it just looked bad and needed to be fixed.

Demolition of a 75 year old structure is interesting as you find all kinds of interesting bits and pieces but we took off the old boards and reframed it and started laying in new pressure treated boards. And of course since we hadnt started off thinking the whole thing needed to be redone we had to make a trip back to town to buy more lumber.....a 60 mile round trip.

Its hard to describe the framing that was done and this picture isnt much help but I basically just replaced what had been there before with pressure treated...I figured the old structure had held up 78 years so it obviously worked. Note the gap in the boards, when doing board and batton its important to leave a 1/4 to 1/2 inch gap between boards to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood; if you dont you will have warping, splitting and it will look bad.

Some of the old wood was dry rotted but most of it was just so weathered and brittle it couldnt be re-fastened. The card board in this picture was the previous owners efforts to keep out the weather and it was placed on the back of the boards inside the garage....I guess it worked to a certain extent but....

The battons are 1"x2"s and its important not to nail them on both sides...i.e., ideally you nail them to nailers or backer boards and the nails go in the slots and not into the boards them selves and lacking that you nail the battons to only one board and the other side of the battone covers the gap but floats on the other side, again if you fail to do this you will end up with split and warped wood. The biggest thing I hate with board and batton is that its tedious to do on a radiused curved roof line like this because every single board and every single batton is a different length. Now I need to caulk it and paint it; the doors are actually in pretty good shape and they work properly so I am hesitant to replace them. I may just do some cosmetic repair and then paint them. The gap in the barn tin at the roof peak was where a Ham radio antenna was afixed about 30 years ago; that will be repaired but may end up getting redone since we are looking at a HAM radio license ourselves. Now that you dont have to know morse code I am all for it...just couldnt master the hand keys.

Was it hot you may ask? Why yes it was...I dont know why but I always seem to get into these things when the weather says I should re-think. We have had great mild weather this spring but no rain here since April 1st and things are dry as a piece of 3 day old toast. On top of that we have had a week or more of record heat that wont let up until next week.

So there it is. We breifly toyed with the idea of  adding roof trusses to make a peaked roof on the old stone garage but we like the uniqueness of the old rounded roof and it is in great shape. The board and battons will be painted the same green colour as the siding to the right in this picture while the big doors will be painted the dark green trim colour.

We do a lot of repair of small engines and equipment for folks on the side (you small farmers and homesteaders know how it is..ya make money where you can in many ways) and on top of everything else we have had a steady stream of folks needing things fixed this past week. Not many people have any money around here so you dont make much or get things in barter but thats okay by us. The lawn mower here would start but die..spark was good, air filter dirty but not that dirty...turns out the primer bulb was dry rotted and had a hole in it. $4.69 later I pried the old primer bulb out, used an old thin screw driver to pop out the clip, installed the new primer bulb and clip and seated it with a socket of the right size and a hammer. Works great now. The weed whacker was just a victim of the blended gas available now days and was gummed up..cleaned out the varnish and gunk and it runs good...two down.

Then a guy showed up on our doorstep at about 0730 and stated this mowers engine was running great (I had just tuned it up a couple weeks ago) but that when he was mowing it just stopped going forward or backward. But the engine was still running?...yes, Did you smell burning rubber? ...yes; so I guessed (correctly it turns out) it threw a drive belt. It also has one of those two piece plastic gas tanks that is leaking along the seam so I will replace that while I am at it. Those plastic two piece gas tanks are prone to leak and is a serious design flaw in my opinion as it can cause a fire. And yes I have tried plastic welding the tanks and every other thing you can think of but the only thing I have found that really works in the long run is to spend the $20 bucks or so and replace it.
And I am ending this post with this picture of us getting ready to go to a Preakness party. We have a round robin group of parties for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes at various peoples homes where several couples get together for some good food and drink and to bet and watch the race. Holly had the third place horse for the second time in a row (she got third in the Kentucky Derby as well) so she is doing well. But what struck me funny in this picture is that yet again the picture snaps and I am frowning...not two seconds prior to this we were all laughing and I was in a great mood and honestly thought I was smiling when the picture was taken! For those of you in the frozen north..yes those are tans. We work outside every day and dont purposely tan but it happens. However, for me the downside to a tan is that my liver spots really start getting noticeable which must be a genetic thing because Holly doesnt have them. So for that and my grey hair that started popping up in my 20s.....thanks Mom and Dad.

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