Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dogs, Decks and Digit Damage

Roscoe's deck was not big enough so . . . . . . . .
I was called to make some modifications by deleting the stairs and squaring off the deck on this end ,

and relocate the steps to the far side in front of the basement bulkhead.
So I started the demolition and relocated the steps temporarily.
 Then started digging holes for the tapered frost posts.(300lbs a piece)
 The middle hole I dug first went quite nicely mostly sand and clay, lovely digging.
the second one went seriously pear shaped on me
and consumed the better part of 6 hours labor fighting 2 big boulders about 3 feet down that did not allow me to position the frost post properly or deep enough . The only solution was to try and dig deeper and hope to dump the biggest of the two boulders down deeper.
One afternoon and next morning got me as close as I was going to get.
Not as deep as I wanted but it would have to do. The next step was to set the 4x4 posts, and start some framing.
Got the corner post in place and that is when things really went horribly bad . . . . . and I did something I have never done before in 30 years of this sort of work. I was cutting the post for the middle with my chop saw. As there is not enough clearance between the blade guard and the table this involves manually moving the blade guard out of the way to position the post. You can tell what happens next

After doing the first cut about 1 inch of thickness remains so it is necessary to roll the post over to cut the remainder. Once upon a time the saw had a brake so that upon release of the trigger, the blade and motor stop almost instantaneously, but that stopped working a few years ago. In a moment of inattention I reached for the guard before the blade had finished spooling down and the saw blade caught my glove dragging my left index finger in and instantaneously stopping the blade. I felt a hard whack and knew it was bad. The blade stopped when it hit the bone. Lets just say I made some major modification to the finger. Bleed like a bastard but as it really was too mangled to suture it was not worth going through the hassle of an emergency room visit. I cleaned and disinfected it with hydrogen peroxide as best I could, pulled the mangled bits together and kept pressure on it. A after an hour of pressure I managed to stem the flow, so I wrapped it tightly in paper towel and some tape and continued work. Managed to finish setting the post and set the hangers and joist before the day was done. Decided to take Friday off and let it heal up a bit before going back to work on the deck. Here is what the digit damage looks like after 48 hours under compression. No major infection and the healing process appears to be progressing.
I suppose I ought to be grateful it was not worse as I could have lost the whole finger tip. It was entirely my own stupid fault.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rebuilding an old Bilco basement bulkhead door

After 20 years the bulkhead door at Balsam Lane was getting a bit long in the tooth. A less than ideal installation, in addition to a roof valley pouring gobs of rainwater on it had rusted the flanges out and it was leaking profusely almost since it was first installed.
Flanges were longer holding back the rain
So we looked about for a new Bilco and other options but found nothing really reasonably priced. A new Bilco including the 18 inch tunnel extension was near a grand plus the governor fee. Other options were well over double that. After some thinking I figured it could be mended for a reasonable price. So I removed it and tarped over the well for a few days.
I took the parts home and went at it with the grinder.
and the sawsall
Cut the lower flanges off
Cleaned up the rust
Applied some paint stripper followed by phosphoric acid to neutralize the remaining rust
and welded new rails in
Tunnel side walls also got the same treatment
I used my cheap Chinese stick welder to spot weld both inside and out
All three rebuilt parts with the new rails
Then applied liberal layers of 3M automotive undercoating to keep the metal dry and hopefully prevent further rust.
I coated all edges and seams where there are but joints and water tends to collect.
Then three coats of Forest green oil based enamel, custom tinted as Rustoleum now no longer makes forest green.
I installed new 2x10 pressure treated sills bedded in PL polyurethane caulking so they would span the entire width of the foundation and not leave another joint for water to collect. This entailed the time consuming and tedious process of drilling the concrete and installing new bolts bedded in epoxy to hold down the sills. Previously the sills were only held down by 2 ramset nails
I flashed with 12 inch lead so that the skirt would be well bellow the foundation and sill joint. The lead was extremely pricy, but indispensable in this installation.
and installed the refurbished door bedded in copious amounts of polyurethane caulk all held down with epoxy coated screws.
now that is what I call a properly installed basement bulkhead.