Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beam 'er Up

And up go the beams. RT Mobile Welding was back on site today to install some of the bigger beams on the exterior and interior of the house. One of the biggest went up along the connection of the two containers in the kitchen.

This puppy weighs over 1,100lbs.

This is the pose that every guy on site strikes for what seems like hours at a time. Why do men spend so much time staring at what they are supposed to do instead of getting on and doing it? This is Noel from RT Welding and Kyle strikin' the pose.....

Kyle set up a pretty cool rigging set up to hoist the beam effortlessly up into place and it worked like a charm. Guess all that rigging training came in handy and you can rest assured that if he is charge of rescuing you off the side of a cliff that your ascent will be smooth and thoroughly pleasant.

It was a very tight fit getting her nestled into the spot and took some tooing and froing to get it right. With Kyle is Jasper from Youngdahl who was our welding inspector helping us get the beam to fit.

And the Grade-All came in handy once again to hold the beam up in place while it was welded.

And WALLA, a new kitchen beam. And here are some shots of the exterior metal that went up on the outside of the containers.

The metal rods are where the containers will be connected to the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), the gap in the metal in the middle is where the door to the bedroom will be and up from that is the staircase that will be welded into place later on.

Next step is laying the slab insulation and then the pex tubing for the radiant floor whose design was just finished. Stay tuned:-)

Off with your Doors

In our tale, Dwyer's in Wonderland, it's "Off with your Doors". And off they came, quickly and smoothly, only thanks to this fabulous invention.

We rented this Grade-All for the week to move some of the big, heavy beams into the house but while it was here we were going to make good use of it. So after the first 3 days of solid rain, it cleared up and we hit it.

The first door was sprung, and as seems the norm with this entire house process, it took the longest. You have to figure out the best way to work with these things and it takes the first of every process to fine tune and work out the best and quickest way to get it done. Well, this was the same, the first door took about an hour and a half and we cut a few different spots to get it off the container without cutting straight through the hinges on the door. Needless to say all the subsequent doors were off in 15-20 minutes, piece a cake.

It would have taken a month of Sundays if we hadn't had this lovely machine.

You can see some of the ruts we made, there were some ruts that were over a foot deep, oh well, gotta get things done, even in the mud.

And with each door, Kyle perfected the cut so by the time he was hanging off the second floor it was old hat.

 It is great fun to drive, you just have to watch every end as there are so many moving parts and its HUGE!

It looks very different without the doors on, much bigger inside which is weird.

But the view is just as lovely 

While the Grade-All was here we used it to move the propane tank as we have plans to build him a lovely new home so it was temporarily re-located to prep his home and give him a little make-over. Kyle moved some big piles of debris and old roots.

And we had this huge boulder at the top of the property that I wanted down near the house so we moved it to its new home in the middle of the driveway. And apparently someone approves as it is now his new lookout spot. Also helps to give some scale perspective to the boulder. It was unbelievably heavy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doors have gotta go

Today we cut out the laundry room door in preparation for the steel header beam to be in installed in there on Monday.

But the best part of the day was that we started taking the doors off. More on that process later.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just in the Nick of Time....

Well, yes and no. We got the beams grinded, buffed and galvanized by Tuesday night (late) in anticipation of the welding team showing up Wednesday morning to install the big old beam only for us to wake up Wednesday morning to pouring rain. They don't weld in the rain.

These beams went from 19' of this -

To this -

But our lovely beams will have to wait till Monday to be covered up with the big kahun "I" beam coming in. But it did dawn on me that we have to do this on the second floor as well. Though no beam will go up there as its not weight bearing, it will need to look good and so I am greatly looking forward to more hours of holding a metal grinding wheel above my head. Bring it!

BTW- those cables hanging to the right of the beam are temporary as they will be used to hold the beam up while it is welded and bolted into place. Next post I will include some pictures of the behemoth fork lift we have to move this sucker into place, as soon as the dang sun chooses to show its face again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Aching Arms

I didn't really see this coming, call it voluntary ignorance or just not thinking the whole process through but I really thought that cutting the containers walls was the hard part......wrong.

After cutting the container walls out we were left with this, space, glorious space. Such excitement from finally getting a  feel of what the inside will be like came to a screeching halt when the realization of the next step sunk in.

Yes, all that wall removal left us this this top and bottom. And while this may not LOOK like much it might as well be Mt. Everest when its on the ceiling 9'3" high and ALL has to be ground off with metal grinders. So as Kyle jollied off to work on Sunday, moi got the privilege to start grinding.

My first job was clean the base of the walls on the floor where the metal posts would be installed. We wanted nice clean metal for them to sit on and be welded to. No problem and of course for me it was fun to make this nasty burnt metal area pristine clean and shiny, very satisfying.

After that the fun ended and we had to move onto the ceiling to clear the reside metal from cutting and make it flush for the ginormous "I" beam that is getting installed.

Ugh, it might as well be on another planet. Needless to say the past 2 days have been spent up a ladder balancing holding a metal grinder up against the ceiling grinding away for hours making the surface flush. If you have ever painted a ceiling, times that by at least 10. The grinders weigh a good bit and get exponentially with every hour that passes. Your arms lose feeling after the first 20 minutes and your sanity escapes you as you watch these ugly lumps of metal disappear at mind boggling slow rates.

And to make things worse, every few feet these bolts were welded to the container walls. They were cut off with the plasma cutter but left massive metal lumps on the surface that take an interminable  amount of time just standing there grinding them down.

So the next time you see Kyle and I we will have enormous biceps but our arms will be stuck permanently in the upright position and we will be perpetually staring at the sky. Regardless of pain and discomfort we press on forward and have to have all this done by tomorrow morning when the welding team and welding inspector return for the final steel installation (besides the stairs which happens much later).

And one more thing that makes it more tedious is all the PPE (personal protection equipment) that you have to wear - there is so much paraphernalia on my head, I swear it, itself weighs 20 lbs more than normal. Doo rag (protect my lovely locks from being set of fire by sparks), eye protection, full face mask, ear coverings, welding gloves, welding jacket, welding overalls, and my work boots. There is so much on my head and that fits behind my ears, they stick out like Alfalfa. It is a great look.

View from our future bedroom.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Welding Begins

This past two weeks have been filled with cutting and welding and the smell of burning metal is in the air - quite literally, everything stinks of it. Kyle and I have been cutting out all the center walls of the containers and getting the some of the doors and preliminary window openings cut out.

Here is the master bathroom door cut out - why is it as soon as you cut out a door you can't resist the urge to walk through, just to make sure it works....humans are strange.

Now with the walls cut out, the welding team from R.T. Mobile Welding came out and got started on welding the exterior steel into place as well as welding the containers to the metal foundation plates. 

Having welded here and there I know how ridiculously hard it is to do it well and these welds are very elegant.

This is the current stockpile of steel that will go on the inside and outside of the house to reinforce areas of where cut out. 

R.T. Mobile are returning this week to finish installing the remainder of the steel including a few thousand pound center beam that will span the ceiling of the under where the two upstairs containers meet. We have rented a grade-all to move the sucker into place but I don't think it will be an easy job to stay tuned!!