Thursday, August 6, 2009

the final week: days 37-40

July 27-31, 2009

This last week was all about finishing up any last minute tasks we could get to. I was primarily working on finishing assembly on the last kitchen cabinet and then proceeded to make more cabinet doors for the rest of the kitchen, laundry room and matron galley. I was definitely a hustle and bustle week. In the end I felt like I had acomplished all that I came to do. Right now I just want to pause and reflect back on everything that I have acomplished this semester.
Details....deatails, without them we would all be in a mess of hell. When I first started working with Adrian I thought....damn this dude is seriously looking at something that doesnt exist (refering to the 1/1000 of an inch shaved off the riving knife). I seriously respect people who can see these details now, because ultimately they will find your flaws and most likely find and way around them. By the end of the semester I found myself commonly conflicted with small minute things such as a 1/64th of an inch lingering on the side of a cabinet door or calculating cuts based on the amount of material lost in using the table saw with a shakey blade. These things I would agrue most people would never even think about, but lets face it somewhere along the line the flaws have to show...otherwise nobody would ever know you made it.
I had alot of fun and if theres anything better than sanding or assembling cabinets...its putting yourself inside of them....I guess I should say that wheat board was the death of us, or maybe just the death of cabinetry.
Assembling cabinetry was not particularly fun, however it did challenge me the most of anything I had done this summer. This material...wheat board...cannot and should never be trusted, it bows and bends in all directions. Finding square with this material was like finding a needle in a haystack. Through alot of clamping and creating setups for working the bows out, we did manage to find that needle. I think in the future I would much rather be drowning in toxic residues of mdf than working with wheat board.

I got to use alot of really amazing tools, such as the router which by far made its way to the top, due to its ability to do almost anything. The table saw came to me mostly towards the end of the semester and I had struggled with it at first but by the end I was spliting sheets and trimming cabinetry to perfection. The tool I think I learned to use the most was my hands, and I realize now that there are alot of things that one person or even a group of people can acomplish if they put there heads together. I realize that there were some disagreements and maybe I wasnt too sure about much of the design decisions..I did realize that it is important if not vital to understand your design on all levels including person to person interaction and construction method, materials, and assembly. I think overall the experience was difficult and strenuous, and maybe I didnt get to go anywhere this summer but I did get work in the slums of greensboro.....for less than free.

week 9: days 34-36

July 22-24, 2009

I had another short break this week and returned wednsday to help finish up the cabinet doors and spines. My first task was to cut a bunch of spines out of the laundry room cabinets so that doors could be places on them. after I had cut all of the spines I went into the assembly room to dry fit one of them before leaving.

Thursday I came in and finished up the previous cabinet assembly and moved onto cutting door frames. A jig was setup so that I could place each peice on the chop saw essentially and cut without measureing anything. This simple tast came and went very quickly and once I was finished Doug was suppose to dado half of the frames. This is when we started running into alot of trouble...eveything just began to break down. First came the radial arm saw which we were using to cut the dado's. Then we decided on using the table saw, but hey...guess what? the blade was wobbling around and wouldnt cut straight. So that day ended up going straight to hell.

Friday I moved onto the last kitchen cabinet I was hopeing I would never have to assemble another cabinet again, but here I was back at it...again.

week 8: days 33-35

July 15-17, 2009

After a few days of rest I was back in the shop at last. It was a Wednsday and Adrian had me start sealing some of the assembled cabinets with Kara. The liquid was similar to milk and I beleive it was some kind of water base because it caused the wheat board to swell after a while. After an hour or so of this repetitive task we had some people on site come in a take over.

Adrain seperated me from everyone else, so I was a little concerned whether I was going to be able to come up with quality work without other people around to double check my measurements and cuts. I was assigned to work with creating cabinet doors for the cabinets that had already been assembled.

My first step was to measure out each individual door while taking into account 1/16 of an inch on the outside for breathing room and an 1/8th inch gap in between both doors. while everything sounded rather confusing, after a few very tedious and careful measurements I was able to see clearly the amount of detail that I was about to get involved in.

Second step was to cut the door frames...according to the given measurements...sounds easy but the cabinets were usually not square so I had to use the belt sander real carefully until I shaped the peice to a flush fit.

Third step was to measure and cut the handles. I had to draw a line up from the notched spines to the cut door and measure accross and mark an 1/8th inch in on all sides, drill a hole 1/8th inch from both sides. Taking the jigsaw in hand, cut roughly most of the excess wood just an eight inch away from the marked measurements. Once that had been done I had to clamp the peice onto a special jig setup by Adrian to route out the handle. Now it was my first time using the router and I have to say that tool can do wonders, I immediatly began thinking of the amazing things I could acomplish with that one tool, maybe in the near future I might just invest in a nice one.

week 7: days 28-32

July 6-10, 2009

This week everyone was recovering from thier July 4th celebrations. I myself had enjoyed it by shooting off some illegal ones...well for NC at least. Adrain was gone for the first two days so Doug was running the shop. Monday and Tuesday was primarily assembly and sanding.
Tuesdays was the first day I had gotten a chance to actually sand the wheat board down. After the previous weeks of working with this crap material I managed to show a hint of modesty towards it.

There was still alot of chiping and with that comes alot of puddying. However, once the cabinets were sanded a couple times they actually started to look like cabinets. When I think back to the beggining I was just in utter confusion, and then suddenly everything about these things and where they were being placed clicked.

Thursday we expected Adrian to return from the beach, however he managed to get stuck in traffic and couldnt make it back. Hey...I wouldnt mind staying an extra day either, I'm sure that dude was worn out. I would be too if I had to spend so much time with this wheat board, and if that didnt drive me insane I'm sure the plans would seal the deal.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

days 25- 27

June 30 - July 2, 2009

These past few days I spent on just hauling ass in some cabinet assembly. I tell you what though, this material just keeps growing on me, and I think personal thought of having a roast outside with it is jsut the start...who knows I might just bring an axe in one day and just level the playing field with this wheatboard. well see how it goes, I beginning to wonder how Adrians going to work around the countertops as well...especially after seeing that sample with a polyurethane finish on it. I liked it alot but I did notice alot of scratches in it and pehaps another finish would work better...maybe more subtle?

Thursday was a half day and we spent some of it on site talking with Robert about our progression as a studio on this project. It seemed like he was proud of us, which is a hopeful reaction, but I do understand where he comes from with being late and all that sort of thing, I guess I try my best, its been a rough summer after all. With Robert getting robbed at the corner the whole place seems a bit sketch lately, I mean I hope there will be some security guards or somthing around my sisters house once it is built. I understand how this building may improve living conditions in this part of town...but, its a huge step, things like this usually come in baby steps.

July 4th has come alast.

day 24- the screw up

June 29, 2009

Today was one of the longest roofing days yet and would end up being my last day as a roofer...sad....but thankful to move on with it. I started off working with anna on cutting the facia boards around the matrons suite to be flush with the rest of the facia.

I wasnt at all thrilled about this, because in my previous times trying to cut the facia board was rather difficult because we had to run the skill saw vertically and make sure to cut a straight edge, that is if our lines are drawn right. Some of the other facia boards didnt look too good, so I felt the pressure as I had to make sure to cut this one right. Luckily the cut went through smoothly and I could move on to the next endearing task.

Behind the house...yes...where all the poison ivy is at and about 3 feet of room outside of a small creek bed. These particular facia boards took a little more careful manuvering than the rest.

Towards the end of the day around 2 o'clock or so I was back ontop of the roof ready to install the drip edge on the back side of the matrons suite. I had gotten jason to show me how to strap into the saftely harness's, which in the end I had to give to somone else due to their fear of heights. So I thought to myself, it should be as simple as the rest of the drip edges, screw here, screw there and wham I'm done. Well its never that easy because apparently my mind was in lala land and I screw some flashing to the roof acting as if it were drip edge. *smack* of course I fixed it but later thought to the hell did that go through my head? anyways thats the last I'll ever see of the roof, up close that is.

days 21-23

June 24-26, 2009

The day before I had asked doug what roofing was like and that it sounded like fun. He replied with a laugh and told me that I must be crazy to think that. He would describe it as a hot a miserable experience and that no one likes to do it. I figureed I would give it a try so wednsday morning, before the day had reached its zenith in heat and humidity I began to learn roofing.

My first task was very simple and very boring. I had to cut small notches out of the metal sheathing. We were at first working on the breezeway between the matrons suite and the kitchen. This part of the roof was conviently flat, with a slight unoticable slope of course.

Before the sheathing was laid down and screwed in, we had to lay down the rosin paper and bend the sheathing around the side of the roof where to drip edge would be installed. Each notch had to be cut correctly so that it would connect and bend right into the metal sheathing laying next to it. Sometimes we had cut the notches wrong and had to lay that peice aside hoping that later it would come into use.

Day 19 and 20

June 22-23, 2009

Monday and Tuesday I was filled with that happiness that has become of my relationship with wheatboard. It just never ceases to amaze me how much a material can warp and chip and just be down right nasty.
In the assembly room we had set up two work tables and cut two peices of mdf just big enough to create right angle jig on the table. This was to help us keep all the joints square without a problem. However this didnt end up helping us out too much due to the materials natural ability to bow in miltiple directions.
A typical assembly proccess would be to set up your exterior sides together at a right angle, check for square with a framing square, clamp, then glue and nail, and repeat, of course this gets tricky when you are putting together more than two peice and trying to get everything square.

Week 4 days 14-18

June 15-19, 2009

This week was I was back on site again...doing the usual which was installing furring in most parts of the house, including finishing in the kitchen and in the hallways.

Thurday afternoon me and Kara were working on these brackets above the girders that were suppose to support the drywall on the ceiling edges. It took us all morning to figure it out, because to first time we put up the brackets they were not flush with the top of the girder. So in order for us to get these brackets to fit, we had to essentially warp them with a hammer into the correct shape and bend them around the top plate. Kara in turn was fortunate enough to hammer herself on the finger and had a giant blood blister literally inside of her finger. With this injury it pretty much sealed the deal on this weeks overall success...

Back in shop for days 11-13

June 10-12, 2009

I was glad to see the shop was ready to get the show on the road. I mean it definitely beats working in 100 degree weather. Besides theres nothing better than some a/c. Adrian showed me how to use the table saw to split segment for the counter top in which susan would use the chop saw to cut those segments down to a manageable size for glueing and clamping. For some of the larger sheets we ended having to remove the riving knife and have someone put and shim through the cut to move the mdf away from the blade. Once everything was cut and put into place, we had to quickly glue and camp everything together on a recently created jig set up for clamping these custom countertops.

countertop glued and clamped on the setup.
The next day Adrian cut some peice of wheat board and used the dado pack as an experimental way of joining the two peices of wheat board.

On friday we discussed the method of joinery we planned on useing and decided on using the dado to join the cabinets. The joint examined closely was very strong and created a strong moment in the overall design. I was tasked with testing the materials (wheatboard) ability to withstand rugged sanding and checking for chipping in rounded corners.

In the end the material proved worthy of it seemed

days 9 and 10

June 8-9, 2009

Monday on site there were very few people, but I've noticed mondays tend to be the slow days. This morning was dedicated to working on the furring in the kitchen . The task was similar to the furring in the matrons suite but with higher ceilings and no obstacles to work around.
Tuesday was however the opposite of monday where many people showed up and we had alot fo various tasks at hand that couldnt get done because we ended up having to wait to share the power cord. I had to cut small strips of 1/2 inch material to fill corners in the framing. In order to do this I had to set up two saw horses and lay my lumber across, measure and cut with the skill saw. Only one problem, the skill saw was drawing too much power and causing the circuit to trip over and over again, so no one was able to use the fan or the skill saw very effectively.

Above: sawhorses and framing needing modification.

days 6-8

June 2-5, 2009

Today we began cutting and nailing the girders for the matrons suite. There wasnt many people to help out in this large tast but we managed to split up into separted tasks. I ended up helping measure and nail the girders into their posts attached to the icf's. The most troubling task of all was actually cutting the peice and lifting it above the framing while avoiding plumbing and other mechnical work that was being done to that room. We had to have one person on a ladder on each side of the suite and another to lift the peice up to us and push it over the framing.

above the window and over the top plates show the girders

Once we finished putting up the girders in the matrons suite, we began cutting peices of furring strip to screw into the bottom of the girders just over the top plates. Much like the girders it was rather difficult trying to manuever the strips into place. Each strip had to be 24 inches on center so we had to mark the measurements and snap a chaulk line all the way across each girder, sometimes we had to snap it a couple time for a line to show up. This particular task was vital in ensuring that the furring strips would be installed paralell to each other and straight.

this picture show the furring strips flattened above the top plates.

Once all of the lines were marked two people would have to get on ladders and begin to screw each strip in on center with the line and making sure that each peice was straight. Some additional work was required later on for the strip to through the closet door. I had to install some patchwork to the girders just over the top plate in the matrons suite closet to have room for a furring strip to be attached to the girders. This task turned out to be a nightmare because I ended up having to undo alot of the work people had done the day and redo it so the strips were 24 inches on center. I think this ended up being 12 inches on center for extra support.

On friday evening we went out to lowes and had lunch. They were offering fried chicken along with chips and such foods. I had a great time there and got to talk to alot of familar faces which included Jason, Mira, and Lauren snoderely.

After Lunch I came back to site, I figured why not stick around I didnt have to work that evening. So me and jason had to pull out the professional level and use it to adjust the support beam for the girders in the east suites.

day 5

June 1, 2009

Top plates were finished for the matrons suite and patch work began on the frames to make sure they were all connected and bolted solid into the concrete.

days 2-4

May 27-28, 2009

This was my first day on site and once I arrived I helped set up the extension cords, chop saws, ladders, that we needed to begin the framing process. Everyone was split up into small groups and assigned to either a grad student or teacher, some were working on their own due to recent experience and work with urban studio. I was sent with Gabe to the matrons galley to begin framing. I individual task set before me was to receive and cut all of the peices for the framing out of the 2 by 4 lumber received the previous days. First important lesson I learned was to cut my measurements on one side of the blade and to always remeasure and re calculate my measurements for the next cut, because the blade accounts for about 1/32 of an inch so marking a waste line was needed for accuraccy.

example of framing
The framing went up in no time at all, and by the end of day we were ready to shoot the frames into the concrete floor and begin cutting and nailing the top plates. By day 4 I was already nailing the final top plates up and working on the ceiling.

day 1- introductions

May 26, 2009

When I arrived on site I was quite surprised by how much work had been done over the course of the previous semester. First time I went last semester there was literally only gravel and some icf's without the concrete poured inside yet. Now, my sisters house had progressed to having all of the exterior walls and roof stucture intact. After all of the usual introduction papers, requirements, ect. first task was to haul a bunch of lumber inside my sisters house....I was feeling quite ecstatic...(sarcasm noted).

view of the tool shed from the house.

I was very nervous whether or not I would know many people on site. So when I showed up and saw maybe one person that I knew it just felt pretty awkward, heh maybe time will tell.

We took a small trip to the wood shop that we would be using for assemblying all sorts of cabinetry and countertops for my sisters house. When I first arrived I wasnt much imressed by the look of it.

view of the table saw and chop saw

Adrian gave us a small tour of the once school for the deaf. I was interested in the small isolated and padded room, which I thought immediatly, so maybe this is where we go if we screw up. later some of us left and some stayed. I stayed and helped assemble and cut a few work tables. while tis was not challenging it was still fun to finally have my hands on some real tools and not carrying a bunch of lumber around.