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Tanglewood Colorado Springs, CO
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Owner-Builder Journal Entries

Posted by AWS in Houston, TX on 4/17/2019 6:44:31 PM

Houston Steel Buildings

When it comes to Houston Steel Buildings, there is are a variety of companies from which to choose. There are companies that are direct distributors of metal buildings, there are companies that are manufacturers of steel buildings, and there are Turnkey Steel Buildings companies. 

 

 

Steel Building Direct Distributors: This type is known as third party metal building providers. They essentially have a connection with the manufacture and are approved to sell their buildings with a marked up price. 

 

Steel Building Manufacturers: This type of provider is known as the metal building source. They manufacture the steel buildings in house and sell either to distributors or directly to the public.

 

Turnkey Steel Building Providers: Turnkey Steel Building providers are the key to steel building construction. With a turnkey steel building provider, you can get an entire project completed while working with one company. These providers generally provide concrete construction, the steel building kit, and erection services. Many will offer extras construction services such as interior buildings, plumbing and septic, and much more. 

 

When shopping for Houston Steel Buildings, it will benefit you to search in google for "Turnkey Steel Buildings". Here you will find a list of great companies that will provide a complete construction package. 

Photos



Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/16/2019 1:57:51 AM

Well it certainly took a much longer time than I'd thought it would, but I finally got the Arlington FB-900 down and got a good gander what's up there.  Found some good news too.

I got the screws out holding the Arlington into place and figured at that point it would be easy to drop it down.  Turned out to be a lot harder than I'd expected--it was definitely loose but I couldn't easily pull it down.  I tried for a solid hour, pushing and pulling it, double checking there weren't any other fasteners holding it up, comparing it against the one I'd bought on Amazon.

After a good lunch and a couple of other minor chores, I decided there was nothing at all "extra" holding it up....I just had to pull more harder.  So I got a pair of vice grips, gave it a good yank--and that worked!  Out came the Arlington!

And as suspected there wasn't anything holding it up at all, it was just pretty tight.

Once I got it down I dumped out the debris inside it (lots of mouse droppings, dead moths, etc.) and set it down next to the new one (picture below).  They were identical which was more or less as expected, but I had concerns that a newer model might be different.  At least they weren't.

Looking up into the hole I made a pleasant surprise.  The builders put a 2x6 across the rafters rather than the 2x4 that the instructions actually called for--this is good as it's heavier duty and less likely to have any issues.  I was duly impressed.

A minor minus however--I'd already bought lag bolts (in the picture below the Arlingtons) for 6" holes, since I thought that would be long enough to get thru the stud and anchor the chandelier from the top.  Since the cross-beam is a 2x6 I'll need to go get some longer lag bolts (8")….so it's Home Depot for me tomorrow!

Still it's all good.  I'd much rather do it right and if that takes more time, so be it!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

The new Arlington is on the left, the old one on the right. The lag bolt (too short now) is below.


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/13/2019

Okay, it's taken a bit of time to figure out what I'm going to do but I've got a plan now.  Major pieces of the plan are in place, and the rest are more or less spread around the Great Room floor.

Folks might remember that a month ago we nearly had a disaster with getting the chandelier mounted properly.  Since then I've been able to re-examine the whole setup and what I really needed to mount things properly, and so now we've got a plan.

The first was the need for a true steel mount.  The old mount (the ball) worked fine enough but couldn't handle a truly heavy load, and wasn't really designed for that anyway.  Looking around I found a lot of various types of steel and solid mounts that would attach flush to the ceiling, needing only a small flat cover to tidy it all up.  Since I have a vaulted ceiling the Arlington FB-900 was more appropriate to the ceiling and so the canopy I'd purchased would be used instead.  Once the chandelier is up there it'll actually have a lot of "empty room" inside that cover, but that's all good....it'll be a good 14 feet up anyway.

A friend of ours volunteered to build a heavy gauge steel mount and it came out perfectly.  There was a slight need to make an adjustment to accommodate the sloping canopy shell but that was pretty minor.  It looks fantastic and is now undergoing repainting to get it ready for deployment.

With the mount being built the other issues was the Arlington mount itself.  The Arlington FB-900 is carefully built to allow for very long (three inch) screws into a cross-beam stud installed in the rafters; this beam is nailed into the rafters and then the Arlington itself is held up with two small screws and those two long screws.  It's then sealed with caulk to make it all pretty.

My issue wasn't with the Arlington itself but with the nature of how it's mounted.  Those two long screws are just wood screws, biting deeply into the cross-beam 2x4.  I know from personal experience that I myself have taken down those screws and put them back up at least three times as I write this, and very possibly four.  Quite simply, with all of the installation and removal of those screws I frankly I wasn't sure how well they would take the weight any more--screws do work loose over time, and having had them removed/installed several times made me uneasy.  Would the screws actually hold reliably a fourth time?

Quite frankly, I didn't trust it any more.  I needed to be sure that my 131-pound chandelier wouldn't come crashing down at 0300 in the morning when this screws pulled out.

So.....after some though I've come up with A Plan.  I have decided that what I'll do is to actually remove the Arlington, giving me a good 8-inch square hole thru which I can work.  After ensuring the cross-beam is solid, I'll go ahead and drill out the two holes which are already 3" in on the 2x4 (which means there's about a half inch left).  Then I will install heavy duty lag bolts, with double nuts and lock washers thru the holes, thus allowing the weight-bearing bolts to be sitting on the cross-bream rather than simply screwed into it.  This makes gravity work for me in this case rather than against me, and I think it will be vastly more secure as a result.  Once those bolts are in I'll reinstall the Arlington and caulk it all up cleanly, then attach up the newly-built mount with more lock washers and double nuts.  

THAT oughta hold that sucker.  IF it ever comes down it'll be because the roof came down too, so I'll have more bigger issues anyway....

Below are two pics, one with the (somewhat mangled) ball mount that Was Not Good and the other that is the big heavy gauge steel mount that probably could hold a car if we could get it in there.  

Next up I've got to get the holes drilled and the mount installed, then there will be another Weight Test.  Fingers and miscellaneous appendages crossed....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

This is a picture of the older ball mount. It held up well enough, but not good enough for the chandelier.
This is the new 1/4" steel mount. This sucker is heavy!


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/23/2019

Well now, this was an unexpected development.....

As I'd noted earlier I had decided to do another weight test with less "stuff" on the chandelier (I decided the shades made it too yellow).  So today with Colleen and Dan up here I decided it was time to get this puppy Up There!

I had bought a small winch to help lift it gradually up to the ceiling and was busy putting all of the hardware together when Colleen suggested we use their vehicle winch to pull it up instead (with all of the appropriate offsets and pulleys and such).  I figured that was a good idea in general and wanted let her be a part of the fun, so I readily accepted.  We got everything all hooked up, drew tension onto the line in preparation to starting to pull the chandelier up.....

….and danged if the entire ball and socket mount didn't come right down!

This rather surprised us, so we figured we'd just not set the "ball" in the ball mount properly (here's one for reference).  There's a gap one side that allows you to lift the ball up over the edge of the "saddle", then set it back down so it's firm and solid in the mount.  So we put it all back up, cleared all of our lanes for pulling on things, began putting tension on the line again.....

….and danged if the entire ball and socket mount didn't come right down!

Well okay...what the heck is going on?

It took us a bit but we figured it out.  I'd used this ball and socket mount because that's what they used for the ceiling fan.  They're done that way so that the ball allows the fan to "wiggle" a bit with as the blades from the fan are whirling around.

However, that type of mount is NOT A GOOD IDEA if you just have a big heavy chandelier like, for example, one made of elk antlers.  The mount holding the ball had spread with the couple of weight tests I'd done and very likely would have fallen thru the mount at some point (probably at 2:00 AM in the morning), sending the chandelier to a probably fatal fall.....

Ouch.

SO.  We're regrouping.  The only reason I put the larger canopy up there in the first place was the ball and socket mount, and that was only there because the construction crew put in a ceiling fan as a temporary measure until we had the chandelier up.  Looking at it that isn't really what is needed though.  What we really need is just a solid cross mount (metal) that can support ~200 pounds, attached to the deep screw mounts that are with the Arlington FB-900 that we have up there.

With that in place I'll get another canopy of some kind to clean it all up and make it purty.

So....I'm glad we found this now!  We'll end up with a better and more solid installation anyway, and (hopefully) will avoid disastrous problems down the road.

That's life at Tanglewood!  BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Steven in Colorado


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/14/2019 8:06:12 PM

So with the hardware complete I figured it was time to look at getting the chandelier up...BUT I wanted to make one more weight test.

It was pretty easy to put together at least, since I'd done it just a bit ago.

The current weight test is coming in at 132 pounds (without those shades).

Now we wait while I suss out how to hoist it up there!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A nice 132.4 pounds.....


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/10/2019

After getting everything all  properly painted I wanted to actually put the hardware together so I could move on to ponder how to get the chandelier actually hung.  Today I finally got that done.

It was of course trickier than I'd expected.  There was no trouble at all in getting the canopy on and around the chandelier hook-and-ball itself, but it turned out that the screws that came with the canopy just wouldn't fit.  To be precise, the screws that tie up into the hanger and hold the canopy "up" and attached simply weren't long enough.  Grrr...

That little problem of course took hours.  I have approximately nine billion screws in various buckets in the garage (that's just a rough estimate), but finding the right one--color, thread, and length--took a lot of trial and error.  The most annoying part was when I would find only one candidate....I knew there had to be a second one in there somewhere, but finding that special second one always proved to be a bit elusive.

However, with much trial and error, I was finally successful!  Huzzah!

So now the hardware is complete.  I think I want to do one more weight test next though--I want to be very careful here, as one would expect.  On the plus side I decided not to use the covers for the bulbs, so that right there will reduce the overall needed weight by a good 20 pounds.  I'll get that rigged in the next couple of days.

Slow but sure, there's progress!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Everything is nice and tidy Way Up There....


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/9/2019 1:35:59 AM

I got a little bit done on the chandelier, mostly due to conflict between available time and snagging the wrong parts.

Last weekend I carefully set out the various bits of hardware that I'd decided to spray paint to match the canopy and such.  I let things dry for a couple of day--there didn't seem to be any hurry and I wasn't going to try to put anything up until I had a weekend again--but when I checked how things were looking I realized I'd very, very carefully painted the wrong eyehook.  I had bought a shorter one originally and then discovered that I needed a longer one to make everything work properly with the eyehook.  Naturally I'd managed to recolor the wrong one.  Sigh.

Fortunately this was an easy problem to correct, and the parts are doing what I hope is their final dry-in as I write this!

So once all the hardware is done I'll get all of the hardware assembled and installed up there, probably tomorrow (Saturday).  Once that is done, we'll be down to the fun part....hanging the chandelier itself!  Some challenges there I haven't quite figured out yet, but I'll work on it.  I very much want this to be right, as one might expect.

In other news we had a bit of a winter storm over the last weekend with 4.5" inches of global warming gracing the outdoors. Combined with some very low temperatures, the trees became these frosted, gorgeous sentinels lining the canyon....it was remarkable.  I was able to take a few pictures with my cell phone and thought folks might enjoy them.

I've also been slowly re-staining some of the old furniture I had inherited from Colleen's grandmother.  I have pretty much decided that the object of my attention at present is fine little cabinet/drawer thing that I simply don't have a need for, so once it's all stained I plan to donate it to the local ARC.  I think it'll be a good little dresser for a child.

I've given Colleen some measures for some of the more "odd-ball" windows around Tanglewood that I wasn't able to find any curtains in such odd-ball sizes.  I also given her an existing 64" curtain that she will be cutting up and turning into properly sized curtains for the odd-ball windows.  Looking forward to what she comes up with!

And that's about it since my last post.....there are some slight signs of spring here and there, so soon it will be summer again!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

Great shot of the road heading up the canyon.
I liked this shot where you can see the road far in the distance.
A line of frozen trees with Black Mountain (one of many such in Colorado, as it happens) in the background.
Looking out across the creek bed area to the ridge to the other side of Tanglewood's boundaries.


Posted to E2custom by Erik on 3/4/2019 6:22:48 AM

Hi All. 

 Well I’m getting cuaght up on the blog thing I have so many things I’ve learned through this process that I want to share and haven’t had time because I’ve been so crazy busy with the house. It has been super cold here this weekend so I thought what better time than to get this caught up.  I am doing all of the General Contracting with a ton of help from my awesome wife.  She truly is the one that makes it all possible without her none of it would work.  She makes sure the family is running on the right path everyday and that I don’t spend to much money on one thing.   I have been running it and working on it a lot in the last 5 months.  I’m doing all my own Plumbing, Hvac, Hydronic infloor Heating, and a ton of other things as well.  Keeping trash picked up running to the dump and cleaning what feels like constantly.  I try to buy whoever is out there lunch at least once a week if I can.  Make sure they have answers to questions as fast as possible because uncertainty is a time eater.  I found it is very important to check in and make sure they have what they need for the next day because it is amazing how much time is wasted when you run out of material.  
  Paying subs quickly is very important as well.  My bank doesn’t like it that I do more draws than the two a month they specified in the beginning but I have found that when you get them there money fast they tend to call you asking if there is anything you need rather than you calling them to see where they are at and why works not getting done.  
  My wife gets on me every now and then for Shooting the s—t so to speak she tells me I talk to much. But sometimes it is really beneficial. I got a concrete guys name by talking to the excavator.  We also saved 15k just by me talking with a guy about a barn they were tearing down and the next thing you know we are getting our reclaimed barn wood floors from a local company! And from a barn that was a mile away from our house that was built in the 1890’s.  
I love meeting all the people working on my house and knowing a little about them and getting to share a little about me and my family with them. I want them to know who they are building it for so they don’t feel like it’s just another job and just another house.  I feel like that is a big part missing now days in our fast paced buildit and move it world. The pride that used to go into homes I feel has really diminished.  I take pride in the fact that I feel like my house won’t be that way I can see the pride that all of my subs have had in working on our house and it shows. 
Thank for reading!

Erik  

Posted to E2custom by Erik on 3/4/2019 5:53:03 AM

Hi I’ll 

 Bid bids bids I can’t stress enough how important it is to get multiple bids. I’ve been in the trades for almost 20 years as a plumber and I know that getting multiple bids is important. I didn’t really realize how important it was until I started building my own house. It is crazy the disparities that I was getting between bids. Let me preface this with the fact that I live in northern Colorado one of the hottest places in the United States for building right now.  Whole neighborhoods are popping up in 6 to 8 months it is crazy there’s so many contractors running around and so many of them that are not good. I was getting bids, no less than three for each thing that I was not doing myself on the house and also getting bids on materials for the things that I am doing on the house myself. I found that The contractors and people that I’ve worked with for years end up being my highest price bids. Not sure if it was because they saw the house and thought he can afford it. Not realizing that the only reason I can afford it is because I’m doing my due diligence in making sure I’m getting everything for the right price and done right.  For example I got two bids from electrical companies that I’ve worked with for years they were both 10k higher than a reputable company that I’ve never worked with that I called out of the blue.  Concrete this was the biggest one I got one bid for 125,000 and another bid For 70,000 both of them on paper looked almost the same but the 125,000  one had a ton of fine print. It started at 70,000 but nothing was included like the pump truck rental, the gravel for underneath all the flat work and also the flatwork was priced per square foot and not a total given on the bid.  Pretty much every other thing followed suit as well I was getting bids for everything and I would get three prices that were completely different. Some of them were explainable because people left things out or took the liberty of adding things in that I didn’t specify.   I can’t stress enough how important it is to get multiple prices check everybody’s prices and be very specific on what you want and how you want it done it takes a little longer and a lot more time on the phone but it saves you a ton of money in the end. I have saved around $175,000 just by making phone calls pretty insane when you add all that up if I would’ve been lazy and only take in the first price I’d never be able to finish this House.

Follow us on Instagram @ 

e.squared.custom
Lots of pics there now and lots more to come as we start the finish work inside which crazy as I am I am doing most of that myself. Except the painting no way I’m touching that!

Photos



Posted to E2custom by Erik on 3/4/2019 3:55:02 AM

Hello all!   

Ah the floor plan and architect what a fun time.  We basically looked at around a thousand house plans and could never find one that really fit our family and what we wanted perfectly.  The great room was always to small or there were way to many bathrooms and no pantry. So we decided the best way to go was at least find a shape of a house we liked and printed a copy out we got some tracing paper and drew the outline and then started drawing our own floor plan.   We got as far as we could go and then had a meeting with the Architect.  He gave us some good ideas to make things flow better and away we went.   It took us around six months to get the final plans done.  Now that being said it was done my wife’s brother who is an architect so he was working on it in his spare time.  There were a few tweaks along the way moving doors and those kinds of things.  I suggest if your in a hurry to just find a plan on the Internet and purchase it.  If you have time, for sure lay it out yourself. It has been one of the most rewarding parts of this adventure to know that we started from scratch and get to see it all come together.  A couple things I would do different is I would find a way to move some of the second floor walls out on top of the first floor rather than having them somewhat setback from the first floor footprint.  This makes the house look awesome with lots of corners and lines and roof lines but holy cow! The amount of steel and lvls and microlams it takes to hold up the second floor when the walls aren’t stacked on top of each other is crazy.  Our lumber and steel package could have probably been cut by 15-20% without all the additional support beams.  A couple things I will say is it is hard to get a grasp on the size of things from a floor plan on paper.   I wish we would have taken the time to go out to the lot and buy some marking paint and literally paint the floor plan on the ground. We made a few rooms and areas bigger than what we probably needed but to late now lol.  I also wish we would have made some of the windows bigger, not sure a good way to plan that out or get an idea of how big the windows will be but just one thing I wish we could have changed.  

Follow us on Instagram @ 

e.squared.custom 

Erik Haupt 

Photos

Basement unfinished with some possible future layout
Main level
Upper level
Front elevations
Rear elevation
Arial Shot


Posted to E2custom by Erik on 3/3/2019 6:19:01 PM

Hello All! 

Well to say that I should have been better at this is an understatement. We are at the insulation step of the process and are going into drywall this week.  I haven’t had time to catch up on this because I have done a lot of the work myself.  I am a licensed Plumbing  and Heating  contractor and have been in the trades for almost 20 years. I have done all of the plumbing,Hvac,radiant heating, and tons of other things along the way including setting exterior doors framing the custom Fireplace(2 stories tall) and the list goes on.  I have came acrossed many challenges and many many Rewards.   We. Started in 2017 when we purchased the 3 acre lot.   We purchased it in April of 2017 while we still owned our other house.  We used a heloc from our current house to buy the lot with a down payment of our savings.  We then listed our house and sold it about 6 months later and used the profit from it to pay off the lot.  Now we owned the lot free and clear.  We had the luxury of moving in with family so we could save money while building our Dream Home.  This made a huge differance and we would have been able to build the house but not near what we wanted without this.  We then began designing the house from scratch we found tons of floor plans and gelled the good things together to put together what worked for us.  We met with our architect and he put it all on paper for us.  This process took way longer than we wanted but in the end it was worth it.  We were able to work our all the kinks in the plan and had very few changes as we framed.   Once we has plans I began the building process.  All of this takes more time than you would expect picking the right people is important and remember you always always get what you pay for. I contacted 4 different companies for soils testing.  This is a very important step in Colorado there are lots of different soil types here from expansive to bedrock.  Luckily we had no expansive soils and were able to do standard spread footers and no overdig.  I will explain this more in a separate post.  We then sent the drawing and soils report to the Structal Engineer.  I will explain this more as well in another post I picked an engineer based on a recommendation and he was more of a multi family home engineer and overdid the house a bit but we have an extremely solid home.  I then submitted everything for the construction loan and was rejected at first we had the lot but they wanted more if I was going to be my own General.  We ended up purchasing the water tap and a few other things with our savings to give the bank enough collateral to make it less of a risk for them.   We got the construction loan and submitted for permit which was going to take about a month.  This is where it gets a little interesting.   I had an excavator picked and a week before I submitted for permit he had a window to dig out basement so I took it.  This is not recommended because you could run into a little trouble if the county would get a report that your doing work without a permit.  I took the risk because they didn’t have another opening for two months.  It all worked out and has kept us on schedule.  The foundation and walls and plumbing were all done when I got the permit.   Concrete work was a large hurdle.  I got 3 bids for my footers and walls and wow was this an eye opener I got bids that ranged from 54k to 125 k.  This blew my mind and that was the moment I realized you need to always get bids and many of them.  The company that did the work was the lowest bid but a very reputable company and they did a great job.  Then on to framing they started on November 1st and did an amazing job I went with a small family owned company and they took a little longer but did everything how I wanted.  They also have done the siding and the deck which will be done this week.   I have had the same amount of bid desparity on almost all phases electrical was no exception I got bids ranging from 22k to 34k.  Once the framing was done I began all my work which was a lot of nights and weekends because I did all the roughs while working my full time job.  Once all that was done I got the electricians in there.  They took quite a bit longer than I wanted but all in all they did a great job.  The inspector called me after rough inspection of  all the roughins and told me it was the nicest rough he had ever seen on a house that size. This made me feel pretty good that he went out of his way to tell me this so I made sure to pass it on to everyone that was involved.  Which brings us to where we are now Insulation.  Can’t wait to get this done and start Sheet rock. !  
Follow us on Instagram at

 e.squared.custom 

For lots of pics and Videos 

Photos



Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/2/2019 3:28:41 PM

The first winter in the house is going well.  Propane use, which includes hot water, the fireplaces, cooking and heating for the 7200 sq.ft is running around 150 gallons/month.  To me,that is a very reasoable, infact a very low amount, but at $2.30/gal, a significant monthly expense. Sure wish we had nat gas.


The solar gain is working very well on the main and upper stories.  It provides all the heating needs from about 10:00 am throughout the rest of the day when the sun is out.  Fortunately this is more the norm.  There is unfortunately no gain on the second floor as we extended the upper deck by two feet in width during construction.  While I knew this would shade the windows below, it was still the correct thing to do.

We’ve had several renters now and they are all amazed at the finishes, the “warmth” of them and the location next to the slope and views.  For us, we’re not sure about having people below us, which we can still hear to some extent.  I guess it’s easier for younger folks. We had to install a temporary wall across the stairwell using Lexan panels while waiting for the glass wall to arrive. I assume that noise will be cut further when the glass is installed as we ordered laminated for sound reduction.

We’ve gotten lighting installed for the stone walkway, lighing inside the china cabinets and for the open shelving in the kitchen.  Used LED strip lights throughout.  I would highly recommend them to anyone.  For the walkway, I used aluminum extrusions made for the purpose with translucent covers.  They hide the LEDs and diffuse the lighting nicely.  I need to put them on a timer though as renters either don’t know they are there and that they can switch them on, or they do and never switch them off and they run 24/7.  I saw a timer when I was organizing the garage.  Just need to remember where I put it.

I’m slowly organizing the garage.  Wish it would go quicker, but it’s better than before.  The lift has been really handy and has gotten a good amount of use, the latest of which was replacing the O2 sensors on the old Tahoe.  It was a job that cost $110 in parts and would have been between $500-1000 for a garage to do it.  A few more of jobs like that and it’ll have paid for itself, not to mention I’ve become a great friend for some of the local folks! Lol!

Spring appears to be very much on the horizon.  And while I have spent the entire winter skiing almost every other day, as the temps warm up and mud ensues everywhere, we’re looking forward to the change in seasons and getting outdoors doing warm weather things.  But we can get snow well over March and April and even into May, so we’ll just roll with whatever Mother Nature sends us.

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/24/2019

Well now, when we got up this morning and started Doing Stuff we quickly found a whole bunch of odd tracks wandering all around Tanglewood.  After some examination I decided that they are definitely from a cat--and since it's unlikely there's a housecat running around I assume it's a bobcat.

He clearly came down from the hill behind the house, then followed the side of the house and stayed out of the snow as much as possible.  He was apparently fascinated by the light fixture outside the patio door and (I think) thought about jumping up there before deciding he couldn't actually get on top of it.  After he visited he headed off towards the creek past the propane tanks.

Neat! Some pics below.

In other news I've made (slow) progress with the chandelier.  I finally received a canopy for the chandelier fixture.  There was one before but it went with the old ceiling fan, but fortunately after a bit of looking around I found one that should work well.  I also had to get another eyehook to hang it all from, and after a little bit of testing and experimentation I'll have the necessary parts all put together.  After that I'll need to spray point the hardware (everything up there is oil-rubbed bronze) but that won't take too long.  I'm getting close to actually putting this puppy up, definitely.

Another awesome weekend in Colorado!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

You can clearly see the cat print towards the upper left.
A close up picture, though not as good IMO as some of the others.
Very clean print here.


Posted to 1860s-Texas-rehabnew-construction by Dave in Boerne, TX on 2/20/2019

Finally made the decision to install the porch rails ..3 sections on the way from 

Vintage Woodworks.. they are out of Texas and the source for the spandrels that I installed previously. We have had a metal fence installed , to include a rolling gate across the driveway,  mainly to help contain the Pix...but also for the look and added security..
Photos to follow...




Photos

The spring of 2019 updates..several modifications since last posting..
The Callery pear has grown quite fast!


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/11/2019 2:34:42 AM

Well now, I'd hoped Solar LeRoy could come up to take a gander to Tanglewood's solar woes yesterday and danged if he didn't ping me first thing this morning to come up to do just that!  We spent a quality day looking at what the heck is going on...turned up some interesting things.  It took several hours to suss out what was going on and get all three controllers back up and running.  

As I had noted, charge controller #1 was totally "frozen"....no inputs at all worked no matter what we did.  Solar LeRoy shut down the system, rebooted that particular box several times, but nothing worked.  He finally swapped it out with a spare he happened to have (part of his system which had been down since last summer) and took the original back down to his house to contact Outback about what the heck it might be doing.

Once we got the replacement installed we were partially working properly, but things still weren't right.  The breakers didn't seem to be connected properly, and we'd get different inputs on what was "active" based on what breakers were thrown.  When left "normally" controllers #1 and #3 were pumping amps, but #2 was only showing voltage--no amperage at all.  In addition #1 was still going "high" on the amperage, hovering around 70A which is MUCH MORE than those units should be getting from good sunlight.

Solar LeRoy's first thought was that something was wrong down in the breaker box, but he took off the lid and there was nothing obvious.  We then checked all of the circuit interconnects along the backs of the panels as it seemed as if swaths of the panels weren't putting power on their circuits at all (the ones tied to controller #2)…..everything was tight and nicely connected.  We DID take the opportunity to clean up some of the cables that had lost their zip ties due to weather and the like however, which is positive.

Our next thought was that perhaps the line driving controller #2 had  a break in it, and we did some investigation along the run from the shed down to the panel breaker box.  That required a bit of digging up of some of the line to make sure there wasn't another box somewhere in the line we didn't remember (there wasn't). The most annoying part was that we discovered (rediscovered) that he'd apparently used a differently colored wire on the leg heading out of the shed, so we had trouble finding the precise connection.  Lots of amp testing and breakers on/off however eventually convinced us there were no problems.

So with that in mind, we took a break to get some more tools and then resumed testing, looking at the outside breaker box again--and THAT's where Solar LeRoy found the problem.  Two different wires inside the breaker box had shorted, one against the cover housing and the other along the left-hand side of the box.  BOTH were bad but the second was far and away the first...it was difficult to see because it was partially behind the "edge" of the box.  Once we got a look at it however it was very obvious--that particular wire was bundling the panels for controller #1, had partially pulled away from the connector along the top, and it in turn was touching the bundler wire for controller #2.  Controller was getting the amperage for BOTH strings of panels (24 panels in all), thus overloading controller #1 (causing the breaker to pop) and showing very erratic amperage on the daisy-chain of panels for controller #2.

Once he figured it out it was relatively easy to fix.  We killed power to both controllers #1 and #2, stripped out the bad wire (which fortunately he'd left long), and tied everything back in properly.  When everything was turned back on, all three controller were humming along and doing their job properly!

WELL DONE SOLAR LEROY!!!!!!!!!!!!

So at this point, Solar LeRoy is taking the bad/frozen controller back down to find out what Outback wants to do.  We still have a problem with one of the legs from the 240V generator only putting power on ONE leg....the circuits for the inverter/charger are different than the charge controllers...so that still needs to be looked at, probably after finds some details about the bad controller.

But we're making progress, and that's pretty danged glorious!  :)


Steven in Colorado

Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/9/2019 10:25:48 PM

Things move slowly during the winter months, which is just the way it is.  I have tried to keep busy, though nothing seemed worthy of a post all by itself.  I thought maybe today I might catch up a few items:
  • The most annoying thing is probably that one of my three charge controllers seems dead, while another seems to be malfunctioning.  Charge Controller #2 shows it's getting current but not a thing is going into the batteries as amperage according to the monitoring tool.  And then just for fun, Charge Controller #1 seems to be completely "frozen"--it doesn't respond to button presses or resets at all.  To add icing onto the cake it does actually do its thing, but apparently it has lost its internal upper amperage limit--it hits the 80A limitation on the hardware and trips the breaker.  Happens most sunny days ~10:00 AM....danged annoying.  

  • This means right now I'm running Tanglewood on one good and one semi-good charge controller.  

    Yes, Solar LeRoy has been summoned!  More soon I hope.

  •  I finally started sorting and evaluating all of the furniture I inherited from Colleen's grandmother (she passed away just under two  years ago).  First up was an older dresser, rather smaller than I would like for just about anything.  I had considered simply donating to the local ARC but there was simply no way I was going to wish it on anybody while it was still that hideous lime-green shade that for some reason was popular in the 1970s.  It's received two coats of the Special Walnut shade I used on the door and now that I have some more rollers I'll work on trying to finish it more properly.  After THAT it may still be donated rather than find a place here at Tanglewood, but at least it won't be lime-green!  *shudder*

  •  Work on the chandelier has been proceeding.  I took down all of the weights that I left up there as a test after a couple of weeks and proceeded to thread the eye-hook through the fan mount that will hold everything.  And that's when I ran into a problem...it turned out the eye-hook I had wasn't quite long enough to pass through the downrod.  Well dang it.....

    I fetched a slightly longer one this afternoon while running around and hopefully will finish what I started tomorrow.   Assuming I have all of the weight-supporting hardware in place, I can then test how big a housing I need to cover everything up to make it pretty (of course the housing/base that was with the original ceiling fan went with it when I gave it away).  

  •  Since the weather was decidedly unpleasant and the stain I'd applied to the afore-mentioned dresser was in the process of drying I decided to get some more curtains up.  I'd been wanting to get proper curtains along the upper hallway for a while--both they and the curtain rods had been mocking me every time I walked by them--so I gave in and took a couple of hours to put everything up.  Now that there are curtains I can finish hanging up pictures along that hallway as well, which is a plus.

That's more or less what I've been doing over the last couple of weeks, that and sussing out that there was in fact a problem with some of the solar equipment anyway.  But it's all progress, and it's all goodly!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Snapshot from one end of the hallway....
...and then again from the other end. I guess in retrospect I probably should have turned those lights on....


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Posted to Whiteheads-Marsh-Dom by beata on 1/29/2019 10:28:46 AM

 Got a name: Whitehead's Marsh Dom

Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/26/2019 8:49:51 PM

And now the Great Experiment begins!

The mount the crew installed Way Back when Tanglewood was being constructed was supposedly sized for a 200 pound dead weight (such as an elk antler chandelier). Now that I've got the ceiling fan down and packed away, the time has come to weight test this puppy. After all, I don't want it to come crashing down, especially if it was to fall ON somebody....that would kill'em lots.

I weighed the chandelier (took a bit of effort) a few weeks back  at 151.1 pounds. As you can see from the reading below, I've got 177.4 pounds of "stuff" hanging from a hook up to that mount as of this afternoon.

So now...we wait. I'll give it a good week or so to see if it suddenly gives way or anything untoward. That would be VASTLY annoying, but better to test it and have it fail this way than to have the whole chandelier come crashing down.

Fingers and appropriate appendages crossed.....

Steven in Colorado

Photos

The test weights (I just found a lot of heavier stuff to pile on) are hopefully stable.


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Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 12/31/2018 5:23:54 PM

it has been so awesome to be in the house, but of course the projects continue and they will for years to come!

Photos

Home Depot finished the cabinets. We got 2 pieces of butcher block and made the island. Finished island electrical and plumbing! In the kitchen we still need a bar top, pantry door, and perminate pantry shelves.
Entry. Still need to paint the front door
Inside entry. Still need trim and baseboards throughout house
One hallway. Got all the interior doors painted and closet doors up
Other hallway
Hall bath


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/21/2018 9:03:41 PM

The solstice passed on 12/21/18 this very afternoon at about 3:22 PM Mountain Time.

Now, every day, it starts getting a little bit brighter.

YES!


Steven in Colorado

Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/16/2018 10:32:29 PM

I was taking the ceiling fan down a few days ago when I realized that I need a bit of stability when I'm standing Way Up There.  The scaffolding kit has a fine set of railings for working up on top of everything, so I decided to take the day to add that for safety's sake.

It took a lot longer than I thought it would....several hours....but I finally got it all done.

It'll be a lot harder to fall off now.  It's not really impossible per se, but I'd really have to work at it at this point.

Next up, adding the test weights (yeah, still haven't done that yet)!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

It was all remarkably heavy but I got it up there...


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/8/2018 10:57:41 AM

are all that is left to do on the house.  Trim on the edge of the flooring as it meets the stairwell on three floors, putting on the Bona Traffic sealer on the last two landings, installing low voltage path lighting along the the stone steps from the front of the house up and around to the main entry.  And install connections onto the coax and Cat 5 cables throughout the house. That’s really about it, I think.  An absolutely great feeling to have, and at the same time I see it’ll be a transition to a new life.  


For the past almost six years, Sandra and I having been working on major house projects, first on the Barrel Race, then on Mutton Bustin’ and finally on this, The Last Rodeo with no breaks in between.  Although I formally retired three years ago, I haven’t truly been retired as we have been working 8-12 hours a day, seven days a week for these past six years on the projects.

I certainly beleive in the owner-builder philosophy.  It is a fantastic thing to become, a source of great pride and accomplishment and a source of great monetary savings.  But for those that are on this site and are deciding whether they want to become one, it is important to decide early on just how much you wish to take on.  Do you want to be a GC only?, do you want to save more by doing more of the project yourself?  The decision should not be taken lightly.  The time you have, the skillset you have, the tenacity you have to work on a project until its completion all should be considered.

Our original plan was to start this project back in 2012, while I was still working.  I traveled 5 days a week, but figured working the weekends, we could get this started and moving.  In some ways it was fortunate that the other two projects intervened.  They were small enough that I could get them done working on weekends.  We ultimately found out this project was not and being retired when we started it was a key to getting it finished in the 2 1/2 years it has taken unless we wanted to be GCs only.  It was a huge project.

I consider myself to have a pretty good skillset, but we did have to use subs for the shell inside and out, as we had neither the time, nor the equipment to do it.  My original idea to run the ICFs myself quickly dropped off as I saw the scope of the project when the hole was excavated. It would have taken months for me to run a single floor and I had three floors of ICF.  Again, I hired out the exterior framing.  I know how to frame and I could have set the floor trusses roof trusses and subfloor, but setting the roof beams and trusses, especially when there was a 50 ft drop on one side and I’m in my 60’s was simply too much.  A crew was needed.  Let them do it all.   And sheetrock, unless it is maybe a single, small room - I don't ever consider doing it.  I’ve done plenty of the past 50 years, but gave up on all but the smallest jobs.  It is simply too time consuming when you are building an entire house.  Your time is better spent elsewhere. Plumbing electrical mechanical, flooring painting (painting it the easiest trade in my opinion and can save a bundle). 

The bottom line is, be honest with yourself.  We want to do it all, but know what time you can truly devote, know what skills you have.  Know that your spouse needs to be involved or she will feel neglected. Know that there are times when it feels to both of you, but especially to her, that you have no other life.  Those are the times to go back through the pictures to see just how far you have come.  Know that it can be an all-consuming job, the extent of which depends upon how much you choose to do yourself.  But even as just a GC, you need to stay on top of it.  Lining up the next subs, making sure they are ready to go, staying on top of the current ones to make sure they are progressing and doing it to plan.  You  have to be involved the entire way.

In doing so,the pain that you both will go through will be replaced with something that will last for years, that will be a source of pride and accomplishment and will shelter you for the future years.

Anyone who is on this site has started the process, a testament that you have a desire to take on a task.  It os only a decision now just how much or little you wish to take on.  That is up to you. Good luck!




Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/6/2018

Sadly I didn't get to see him, but I saw the tracks he left in the snow last night.


When I got back home I thought I saw some kind of disturbance near the porch, so I wandered over to take a look.  A bobcat apparently wandered by at some point overnight.  As near as I can tell he didn't do anything so i assume he was just scouting and looking for something tasty (perhaps those turkeys from the other day).

Love living up here!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Close up of a pawprint...
...and a pair of them


Posted to Vintage-Oaks-Cabin by Michael in New Braunfels, TX on 12/3/2018 8:12:34 PM

We're officially starting the process in March 2019 with several visits to the lot outside of New Braunfels and with scheduled interviews with designers and construction consultants, likely resulting in the exchange of earnest money and contracts being signed. We've been pouring over thousands of floorplan magazines (especially Dan Sater's collection) and internet websites for many YEARS, ever since purchasing the property in June 2011, and have collected nearly a thousand digital photographs of the rooms we like, and the features in those rooms that caught our attention. It's going to be an O-B project, with the level of consultation needed to be determined. The start date is fast approaching, and we're getting excited!!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/2/2018 10:17:19 AM

Another big task knocked out. Again, there are plenty of nail holes to fill, but two  thousand feet or so of baseboard is in.  We’ll get the last landings installed today. Four done and two to go.  We’ve been looking at plywood there for so long we almost got used to it, but it sure looks good in doug fir matching the stair treads.  Sandra will apply a coat of BonaTraffic to them today and a second coat tomorrow and in a week they’ll be at full hardness and ready for Christmas visitors.


And then it’s working on nail holes and punchlists. As mentioned in the last post, the lists seem to be small and manageable. So they should go by pretty quickly!

Sandra is on Facebook - something I’m not, but one thing it does is bring up pictures from previous years.  It did this the other day with pics from a year ago.  Wow! It really shows how unfinished the project was back then and how far we have come.  A year ago we had a raw interior other than drywall and paint, a drafty house with some heat, scaffolding set up in the living room, no finished ceiling, cabinets anything!  What a difference!

Photos

Finished landing. So different than the next picture of the unfinished
An unfinished landing with the bullnose attached. Plywood with paint drips, stain drips and drywall mud. Not very pretty.
Scaffolding in the LR a year ago
Ceiling still raw
Pretty bare even in January
Today
Today


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/2/2018

Well, I had to go track down a game scale (used to weigh deer and such that you take in a hunt), but I was finally able to track one down to test out the chandelier's weight.  


After that it took me about an hour to figure out how to get the thing up  "into the air" so I could take a weight measurement, but eventually I did.

That sucker is 132 pounds by itself with the seven foot chain.  With the rock light fixtures (shades) it's 151.1 pounds in total.

So now I know what to test again to make sure it's installed as designed...that's next....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Took a bit to get a proper snapshot but I got it eventually!


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/29/2018 10:23:15 AM

Well finished as far as installed.  I put the final pieces up on Monday after we returned from a Thanksgiving trip.  Still have the nail holes to do, but a big job out of the way!


Also put up much of the remainder of baseboard before I ran out.  All of the fourth floor is finished having taken care of a couple small pieces and Sandra’s office.  All of the bullnose corner pieces throughout the house are installed as well.  Some slight trimming and subsequent touch up of the stain will be necessary but at least those buggers are cut and in.   Other floors have a few pieces of base to install, mainly in closets and that’ll be finished.

The nosings for the landings are in, and that went well.  Actually have gotten the flooring for two of the six landings installed before running out of wood so we made a trip to Santa Fe yesterday to get the rest.  That’ll have to be sanded and stained so hopefully this weekend it’ll be ready and I can get that finished.  

As far as the glass partion wall, that is still an issue.  I’ve decided that a patio door system and taking off the bottom track will be best, but trying to find someone to custom make one and not have then install in a manner not like everything else they do is impossible. So I’ve contacted the local glass guy again and asked him to source and install per my idea.  Hopefully he can come by in the next couple days to measure.

Sandra made a punch list for the fourth floor.  Only things missing are barn door guides and connections to Cat 5e and coax.  Not a bad list!  I’m thinking this’ll be similar for all the other floors. So I feel pretty good about where we stand.  

Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/25/2018

After being amazingly absent on Thanksgiving the two remaining turkeys (all the others have wandered off to find their own mates, or to be eaten by something) showed up again today.  


After checking out the area near the leach field they wandered up for some corn.  They ate a lot....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The two of them were very casual, I'd say.


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/24/2018

Well, I had a thought that I might get up into the attic so I could double check that the installation is right and proper, but it turns out that's a lot harder than I'd thought it would be.


Venturing into the attic I took a look at the crawl space and the how tight it would be.  It's not impossible to get in there, for sure, but it sure wouldn't be easy.

I think instead I'll test the worthiness of the Arlington FB-900 in another way.  IF it was properly installed (yes I've learned to check these things) it should easily be able to carry a 150 pound load (the weight of the chandelier and the chain and the light fixtures.  I'll have to give it some thought, but I reckon I can rig something to test it with.  

I'm going to go very slowly with this....I don't want to have that chandelier come crashing down on anybody!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Looking down the left hand side of the crawl space. Note all of the very difficult to navigate around metal joint plates.....
...and here's the right hand side of the crawl space. I can SEE the electrical where it runs down into the living space, but it would be pretty hard to get there from here.


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/22/2018

So I finally got a couple of days to focus on getting some work done (Thanksgiving) and so elected to taking down the ceiling fan itself.  I'd done a little bit of work the other day when I removed the light and discovered the tiny little bulbs that made the Great Room so dim.  

It all turned out to be a bit simpler than I actually thought it would be.  With the scaffold up to two lifts (about 12') then I could access the fan itself.  The first step was to take off the blades, which were affixed wit three screws per arm.  Once I got that down, I had to take a look at the ceiling fan box itself.

From way "down there" I had assumed the box was wood, basically a wooden block cut to fix the arch of the ceiling and a hole bored through the block for fan itself.  Once I was able to take a closer look I found that it was instead a heavy plastic, which surprised me rather a bit. Setting aside exactly what brand it was I removed the housing cover at the top to reveal the mechanism with the ceiling fan hanger (the standard ball fitting) and several wires connected with wire nuts.  I disconnected each (after double checking once more that the breaker to it was turned off) and then...simply lifted and lowered the whole fan assembly and downrod in one big piece.  Simpler than I would have thought.

While taking a lunch break I did some research on exactly what the ceiling fan box was.  Turned out that this is a much "heavier" assembly than your standard box--it's an Arlington FB-900.  These are rated to hold 200 pounds, which as it turns out Colleen had specifically asked for back when Tanglewood was being built.  It's basically exactly what they needed to handle the heavier weight of that chandelier--smart thinking indeed!

With food out of the way I was able to finish up pretty quickly.  There was some work disassembling the fan box and storing all the parts away properly, and of course I made sure to dust everything nicely as I packed them away (I had kept the original box the fan came in years ago).   

So it took a bit but most of my time (fortunately) wasn't spent Way Up High on the scaffold.  Next I need to do some research on the ceiling fan box and think about how I will hang the light; the wiring won't be a problem but I'm unsure about exactly how to fit it.  possibly I'll be able to use a ball system and hang the chandelier directly from that; I'll have to do some research. 

Getting there!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The fan before deconstruction from Way Down There....
....and a closeup of the fan.
The fan with the light assembly removed.
The connections with the housing removed and the wiring moved apart so it's easy to see. There's a rectangular box on the left hand side that is the wireless receiver for the remote.
The fan assembly removed and set down safely to the floor.
The fan box with all the bits removed.
A closeup of the fan box (the Arlington FB-900).


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/19/2018

I didn't have much time this evening when I got home (too late to see very well), but I'd told myself that I would take down the glass canopy and the bulbs on the ceiling fan.  With the second lift installed yesterday I knew this would be relatively easy, and looking at the manual looked like it was.

Turned out to be a lot easier than I'd thought.  Since I knew I was going to take the lights out I also knew I wouldn't have any light to work with, and since it was nearly dark I made sure to take a flashlight up there with me.  I got the canopy off very easily and then I was duly astonished....

I had always thought the light up there was a bit dim, but had thought that it was simply because the ceiling fan was so high up there.  I had loosely thought that there was a 100W or maybe a 200W CFL up there, didn't really know for sure.

Turns out the truth was much more horrendous--three small (candelabra sized) incandescent bulbs, rated at a measly 40W each.  And one of those had burned out!

Good.  Grief.

SO....I fetched down two of them with the lights on, then turned the remaining light off and shimmied up the scaffold to take down the third one.

I think that once I've got the antler chandelier up there it's going to make a world of difference....


Steven in Colorado


Photos

There were three of these tiny little things up there in that ceiling fan.....


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/18/2018

Once I got a couple of chores done this morning I was able to turn my attention back to the scaffold work I'd done yesterday.

With the room cleaned up and the pieces/parts that make up the scaffold all installed yesterday I turned towards getting the second lift/level done.  For the most part it was all very straightforward, though a bit heavier than I'd expected (this really is a pretty good quality construction I guess).  There was a bit of a problem getting one of the two truss supports fastened in (most likely that corner isn't as square as it should be, but I couldn't figure out where), but for the most part if went up quickly.  I took my time and moved very carefully since I was working roughly six feet in the air to start with, and by the time all was said and done I was setting twelves feet up.

Still I got the second lift done and now I can actually reach the ceiling fan!  Tomorrow or perhaps Tuesday I'll start taking it down, light and time permitting...…


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A shot with the second level installed! Ain't it purty?
Another shot with a better angle.
Looking down from the second level....tricky to get a great shot, but there ya go.
You can see the ceiling fan way up there....that's my next target....


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/17/2018

With winter weather and truly upon me now I've decided to stop the "outside" projects in favor of tackling the "inside" projects (i.e., projects that I can complete indoors while the weather is nasty).  The first task to tackle now is to put up the antler chandelier.

I moved this puppy into the house back in mid-2016, where it sat while I was doing door work.  With the outside part of the door finally done and various side-projects that had a higher priority I could finally get back to getting the chandelier installed.

Right now there's a big ceiling fan up in the Great Room which Colleen had tracked down for install back when Tanglewood was being built.  The primary reason for this was that we clearly needed to have something up there, and we honestly thought at the time that we would be able to install the chandelier the following summer by carrying it through the door and starting the process.  When we discovered much to our great surprise we were a bit at a  loss, and took me three tries and some pondering before I finally decided to tear the old door out and carry it in that way.

But that was in the past, and now it's time to get this task accomplished!

First up I had some cleanup to get done though.  Most of Saturday I spent gathering up and putting away many of the tools I'd strewn about while working on the door (and I made sure to put up the tools rather than simply building a new pile in the garage).  That took a good couple of hours to get done all by itself, but by the end of the morning I had a nicely cleaned out spot, had moved the chandelier over to one side of the room (pending erecting the scaffold), and had even done a couple of passes sweeping to clean up all kinds of mess that had accumulated over the last few months. (The end idea is to put a Roomba down in the Great Room, where it will live and vac, but we're not there yet.  I do have the Roomba though, which I admit is kinda odd....)

Once the cleanup was done and lunch consumed I moved towards getting the scaffolding inside.  I had built one lift of the scaffold earlier in the summer and so my first task was to roll it inside the house where it had been living on the porch outside the door.  Then I started to unpack all of the other scaffolding which I'd purchased but left out in the garage and carry it inside, which took a lot of time....much more than I would have guessed.  There's a lot of metal in three sets of scaffolding and I was amazed how much of I carried in....it was kinda like Christmas, and everytime I moved one box I found another!  (It all made a ginormous amount of cardboard to burn as well...wow.)

But once it was all inside and unpacked I took a couple of nice snapshots of all of the pieces parts, and then got a little bit of a start on building the second lift on the scaffold.  By the time I was done I had the outriggers installed (large feet to stabilize me when I'm higher up) and part of the second lift installed.  Tomorrow I'll finish that second lift and get the floor installed.

Lots of work but it was good work....more tomorrow!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The first scaffold lift moved inside from the porch.
The "fancy feet" for the scaffolding if I were ever to use it outside (probably will eventually).
A view of all the "stuff" I brought in for the other two lifts of scaffolding.
Another shot of all the miscellany. There's a lot of stuff here.
A shot of the guard rails that I will eventually install at the top so I don't fall off and stuff.
Scaffolding with the outriggers installed.
Started the second lift. Note my little stepstool so I can hammer things down from the top (didn't need much, but did need some).
THAT is a lot of cardboard....


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/16/2018 10:12:43 AM

2Drinking our coffee this morning, Sandra just found an article from 1985 about snowboarders and just how dangerous they are to themselves and the skiing public. Talking about how ski patrols run them off when they find them. Lol!  Time have sure changed since then.  While we don’t board, and while boarders tend to be younger and some may go faster than what they have control over, there are less than a handful of resorts that restrict their use today and that’s a good thing.  Resorts in general need people using the slopes to stay in business and boards are popular with kids.  But the article was laughable around the panic people had some 30 years ago about the boards’ increasing popularity.


Door trim will be finished today, I think.  Finally. Sandra is staining some more baseboard.  While that won’t go in until we get back from Thanksgiving that’ll allow us to finish that when we get back.  Really very little of that left to run.  

We have a couple thousand nail holes to fill in the trim, literally.  Sandra has offered to begin that as we are beginning to run out of things for her to do.

I’ve got stairs to make for the bunkbeds.  The stringers are weathered and urethaned.  I’ll begin setting those when we get back.  And we have yet to do the landings on the stairs. I’ve made the bullnose for about half of them, will see if I can get the others made today after I was able to get a couple more pieces of doug fir the other day.  Get those stained and they’ll be ready to install, again sometime after we return.  

I’ve been trying to get someone to create the glass curtain wall for the stairwell.  It looks like we may end up using a custom patio door set.  Got an estimate yesterday.  Figuring how to attach it is going to be the last headache.  I’d love to insert it into the opening, but a stair tread is in the way.  And since the walls are ICF, there is 3” of foam and sheetrock in either direction from the corner.  We may have to extend brackets further back on the wall so we can hit concrete for attachment.  Between the manufacturer, and myself, we’ll come up with something.  In order to rent, the wall has to be in place to separate the two living spaces both from sound and egress.  And it would be nice to finally have some positive cash flow from renters!

Speaking of, Sandra will get started on creating a book for their use.  Two actually.  One as to general things about the area, but the main one is to explain the various features and functions of the space.  Things like the microwave drawer and even the kitchen faucet, which no one seems to be able to figure out! The gas fireplace. The need for only toilet paper in the toilets as we are on a pumped septic, yes mundane and unglamorous things such as this.

We have a friend, whose specialty is making commercial video and photography coming in early December to shoot the house for a website and rental sites. We traded work on his house early this year for the shoot.  We’ll be ready by then with everything necessary for him to get that accomplished.

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope all can spend it with family and friends!

Photos

This single tread is in the way of fully inserting a glass wall into the opening. So a partial insert will most likely be used with much of the framework extending out. Not ideal, but not much else can be done
The space where the curtain wall needs to be placed
The ski room and entry for the rental level
Ski room from another angle


Posted to Z-Oen by Zuraida in Dayton, OH on 11/13/2018 5:38:55 PM

A good tip is to find out who the General Contractor will hire for sub-contractors to do various aspects of the job. This can be just as important as hiring the general contractor. The job must be done right the first time so it is crucial to find out who they hire. This includes everyone from the plumber to the electrician to the dumpster rental contractor they choose to do the various aspects of the job. Make sure the General contractor you do hire has a knack for hiring good sub-contractors.  This will keep your next project from becoming a major money pit and from the job having to be redone, costing unneeded money, time and headaches. 

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/13/2018 10:43:34 AM

eating breakfast tacos, staying warm while the temperature outside is a brutal -27F, the house appears to be performing pretty much as planned.  We turn the thermostats down at night to 55F and the furnace on the main level came on rarely. And unlike the rental house, where frost heavily formed on the inside of the windows at these temps, frost here is on the outside as it should be.


We’ve had three good snows so far and with the cold temps, they are making a lot of snow.  Keeping our fingers crossed that the snowy weather continues.

The wall in the lower ski room is finished and I’ll startadding the ski racks and garment baskets today.  The small table for the breakfast niche is finished. And later this week I’ll try to get some more door trim up- yes there are a few pieces remaining that had to wait until more wood was weathered and finished.

Trying to get a solution for a glass partition to separate the rental level from the stairs into the rest of the structure.  I was hoping to use a frameless method, but it looks like a sliding patio door system may be the method. Unfortunately attached to the face of the opening as the stairs are in the way on one side. We’ll see what can be designed.

Our daughter in Denver had found some ski lift chairs from Steamboat Springs that were for sale.  These had been taken out of service in the 80’s.  We bought three of them a couple months ago and went up this past weekend to get them and bring them back. They’ll probably stay in the trailer until Spring and we can make them into swings or simply seating. Sorry Cousin Dave.  We didn’t get a chance to stop in. It was a quick up and back before the storm got too bad. And we made ot out just in time.

I need to do a few things to the truck before we head out for Thanksgiving.  New headlight assemblies.  Ford’s single bulb headlamps are horrible in brightness and distance, so they are getting replaced with quad projectors.  And front brakes are getting replaced as the OE rotors are warped badly.  So the truck is on the lift warming. Thank god for a garage!

Time to quit and get to work.


Photos

The small niche table support form the stump Sandra found in the woods
The top frame attached
Table finished using repurposed antiqued oak flooring
A telephoto view of the house from the base area yesterday. Man it’s so good to see snow on the slope!


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/11/2018

After the visit a couple of days ago we got some good snow (about 11"), and danged if those turkeys didn't show up for some special attention again.

Some great pics here.  They were all fluffed up against the cold.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Outside one of the bedroom windows, they are strutting around. The tom in particular is all fluffed out.
Here they are wandering down from the porch near the kitchen.
This guy is looking through the window into my bedroom.
Snow is kinda deeper here than he had thought.
Perched at the edge of the porch, hoping I would show up with food. They eventually went around to where my mother feeds them.


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/8/2018

Thought I'd share these....we had a couple of visitors (a tom and a hen) poking around lately looking for corn.  These are the two remaining batch of turkey who were around all summer long (nine at one point) who have presumably been chased off or gone on to find their own way as fall turned into winter.

These guys are very tame around my mother; not so much around myself though.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Turkeys looking for some food, setting off the alarms.
Corn has been tossed down and they are very happy.
Turkeys munching as fast as they can.
Still eating. Neat looking birds.
After they had eaten they came up to the door to see who was in there.
The tom gets all fluffy now.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/1/2018 10:22:51 AM

Everyone is praying for a good snow season after last years “worst in memory”.  Both the resort and the state rely on good snow pack. The resorts for skiing, and the state for irrigation, wetlands and fire protection.  The fall has seen fairly consistent precipitation compared to last year when it seemed the tap shut off September 1.  So far we’ve had two good snows.  5” two weeks ago and 16” yesterday.  The resort is also gearing up to make snow as the nightime temps are now getting to be consistently in the teens.  Those of you in Texas and other points south, with your AC still on probably find this a bit hard to fathom!


Our progress has slowed a bit.  Seems that with the shorter days, the colder weather it’s harder to work as hard or as long.  I spent much of the past week welding brackets and fabricating the railings for the bunkbeds.  The main railings use old skis as you can see in the photos below.  Need to make stairs for both sets.  I’ll cut templates from cardboard this morning to see what wood I’ll need.

Also welded up a frame for the small table on the rental level. This is the one where the stump will be the support.

The wood wall in the lower ski room is waiting on more wood, but 70% finished.  We then have ski racks to hange, finish trim etc.

Been watching the thermal performance of the house.  We keep the house relatively cool, which doesn’t feel uncomfortable in a dry climate. But so far we are using about 2 gallons of propane a day - to heat 6500 sq.ft. Will be interesting to see what happens as the weather turns colder.  When the sun is out, the south-facing windows bring in a tremendous amount of heat now sun is lower in the sky.  That has worked out as planned and contributes a lot to the lower energy usage.


Photos

One side of bunkbeds with the railings installed


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/26/2018 9:31:50 AM

Ok, so we have three garage doors, one of which is a 16’ unit.  Although I had an installer out a year and a half ago to set it up, it never worked correctly with the motor.  It needed 1) more tension on the springs, and 2) possibly different springs as the guys selling these didn’t do a great job of calculating the springs for the smaller doors. I figured they may have messed up on this one as well.  Sometimes I can put things off a long time, especially if I have a temporary fix, which in this case was opening it by hand.  But finally, with winter coming, I decided to get it properly fixed and called the fellow out again.  He came out, increased the tension by a half turn, reset the limits and closure pressure and it worked! For a day.  Yesterday Sandra went to use it and it stuck halfway upon closing.  I came home and tried to reopen and close and the sucker opened completely, way past where it should have which required two people to pull on the rope to manually close it.  Seems like the clamp that attaches to the motor spindle is slipping and can’t be tightened any further. Called the installer and he said they have a new type of clamp.  He’ll order one and come back to install. Damn it was nice while it worked!


Steel arrived Tuesday to make brackets and supports for the bunk bed rails.  I’ll try to start on those this weekend.  Going to use skis place horizontally as the rails.  Found a bunch at the local Habitat Restore in Taos for peanuts.  Just had to remove the bindings, which is a bit of a puzzle.  They like to hide the screws that make the attachment to the ski and each manufacturer does it differently. But in the end, I got them all off and had a garbage can of bindings to haul away.

Sandra has been antiquing used oak flooring we got from a friend.  Mutiple coats of paint, then sanding it off a bit and adding dark and clear wax.  We’re using it as a tall wainscot in the second level ski room.  It’ll protect the wall from skis hanging on the racks. I’m gluing it with construction adhesive, using 18 ga. nails to hold it in place while the glue sets up.  With the colors she’s using, it really gives a big splash to an otherwise drab room. Slow process getting it up, and once done, I still need to trim the top, but should be done tomorrow if we have enough prepared.

We went out into the forest last weekend to look for a stump that we could use as a table pedestal.  Found a perfect one with a root splay.  Got it back to the house, I trimmed it and Sandra cleaned the dirt, bark, sanded it and weathered it.  Letting it dry before urethaning it, but it’ll make a perfect base for a kitchen table top we’re getting ready to build.

Photos

An oblique view of the wainscot going in. You get more of a brown, wood look.
Straight on though, you see an explosion of color.
And the bunk beds now have mattresses and some of the bedding.enouh for our daughters dog at least!
Raw stump
Sanding it


Posted to washougalhome by Rob in Washougal, WA on 10/23/2018 6:04:56 PM

Summer has come and gone. We were busy through out though, no moss growing under our feet. If we weren't doing things on the property then we were off traveling in the RV someplace. Where to begin for the update...


The upper rock wall is done. We rented a mini-excavator over Memorial Day weekend and got it done. No small feat. That was running the machine and working sunrise to sunset. My arm's felt like they couldn't move anymore, sore to do anything. Advil does wonders thankfully. After the wall itself was done, it was another week of grading and picking out rocks to get the ground ready for planting grass seed and then spreading grass hay over the whole thing. 

After grading it was time to get on with installing the irrigation pipe and direct burial electrical cable along with 5 hydrants around the property so we could have power and water in far corners of the property. We also put 7 zones of watering in the vineyard so all of the existing and new vines could get watered regularly (12 zone system in total). It took us a month to get all the pipe underground, put the zone wiring in, put the electrical line in, do all the junctions and connections, test it all, and then get it all buried. That's all the stuff you don't see! The above ground work still needed to be done which was putting the finishing touches on the multi-function hydrants, which had the water spigot on one side of a 4x4 post, and an electrical quad plex with outdoor cover on the other side. Our well provides outstanding flow (we have a 119 gallon pressure tank on the line as well), which is great for pushing water all around the property but the high pressure means we had to use pressure reducers on all of the drip lines. We laid out almost 2,500 feet of drip hose and every single plant and tree that we have planted is now watered with a dripper, resulting in over 500 drippers dripping. We also cut and drilled 450 special home made deep watering pipes to put the drippers inside with a 45 degree angle cut on the bottom and multiple holes on the side, with a cap put on the top to keep dirt and bugs out of the pipe. I'll post a picture of what they look like. Though well water is 'free', we like the water to get down into the roots directly. 

My wife had to put a mesh netting all the way around the vineyard to keep the wild life out. Unfortunately we didn't think of birds as being a potential problem and sure enough, in mid-September while she was preparing for a first small grape harvest, a flock of crows decided otherwise, and in 24 hours ate every last grape that was waiting for harvest. She cried for an hour solid she said when the issue was discovered. Maybe it was the $300 in equipment that has ended up sitting in their box now on a shelf or the class she had signed up, that while informative didn't mean much when you have no grapes for production. Disappointing to say the least. 

The septic system is fully installed and working now. We did a go-around dance with the county on getting it approved. The county initially approved it before I buried it all, but then came back via telephone and asked if I was on the state approved list of installers. I said no, of course not, I am a resident owner installer of a single gravity feed family system (ie I can do it myself). They said I still needed to take the test, and it required a proctor fee followed by a state grading fee to verify I passed. I hedged my bets and took the test and only paid the proctor fee. While taking the test, it was obvious the test was for a contractor level person, asking questions about pressure systems, raised bed systems, and the like, more about other systems than the gravity feed single family residential system that I had installed. So long story short, I balked at paying to have the test actually graded, and spelled out in an email to the original inspector why I believe based on the county and state code that they were forcing me down a flawed path. It took a month but they ultimately came back with a compromise that they would approve my install if I agreed to an 18-month inspection by a county list approved contractor. I said fine. After that was all said and done, it was the very dry month of August here in the NW so we didn't do the final grading and put grass seed down over the drain field until the end of September. 

In the aerial photo I'll post, you'll notice a number of RV's in the driveway... it was Labor Day weekend so we had multiple friends/family and their rigs up for the long weekend to relax and enjoy the great outdoors with no fee's attached.  Campgrounds on long weekends can be so crowded!

Photos

Getting the vines in the ground
Read some research reports about deep watering systems so we created our own pipes to stick in the ground with a dripper in the pipe itself.
Aerial view over Labor Day weekend.
Renting a trencher was faster than trying to use our tractor's backhoe. Less mess as well.
Septic tank ready for inspection and then burial
Grow tubes for the grape vines... keeps them protected from the elements and mammals both.


Posted to MadeByMelissaPdByChris by Melissa in Berea, KY on 10/17/2018 5:02:10 PM

Tomorrow we will begin breaking ground for our pole barn.  It is necessary to construct this prior to the home because we sold our home and everything is being stored in a semi tractor trailer!  We need to get everything transferred to the barn ASAP! (plus I packed my winter clothes/stuff and I need them)


I will finalize the plans the beginning of November.  Our goal is to break ground in the spring of 2019.

I am so excited to do this because:

1.  I know I'm fully capable
2.  I WILL save us money
3.  I love to create

Wish us luck!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/14/2018 10:28:39 PM

Friends and family came out to visit and vacation over the past couple weeks, both groups working it around the balloon fiesta that’s held in Albuquerque every fall.  Weather has been a bit spotty for the festival, but they got to see the ascensions and evening festivities.  Much time was spent in Angel Fire and surrounding areas including narrow guage train excursions to see the fall foliage.


The visits were a good test of the interaction between people and house, and all went very smoothly on that front.  The last of the company left this morning before the arrival of the first real winter storm of season.  Yesterday we got the snowplow back onto the Jeep and reinstalled the side windows.  I raked out the driveway to reduce the variation of gravel so I don’t scrape it off with the plow. And I spent a couple of hours foaming the remaining holes in the garage ceiling around plumbing and garage doors.  That should eliminate cold air that was able to circulate in the ceiling and make its way into the second floor. 

Before company arrived, I got the lower section of two bunkbeds built.  Today I started on the upper bunk on one section started.  Need to cut slats for it and eventually make railings but slowly they are beginning to take shape. Ther e has been a lot of trial and error in laying them out, but what I learn on the firstwill translate into faster construction on the next ones.

Oh and the chairs for the dining table arrived.  A month early. Really wonderful construction with all mortise and tenon construction, steam bent backs and a fantastically smooth finish.  No cushions but extremely comfortable nonetheless.  

And the pool table came as well. Not much left except mattresses for the bunks.  I’ll be happy to not see the delivery trucks coming every day!

Photos

Dining table with chairs finally added
Fall colors from the train. Beautiful country!


Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/13/2018

Good weekend days are getting rather more rare these days as winter is coming on, but I was finally able to grout the rock around the wall!  Yay!

A step back for a moment about Tanglewood.  The house itself has a "dry stack" layout, such that there isn't any grout to speak of between the layers of stone....they are tightly positioned one against the other.  When I started with the door I actually wasn't sure I'd have enough rock to do the same around the door (despite the larger-than-expected amount I had managed to collect). So I went with the more classic "wide grout" layout and honestly I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I've got nearly the whole door area done as of this writing; it actually is going pretty quickly.  There's a little bit yet to do and then I need to extend the grout down to the pillars themselves, but I should be able to get that done tomorrow.

One step at a time!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The left hand side of the door, nice and grouted tightly.
The right hand side of the door. I think this dark gray looks pretty nice myself.
The upper right, showing the work and the bit of stucco that I need (eventually) to fix.
Another shot of the left hand part of the door.


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Photos



Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/9/2018

Well now that the rainy days of autumn have arrived, The Leak has (of course) cropped up again.  Dang it.

First the good news related to the turret.  I've been doing work up on top of the turret cleaning it all up and getting ready to put a new membrane seal onto things and I have to say it all looks pretty danged good.  There's a "dip" in front of the main scupper which causes water to pond rather than that I'll need to level out, but fortunately I'd thought about that and bought some stuff to do so.

The leak however is still present and we got enough rain to (of course) leak again (pics below).  Very frustrating.  Feeling around the length of the patio door it's wet along the whole way, but I think it's "more wet" along the southern edge than towards the northern (house) edge.  

Once the rain stops and I can clear everything off I'll take a closer took of course.  I need to completely clean off the top of the turret (pine needles, cones, etc.), then level out that one part before I can put a new layer on top.  Down below, I'll clean off the whole walkaround and then double check everything once more--maybe I missed something causing the leak.  I'll probably put a new layer on everything as well if the weather is amenable.

I want to fix the ceiling in that room but of course I can't until I've got that leak stopped.

I'll get you fixed sooner or later, Tanglewood--it will happen!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

At least I've got a pretty good system now to catch the water....dang it.....




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