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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/21/2018

Unfortunately, it gets darker again from here.....ah well.


That's the way of it.



Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/17/2018

A major milestone reached today as I finally (finally!) got the exterior concrete board up and backer wire installed around the door!


Since I basically wasted an entire day erroneously putting on drywall last week I tried to be a bit more careful this time around.  After walking through the steps in my head both my recollection and my planning told me that the first step was to tear down the drywall, so I did exactly that.  A bit distressingly (I thought) it was much easier to tear it down than it was to measure, cut, and nail it all in a couple of weeks ago, but generally that's the way it is with basic destruction I reckon....

Once I got the drywall debris all cleared away I set about measuring and cutting the concrete board.  Now, folks who have done this a lot already know that cutting concrete board is a messy process indeed....it takes a bit more effort than it does with drywall, is rather heavier, and is particularly prone to crumbling apart if you have a particularly narrow section you're trying to carve out.  I took a few moments to read up on some tips online, and ended up wrapping sections I was going to cut in extra mesh tape.  The idea was to keep edge pieces from crumbling apart and (for the most part) I was quite successful with that.  Of course I also took things very slowly, measured three or four times before making the cuts, and then followed up with additional "reinforcement" using the mesh tape when a cut was all done.

It all seemed to work out pretty well, though it took me some time.  By the time the boards were cut I was pretty hungry, so I took a hour's lunch break and did a couple of small chores.

Then it was back to The Door.  With the board cut next up was to install it, and that involved (of necessity) a lot of climbing the ladder up and down. And up and down.  And shuffle, and then up and down again.

But (eventually...did I mention there was a lot of climbing?) I got them up.  And was pretty happy with them too...I managed to measure and cut both sides of the door's arch completely in two solid pieces, so that I could minimize any gaps I'd have to seal up down the road.

The next step was to put up the wire mesh on the board, so as to give the mortar something to grip to when I started installing the stone.  That was pretty easy really, though I spent some quality time stabbing myself with the wire while I was trying to cut it out.  My original idea was that I'd be able to cut one solid section of wire for each side of the arch, just as with the concrete board, but I had so much trouble managing the rolled wire (and fending off its occasionally attempts to stab me) that I eventually just cut it down into sections and put those up one at a time.  It was more work, but that didn't matter much for the wire base.  And the overlapped sections are technically stronger when it comes to hanging on the mortar and eventual rock I guess.

So this stage was (finally) done!  It took me a good hour to clean up the mess I'd made doing these last couple of steps but it was a good feeling, and cleared the decks for the next step.

Which is, of course installing the rock.  I'm only going to do the upper (arched) section right now as I need to do a bit more work along either side of the bottom to flesh it out as I'd envisioned, but I'm getting there!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Upper right, nicely installed.
Upper left also nicely installed. You can see the lines of concrete screws sunk into the door supports along each side.
Overall pic (just because I have a camera and because).
Upper right with wire mesh installed.
Lower right with wire mesh installed.
Left side with the wire mesh. Ready to mortar!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/9/2018

Heh...sometimes I don't know what I was thinking.


With the boiler all fixed up and working properly again I was finally able to start taking a look at working on the door again.  I evaluated where I was, figured that the time was to get that exterior sheathing up, and proceeded for the next couple of hours to do just that.  Along the way I carefully read about and then used my handy new battery-powered nailgun and carefully sealed up all of the gaps and such around the door.

Then I went to read up on the next step, and that's more or less where I realized I'd done a Really Stupid Thing.

I'd built the exterior around the doorframe with regular drywall, rather than that big sheet of concrete backer board.  Drywall looks really good but (since you never really can seal out the air completely, especially around a door) it eventually absorbs the moisture in the air.  And then it weakens.  And then one day that rock around the door will fall off, probably at the most annoying moment possible.

Sigh.

Okay, lesson learned.  Next week I tear down the drywall and put up the concrete backer board (Durock is the brand, it's a pretty good one) instead.

At least I got some good time in with that nailer...works like a champ!  :)


Steven in Colorado

Photos

At least I bought a nice big board of this; should make it simpler for my cuts and such.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/5/2018

Huzzah!  It's fixed!

When last we met I expressed my great annoyance that my system was leaking again rather steadily after just a couple of days....so much so that I had to shut the whole thing off.

Today I got Radiant Adam up here again to fixalate this thing once and for all.  I had pondered on the whole thing for the last couple of days and wondered what might have caused the leak...why it was okay for a day or so and then got steadily worse.  Before he got there, I had recalled that he had not replaced a washer in the glycol unit....a union where the pipe comes down from the rest of the house back into the boiler.  I knew from prior experience with plumbing of various kinds that one should always replace these things if there's an opportunity to do so....they get "set" with pipes in a definite configuration and putting them back together again wouldn't always ensure the same "set" as one might have hoped.

Long story short, that's exactly what it was!  It was a bit worse than I'd thought though because I hadn't accounted for the heat of the boiler....over the last 8-ish years the washer in question had gotten very "brittle".  NOT so brittle that it wouldn't bend, really, but vastly less supple than it was supposed to be.  Radiant Adam popped it all out, made his own washer/gasket with his own sheet of material (this allows shops to make custom washers on the spot), got everything all hooked up and then repressurized the system one more time (air had gotten in while doing all this).  

And now, it's done.

Looking at it I do see there is a very tiny leak around the pressure release valve at the top of the boiler.  I'm not really sure why that would be other than something thinking the pressure it too high, but nothing on the gauge seems to bear that out.  If I had to make a guess myself there might be an air bubble in it, maybe?  I'm going to give it some time to let it work its way out.

Going forward I'm definitely going to get one of these glycol makeup systems.  Radiant Adam was amazed that the original installers had not put one in originally and he definitely felt I should have one.  Given the size of the system he said that loss due to leakage was just about going to be inevitable (although oddly enough I've not seen any leaks at all other than around the boiler itself).  I've added to my "get soon" list, so it'll definitely happen.

Still this is all good.  Now that I've got this silliness finished with I can get back to finishing up the door.  I need to get the concrete siding up next and figure out what I'm going to do with the casing around the door; I've got some ideas, just have to make some measurements.

Forward!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/3/2018 10:52:33 PM

Well, FRACK.  And bugger all.

So a couple of days ago I was posting about how awesome it was to finally have hot water again, courtesy of a properly pressurized and properly laid out intake/exhaust boiler system.  When Radiant Adam left (around 4:30 PM Friday afternoon) we thought things were looking good.

Yesterday I noted there were a couple of drips of glycol on the floor under the boiler.  I didn't think much about it as I had expected some of that when the system was fired up, so I just wiped it up and wiped everything off and didn't think too much about it.

Then this morning when I got up I was hearing a definite "drip" sound.  Wandering over to utility room I found a nice drip that couldn't really have been going very long (else it would have been a huge puddle)....this definitely wasn't okay!  I cleaned up the drips and fixed breakfast, and by the time I was done it was very definitely worse than before (I think the boiler came on, raising the internal pressure and apparently increasing the leakage).

This. Is. Not. Good.

Sigh.  So I shut down the boiler and closed the valves, then put one of the glycol buckets to catch what was still dribbling out.  I then send a note to Radiant Adam requesting he return yet again, this time with all of the hardware necessary to (potentially) replace that entire union.  (Feeling around I'm only finding leakage along the top of the union, and since it's fairly tight I'm starting to wonder if it doesn't have a crack in it.)

I'm very annoyed....my whole plan to continue with the door work has definitely been put on hold for a couple of days at least.....

Grrrr.................


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/1/2018

Okay, success today...finally.

Last week I shared the ongoing saga with Radiant Adam and our replacement of the boiler at Tanglewood.  It had literally vibrated so hard due to the venturi going bad that it had broken three of the five bots in the boiler, meaning the lid was basically just being held on by a couple of screws.  Unfortunately it turned out that the supply warehouse had sent up the wrong boiler and so our day was cut short.

Today however we got everything done -- the new boiler was installed, the intake/exhaust vents on the back of the house were extended (they were too close to each other, which is why the system was breathing hot air in the first place), and the system repressurized back up to about 18 psi.  This all basically took all day and there was a lot of trouble getting everything hooked back up....we had to disconnect the gycol feed at one point to get the boiler into the "box", and mid-way thru the day Radiant Adam realized that they didn't send a new set of sensors--so we had to take a 2 hour hit to the schedule for him to run into town and get them.  All quite annoying.

Still it all looks pretty good.  The system is wonderfully quiet (as it should be!) and the system has begun to slowly bring up the house heat and make glorious hot water!  It should take a couple of days for things to heat up properly but overall I'm quite happy...yay!

A pricey trip but that's what emergency funds are for.  At least this is done and I can start looking at the next stage of the door.


Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/25/2018

Well now....things continue to be quite annoying I dare say.

The short version is:  I don't have hot water (or radiant heat) yet.

We got Radiant Adam back up today with new boiler in hand and began to take the old boiler out.  That was tricky because the unit is intended to come "as is" in a big box--the folks who built it only barely allowed a way to replace something as integral as the boiler itself (which rather looks like a big coffee maker).  

So after all that prep work we got the box with the boiler down, opened it up...and realized it was the wrong boiler.  Totally not the right one at all....this boiler was for a Prestige 110, I have a Prestige 175.  Totally wasn't going to work.

Well dang.

So....Radiant Adam's trip ended sooner than we expected.  Fortunately things are warm enough that not having the house heated isn't too bad (though it definitely sucks not having a hot shower).  And all of that meant I didn't get too much done with the door, but I did do some cleanup and pondered what I would do with the top of the trim arch.


Steven in Colorado





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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/18/2018

Well now, this was unexpected.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that the boiler was making VERY loud sounds when it fired up.  It was clearly struggling and the noise intake was making far more noise than it should have--these things are nearly noiseless normally.  Looking at things I realized that the glycol pressure was low....which was very much unexpectedly as it's a closed loop system.

I had known there was a slight leak from one fitting that I discovered several months back, but I had retightened everything and thought that other than having lost a little bit of pressure things were okay again.  The fact that it was lower than I had expected bothered me, and again made me think of installing a glycol makeup system as Radiant Paul had suggested a couple of years ago.

So anyway, after a bit of detective work I discovered that the  folks who had been working for ABC Plumbing are now working for a company called Jolly Plumbing--ABC had sold off their boiler support last year.  A couple of phone calls later and I got Radiant Adam--I had made sure I wanted somebody who would teach me, and he did.

We got the system pressurized up nicely, no real problems, and Radiant Adam was generally pleased with the way the system was laid out with lots of shutoff valves we could use.  Things were looking to be very good....

....and then I moved something on top of the boiler and something went "clank".  It was a screw head; one of the bolts at the top of the boiler had completely broken off.

With a bit more investigation we discovered things were considerably worse than expected.  The venturi (a rubber membrane inside the intake valve) had almost disintegrated; our primary suspect was that the exhaust and intake lines were too close too each other, allowing the boiler to bring in "hot air" and ending up disintegrating the rubber.  The holes in the rubber made the startup very rough, which was why it was so noisy, and apparently it vibrated so hard on startup that it sheared three of the bolts (we eventually discovered).

So now I have no hot water as of this writing.  Parts are on the way; turns out the boiler is itself still under warranty (which rather surprised me) so they're going to do a full replacement on it.  We'll find out more this next Friday!

What an annoying development.....


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/12/2018

It's a bit since I updated much regarding the door, which is definitely all on me.  I plead too many side chores and boiler issues.

The inside of the door--the drywall around it--is in and ready to be taped up.  I was planning to work on the outside of the door next, then tape up both sides.

I finally realized that part of the reason I was moving so slowly was that I didn't like the way I would have to put up the trim around the door.  The ETO people gave me two different types of trim, a fancy wide trim and an less fancy but narrower trim.  From the way the door is installed the thinner trim is the way to go, but even then there were problems.  The door turns out to be slightly "fluted", so the top of the arch is slightly narrower than the top.  This is turn means that a relatively "deep" wall (all ICF remember) makes me unable to have the trim nailed up to the surrounding wall at the top....either I have to build up the wall to match the top of the arch or I have to put in most of the trim one way and the arch another.   After much thought, I decided on the latter.

I haven't deeply examined the exterior yet, but I assume there will be similar issues when I get to it.

Now I have to redo the exterior drywall.  I might decide to replace it with concrete board or, since the door is well set back into a porch might forgo that.  The biggest issue will be making sure there's a strong foundation around the door (lathing and wood bracing) to hold the stone that will eventually be there.  I'm pretty sure what I have now might hold up to the stucco but would not work very well with a tougher lattice work first.

So things are moving slowly, but they are moving!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/21/2018

Well, the good news is that I think I finally figured it out.  Knowledge is power.

The bad news of course is that it'll be some work.  Sigh.

I've been wrestling with this leak for literally years, though to be honest I've not dedicated much time to it since there were other priorities.  After another leak sprung forth on Friday (due to a bout of snow/rain) I thought it might finally be time to figure out what the heck was going on.

And yes, I did eventually figure it out.  It took a lot of investigation and testing (via copious amounts of water being dumped in various areas) but here's what I think is going on.

Basically, there were two problems....the first was up on the tower roof.  That area is flat and (until a couple of years ago) would leak after a big snowstorm due to ice buildup overflowing down on pair of 2x8s in the tower wall.  I found old indications of leaking in the pain along that one set of verticals and old mold/stain marks on the subflooring along that wall (I tore up part of the existing laminated wood flooring; I have plans to put in a porcelain floor anyway).  That's been fixed for the most part thru the work I did a couple of years back when I worked around and patched it.  That roof might still be leaking if there's a lot of snow up there--it was unclear since I was also brushing water off of the walkaround outside the patio door--but I think that's what was happening.

Secondly is the more serious issue, and the one which will require the most work to fix. Basically the roofers up there were totally incompetent and, as near as I can tell, they never installed flashing around the base of the patio door.  Now ordinarily that wouldn't have been that much of an issue, except that they didn't slope the roof there properly around the walkway.  That had basically been happening since we completed the house, and over time that leaking has rotted part of the subfloor where the vertical 2x8s and the patio door meet.  I was able to put my hand straight thru the rotted wood when I pulled up the flooring, and it was quite damp under there.  There are indications that leaks had happened either along the patio door or (more likely) simply soaked the wood towards that direction, with the upshot that there are moly and discolored spots all along the stretch of the door.  

Outside the patio door itself actually seems pretty good, if somewhat ugly.  I'd put down some of the rubber membrane goop a few weeks ago and I noticed this time around that much of it had "bubbled"--that's a sign of gas (probably from the decaying wood) being released from the wet subfloor.  It all still seemed intact however, and that's the important thing.

So my course of action look to be as follows:
  1. First up I've got a couple of small fans drying things out all around that stretch of flooring and inside the rafters below.  I'll leave the fans running indefinitely, basically until I get ready to do the rest of the work (below).  I've gradually been carrying planks of the laminate down for disposal in the fireplace (it's wet as wood goes but it does actually burn pretty quickly).  Here in a week or so I'll treat everything with vinegar to kill the mold.

  2. The turret top needs to be repainted next.  There aren't any obvious  holes anywhere that I could see where water might enter, but there are a couple of "soft" areas on top of the roof that were the site of the prior leaks which need patching.   Of course the idiots who did the work in the first place didn't slope the roof properly so the drain only runs when the water is higher than it should be; I need to clean all of that up, get the slope in properly, and prep the roof for repainting.  I plan on doing some layers of paint and roofing membrane to bring the whole thing up about a half inch, possible with a layer of rubber membrane, as part of all this.  I'll also need to build some kind of shelter for working up there to keep rain out of the area while it's being worked on, but fortunately I think some well placed 2x4s and a nice big weighted tarp will do this.

  3. After the turret top is sealed and sloped properly the real fun begins.  After some thought I think I'm going to have to completely remove the patio door up there; the subfloor it's sitting on has already partially rotted and since the idiots who didn't do their work properly didn't install any flashing it won't get any better.  My thinking is that once the bad wood is cleared out I will install a new run of 2x4s, properly flashed, which will give the patio door a small "step over" to get in/out.  I'm okay with that because honestly it isn't a door that would be used much anyway, frankly.

    That door also has a big window above it (no idea why they installed that other than to give me lots of light), but unfortunately if I move the door up 4" that window has to come out.  I can frame it out and then stucco across that bit I guess; the window itself will get donated to a recycle shop.

    I don't really want to replace the door itself, just rebuild its base and then reinstall it.  I don't really want to buy a new patio door anyway (they're ridiculously expensive).  Besides, if I did decide to replace it I'd also have to figure out some way to haul it down and away to the recycle.  Really a better plan all around to work with what I have.  This is going to be tricky of course since all of this work is happening near the edge of the roof, but my plan is to lever the door into the computer room and use tarps to protect the giant hole in the house like I did the last time I did that.

So that is, as they say, is that.  At least I've figured it out...there's a lot of work ahead to undo the mess the idiots who installed it did but I can do it!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/7/2018

Getting up this morning I was in the mood to get some of the "smaller" chores that had been piling up around the house.  There are always things like that, not quite large enough to dedicate a full day to them but which still needed doing.  That's what I decided to tackle today.

My original plan had been to take the opportunity to move the remaining ICF from the shed up into the garage, but the higher winds whipping thru the canyon made that a poor choice.  So I decided to pull up the raspberry canes that had infested the area down along the driveway instead.

Right off the bat I was in for a pleasant surprise....the recent rain had left the ground very soft, and so rather than wrestling with the canes I was able to more easily pull them out root and all.  That in turn was very good news since that mean there would be a minimum of regrowth from roots I left in the ground; if I was able to pull them up completely they'd have to recolonize rather than just regrow.

Working my way down the road I found all kinds of bits of old concrete and some old pieces of Styrofoam from the build, both of which required collecting up more 5 gallon buckets to gather properly gather each for disposal.  I eventually decided on dedicating 5 buckets to gathering up the raspberry canes and reserve two others for collecting old concrete for recycling.  My plan is to take everything down next week at some point; by then I'll have gathered enough Styrofoam and concrete to justify a trip into town.

As I worked my way down the driveway I ran across a large cardboard box...well, what was left of a cardboard box.  Turned out this was what the rock facing on Tanglewood itself came in, and somehow they'd left a box of it stashed semi-under the porch during the finish up.  So I fished it out, tossed the remaining cardboard scraps and 2x4s into the trash, and took time to sort out the useful rock.  I got a fair amount of whole pieces and about double that in cut pieces; the whole ones I plan to use around the door in the finishing step of its installation later this summer.  That interlude took a couple of hours interspersed with pulling raspberry canes.

By the time the day was done I was too, that's for sure.  Lots of back and forth trudging up and down the driveway today.  Still, it was a good day--I got the raspberries cleared out from part of the front of the house, collected some more bad concrete and waste Styrofoam for disposal, and unexpectedly just about tripled my available facing rock for ultimate use on the door!

A goodly day overall, I'm calling it!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/6/2018

Well now, been a couple of weekends working steadily around the garage has finally allowed me declare "completion"....for certain measurements of completion, anyway.  The garage cleanup is (for now) done.

Mind there's a lot of stuff still not quite as "cleared out" as I'd have liked from the last report.  The tools are all nicely cleaned up and put away other than a tiny handful of a couple of things needed for the next major project (drywall inside the door).  I've purchased the handles necessary to repair a couple of other tools (smaller sledgehammers) and moved the power tools over to one row where I can work with them down the road.  There's been a lot of sweeping of course.

The 4" socked drainpipe is all stacked in much more orderly piles in one of the garage bays, the winter tires have been stacked away onto shelving off to the side, and some old cardboard and wood which has been collected from around the garage and already been burned.

Looking forward to tomorrow I'm going to start moving the leftover ICF that I'd stashed up by the shed when I rebuilt it (I was able to move about half of it; more in a few days after we get a bout of rain) and then I want to tackle an old box of the rock siding they apparently just left when the crews were done.  Along the way I'll pull up as many raspberry canes as I can (they literally spring up like weeds up here on the disturbed soil) and either burn or dump them depending my preference at the time.

With the garage done (well, as done as it's going to be) I can now look forward to the next series of projects.  I think I'll be dividing my time between the drywall inside and looking again at dealing with the leak.  I've was able to make a dent in it with my work around the computer room door but there's still water coming in, and I'm thinking now part of the leak is from the rooftop on top of the tower.  They used the same (bad) technique to build "crickets" that would supposedly divert water towards drains.  Probably would have worked a LOT better if they actually removed the water first...the slightest leak would undermine the cricket overlay, and that's exactly what has happened.  I'm thinking formed concrete is likely the way to go.  We'll see.

One project down, more projects to go!  Keeps ya busy I reckon.


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/12/2018

Well now, I was able to spend the afternoon doing some garage cleanup and actually made some good progress.

I finally have all of the tubs of nails and screws and miscellaneous all sorted.  The resultant and badly oil-stained boxes that were holding all of this debris have been moved into the living room for (eventual) burning, and I did yet another round of sweeping to get everything that all of this stuff had been sitting on.

I also got a few more tools put up onto the pegboards and then started sorting containers to hold the big nails/screws that I had left over from building the original shed.  I'll have to do more of that later this summer (tearing down the last of the old shed is on the Summer To Do list) and I'll no doubt have to figure out a better places to store all of these things right now (an old Dickey's BBQ cup).  But that's down the road.

I think maybe I'm going to need two more good days to get that garage finished up.  I've basically now got the room to start moving the BIGGER stuff around (such as the pedestals with fixed power tools).  Once that's all down I've got to move the remainder of the scaffolding from the garage into the house in preparation of working on the antler chandelier (gotta work up there and that means scaffolding).  I can then move back all of the coiled pipe that will be used later this summer and I frankly think I'll have freed enough room to actually pipe the Gator inside!

But that's down the road.  For now, I'm just glad that the end of this particular phase of the festivities looks to be in sight!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/25/2018

Well now....I did get the trash taken out but I didn't get too far into continuing my Great Garage Cleanout when I got sidetracked.

I had puttered for about an hour and ate some lunch, then decided to get readings on the propane tanks before continuing the work.  So I activated the garage door, walked over to wait for it to clear.....and saw a three foot tall, 60 pound poodle just standing there staring at me.

Well now, that's unexpected.

She was totally calm, completely following any voice commands.  I brought her into the house and got her some water, sent out some emails to various folks about her sudden arrival at my house, and then did some checking up and down the road to see if anybody nearby had lost their dog.  There was nobody in either direction, and checking the snow I could see that there weren't any tire tracks anywhere....wherever she came from it wasn't from the road.  I could only assume she came overland.

A bit of internet searching and I figured it out.  Her name is Loretta; she's the "dirty white" dog on the left in the pic below.  Her partner in crime is Lee, about the same size but a gray/brown color, who also had run off that same day--they had ran off from a trip to a quarry about 5 miles or so as the crow flies from my place.  I was able to get Loretta down to her owner late that evening (night really), but as of this writing Lee has sadly not yet been seen.

So, this all took me away from my Cleanout duties but it was for a good cause really.  The clean up will have to continue next week!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Loretta is on the left; Lee is on the right.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/18/2018

With a second day of decent weather this weekend I was able to finally tackle the pipe.

For the most part this was pretty easy.....roll it out outside, clear out the space it was in, figure out where it's going to go.  I discovered some horrid messes however in a couple of the pipes...turned out those rolls of pipe were just perfect for some mice to decide to build little nests in the first two or three feet of the pipe.  They had drug everything into there.....bits of paper towels, leaves if they'd been able to, lots and lots of peanut shells (I assume they wanted those to lick off the salt).  I had to figure out a way to get all of that mess flushed out (a nice bit of flexible PVC pipe worked perfectly).  I then pondered for a moment about how to prevent mice from doing this in the future, and finally decided to rubber band some flexible mesh (left over from a failed screen for keeping bugs out) over each end.

One long and dusty afternoon later, there are now 17 rolls of pipe nicely capped, cleaned out and stacked along one garage bay.  There was a lot of sweeping, much extraneous dried mud cleaned up and dumped out into the gravel of the driveway, and enough bags of trash to now make another run to Ye Olde Trash Transfer Station next week. I think there's actually space cleaned up now that I could actually get those other five of rolls....hmmmm...........

But that's overall that's a good thing, really. I'm not by any means done yet, but things are done enough now that I can see and start moving and putting away the giant piles of tools taking up most of that bay of the garage.

And that is progress......


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/17/2018

After a bit of a sideling from last week (a bit of bad weather combined with too many other chores) I was finally able to pick up where I left things last time around.

With much of the "messier" stuff, Styrofoam and the like, all cleaned up and properly disposed of it was time to tackle the biggest thing in the garage--dealing with all of the socked and coiled PVC drainpipe that's been camping out for a year and a half.

Back in the summer of 2015 I started buying rolls of socked (encased in cloth to keep dirt from trickling down into a pipe to block it up) PVC pipe at the local Home Depot.  The rolls are 100 feet when unrolled, and are sold in coils that are roughly 5 feet across and 3 feet tall.  The local store usually only has ONE of these puppies at the store at any one time (I assume there are a couple more in the back room somewhere), and some back-of-the-envelope calculations showed that I needed ~2200 feet of pipe on both sides of the road from one end of the property line to the other.  Simple math showed me that with100 feet per roll, I'd need about 22 rolls.  So I started buying it when I was in town and near the store, stacking up in the garage gradually over the summer.

Unfortunately winter 2015/2016 came before I got to the project and by then the garage was already in a bit of a mess, so I tabled buying more pipe at that time.  Then in the spring of 2017 I had three things that took my time and attention--my unexpected illness, the replacement of all of the charge controllers, and then the race towards finishing up the door.  Got the charge controllers done okay, but I didn't quite make it to the end before finishing up the door.....so then things got cold.

So here we are with the Garage Cleanout.  I got the basics of the garage cleaned up enough to move around in, and so the next step was getting all that pipe under control.

Much of the cleanup was moving boards and other types of PVC pipe (plumbing fixtures, that kind of thing) into their proper places.  The boards are mostly pieces of 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x8s that are in good condition and shouldn't just be burned, so I had to find a place to stack them.  All of that took a part of the day, but at least by the end of the day I could see how I could start moving, stacking, and re-ordering all that pipe.

That's tomorrow....but progress IS being made!


Steven in Colorado




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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/3/2018 11:50:04 PM

So now that I've got those curtains up I figured things were about as done as they could be until I get the chandelier up there, so I decided to turn my attention to a more down-to-Earth annoyance.  As it happened, issues with the last thing I did (the curtains) kinda led towards the next item on the list.

I had started to put away tools and such that I had accumulated during  work on the door and the curtains.  Ladders, hammers, screw drivers, about 10 different kinds of stain--I'd dragged a lot out there over the course of the last few months.  And as I  started to clean things up and put them away, I quickly ran into a dilemma--I couldn't put things up.  The garage was SO FANTASTICALLY MESSY that I couldn't physically store away things that I was trying to put away because there was an unorganized mess there.  I did what I could, but I realized that the next step was clearly to get the garage cleaned up a bit.

So that's what I resolved to do.  There's a great mess in there as it is so I know it's going to take some time, but I got a decent enough start at least.

Today's chores were focused on cleaning up the much of the recycles that had built up in various corners of the garage, and trying to clean up some of the muck I'd been dragging in for the last few months.  Along the way I fixed a couple of minor things around the house, so  that was a win.

The recycles were relatively easy to take care of.  There were several trash cans that I'd been putting them into for a while and (as it happened) several mice had found their doom falling into the can and then unable to get out.  I got everything bagged up put into the pile of trash for eventual delivery to the transfer station.

Along the way I sorted out a lot of cardboard and a bit of Styrofoam; the Styrofoam is planned to be delivered tomorrow as part of my chores.  The cardboard got cut up and added to the burn pile for eventual usage.

After that I dig a lot of sweeping--basically mud that had been tracked in by the Trailblazer and then dried into dust.  I by no means whatsoever got everything -- there's a lot of bits of accumulation over the last few months -- but it's a start.

More to come though; it's going to take a few good weekends to tidy this mess up.  But it needs doing or I'll never get tools organized enough for any future fun....

Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/28/2018 10:12:19 PM

Well it took a little bit longer than I'd planned to get to the other windows--just too many chores to do last weekend--but I was finally able to finish up the curtains today.

Given all of the measuring and testing and re-measuring and re-testing a couple of weeks ago I had been able to refine what needed to be measured and marked much more quickly.  This time is really only took two days, and one of those was cleaning up much of the mess that had been building up from a very long construction.  

I got the laser line in place pretty quickly first thing in the morning, then took a break for lunch before starting the drilling and the curtain layout.  It all went pretty quickly and I think in retrospect I've definitely got this all down pretty clean now--when the time comes to work on other stretches of windows (like the long upstairs hallway) I'll know what to do I think.

So there's not really too much to tell other than the dry basics of climbing and drilling and setting and measuring everything.  According to my internal cameras I set off the motion detectors up there 105 times during the course of the day--but I guess it's a goodly workout!

The Great Room Curtains are finally done.  I think what's up next is to spend some time cleaning up the tools and cleaning up the garage.....it badly needs it, and I need to get all of the tools I've traipsed in over the last few months anyway. The place is a frick'in mess.....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The windows...they have no idea what's going to happen to them.....
One curtain rod up and straight....
...and they're done! Very nice; the curtains aren't quite centered yet though.
Boom chaka-laka!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/14/2018

With everything checked and leveled after yesterday's festivities getting to the curtains was straightforward enough.  I took things very slowly--I really didn't want to have to do this two or more times for every silly curtain--so I took the adage about measuring twice and cutting (this case drilling) once.  Come to think of it I probably measured more like four or five times as things went along....

But it looks like it was worth it, because by the end of the day I had three gorgeous curtains all nicely hung and centered.  Measuring their bottom extents they are precisely at the right height...there's so little variation that honestly I could make them just be tugging on them a bit to stretch them (which I guess they'll do anyway over time).

Quite excellent.  Next week, the other side!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The first curtain up...looks goodly.
The second curtain up....looks good.
Spot check on the first two windows. Note the measuring tape that's hung down from WAY UP THERE so I could check where the curtains were sitting.
Curtain number three, looking good!
A somewhat messy shot of all three curtains; mind the furniture.
This is a typical measure of where the curtains fall from the rods up above. Remarkably identical, actually.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/13/2018

Well now that I've got that huge bookcase upstairs (yet to be stained but at least it's on the right floor now), I figured it was more than past time to get the curtains in the Great Room hung.

I'd been planning to do this almost literally a year ago, but my gradual illness delayed pretty much everything.  After getting several things done around the house and getting the door mostly done (still got some wall work to do come warmer weather), I turned to my attention to one of the long-delayed project hereabouts--to get the curtains in the Great Room hung.  I'd bought the curtains over the course of last winter but had delayed putting them up as I my strength ebbed, and once I got on my feet again I was focused on working on the door while I could.  But with cold weather now keeping me inside, it was time to get the curtains done.

Putting them up was a bit tricky.  These are tall windows, basically 9.5 feet or so, and the longest curtains I could get were 10 feet long.  That meant once they're place above the archway of the window a bit that they'd just hang down a bit below the bottom of the upper window, about 6" or so.  There's a lower, shorter window under each of the larger windows (which I don't recall actually talking to Builder Dale about come to think of it, but leave that be), so even if/when the curtains cover the upper window there will still be light coming in those smaller ones. 

It's also remarkably difficult to get them up there and measure things accurately at that height.  I had a nice tall 20' ladder to get me up/down, but that's a lot of climbing.  Adding to that was a bit of dilemma on how to get a nice straight line across all of those windows, but fortunately there I'd bought a neat little tool I'd not really used much before--a laser level.  I'm actually not sure why I bought this puppy years ago, though I'm pretty sure I never really used it  much if at all--but I sure as heck was happy I had it when push came to shove.

So with laser level and long ladder in hand I got to work.  First I had to check everything around the window for level...the indent around the windows, the vertical levels on the windows, everything.  I wanted to make sure that we didn't have wiggles and waggles and inconsistent heights that would in turn drive me insane trying to get the curtains hung.

As it turned out things were fantastically level throughout....I was actually rather surprised.  The most variance I could find was about a half centimeter along the bottoms of the larger arch windows and I felt that wasn't much at all over that distance.  Similarly, when measuring for where the curtain rods would sit and using the laser level I took copious notes and made many measurements, eventually finding locations for each hanger which I believe at the end of the day will put the curtains at the right height.

So I was pretty pleased overall...the first step (checking everything) went well.  Tomorrow I'll get the first row of curtains up.

Progress, slow but steady!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

This one's level...
...and THIS one....
...and THIS one. Excellent.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/8/2018 2:06:12 AM

This was rather a lot of work, but I finally got the ridiculously heavy magazine bookcase upstairs in the library.

This is a rather large piece of furniture, around 4' high and nearly 5' long.  It has two magazine racks at the top which were where current issues are to be displayed; the shelf angles up so you can access older issues under that one.  You could stack just about a year's worth of magazines under each section of the shelf, and given it's spacing I figure you could easily have five or six magazines displayed side by side very easily.

Underneath are two larger (and fairly deep) fixed shelves for  heavier volumes, magazines, etc.

Colleen wasn't quite sure where it came from exactly when her grandmother passed away; all we really know is that she spotted it at a thrift store and bought it.  I have seen similar at both book stores and libraries in the past.  I shudder to think how they got it into the old house and downstairs, though I assume it was primarily thru the back down and down a nasty set of concrete steps.

But either way, when it became an obvious addition to Tanglewood once she inherited it, and she moved it up here a few months ago.  Unfortunately by the time she was done moving other things she was losing her light, so they just parked it by the apartment garage.  The intention was to come move it at some point....

....but you know how good intentions can sometimes play out.

So fast forward to this weekend, and I decide it's finally time to get this puppy upstairs where it belonged.  The job naturally fell into two pieces:  1.) get it inside the house proper and out of the garage, and then 2.)  get it upstairs.

It took both weekend days (not working on it full time mind you) but I got it done.  It's remarkably heavy, solid wood, but at least I was able to remove the shelving to help with the weight.  It's in excellent shape except on one side where it lost its trim, but I can remedy that pretty easily.   In the near term it's basically going to sit there until I have time to re-stain it though; I'm not a fan of that color myself.

But it's here!  Bwahahahahahahhahaha.........


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The bookcase from one side....
...and from the other.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/25/2017

Well okay, that's going a bit far there.  Still I'll call it a step in the right direction.

It was relatively warm up here at Tanglewood on Christmas day, so after a nice leisurely morning doing all of the standard Christmasy stuff I decided I'd make use of the nicer weather to do some outside cleanup work.  One thing on that list was taking care of the old ICFs leftover from Tanglewood's construction.

Honestly the crews had done a pretty good job of not generating much waste, though I had taken some of the more brittle and busted ones up years ago when I was cleaning up in the fall of 2011.  I'd stashed some pieces I thought might be useful later up by the leach field though, covering them up with a couple of tarps and carefully weighing them down so they wouldn't move  around.

However, after 6 years they had become uncovered and hence were subject to sunlight and UV degradation.  ICFs work great unless they are exposed to sunlight and UV radiation over a long period of time, in which case they get 'crumbly' and no longer all that trustworthy.  I had looked at that pile a couple of times over the course of the summer and finally decided to get them to the recycler.....they'd been there more than long enough and there weren't any obvious projects coming that would need them, so it was time to get rid of them.

So it's all packed into the back of the SUV (her name is Leisha by the way) and will get taken down to the recycler tomorrow.

So mote it be!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

This is about one third of the ICFs I was getting rid of. I hadn't thought to take any pics until I had most of it stashed in the truck.
A squirrel had used this cluster of ICFs for a midden apparently.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/24/2017

With most of the door work basically stopped for the winter season, at least on the outside, I turned my attention to my MANY interior chores.  First up was the curtain work on the master bathroom tub.

The window outside the tub is a larger one (bigger than I'd intended, actually), just over 5' across and as such needed a larger curtain.  I'd been slowly installing blackout curtains to help me in catching some sleep when I'm working a night schedule and had finished the ones around the windows at "this end" of the house over the course of the summer.  This rather large window was the last one.  

It all went fairly quickly I thought overall.  I triple measurements and made level checks as I was going along so as to avoid any noxious extra holes or anything.  A couple of hours and it was done.

This will help a lot next time I need to catch some sleep during the day.

Next I think are the curtains at the big "church style" windows in the Great Room.  That's gonna be a bit more work; I'll be up and down that ladder about a hundred times I think.....



Steven in Colorado

Photos

With the ceiling light off.
With the ceiling light on.
Curtains closed! Nice and dark.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/21/2017

Summer comes (slowly but surely)......gotta love it!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/22/2017

Well now, after got a day's worth of miscellaneous chores (mostly in town) I was able to get back to work on the door.  I'm a bit concerned that I'm going to run out of time (AGAIN!) this year given the issues that slowed me up back in the spring, but I'm gonna do my best.

What's up  next is getting the insulation all packed in and done.  This actually had two bits; first I needed to spray some of the insulating foam around all of interior "edges" of the tape to provide a secondary seal against any of the tape.  Mostly I was concerned with any of the tape coming loose over the course of the cold of the winter, but I also wanted to help make sure the tape was secure by "glueing it down" with the foam.  

The foam I used was a non-expanding foam, called Daptex.  I've used this before when building the shed and was very familiar with it....it almost more "dribbles" out than spraying and that works well for tighter spaces. I used it heavily in the very narrow (bottom) parts of the gap between the door frame the and major frame, and then used the rest of it to draw a good bead all along the where the tape ran along the frame and then the various bits of the drywall that were "held" by the tape. Above the door I had a slightly different problem since that was comparatively "deep" up there, but I layered it on carefully and slowing and used my fingers a couple of times to smooth it all out a bit.

After lunch (so I could let it all have time to dry) I began putting in the insulation.  I just used basic R-30 unbacked insulation, and basically just tore off chunks and stuffed it in the gaps working around the door.  This went pretty quickly for the most part, though it was slow going in the narrower bits at the bottom foot of each side (there's not a lot of clearance in there).  But I got it all done before the sun was hitting the western horizon, and so I called it a win.

I got the exterior protection back in (more weather was coming) and called it a day.  The important thing now is that the door is insulated and there's a hard exterior surface around it now.  Next up I can work from the inside if necessary, getting the interior drywall up and sealed and such. 

All and all, a good day.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The left hand side (looking from the inside of course).
The right hand side, again looking from the inside. Apologies for the light levels there; not quite sure what happened.
A shot of the full door, if somewhat canted (I guess I was holding the camera funky).



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/20/2017

So once I got the door blocked in a bit to accommodate the bad weather last week I found I at  had a decent weather weekend.  I took advantage of the bout of warmer weather to get the exterior sealed up properly against cold infiltration; once that's done I can insulate and do a lot of the rest of the work from the inside.

The plan was to do this in two stages.  First, I had to get the wall cut and blocked in.  That was a bit tricky given the arched parts, but I broke it into stages and got most of the overhead sections done in two big(ger) chunks.  The straight bits along either side of the frame were easier for a good two thirds of the run since those basically narrow but uniform sections.

There was a bit of a dilemma I ran into cutting these bits--did I want the drywall to basically be flush with the outside of the frame, or flush from the wall?  The frame itself is 6" deep but the doors themselves are mounted on the inner edge, and with the wall set back a bit from the frame I had a choice about which way I wanted to go.  I decided after a bit of consideration that the drywall would be flush to the frame -- this way when I set the stone around the arch it'll be "raised up" a bit from the rest of the wall.  I've always liked that look, it rather gives it some definition.

So after working out what I was going to do I set to it.  I took my time and went through most of my weatherproofing tape, but I'd selected this type for a reason--it's rather heavy duty and not easy to tear as well as sealing very well.  The drywall cutting was a bit more of a nuisance; I originally intended to cut concrete board and put that up but I realized that a.) I didn't have enough of it on hard and b.) I didn't have any tools to make good "clean" cuts anyway.  Normally I'd resist putting ordinary drywall on a surface that might get water, but after some consideration I realized that the mortar covering the drywall would seal it up nicely anyway.

It took all day but danged if it doesn't look pretty danged good all things considered.  I did some test "presses" against it from the inside and everything was nice and firm, so I think I shouldn't have any problems when I stuff the insulation into those cavities next (probably tomorrow or Sunday).

Glad to get this done.  Good weather is starting to get short now.....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Starting the left hand side. That tape is a heavy duty weatherproofing tape intended for "outdoor exposure", so I'm hoping it'll do what I need it to do.
More up the left hand side. Above this I had to get a bit more creative to fit to the curve.
Very nice and tight; no light around it at all. Helps a lot to do this in good and calm weather.
You can see some of the drywall now where it extends out from the edge to the curved frame.
Got the upper left part of the arch done....took a bit though. I used that weatherproofing tape quite liberally.
Working my way up the right hand side. After having done the left I knew better what I was doing and work more quickly.
Worked my way up the gap and starting to get the drywall in place.
Good shot of the last bit on the right hand upper part of the arch. That section was really a bit of a pain in the butt.
A decent shot of the arch....in this shot I hadn't taken the protective tape off of the weatherproof tape yet.
The view from the inside, sealed up. Sweet.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/14/2017

Well now, after a pretty uneventful weekend last week getting the stain on the door, it looks like the weather is going to take a turn for the worse.  I got home from some running around, intending to start on the drywall work, when I heard we had a cold snap and rain coming in.  I didn't want to expose the door to that just yet as I haven't been able to seal it yet (all I've done is the stain).

SO....I quickly got some weatherproof sheeting up around the door and blocked everything in.  I was pretty generous with it and I'm pretty sure it should be sheltered from any rain at this point.

Hopefully I can work on getting in some of the drywall next week....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The door all covered up!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/7/2017

Well, I'd waited for this for a long time.  The door is up, it's sealed and locked down, it's working correctly as it should...so it was time to apply the stain.

I'd been doing to testing with various stains for the last couple of weeks using a scrap of mahogany that they inexplicably shipped with the door (it's not for the door in any way, so I'm forced to assume that it was intended for such testing).  I was pretty sure I wanted a walnut stain of some  kind, but the couple I had didn't quite work for me.  Searching the local Lowes (the number of Home Depot possibilities was pretty slim for some reason) I ran across one called "Special Walnut".  Now, I don't particularly know what's special about it other than it was just another shade of walnut, but I really liked it after I put it on and let it dry overnight.  I therefore choose to consider it "special" because it was the one I liked....

So, I made sure I had plenty of this ready to go and began early in the morning.  I used 2" brushes and swapped for a new one often  when I got one particularly buggered up.  It basically took all day,  starting with the left hand door and then finishing up the right hand door pretty much as the sun was setting. It was expected to be a quite night--no wind--so I didn't bother with putting anything to protect or block anything (the door is under a porch already).

I think it came out perfectly, even better than I'd hoped!  The stain imparts a new dark look which has just a hint of red and perhaps golden colors--I really like it. It will work particularly well once I get the exterior rock up around the door....that should go with the door coloring.

Very happy to have gotten this done....it's a big step towards finally getting this all done and sealed up.

Next up is getting the openings around the frame and stuff sealed up.  That way I can stuff insulation in there and start getting drywall and exterior wall up.



Steven in Colorado

Photos

Full shot of the interior.
Better shot with as much of the door in one shot as I could.
Outside right.
Outside left.
Left hand frame (outside).
Right hand frame (outside).
Top of the arch from the outside. The fireplace is directly inside at the other end of the room. That ceiling fan is where my antler chandelier will be going in the early part of 2018.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/9/2017

So now that I've double checked that everything is all level all the way around I could seal things up around the threshold.

First up I had to put back on door sweep on the right hand door though.  It was pretty easy, though in retrospect I really should have put it on before locking down the door last week.  I'd left it off to ensure that things were properly level before putting the door back up (I was worried the rubber under the door in the sweep might have deformed and thrown off the measurements).  Fortunately there's a pretty large tile area in front of the door so there wasn't anything blocking getting the threshold back on.  

Next I selected a nice silicone sealant that worked well enough, but when I checked the tube I saw there wasn't near enough for the entire door.  I knew I'd bought more, but I had to spend the next hour and a half (not kidding) looking for it.  I finally found them behind some boxes I'd moved about a month ago; they'd fallen off  and apparently got covered up.  It was driving me nuts because I knew  I had some!

So after a couple of solid hours of cleaning and stacking stuff while looking for these tubes of sealant (hey, at least things got a little cleaned up as a result!) I got back to sealing.  I took my time, making sure nothing blew into the sealant there wouldn't be any leaves or bugs or anything like that to be preserved for eternity.

So it's all sealed and done now, and I plan to leave it sitting right there and leaving it totally alone for the next week.  The sealant says it sets in about an hour but there's not really any direct sunlight on that door so I figured I'd take it safe.  Besides I can't really work on it during the work week anyway.....

Glad I got that part done at least!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

That threshold looks nice and purty.
Door still shows a good seal all around; you can see two of the set screws at the top left and right around the frame.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/8/2017

Seeing as how many danged issues I'd run into with this door I figured I could spend a day checking everything One More Time.....

I checked everything that should be either vertical or horizontal depending on which was appropriate.  The edges.  The decorating trim around the door.  Each edge separately.  Each edge together (when the door is closed).  Two were showing slightly more towards the edge than I'd like but they were both within bounds, and I didn't see there was anything odd all with a careful inspection...so I let it go.

Looks good!  Gotta love it.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Where the doors close...nice and level (lower level indicator at the bottom).
Checking the BOTTOM of the door just to be safe.....
Gorgeous level on this door.....
...slightly towards one end on the other door though. Can't see anything wrong and it's within tolerance, so I'm letting it go.
Great on the vertical on this door.....
...and great on this door as well.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/27/2017

So now that I've got the door in and working I figured it was time to see what else (if anything) needed doing.  I only had a couple of hours (other chores) but I could spot a couple of smaller things.

The speakeasy on the inside of the door is about perfectly level; it was just the metal grating that was crooked.  The door looks like it seals nicely when both are closed, but I see that there's a bit of daylight coming through that space between the two that will need addressing.  I think I can put some backer rod behind the gasket on the left-hand (locking) door and that should fix it fine enough.

(From the one picture it looks like the bottoms are crooked, but that's an illusion; I don't have the sweep on the right-hand door on there just yet.)

The sides on both openings to the left and right of the door look good and sized well.  The door is well centered and looks solid.  I note that the right door seems to have a tighter fit than the left door does; I suspect once I've got the additional anchoring screws in I'll cinch that out a bit.

In fact that's the next thing I need to do--put in the anchoring screws all around. ight now there are only the three screws on the lower left/right and the center of the arch and while that's enough for the instructions I don't consider that nearly enough for safety's sake.  I might have some trouble though in those larger open spaces at the upper edges of the door though.....that's a pretty large gap and I'll probably have to find some longer screws.  But that's easy enough.

So far so good then....next weekend I'll work on setting it properly and seal it all up around the threshold (silicone).


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The speakeasy looks good.
No gap between the doors.
The bottom of the doors also looks good.
Nice gap on the right side....
....as well as on the left.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/27/2017

Well, it took all fracking weekend because I made 842 (approximately) measurements and checks as I went, but I finally got it in (and) working properly.

As I noted a couple of weeks back I was pretty sure that I'd messed up the frame on the door and, sure enough when I took it all down, there was the culprit...two wooden shims I had (mistakenly) used to level out the door.  It took me most of last weekend to clean up all of the adhesive I'd used the first time around, then remove the shims and scour out the bottom of the threshold on the frame so there wasn't any left.  

So this weekend when I started putting things back in--hopefully for the last time--I was extremely careful to check absolutely everything.  I checked level everywhere.  I checked and rechecked measurements.  I check the distance to the frame to the wall's edge on both sides of the frame on the inside, then did it again on the outside. I even took an hour to tack up a pair of diagonal plumb lines so I could confirm the diagonal measures--it was perfect.   

As I was doing all this I did notice a bit of staining on parts of the door, presumably due to water blowing in over the course of the winter (remember it wasn't properly sealed up or anything, just tarps).  Looking at it it all seemed relatively superficial, and was pretty sure a light sanding would fix it.  

So when it was all said and done, I carefully levered the doors up (they are extremely heavy) and attached the hinges.  That took rather more time than I had planned, as I was worried that doing this so many times before might have stripped the holes.  I made sure to coated the screws with adhesive just to be safe, and everything fit nice and tight.  

Finally when it was all up and attached, it was time to close those doors.  If I'd done my job right, I'd be able to close the doors nice and easy and tight and.....

...and they did!  

I knew those stupid shims had thrown it all off.....sigh....

So anyway, now the door is in.  It's really properly attached or sealed or anything yet, and I need to buff out the water stains a bit before I apply the color stain.  That's all down the road though.  The important thing is that the door is in, and it works, and it closes properly, and all those goodly things!

Of course I immediately noted a problem.  The speakeasy was crooked, and crooked slightly differently on the front (where the metal is) and on the back (which has the little door you open).  After verifying it wasn't anything wrong with the door (which I checked every which way), I made an executive decision and took that sucker off.  I'll put it up later when I have more time.

So mote it be.  Dang that was too much work!


Steven in Colorado




Photos

The door plumb lines from the side, more or less. It was a bit tricky to get that shot but it was enough to show they were properly touching.
The plumb lines from the side...nice and tight.
Look at that awesome bit of levelness....
Properly level on both sides of the frame.
That speakeasy isn't right though...everything else is level.
Closeup shot of the level on the speakeasy itself.
And just to double check, here's the speakeasy sitting on the floor. The speakeasy is clearly level, as is the floor its sitting on.
Just look at those awesome doors.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/13/2017

Well now, I think the door thing is my fault.  Dag-nabbit.

Way back when I was first the installing the door (seems like forever ago) and I put the frame in, I made a mistake.  It wasn't much of a mistake and I thought I was doing the right thing at the time, but in retrospect I figured out that what I'd done had to be the cause of the door refusing to close properly.

When I put up the frame I measured it seven ways from Sunday.  I checked level, and checked clearance, I checked position.  What I found was a slight slope upwards to the left side of the opening (looking from the inside of the house)-- it wasn't much but I figured it would throw off the door.  So I looked around at various construction webites and realized that a simple shim would give the frame that slight adjustment that it would need. I figured I'd need two and as it happened I didn't have any just lying around....I eventually found a couple in the garage.  They got put under the frame, the frame went up, and I honestly never thought about it again.

Until that is I tried repeatedly and couldn't get the dang thing to close properly.  I thunk and thunk, and I pondered and I pondered...and finally I remembered that little wood shim under the frame.  Surely that wasn't messing it all up, was it?

Yes, yes it was.  Sigh.

After berating myself for all of those months of work I took it out and then dry fit the frame to see if things would properly now.  I haven't actually put the doors back on yet...that will probably be next weekend....but magically there's no slope at all now.  Go figure.

So...that happened.  Dang it.

A picture of the unnecessary shim work below......


Steven in Colorado




Photos

I swear by Odin there was a slope when I installed it...but it ain't there now....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/1/2017

Still don't have much yet....everything is just "we're looking at it".  No details, no questions back to anybody in the canyon--nada.  It's remarkable how annoying it is when folks don't answer your questions.

Grrr...........


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/22/2017

Well now, the last couple of weeks look like they've just been conspiring to slow me down!

First we had rain....unending, annoying rain.  Kept me from taking down the tarps and stuff that were protecting the door.  I didn't want to take down those wraps and then have the door get rained on; it's still unfinished (that needs to happen) and I didn't want any water to get on it if I could.

But that's okay, but I had a week of nighttime work to do.  That's okay and I don't mind it--fair's fair and everybody rotates around to do this--but the upshot was that when I'm getting home at 0300 in the AM I'm not terribly inclined to do much around the house by the time I have to head into work again at 3:00 PM.  So that pretty much slowed things down.  I did try to put away some tools at least.

But really the BIG thing was that I lost my internet connectivity!

I didn't think much of it at first....it goes down sometimes, so I spent the day without internet and went to work (this was that same week I was doing the night shift) as normal.  I was puzzled it wasn't back up when I got home but it wasn't 100% unusual.

The next day was spent checking the hardware and the connectivity and (eventually) running the Gator up to the microwave relay we'd installed a few years a back to make sure everything was good up there.  Couldn't find any issues; it just wasn't connecting.

Phone calls and emails were next, of course, and those were all took time.  I couldn't email or call without the internet, so I had to drive down into town where I could get a signal or shoot an email.  Of course nobody knew anything when I called, they just took a message, and naturally email responses just got the standard "we are aware of the issue and we are investigating"--saying nothing, essentially.

Yesterday I at least found out what had happened.  Since I'm on a microwave link and while most microwave links are in a mesh configuration--Point A can send to Point C if Point B is down--I happened to be on a "leg" of sorts.  There was one connection coming off the main line, and then from there it was beamed up to my microwave tower, and then from there it got bounced down three households here in the canyon (of which I'm one).  

Turned out the guy with the first relay of the leg got mad at one of the technicians and, basically, tore the equipment and (as I heard it) "dumped it on the road".  There wasn't any formal deal or paperwork or signed agreement as it was all just a handshake deal.  And that worked great for 6 years....and then it didn't.

So there are techs trying to figure out another route up to the tower and folks trying to get the guy with the first leg of the link to let it be installed again.  No idea if that will happen of course.

And that's what ate up most of the last couple of weeks...grrrrr..............


Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/7/2017

So now that I've fixed up the worst (not all, just the worse) of the bad spots along the upper end of the road I can now focus on getting that frackin' door done.  There's some history about that.

The saga of the Big Door stretches back to September, 2015 when it finally arrived at Tanglewood after many series of delays by the company that made it.  By the time I got it up to Tanglewood winter was closing in, so I decided to just stash it inside and leave it all until spring.

Once Spring came around (2016) of course that's when my existing batteries basically were dying and dying fast.  I decided that I needed to table the work with the door until I got some new batteries up to Tanglewood and installed, and by the time that was all said and done I'd lost half the summer.  Okay, but I figured I still had time to get'er done!

So I made good use of the time, but everything of course took longer than expected.  I got the old door out but cleaning up the mess took a couple of weekends, and then I had to delay an extra weekend so I could gather assistance in moving the chandelier into the house.  Then I got the new door installed....

...and installed it again when it wouldn't close properly....

...and installed it again when it wasn't level....

...and installed it again when it wouldn't close properly and it wasn't level (that was fun)...

...and then I was just flat out of time.....

DANG IT!

So between walling up the door as best I could for the winter, and then the medical issues that cropped up during the winter of 2016 and early spring of this yea, and then the gravel fun, I couldn't get back to the door until this now.  All of which is completely ridiculous.

BUT....I've a clear shot at it now.  I have a theory about why it's not closing properly but I need to measure and check things every which way first.  That's next weekend.

I will get this stupid thing done....it's taken far too long as it is!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/21/2017

Ah well.....sure do love the daylight, but Winter is coming slowly but surely.  It is the way of things.


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/10/2017

Well okay, that's a bit overly dramatic.  But it turns out I started looking at the gravel road situation (noted briefly last post) pretty much at the last minute.

Since I didn't have my pickup truck anymore and I hadn't tried to borrow one, so I figured I'd just fill 5-gallon buckets and basically do "spot work" as needed along the wrong.  I knew I couldn't do everything but I could at least work on the worst spots, and over time (so I figured) I'd be able shore up/mitigate several of the worst spots.  

So I rounded up 8 buckets from around the garage and stopped by the gravel place.  One of the reasons I really love these guys is that they let me do "hand loads"....basically I don't need to have them dump a ton of gravel anywhere, I can load them by hand.  Of course that's a bit more work but it's straightforward enough, and other than being careful about lifting heavy stuff (I may or may not have strayed from my doc's orders a little bit there) it's easy enough to do.   When I got into the counter to pay they were very happy to see me and had many questions about why I was out of pocket for the first half of the year--and then I got the bad news.  Turns out the yard was going 100% commercial right after the Fourth of July, and that meant I wouldn't be able to get gravel there any more

Well dang!  That put a kink into things a bit.  Not only would I have to locate a different gravel yard (which would definitely a longer drive), but I'd gotten a good rapport with these guys that was all going to go away!  Smeg.

Ah well, not much to be done about it I guess.  All I can do between now and July is to get gravel any time I can and focus on the worst sections of the road.  Hopefully I'll find a different gravel site later on....

So anyway, addressed one section this afternoon at least....got rid of a bad dip in the road.  There's more to be done, but at least it's a start.

Sucks about the gravel yard though.  I liked that place.


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/9/2017

Well now....

Folks might have wondered a bit why my blog postings just sorta stopped in January.  Normally postings get a bit spottier in the winter months since it's cold and dark and I'm on vacation and...well, I just don't wanna a lot of the time.  But this particular break (basically from February until the start of August) has a more annoying reason.

Basically in March I was beginning to "tire" very easily, which was quite unexpected.  I figured I hadn't been doing much exercising (I'm a slacker I know) so I stepped that up.  It was clear that wasn't enough though; I still wasn't able to walk as far without running out of energy.  For a guy like me that's a very strange situation, to be sure.  Eventually a good friend of mine at work told me she was worried about me and nagged me into going to a doctor, which I did.

It's all very annoying but it's all been fixed and I'm back to normal.  In fact I think I'm feeling even more better every day, which is remarkable. I know the docs are pretty danged amazed (words like "impossible" were used), but while they ponder their amazement I'm planning to just go ahead and get back to getting things done around Tanglewood.

I think I'll keep my Summer, 2017 list short this season due to the medical sidelining making me start so late--I want to go slow anyway and give my body time to recover properly.  So giving it some thought I've got these on the agenda:

  • Finish putting in the Big Door (that's sadly taken far too long);
  • Install outside lights by the solar panels so I don't have to sweep off 6" of snow in the o'dark of the morning;
  • Do some triage work on the road; it's gotten pretty bad in some sections and it looks like nobody else is gonna fix this stuff.
That's it.  No more.  Focusing on those things will be more than enough!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/13/2017

Well, it's been a heck of a long time coming but I finally made the final installation this evening.  The last of the fluorescent bulbs in the house have been replaced with LEDs.


It's been a long time coming.  I started first with swapping out the chandelier bulbs in my master bedroom ceiling fan way back in 2011, but I didn't really start upgrading them much in earnest until mid 2015.  It took a long time for me to find a combination of bulb price, bulb performance (mostly brightness), and bulb availability.  I also discovered rather by accident that dimmable bulbs were not a good choice for Tanglewood, because of variations in voltage levels when the generator was running.  

Eventually I ran across two good sources:  Amazon had a fine brand of bulbs from AriusTek that I rather liked, and Wal Mart greatly expanded their selection of LED bulbs with both dimmable and non-dimmable options.  

There were stumbling blocks along the way of course.  AriusTek changed their technology just before I need one more set of 10 bulbs and once they did restart their production the new bulbs weren't as bright.  I had some trouble with finding the last set of bulbs--the fluorescent tube light replacements--but eventually found some nicely bright ones that involved only a little bit of re-wiring (I had to snip out the ballasts).  They were pricey though and of course I didn't have any to test cheaply--the smallest order was four bulbs--so that part was a bit of a shot in the dark.  I was very pleased with them though, so I quickly ordered four more sets (four sets in that garage plus another set for the apartment kitchen).

The last bulb was actually one I'd forgotten.  There was a heat lamp of all things that they had put into a fitting over the upstairs fireplace, using a slightly smaller can light.  Fortunately Wal Mart had exactly the right one to replace it with.

The fluorescent types of bulbs mostly went to the local county recycler.  A couple of boxes went to my sister back in Missouri to replace her standard incandescent bulbs (after all they're better energy wise), and one box was taken as a donation at a recycling building materials place (probably by accident in retrospect).  

But it's done.  All 255 bulbs (I counted) have been replaced.

So mote it be.


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/22/2017

I dare say I am very pleased with these so far.


I'm just about done converting all of my fixtures over to CFLs, and the most tricky part remaining was the CFL tube lights.  Back when I built Tanglewood we put four of these, one over each garage bay.   These are all four-foot fixture so they require the larger T8 bulbs.   There's another fixture in the apartment kitchen (more on that in a minute), and folks might recall a smaller fixture using two-foot lights I replaced late in 2016.

I'd poked around at the various home builder supply stores and couldn't really find anything I liked.  Oh a couple seemed to have the right lumens needed, but they were marred by reviews--even had one light that argued back and forth whether or not the existing ballast could be left in place or if it had to be clipped out.  

I went to search on trusty Amazon and found a lot of options--too many really--but was able to winnow them down a bit with some research.  Eventually I narrowed it down to one that looked good--excellent lumen output (2100L), bright daylight output (I wanted the garage to have more light), and their price was pretty solid.  While the output was slightly less than the stock CFLs they were half the wattage, and all the reviews unanimously agreed that the reflector on the back of the tube would prevent "wasting" half the light from the full-circle output of the standard CFLs.  So I ordered four of them (the smallest order that I could make) and figured that if these worked I'd be happy and if  not I wasn't out all that much.

They arrived--and then we had 4 weeks of  unrelenting cold weather.  Things would be great during the middle of the week, but come the weekend (when I had a chance to work in the garage) it was cold and dark and nasty.  So they waited.

Finally got this first set of four in today and WOW I am impressed!  It was very simple to clip out the old ballast and there was a lot of extra wire in the existing fixture and  it was quite easy to re-engineer everything for the new lights.   (I even found myself rather ahead of schedule--a nice surprise usually when doing chores around here.)

These lights are very bright and clearly brighter than the CFLs (there's a couple of comparison shots below).  I am very impressed with how quickly I got them up and running (like I said, a lot of extra wire in there).  I will definitely be getting more.

With this work I've swapped out two fixture's worth of lights, so I'll order another 4-pack for the next pair of fixtures this week and then take a gander at the light in the apartment (it's a different type of fixture so I don't know if it's two lights or four--if it's four I think it's gonna blind her).  

Very pleased, and the LED Conversion is Nearly Complete!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

In this you can see three light fixtures. The nearest is without the reflector/cover, the one in the middle has the reflector on, and the far one has the older CFLs. As you can see the older fixture is DEFINITELY not as bright as the new LED ones.
Closeup of the middle and third (right hand) fixture. I took this right after I got the cover on this LED fixture and wanted a side-by-side comparison.
Straight shot of the LED tube lights, without their fixture.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/21/2016

Loving the solstice... darkest day of the year, but every day from here on out for the next six months means more sunlight!

Happy Solstice, everyone!

Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/6/2016

Well now, we pretty much got nothing but sucky weather for the last couple of weeks. Oh, there were bouts of (nice) warmth in which I could get a bit done, but with rapidly diminishing amount of sunlight my window of ability to get work done was getting smaller and smaller.

At least I've got the wall around the door is good enough for the winter. I decided to various strips of wood and such to hammer out some temporary coverings for the exterior, with the ultimate aim towards creating a temporary "wall" that would allow me to pack in insulation. The exterior wall is not done correctly by any means whatsoever--I used Velcro for some of the pieces to attach them up--but the idea wasn't to make it pretty, just allow me to install insulation a bit.

Once that was all done (took a day) then I spent the next quality day packing in insulation around the door. Since the door's exterior is so relatively irregular (compared to a square door) I put on my latex gloves and kinda packed it in a chunk at a time. I backslid a couple of times when I accidentally pushed off one of the boards I'd attached (Velcro), so I had to clean up the mess and put it all back. But after pretty much all of the "warm window" available to me, it is done.

Now as a reminder this is NOT DONE YET. This is just a way to get things closed up a bit for the winter and stop the colder weather from blowing through those big openings. Come the spring I'll have to tear this all out and do it right, spending much quality time carefully cutting the concrete board, then repeating the process on the interior. I might decide to put up some temporary drywall on the interior since even a temporary wall will cut down infiltration a bit, but we'll see... It will in part depend on how well it's doing the insulation just with just the insulation.

So I lost the race with the winter weather but that's okay... It was necessary (new truck) and I've got all kinds of flexibility. The final piece I want to get done before I call it "done" right now is to get the locksets installed--I've got a fancy keypad lockset (so I don't lose keys any more) and (for the winter months, like now) a nice long deadbolt. That means a bit more drilling out of the holes for the bolts (the doors are bored for the two locksets but oddly enough there's nothing to receive the bolts, which I think is weird) but I can get that.

Good progress at least. Once the door is "good enough" the next project is probably either the big curtains over the big room windows or possibly getting the chandelier up; depends on when that scaffolding gets here.

Steven in Colorado

Photos

The door from the outside--not a great pic, more shade than I'd wanted, but you can see the temporary blocking to help seal it up for the winter.
The door from the inside--nicely packed in everywhere, there is NO infiltration or wind coming through that puppy (it's about 10" thick throughout that area).



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/5/2016

This was somewhat unexpected.

Since I've started my vacation last week (I'm a workaholic so I never take a regular vacation - as a result I have to use it all at once in one lump sum at the end of the year) I haven't been out much - just hasn't been a need. My last trip into town was on Saturday, December third.

So imagine my surprise when I decided to run down into town to get a few things to find that our canyon's exterior gate was completely broken!

From my examination of it I think the wood of the 8x8 post that the gate was attached to just split - probably got hit with several freezing/thawing cycles over the last year or so. There was a larger crack on the northern side of the post and I'd guess that all of the rain and snow and stuff blew into that crack, and over time that just gave out. The gate clearly broke and fell when it was opened and there was an approximate 60 second delay to opening/closing. My guess is that the gate was opened, the driver went through, and behind him/her it shattered after they'd been able to see it - the most weight would have been "hanging" during that time frame and the split is perfectly consistent with the crack.

Basically, it just broke.

So it's taking folks a bit to figure out what they want to do next, but I suspect it'll get replaced in a couple of weeks.

It's usually very dull and quiet up here, but every so often...

Steven in Colorado

Photos

That post just split clean as a whistle.
Longer shot showing the entire gate.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/28/2016

About. Damn. Time.

I've been wrestling with this for the last couple of weeks. It really bothered me that the speakeasy was a bit crooked and I couldn't see why that would be so. I've been working on it as much as I could which hasn't been much - our spate of 50+ degree weather was been degrading steadily and so I've had less and less good weather - and only a few hours of that - to work on things. Gets slow to warm up and cools down quickly in the mid-afternoon.

I had decided just prior to Thanksgiving that I the door frame might be a bit crooked. I'd taken a bunch of level measurements all over and consistently got one measurement showing a slight angle with each "leg" of the arch. I decided to take out all of the blocking and set screws and basically everything I could remove so that there would basically only be the glued on base (the threshold) to hold it all into place. I wasn't worried about wind or anything as it's set well back inside the porch, and I'd already verified that all of my measurements along the threshold itself were true and level.

So after carefully blocking the doors I began removing all of the blocks I'd built up along each side of the frame. Most of this was hammered in bits of wood to adjust spacing as I'd worked with the doors, but a couple of the were set screws I'd attached over the course of the last couple of weeks. I also decided to remove the two larger pieces of pine board that were still on the frame itself....I'd left them on since I didn't think they would interfere at all. My thinking now was to restart everything with simplicity, and for that it meant everything came out except the doors themselves.

So I hammered out the hunks of wood and started to remove the set screws. Danged as the last set screw cleared the 2x8 framing there wasn't a "POP!" and the whole frame shifted! I went ahead completed backing it out and then began checking levels and fit and it was all MUCH MUCH better! The left-hand door was practically perfect as was, and the right-hand door clearly needed some adjustment but it was pretty close. A couple of hours later of installing set screws and basically "pinning" the upper parts of the arch so they wouldn't move and it was DONE.

I'm guessing that I just got it all wonky from all the things I'd been trying. When I was first setting the arch and the doors I "went as I went", making adjustments as I did each side rather than putting the whole thing together and then seeing what needed doing. Basically was grossly over-engineering the whole thing.

So now what I've left is the drilling of the locking holes and getting the locksets themselves installed. I didn't have nearly enough time to do that today as I had thought - about 15 minutes after I removed all of the blankets and such we got a bad blustery bout of cold and a bit of snow. Then the sun came back out and I was able to measure and get it all ready.

It's definitely going to be a heck of a race to seal up the wall though. I think what I'll have to do is to carefully plan and cut the pieces and then wait for decent weather (or possibly I'll be able to tack it up in some fashion temporarily). The weather doesn't look good for the next several days so the best I'll be able to do is just add more blankets/bedding and get the pieces as ready as I can be.

That's Colorado weather, and frankly we've been lucky so far. I can't complain too much if it gets all cold and nasty now.

Getting there though!

Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/6/2016

While I was working on my door this morning and moving some of the extraneous wood around the frame so I could square it up, I ran across this little guy lurking in between some of the wood blocks.

He's a large wolf spider who apparently had decided that the door frame area was a perfect place to hunker down out of the cold. About 2" in size, he was moving very very slowly (probably due to the colder weather) and was relatively easy for me to scoop up onto a piece of scrap wood and dump him over the side of the porch. I saw him crawling off afterwards.

Quite the surprise, I dare say.

Steven in Colorado

Photos

Hidden away all snug until I moved his cover.
Nicely sized really.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/6/2016

I can honestly say I didn't expect this.

It's all rather an evolution of the issue I discovered last week, when I acted on my decision to raise the door another 1/2" so as to make it fit properly and ended up with something apparently tilting the door. If you'll recall, I was very happy for about 30 seconds, and then I realized that the door was crooked--the speakeasy grate on the outside showed this quite clearly. Despite all my best checking and measuring and whatnot, the level quite clearly was not.

Grrrr...

So this morning I had decided that something had to be wrong with the frame, somehow. Perhaps it was kinked or warped in some fashion, so that one end was out of square with the other. I knew that the "uphill" side (to the right) was higher than it should be (based on the level on the speakeasy grate) even though the threshold was as straight as could be, so perhaps if I took the doors back off the hinges (sigh) and undid the various set screws I could see what was what and put it back into place.

I got the doors off okay and then proceeded to take the set screws out. I knew I was on the right track when I took out the extended one on the right-hand hinge and all of the sudden the frame shifted--not much, but a little to be sure. I checked and checked, rechecked, and tightened, and made sure that both side of the frame were level front-back and right-left. Once I made very sure of that I put in a couple of screws loosely to hold the frame into place and checked it again a half dozen times.

I seemed to be on the right track, but I was mildly confused. I'm a good enough engineer and have worked with wood enough to know that while that frame was indeed off by a little bit it really was not much, and it didn't seem like this would have messed it up as badly as the level showed.

Then I went to put the doors back on after taking a quick break for lunch. I decided to start with the problematic right-hand door so I could address any issues immediately, and after wrestling with the door to get it at the right height and such I suddenly realized something...

...The speakeasy grill was still crooked. I'd bought a nifty magnetic level that I'd left on the speakeasy throughout so I could see how various adjustments were affecting it, and it was clear that it wasn't going to be level when it got on the door. Attaching the hinges to the frame would if anything accentuate it (if it were to move, which it shouldn't). I even lifted it up and set it on the threshold to double check, and sure enough - not level.

What. The. Frack.

So I took it back down and pondered for a moment--then had a thought. Took out a clean and straight ruler (they're almost all a little nicked after this project!) and checked the actual speakeasy itself...

...And sure enough, it's not on the door straight. It's crooked.

Just to be sure I moved the door into the room onto the tile and checked it again. Then moved it around so it leaned up against the wall and checked it again.

The speakeasy is on crooked. Slanted up nicely toward the "right", making the door look like it was off even though it wasn't. Took several pictures (below) and measured it several ways to verify this. The guys at ETO Doors apparently don't pay as much attention to this part as one might hope...

And good grief. I probably had the stupid thing on right last week, if I'd realized the problem was the speakeasy grate in the first place.

As it turns out at least there's some good news about the speakeasy grill. It is basically just attached with a bunch of fancy nails attached to large covers, looking rather like huge thumbtacks. The "ends" of each leg where it attaches down are rather large, so I think that with a bit of careful effort I'll be able to pull it off and reposition to cover the existing holes and square it up nicely.

So that is tomorrow's activity. The doors are going back on their hinges (with a bit of glue to help strengthen them I think; removing them a half dozen times has me worried about the holes now) while I take the speakeasy grill completely off for the time being. The frame itself is at least arguably better now and I'm hoping things will go better next time around.

Pics below.

I swear on a stack of dingo's kidneys I'm never buying another double door again...

Steven in Colorado

Photos

A closeup showing the problem. The darker wood is a level stick of trim, and it's sitting ON the bottom parts of the grill. The paler wood above that is the bottom of the speakeasy opening. Note the larger gap over towards the left; that's the "uphill" side that the grill slants towards.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/31/2016

Well now. Folks may remember that last week I decided that I needed to simply move the right-hand door up about a half inch to make it fit perfectly. As I noted at the time it sealed nicely around the edges and while the bottom gap was a smidge large it wasn't something I couldn't work with. I'd have to carefully extend the hinge seats a bit and drill all new holes, but I knew it was quite doable.

So that's what I did this weekend just past. I spent all day Saturday very careful chiseling out the hinge seats (bought a new wood chisel just for the job!) and sanded it down nicely. Getting the door and the hinges to the right height and leaving it there long enough to start screwing in the new hinges was tricky, but I got it. Along the way I took a word of advice from the installation sheet ("manual" would be too generous here) and installed two of my top hinge screws as very long screws that extended into the outer frame around the door so as to provide better adjustment control.

So my first attempt didn't quite fit, much to my surprise--it caught along the top of the doors and along the arch towards the top. After a bit I realized what the problem was--the extra arch set screw I'd added last week was sitting flush against the 2x4 it was mounted into, and I couldn't "adjust" that part of the arch anymore. I thought that maybe if I took that out it would work better and at least let the arch "spring" outwards a bit, so I did... and it was perfect! The door opened and closed exactly as it should!

Huzzah!

The first pic below shows the door from the inside. It's all clean and level and just looks great.

Then I stepped outside to check the weather seal fit. WTH ... Judging by the speakeasy grate, the door was crooked! Very crooked.

See pic #2 for what I found.

Well heck... what the devil was going on? Since it was getting late Sunday I just closed things up and pondered, and then today when I got home from work I took some more measurements.

The third pic shows the level along the threshold. Perfectly flat and level... It would be hard to get that bubble "more in the middle" than it is. This is good news, because I hated for lots and lots of reasons the idea of having to remove the entire frame and start completely over.

The fourth pic on the other hand is from the level being held against the vertical on that side of the arch. Note how it clearly indicates that the arch is uphill, in the direction of the slant shown to annoying effect by the speakeasy. So this means that somehow the arch itself isn't vertical, probably on both sides (the other side also shows a slight inclination in that same direction, though not as pronounced).

So... I'm working on theories now. In increasing likelihood of impacting the door frame here's what I've got so far:

  • It might be that the bracing/filler blocks I put between the door frame and the larger opening frame is throwing it all off... They don't go more than about a foot up though.

  • It could also be that the longer set screws I added to the upper hinge (per instructions!) is "pulling" the frame inwards and hence "uphill". Possibly releasing the tension in those screws, or removing them completely, might make a difference here.

  • It's also possible that all three of the set screws around the top of the arch (one on either side and one at the top) aren't quite on center, that the arch was essentially screwed into place with a slight tilt towards the right-hand side. I could test that by simply removing them... If I'm right then the arch should definitely "shift" once it's not held into place by those upper screws.

Or maybe it's all three combined in one fashion or another... or something I haven't thought of yet.

So. Fracking. Close!

Always fun, but I'm ready for this particular round of fun to be over... I really want this to be done so I can seal up the wall!

Steven

Frustrated in Colorado

Photos

The door looks GREAT from the inside...
...but from the outside there's clearly something off.
The level on the threshold. I don't know how it could get any more level than that.
The level against the frame on the misbehaving door. Note it clearly ISN'T level... Grrrr.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/22/2016 10:34:15 PM

Okay, let's make it clear that I've really, really tried hard on this door to get it just right.  And I've been so sure that I'd get it "any day now" that I've already gotten the insulation and the drywall and the hardiboard (cement drywall for the outside) and sorted out new rocks for the exterior around the door and everything so I'd be ready to spring into action once I had the door all set.


Hasn't quite worked out that way, dang it.

Since my last update, in which I properly followed the directions and actually glued the frame in (so it wouldn't move around when I opened and closed the doors--that seemed bad), I have been working on getting the doors back in.  The left hand door was easy-peasy and with a bit of adjusting and tweaking (and continual measuring for level every chance I got) and such I got it set in there perfect.  That puppy is everything it should be....tight against the weatherstripping, even edge around the gap between the door and the frame, opens and closes easily.  It is vertical all around, front and back, left and right, up and down.

The right-hand door continued to present problems however.  Just put into the frame where it belonged it was sitting about a half inch (1.5cm for those of a metric persuasion) too low.....the bottom barely cleared the threshold at all, and the top overlapped the other door by a good half inch.  I spent the next three hours of the afternoon tweaking and adjusting the frame, adding spacers and even another set screw to allow for a different adjustment angle, etc.  The very best I could do with everything cinched up (and it not looking at all right around the frame from the inside) was to get it closing properly -- but maintaining that annoying half inch gap along the top.  It would barely touch the weatherstripping on the inactive (left hand) door too....it just wasn't right.  I measured and checked level every which way, was able to make some local changes that helped a bit but looked wrong when viewed from the inside, took all the blocking out and re-did it twice...it just didn't help.

So I took some down time, played a couple of turns of Empire Deluxe (great old turn based strategy game) while letting it mull around in my brain.  And finally decided....

...the frame was right.  The hinges are set about 1/2 inch too low.

Now let me make sure folks understand--I measured everything.  Checked level everywhere.  Checked square and fit and clearance every chance I could get.  But there was no way around it....those hinges just aren't right.

So to verify this I pulled together some scrap lumber I've got so I had a 1/2" (1.5cm) stand for the door to "sit" on, took it off its hinges and walked it onto the temporary stand.  Then I carefully fit it into the door frame.

Fit like a glove.  No gappage, good spacing all around the door between it and the frame, reasonably tight (as one can get) on the bottom against the threshold (the sweeps there are adjustable for just this reason).

There's a tiny bit of work to be done to make it perfect.....it rubs slightly on the arch right where the set screw is so I'll probably have to tighten that.  

But I think this is what needs to be done.   Right now I've got it bolted into place; tomorrow I'll go get some thin wood shims to fill in the existing hinge cuts and such.  Hopefully by next weekend I'll be able to cut some new hinge setbacks and get this puppy properly into place.

Honestly I think they screwed up the hinges...but either way I've got a way forward.  It's a race against time now to get this sealed up before winter, but I'm trying!



Steven in Colorado

Photos

The door before I lifted it, after I did everything I could think of. Note the gap along the top of the right hand door.
The door AFTER the uplift, snug as a bug.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/10/2016

Okay, it's been a pretty busy couple of weeks since my last post, and I didn't really feel I had time to sit down and summarize everything. But I've got a Way Forward now and figured it was time to update folks on what's been going on.

This weekend was another Indian Summer weekend here in Colorado. We don't get many of those and we'll get fewer as the calendar careens towards December, so I naturally elected to devote it to working on the door.

Pretty quick though I found something that Just Wasn't Right. Early in the morning I went to open/close the right hand door s to try to figure out why it wasn't sitting right and the whole frame moved a good inch out! Basically as the door opened in, it shifted out.

WTH?!?!?!?!

I eventually realized what the issue was. Early in the process I'd skipped the step during installation in which you get the frame properly positioned and then glue it down. The instructions here are kinda interesting actually... They specifically say to use an entire tube of caulk. I hadn't done that because I wanted to be able to adjust the frame as needed, and because I figured the door would be heavy enough to stay in place anyway.

That'll teach me... I forgot just how heavy mahogany doors are.

Okay, so I took the doors off their hinges and walked them over to the sides of the room, then took out the set screws and carefully lowered the door frame back down to the floor. Since I had it out anyway I took the opportunity to work a bit on the concrete under the threshold (it was very slightly off level so I did some quality manual grinding work) I dry fit that puppy several times over the next day, carefully setting it into place, squaring and leveling it, marking where the edges were and measuring every distance I could think of.

And finally when I figured it was ready, I took an entire tube of polyurethane adhesive like the instructions said, put on a nice heavy coat everywhere the frame would sit and on its underside as well, then set the frame into place. I quickly checked and cross checked everything, made sure I was on my marks, made a couple of minor adjustments... and then let it sit.

My plan is to let it sit for the next week, getting nice and well glued down. I did a couple of quick checks this morning and was very pleased overall. Oddly both "legs" of the arch showed a very minor inclination towards one end, but this was quickly and experimentally taken care of with a couple of blocks between the arch and the 2x6 frame around the hole itself.

I'll do more work on it next week to adjust the frame and (hopefully) finish up roughing this thing in! It's starting to get a bit cold enough at night and that it's definitely noticeable out there in that room (which basically is open to the outdoors right now, just a big tarp over the hole and another around the porch). I'll probably have to drill new holes for the set screws but that's not a big deal; they're hidden under the weatherstripping. In the meantime I'll do more reading up on installing double doors and hopefully watch a video or two on YouTube about it... Nothing like seeing somebody else do what you need to do!

Slower progress than I'd like, but good progress!

Steven in Colorado

Photos

The instructions said to use an "entire tube" of adhesive glue here, so I made sure I'd bought a brand new tube and got creative.
Tarp outside the door... I've got to give things a couple of days before I can work on the next step (installing the door).
Much darker on the inside



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