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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado


Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch.

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado



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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A nice 132.4 pounds.....



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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow but sure, there's progress!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado


Photos

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



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

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

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

Neat! Some pics below.

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

Another awesome weekend in Colorado!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

And now the Great Experiment begins!

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

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

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

Fingers and appropriate appendages crossed.....

Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

YES!


Steven in Colorado


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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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


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

Love living up here!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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


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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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


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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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


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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting there!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

Good.  Grief.

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

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


Steven in Colorado


Photos

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



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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

One step at a time!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Steven in Colorado

Photos

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



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/5/2018

A friend of mine at work noted that she wanted to see what Tanglewood looked like.  After doing a bit of digging I realized I didn't have any good pictures, so I walked around the house this morning and snapped some for her.

And here you go.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The front of the house from (more or less) the driveway.
The front of the house towards the turret side of Tanglewood. My computer room is up there at the top of the tower.
The back of Tanglewood looking towards the turret directly behind a tree (sorry).



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

Okay, so after deciding last week that I was going to go with more rock rather than trying to cut wood curved to fit the arch of the door, I spent some quality time selecting rock and building a stockpile of stones to use.

After I got the rock selected out I worked on installing the wood for the straight portions of the pillars on either side of the door.  As much as I liked the idea of a "real pillar" I couldn't find any that weren't FAR too wide...I needed a very *narrow* pillar to fill in the gap between the edge of the door and the wall.  Every square pillar I could find was at least 4" wide, and the half circle columns were frankly worse size wise.  (I'm not sure why this is since you'd think there would be a need for them, but I guess not.)

So I got myself some nice pine and started going with a layered square look. The pillars had to have  slight stepdown as the edge went "up" the door (the arch apparently was deliberately designed to widen slightly towards the top) and so I measured carefully so as to make the transitions look a bit natural.  

By the end of the day I got the pillars in place and had started putting in the rock...well, *a* rock anyway.  More to come.  Once the rock is all done, I'll grout everything into place.

Step by step, I'll get this thing done!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Pillar on the right hand side. It's not stained yet so it's a bit tricky to distinguish it from the door itself.
Pillar on the left hand side....
I got one rock on before it was time to shut things down for the day. But it's one!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/1/2018

Okay, I had a plan and it just flat wasn't going to work....so I decided to Change the Plan.

My idea originally was that the upper part of the door would have all that rock, and that the sides would be encased pillars or pilasters or something like that.  The bottom parts are straight enough, but the top sections left and right needed to have a slight curve along the edge of the door.  After some searching I found wood suitable enough size wise, but of course I had to do some cutting to get them shaped properly.

Unfortunately I simply don't have the tools to do this properly.  I tried, I really did....I used a jigsaw that I simply could not keep under control, I tried a table saw while carefully working the wood as I turned it, I tried using a simple a handsaw.  None of it worked, and after basically wasting an entire day I basically only ended up with a bunch more scrap for the fireplace.   It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to make the arch at the top of the pillars properly arched, and I frankly was running out of patience.

So after some due consideration I decided to continue the rockwork down from where I had stopped earlier to the straight sections on either side.  As it happens that is exactly five feet (60"), so I needed to extend the rockwork about a foot on either side.

Attaching the rock per se isn't going to be hard because I have a lot of the thinset mortar.  The more difficult thing is to find rock that would fit the space to either side of the doorframe--I used virtually all larger rock and the vast bulk of the remaining decorative rock was all cut by the builders.  That meant they were basically flat on one side and certainly didn't look at all "natural".  Bugger.

Fortunately one aspect of living on a gravel road is that it is basically made of rock.  Lots and lots of rock.  Big rocks.  Small rocks.  Pretty rocks.  Rocks you can use on a door....

So I'll be spending the next couple of days gathering rocks for the door.  Thought I was done with this bit, but there you go.....monkeys gotta adapt!


Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/14/2018

Well bugger all.

First the Good News.  I took a good look at the grout work and it's all solid; I like it.  There are a couple of spots I'd redo if I was motivated but they're all WAY UP THERE over the arch of the door; nobody will even be able to see them from the porch.  So they're good.

I need to start taking measurements for the bottom half of the door and consider how I'm going to finish that bit off.  I'm pondering some type of pillar, or shallow extrusion or pilaster.  Given the slight slant of the door arch itself I might buy a larger single board and cut it down to size.  Not really sure; I'll have to ponder it.

Either way that leads to the Bad News.  A very close friend of mine has passed away unexpectedly, so I'll have to run back to Missouri to give him a proper sendoff.  Unfortunately that probably means this will delay furtherance of the door work for a week, though at least I have to spend some time gathering options anyway.

Life  happens!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/13/2018

I realized I probably didn't provide a good pic of the rockwork along the top of the door, so here ya go.

That "divot" along the upper right is where some stucco came down; I'll have to color match it before I can work on replacing it.

Next up, the grout work!  Since I didn't do the rock as a "dry stack", as with much of the house (I didn't think I had enough rock, frankly) I'll need to grout it up similarly to the tiles around the fireplace.  I'm thinking a gray or perhaps a black color; going to have to experiment a bit.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Nice mix of sizes left from the original construction.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/11/2018 11:39:37 PM

A major milestone completed today (finally!) as I put the last stone in place around the door.

I almost got there last outing, but between working on rock inside the house and the rework/reset of a stone I didn't put in properly I lost my daylight.  Checking on the existing work from last week I realized that one more rock was to even the right side up so I did that, which didn't take long but which needed some good bracing.

While that was all setting up I mocked up some different layouts using broken/old stone and various shades of grout.  El Dorado Stone had recommended  a color they called Smoke, but upon application it seemed way too brown for my tastes.  I had already had my thoughts that it might not be what I wanted so I swung by Ye Olde Home Depot and got two others, Natural Gray and Charcoal.

Both the Natural Gray and the Charcoal were good, definitely.  I had to make up two test batches for the Charcoal; I felt the first time around the "gaps" between the stones were too large and so I wasn't necessarily getting a good view as a result so I set up a second trial.

The Natural Gray seemed much more normal for me.  I decided that I really would have liked to see what a Dark Gray might look like, but a.) that would have meant running back into town and b.) they didn't have any in stock anyway (I was just there and so I knew).

So in the end I went with the Natural Gray for the grout.  I plan to put it on tomorrow.  I think I'll mix it a little bit "wetter" than the instructions say so I can flow it a bit better, and I made sure to pick up a couple of tubes of matching sanded grout so I could touch up the edges a bit as needed.  Should be glorious...fingers and other appendages crossed.

I already know I'm going to want to do the rock around the bottom of the door as well, probably.  The bulk of the stone is "dry-stacked" and hence doesn't really need any grout, but around the bottom I was thinking it did in fact want it for the sake of completeness.  I'll give it some thought first though.

More tomorrow!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The right hand side....
...and the whole side!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/30/2018

So at long last the End Is Near with regards to the stone around the door.  By the end of the day I needed just ONE MORE STONE on the right side to have that part done!  I definitely made good progress once I was able to start last week.

I finished up all of the rock beneath the door threshold, finally restoring it to its proper look.  The other work along the right hand side moved along nicely if slowly, since it was becoming harder and harder to select the right stone to fit into the gap between the door and the hard door frame. 

In between I pulled and reset a couple of the stones around the fireplace that I had noticed were loose.  As I was working on that pair of stones I found another stupid one--somehow they decided to wedge one in a gap sideways.  I was somewhat dumbfounded...why the heck would you do that?  I levered it out and found a correctly sized stone instead.

(My opinion of the rockwork folks continues to decline.)

But anyway I got it all done except for that one last rock.  I'll do that next weekend; in the meantime I'll start researching what colors of grout I will want for the finish.  The vast bulk of the house is all dry-stack and I'm fine with that, but I installed the rock using wire mesh so I need to grout it in.  (In retrospect that was probably a mistake, but advice seemed to come to me just after I started down a particular path...ah well.)

So almost there!  Time to research grout options methinks.....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The right hand side of the door showing the rock work. I'll need to address fixing that little bit where I knocked off the stucco.
Beneath part of the threshold.....I picked the biggest stones I had left to make all of this a bit more "solid".
The left-hand side of the door's lower side. Tricky to find all the right sized stones, but I made it work.
You can see the bottom end of the bracing for that next-to-the-last stone up above.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/22/2018

Well dang....took a bit long to get back to this then I'd thought it would.  I ended up using the entire weekend getting an old truck down to be towed away; NOT an experience I want to care to do again!

But anyway...to The Door!

I was finally able to finish up the left hand side of the door, so next up was the right.  Things at least went a bit more quickly now that I've done the other side first and so I was able to get the first few rocks up quickly.  At that point while waiting for everything "up high" to set I realized that I hadn't yet worked on two other parts of the door.....the left and right sides and the rock below the door's threshold.

I recall when I was taking the old door out that most of these rocks basically fell off as a side effect of all the hammering and cutting and whatnot.  I honestly didn't think too much of it at the time as I was focused on opening up the wall so I could get the antler chandelier in (other than being really annoyed by the whole thing), but upon examination as I was scoping out the problem I really that they had barely been properly adhered in the first place!  The mortar was very thin, the chicken wire was simply buried under far too much concrete--they would have fallen off if I'd slammed the door very hard, I think.

Disgraceful and sloppy work indeed.

Okay...deep breath.  Since I discovered I could multitask with rock in several areas around the door I began to do just that, working in a "round robin" kind of way to get the rock back on.  For the most part this meant I could work faster but there were unexpected complications--the old chicken wire stuck out over the threshold of the new door (since it was larger now) and some of the old mortar had to chiseled off to provide a more level surface to re-attach the new stone.  

Still it's been an interesting day.  I spent much of the time taking a long break to measure and set out potential stones and prepping the surface, followed by a whirlwind of setting rock in one section around the door or another.

Not done yet, but getting there!  Next week I think.  Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha……..


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Lots of bracing and clamping, but I made progress.
This is the left hand side of the door; a lot of that was mostly because I had to trim down the chicken wire.
This is the section underneath the door. Basically ALL of that rock fell off due to their sub-standard work....sigh. That's okay, I can fix it.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/8/2018

So it was a ridiculously busy week but I finally was able to address the door after last week's work.  Again the progress was a bit slow, but steady at least.

Once again I was annoyed that gravity is such a remarkably fickle opponent, and I ended up doing a bunch of rework when I put on a stone only to have it fall off a few minutes later.  I gradually realized through some experimentation that the best way to make this stuff stay there, given the chicken wire mesh I'd put down, was to "butter" the stone very heavily and then set the stone very firmly onto the wall.  After about five minutes of holding the rock would usually suffice for it to set properly.  I only had to reset two of the stones that fell off, in both cases because I hadn't used enough mortar.

I did some other experimenting and also figured out that it was much simpler to set the "middle" stones once I had some "lower" stones to use as bracing and such.  I also wrestled up a bunch of pieces of lumber that (over time) I was able to configure to help brace and "push" the stone into place while things were setting.

Since the doors open inwards I went ahead and let some of the edges of the stone overlap the edge of the door.  Once that's grouted in properly I think that will look nice and make it a bit more "hole in the wall" (at least that's my hope, anyway).

Again I didn't go very fast, but I got more done at least!  More in a week!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Progress showing a lot of bracing and support towards the end of the stacking so far.
A closer shot showing the edge along one part of the door where the rock overlaps the door frame. Beyond you can see fireplace and the top of the Yes I'll Get It Done I Swear antler chandelier.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/2/2018

Well this is all very slow and frustrating at times that's for sure, but at least I've started!

I finally starting working on putting the rock around the door after having to build myself a place to work from last week first.  I pretty quickly ran into a couple of problems, one of which was easy to change my plans about and one of which was a bit more annoying.

I had originally intended to put the rock around the door in a "sunburst" pattern, basically pointing them "towards" the door.  Unfortunately the setback with the stucco around the top of the door made that impossible, and it was either change my plans or add yet more construction work to the agenda.  I decided it was better to just proceed with a normal "stacked" look instead.

That led to the second issue, and that was a bit more problematic.  It turns out that this stone won't STAY ON THE FRACKING WALL very easily....there's a little thing called 'gravity' that makes it want to fall off.  After a few failed attempts in which I was thinking I wasn't using enough mortar I finally figured out what the problem was.  Sadly, since I couldn't just "mortar and set" the things one after the other I'd have to proceed much more slowly--set, hold for what seemed forever, and then see if they fell off.

It was rather annoyingly slow work.

By the end of the day I got about a quarter of the left side of the arch done.  There are some braces and clamps holding some of them in place as the mortar sets.  Next weekend (I've used up this weekend taking more time getting ready than I'd thought) I'll get more of it done.

But at least I've started, so mote it be!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Not really all that much rock yet; I'm still figuring out what will work here and what won't.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/1/2018

Well dang....didn't quite expect this per se, but in retrospect I realize I should have.

I'd done yeoman's work collecting and setting out all of the potential rock for finishing the door and was anxious to start the work mortaring it all up.  Unfortunately I quickly ran into a minor problem--but fortunately I also had a solution nearby!

So there I was, standing on the porch and pondering how I'd be installing that rock.  The best ladder I had for that is a 12 foot job that works quite well, but I realized I was looking at a heck of a lot of up and down climbing.  LOTS of climbing.  Over and over and over.  As I pondered this, my knees provided a warning throb just to remind me I was there....

But then I realized I had a solution!  I'd bought 18 feet of scaffolding towards the end of 2016 when I thought I'd be working on the chandelier that winter!  The scaffolding came in three 6 foot sections (intended ultimately to be stacked when working high up with the chandelier), but a single section should be just about exactly the right height. I'd been side-lined by some health problems during the subsequent winter of 2016/2017, and by the time I got back on my feet last year I was only focusing on things that I'd let slide for far too long.  As a result that scaffolding had just been sitting there in the corner of the garage, where (I discovered shortly) spiders had woven huge webs in and around the boxes.

So I spent some quality time building one set of the scaffolding, and (of course) it took most of the day to do that.  These parts are heavy and they weren't quite as easy to sort out as I'd assumed given that I'd bought three identical boxes.  As I unpacked them I discovered that these pieces of equipment were much heavier and well constructed than I'd assumed....this made me happy, as they should serve me well down the road when I'm working on the chandelier.

So basically it took me all day to put this thing together, between finding the right pieces, moving the rock I'd sorted out yesterday, and disposing of all of the packing (there was a  lot of carboard and paper padding).  But I got it, and now I've got myself a solid platform to do all of the work I need to do next.

Slowly but surely, it's getting there!

Steven in Colorado

Photos

The scaffold! Quite nice I think.
Very solidly built and good pins throughout...I'm pretty pleased with this whole thing.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/30/2018

So now that I got the proper concrete backer board up and the wire mesh on, it was time to ferret out the rock I'd need to use for the area around the door.  Turned out that took a bit more work than I'd have expected (which of course didn't surprise me--everything up here takes longer).

I'd sorted out some of the "whole" rock (as opposed to the pieces they cut during construction) with the intent to use them first--even exclusively if possible.  I quickly realized I had FAR more whole rock than I'd thought, which really is a good problem to have I reckon.  I started sorting it out on the stoop of the porch but quickly realized I had far too much rock to fit on the stoop, so I ended up moving all of it up to the porch.  Between the rock that I'd salvaged from under the porch (anything the builders cut they ended up throwing under the porch, for some reason) and the rock that I still had inside the house from the fireplace work I did a while back I found out I had a lot of rock!   Good problem to have, definitely.

So between sorting out all of the rock and cleaning up some of the old concrete chunks mixed with them it basically took me all day, which was a bit annoying but I'd rather do it once and right than ad hoc.

Tomorrow I start putting up the rock!  I hope.....


Steven in Colorado





Photos

One side of the porch and the rock I'd salvaged from around the place.
Yet more rock!
A little better angle on this shot.



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

Sigh.

Gotta love it!


Steven in Colorado


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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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