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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/3/2016

I should have electric inside the garage on Monday if the electrician can come back and energize the lines. I finished splicing the lines inside the junction box on Thursday, and today I finished running the lines to the breaker boxes inside the garage. Need to set some outlets and run wire to them. Also have maybe an hour inside the junction box to set some clamps and secure the wire bundles to it. Overall, I'm pleased with how it all turned out. From the main breakers, I need to run cables to the large sub-panels on levels two and three. It's from these two panels that the main sections of the house will be powered.

The garage door guy showed up yesterday to look at the one door that I've had put together, to see what is going on. He thinks that the wrong springs and cable drums were sent. He got on the phone with a supplier and based on size, weight and lift height, new parts were sized and ordered. It'll take a few weeks to get them in. Once that happens, they'll be installed and we'll see if that's the solution. If so, I'll get hold of the door company and see about them supplying the parts for the other two doors as well as giving me a refund on the new set. I'm not hopeful as they really didn't have any installation experience to give. They supply custom doors, ask someone else to supply the hardware. Argh!

Photos

Junction box with conduits finished.
Cables all connected together. Neutrals, grounds, and two phases. Two of each coming in, two of each going out.
Main cables connected to main breaker panels.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/30/2016

The six exterior French doors arrived today. Unfortunately, due to the snow, the truck couldn't make it up the drive, so we had it park about a half mile down the road and we shuttled the doors up two at a time on the trailer. The driver graciously offered to help and without that help they would not have gotten unloaded. The suckers are heavy! Easily as much as the large windows. I tried to help lift the first one, and there was no way. You would think, that after two previous house projects in the past three years and now this one, that I would have built a few more muscles, but it ain't to be, I guess. So Victor, one of the previous framers, and the driver did the honors. We put them in the garage, and I hope that we can get them up to their respective floors next Monday. The weather is supposed to break a bit over the weekend and I'm hoping the decks will be free of snow and ice to facilitate.

Meanwhile, I was back on the electric. I tried to work the 4/0 (thickness of your index finger at its base) wire through a hard right angle box to get it through the wall. There was no way it was going to be easy, and there were at least one more for each service. I gave up and went back to the previous design where the four sets of wires are joined on the outside of the house. This way the wires penetrating the wall are 2/0 (thickness of your pinky) and are easier, not easy, to make tight bends. Just getting the 4/0 wires into the junction box was hell enough! But overall a better way.

Will continue to work on it as materials permit. Some of the things necessary are not readily available in our small town. We'll be heading to Santa Fe on Friday and I'll get things then.

Photos

Don't let this fool you. Getting those wires into the box wasn't easy when they are constrained below by the conduit. One more set goes in through the unfinished conduit run and then its time to connect them together in four bundles.
The hammer drill, core bit and pointed chisel used to cut holes for the electric line through the 12" concrete wall.
Holes done



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/29/2016

We got back from the holiday yesterday in the middle of a snow storm which lasted into today. While the total was only about five inches, the wind that accompanied it was fierce.

Fortunately, I was in the garage most of the day once I got the drive plowed. I was starting to set up for running the electric. The large junction box where the two main lines coming to the house join before going out again to separate main breakers, arrived while we were gone. I have to cut four 2" holes in it to run the conduit. I got one done before the hole saw crapped out. Went and got a new one, but it didn't even get a hole cut before it was dull! The picture on the package shows it cutting a steel I-beam, and it can't cut through a thin junction box?! Took it back. I'll try using a jigsaw on it instead.

The core drill and long chisel arrived late morning. Fantastic! Went back up and went to work hammer drilling two 2 5/8" holes through the 12" of concrete and the stone that we had already run on the outside. Took about a half-hour per hole, drilling for an inch or two, and then using the pointed chisel to break off the core, clean it out and start all over. Drilled a few small holes across the area first to reduce the chances of hitting rebar with the core drill. All went well. Set the two breaker panels before calling it quits. Need to get those holes put in the junction box, and try to see how best to set that. Was going to place it on the outside, but am now thinking of the inside if I can make it fit. Less stuff on the front of the house.

French doors are supposed to be delivered on Wednesday. With all the snow, I'm afraid we are going to have to shuttle them up on the trailer. I'm sure he won't have four-wheel drive. And I don't expect the roofer for a few days at least!


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/19/2016

With the framer done, the roofer not around, the electrician not there and the stone guys gone, it's extremely peaceful at the site. The only real noise is the diesel engine of the SkyTrak when cranked up to move or lift. Sandra was periodically taking off from her deck staining to lift me into position while I was attaching lath and scratch coat to the front of the stairwell. What about the framer turned stone mason? Well funny thing after one day, he didn't bother to show up or call. So another bites the dust. It's not my management. I am a very hands-off fellow. Probably too hands-off on jobs like this. It's the type of people that basically work day-to-day. Or should I say sometimes they work. No ambition. I just don't understand that mentality. So - while there are a ton of other things I should be doing, I'm trying to knock as much of this out while we have a few more days of decent temps. I got lath run up through the second floor on the front and sides and scratch coat on about 3/4 of it. I'm going to finish that off tomorrow and try to get the front of the third floor lathed and scratched.

We actually took the day off yesterday as it was cold, and went to Santa Fe. Hit Trader Joe's and Home Depot while there. Picked up a bunch of electrical boxes as we should be able to start that sometime in December - if we get the other things caught up, doors, garage doors, service feed into the house, etc.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/17/2016

So the framer is essentially finished. He still has a couple things, the major one being the stairs, but as said earlier, we've agreed to let him move on to his next project for a few weeks as we have plenty on our plate for ourselves. The roofer got 99% of the dry-in done, but ran out of material on the last row of synthetic roofing paper. He'll be back on Monday to finish. I offered to get more locally for him, but the winds were already getting pretty strong from a storm coming through. Throughout the day they became horrendous with unbelievable gusts battering the house.

I decided to release the two guys doing stone. The progress had become far too slow. Watching them had become painful to look at and painful on the wallet. One of the framers happened to quit yesterday, thankfully after they had gotten finished, and I picked him up. He too was having issues with speed on his first day, so I decided the only way to get this moving was to work alongside him. One thing all of them seem to think is that every stone has to fit like a puzzle piece, every on has to be perfectly level. They seem to obsess over that. In reality, since every stone is a bit different in size, you run a lot of them and periodically look at the overall trend of levelness and make slight adjustments if necessary. We set up where I was buttering the stone and he was setting. In an hour and a half, we did more than he had done all day before. We had to stop as the tile saw froze, literally! The tray was frozen over, but more importantly the water line froze up and we couldn't get water to the blade. So we packed it in, covered the work with plastic, as it'll get close to 0° F tonight, cleaned up and left. Going to be just as cold tomorrow, but the weekend is supposed to be warmer and we'll hopefully work on it again. I'd like to get the central stairwell done before winter sets in hard, probably can't, but I'd like to try.

Meanwhile, called Santa Fe today to get an inspection on the electric line in the trench, so we can get that covered. Couldn't get anyone, left a message with the chief inspector and haven't heard back. Will try again tomorrow, but word is they are overloaded and take forever. We'll see.

I ordered and received new long bars for tightening the torsion springs on the garage doors. Played a bit with the one door, and the length helps a LOT, but the wires were a bit unbalanced, so I released all tension and will try again tomorrow.

The snowplow I ordered arrived today. Took a brief look at how it'll attach to the Jeep and it looks pretty simple. Since it'll be cold tomorrow but dry, I think I'll get that chore taken care of. Don't know just how soon I'll need it and I'd rather not be laying in the snow trying to hook it up. Did I ever say that this is the perfect life for someone with a bit of ADD? ;-)

Photos

All the windows in
Dual 150-amp lines lying in the trench. When can I get it inspected?



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/15/2016

Setting the rest of the windows went without a hitch today. The ten largest we have. One step closer to getting closed in. Still need the French doors to arrive and get set.

One of the framers will help me get the wall built between the end wall and the curved roof which will be another step. The other framers will spend the day cleaning up everything as they pull out this week to start another project and get it under roof. Framing contractor has asked if he can put off building the stairway until then. I've agreed as I know our project has taken more time than he had planned. We can get by without stairs for a while.

The roofer showed up this afternoon and got the curved roof dried in. They'll try to get the rest dried in tomorrow. Thursday a storm is coming in with a chance of snow, but with the certainty of high winds, so it's got to get done before then. Still wondering whether we'll actually get steel up before weather gets really bad.

I'll get back to the garage doors later this week. I ordered a set of proper rods to tighten the torsion springs, and also read up a bit on how high lift doors are supposed to work. I'll start over and see if I can get these working.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/14/2016

Framers used the SkyTrak to transport the rest of the windows up to the third floor today and began to set them. Transporting was not an easy task. Although there were a few smaller ones, most were large - as big as 6'x8'. Weighing in at a few hundred pounds as well. I ran the SkyTrak while the two main framers loaded and unloaded them.

They got all of the smaller ones set and set a 6'x7' at the end of the day. I figure they should have all the others set by end of day tomorrow. That's 10 large ones. A half-hour for each - yeah, they should make it. And it's good we are at this point as we have a storm coming in Thursday with possible snow.

The roofer said he'll be here tomorrow afternoon and will begin the dry-in. I'm crossing my fingers on getting the steel on before winter socks us in. We're on borrowed time.

Photos

Lifting a 6'x8' window off the SkyTrak
Carrying the sucker in. I know I could not have done that.
Upper left window is the 6'x7' that was set at the end of the day.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/13/2016

Not that old song from the 60s. With the help of the SkyTrak, Sandra was up on the roof, staining the decorative timber trusses that were not stained prior to being installed. A result of them being delivered late with the transport issue last month. Would have been soooo much easier - and safer if we could have done on the ground like the other two. Ended up using the airless sprayer, which allowed her to reach higher and also get behind as there isn't a whole lot of room between the trusses and the wall. The roof under one truss was the curved one and pretty easy to stand on. The other, has an 8/12 roof under it, can't be completely reached with the SkyTrak and so Sandra will harness up for safety.

You may be asking, why am I not up there? Well, somebody has to operate the SkyTrak!

Photos

Timber truss above the curved section done



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/13/2016

Sandra finished staining the timber trusses, donning a safety harness and climbing out of the man-basket and climbing on the 8/12 pitch roof to get to the the other side which wasn't accessible any other way. Afterwards she went back to staining the deck beams, which she had started a few weeks ago. Utilizing the SkyTrak and its man-basket was a lot easier than climbing a ladder. She has a few posts to do and the left side will be totally done. If the weather holds, she'll start on the right side. But, will it hold?

Other than making at least 20 trips up the hill and manning the SkyTrak, I was able to get two more spaces between the curved beams closed in. Need to do one more. Got up and looked at the curved beam end wall to see how best to close it in. I think I've got a plan and may start this week. Still have to finish preparation on a few window frames. Will do that tomorrow.

Photos

Sandra in the harness heading up the roof.
Deck beams stained. Only the one post here to finish off.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/11/2016

The framers got that last panels on the curved roof this morning. A bit difficult as there really was nowhere for them to stand and push it into place. The SkyTrak helped by extending out to push. They spent the rest of the day putting all the required screws in place, making sure the seams were dressed properly and attaching the sub fascia, in anticipation of the roofer coming next week.

I went about framing the space between the curved glulams and between the top of the wall and panel to start closing it up. Since the panels sit at an angle, and 14' up there, it all takes time. I hope to sheath them with 2" of foam and plywood over the weekend. Then it'll be onto the end wall that needs to be created to close off the space between the last interior glulam and the wall below it. While I'll work on that next week, the rest of the windows will be installed. They are big with four of them 6'x8', three 6'x7' and a smattering of others. It could take several days.

The excavator finally returned today with a small hammer and the repaired track hoe to carve out the trench for the electric line. It took them a half day to do 100 feet. Solid rock and they had to go down 2'. Electrician ordered cable today, I've ordered disconnects and assuming the inspection gets done early in the week and is approved, I can think about setting panels inside the house and quit running off loooong extension cords.

We are continuing to blessed with great weather (for building, not skiing) and hope it continues until the roof is on. All next week is looking good. We need a couple more actually. Can we get that lucky?

Photos

The panels are all on! You can see the space I need to fill in with a wall, underneath the glulam.
Framing installed between the glulams



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/9/2016

Taking more time to set the SIPs than expected - like most everything on the house. Although the height of the house gives us tremendous views, it always makes things more difficult and slow. But, they got over the halfway point, will finish by week's end and it's looking great. Meanwhile, I finally got the window well set. Also getting the window frames sealed prior to the rest of the windows getting set next week.

Meanwhile, the stone guys are nearly finishing the first floor. Really looks good. They can begin the second floor next week.

And - the resort started making snow a couple nights ago. So while the weather has held out pretty well, the artificial stuff is getting onto the lot, making things slippery for running the equipment. Talked to the resort folks today and asked if they could move the snow maker 50 yards downhill for the next three nights. Looks like they'll do it for us. After then we shouldn't need the SkyTrak on that side of the house.

Photos

Starting the first row of SIPs
An inside look at the roof
Getting to the end of the first floor stone



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/6/2016

Friday, the framers were finishing decking the pitched roof just in time for the roofer to get the final measurements. His supplier was on site to fabricate the panels out of coiled stock, much like gutters are formed. While most are in the range of 19' or so as they cover a side of a pitched roof, the ones that will eventually be curved were 40' long! It took five guys to offload each of them from the loooong table they are set out upon. Not that they were heavy, but to get them moved without kinking.

Framers will spend Monday and Tuesday setting the SIPs upon the curved beams. They brought a trailer load up late Friday, but have quite a few more loads before they are all up at the site.

We had almost a half inch of rain since last night. It may not sound like much, but for here, it's a lot. It's been some time since we last saw rain, welcome in some respects but not in others. But it is supposed to stop and be dry for next week's work. That's the most important thing.

Driveway is finished, and boy it looks great, drives great and with this rain, will consolidate well. The parking area needs to be finished, but that'll have to wait until the electric line from the meter to the house gets hammered out (literally).

Photos

The machine for rolling the roof panels. The two rolls shown weigh in at 3,000 lbs each.
First panel coming out of the machine.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 11/2/2016

Framer finally got the front timber truss tied into the existing roof. It wasn't easy and it took a bit of time to figure it out as mentioned earlier. But it's done. Richard will be back from a well-deserved vacation tomorrow and weather permitting, they'll get the rest of that side decked.


I've gotten the top sections of the two single-car garage doors up and set the complete track on one of those. In the process of tightening the torsion springs. Thought I had them far enough, but nope. I'll try again. The double door got its final coat of finish today. I'll let it set in place later this week - once I get one of the single doors operating. Otherwise those no way to get in!

Road base finally began arriving today again today and the driveway is moving along. Stone is too.

Oh - we got a bit of snow in the area today. Not at the site, but it was visible from there. Another reminder we need to get this thing closed up!

Photos

Front truss tied in
Garage door complete except for final trim
Stone keeps going up. The crates contain the rest of the stone that we have ordered. Hopefully it's enough!
Driveway getting completed with road base. Yeah! Less dust, no mud once it's done. it is a long way from where it started five months ago!



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/30/2016

As the framers finish the roof and I have people running stone, getting doors and windows in becomes the next priority. The framer will set the remaining windows. I've begun thinking of getting things ready on the doors. Sandra is off continuing to stain the garage doors. The two smaller ones are done. She's started on the double door today. I started on setting the two single car ones. Been quite a few years since I set garage doors, and the instructions aren't the best, but they'll get done this week.

I need to give the go ahead on the French door order. They take two weeks to come in. I don't need them before the middle of the month so if I place it early this week, we should be fine.

Photos

Three panels of a single car door. I'll get one of the stone guys to help me with the fourth panel up on both.
The double door being prepped for stain
After the first coat of stain
Stone starting around the front of the staircase



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/29/2016

Since setting the beams and front timber truss on Monday, the framing crew has been working on extending the overhangs on the conventional sections of roof, and beginning to tie in the front truss to the house. That latter chore has been a real pain trying to figure out the correct pitch on the shed roof sections in order to keep the gable section far enough back from a side wall to keep snow from catching and building up. They actually had to rip out the first try. It's really and issue of trying to visualize solid surfaces, when only framing exists and they are compound angles going on. But Jason finally has it started on the right path. They also have gotten the 4th level roof decked completely and the knee braces on as well.

Sandra has been staining the garage doors while the weather lasts. If it continues to hold, she could be done by mid next week. We are using a two-step stain from Sikkens that has very good UV protection. Wish we could that on the timber trusses, but trying to get three coats on them would have been tough time-wise.

Stone is progressing slower than I'd expect for two guys, but we'll continue. Finally worked out the detail of running the stone around the windows and that is looking good.

Photos

Fourth-level deck with knee braces at the corners. Slowly taking shape!



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/24/2016

Crane showed up right on time - 8 am. Took a bit to set up and get the first curved beam ready to lift. And then the show began. The operator was one of the best we've seen. Need this 30-foot-long 30" tall curved thing moved a quarter-inch while its 40 feet above you? He could do it. Within four hours, the framers were done setting all five. That seriously beats my estimate of an hour apiece. I was extremely happy that everything lined up. Was a bit worried that the brackets 30 feet apart might be out of alignment, but it turns out I set the anchor bolts properly some months back.

After lunch we tackled the large front timber truss, having to assemble the legs and curved braces to it. It's up, they have it braced and tomorrow they'll set horizontal extensions to an upper chord, which serves as the lower mounts for a roof section. From there, they'll begin stick framing the roof over it. I'll finish framing the garage doors and start setting up the sections on the first door.

Photos

Up it goes!
From the slope side
From the inside
Front timber truss assembled
Lifting up into place
Done!



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/23/2016

The weather has been wonderful for us these past weeks. No rain to speak of makes things a lot easier.  But as is typical here, you can be wearing a Carrhart winter coat at 7, switch to a flannel lined jacket at 8:30, and be in a tee shirt by 11:00. Talk about layering!

Friday the framers got the other decorative truss up.  It was pretty easy as it was on the lower gable.  Finally got the curved trusses up at the site off of the ski run where they have been laying for over a month.  A crane is coming from Santa Fe first thing in the morning to set them.  I'm giving it an hour for each one. Hopefully goes quicker but a lot of things have to been done as they get set - strip a small amount of foam at the wall for the bird mouth on the trusses so they can set down properly, drill four 3/4" bolt holes through the beam and set the bolts, brace the beams, and hopefully everything aligns properly.

Got some help on the stone Friday and Saturday.  I'm still trying to decide whether it's worth the money being spent.  They are coming back this week and I'll try to get things moving more efficiently, but it is coming along.  As the weather has held up, it would be nice to get the entire first floor front done yet this fall, but we'll see.

Sandra spent yesterday and today staining the deck framing.  The guys doing stone were amazed at how hard she worked and how much she got done.  Making great progress but so much more to do.  There is a heck of a lot of deck!

I spent the last two days trying to finish framing out for the garage doors.  Between the thickness of the wall (18") and the issues with the openings not being very square, having a sag in the initial concrete pour, or the small blowouts on that pour, it has not been a very fun time - LOTs of shimming. But I did get the double door framed and it looks pretty darn good.  I have all of  the material cut, and some installed on the two single doors, and once I get some low expanding foam, I'll set the rest in place, and begin to look at installing the doors, if not just getting them temporarily in place to stop the dirt that keeps getting blown in and also to help keep the garage warm.  It's been a dozen years since I last installed garage doors.  Gonna take some time to gear up for the task.

Photos

Front truss that ties into the roof and sits over the front porch. Not sure we'll get it set tomorrow, but we think we can set it with the Skytrak if necessary.
Nice to see a large patch of stone done
Starting to wrap around the front



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/20/2016 10:58:30 PM

Well, after some frustration, we got two of the three decorative trusses set today, frustrating because a couple things became apparent when we started to set the first one.  First, it turns out the trusses were designed to be hung differently than we expected.  That means extendingit didnt the roof further out and seeing if we can still use the knee braces.  The other thing was when the trusses were designed, we didn't think of getting the CADs and sending them to the draftsman to see if everything fit.  Well they didn't quite.  The bottom chord wasn't clearing the peak of the lower roof, by two inches.  We thought about moving the chord up, but an easier idea was to remove the metal bar that made the center of the chord.  First called the truss maker, who said he didn't think it would be a problem as they are decorative and don't support much load.  So - that's what we did.  Seem to be fine, framers spent the afternoon setting the two.  Sandra meanwhile, was staining the front truss that was still down where we offloaded it yesterday.  She was only able to get one side until we flip it with the Skytrak but man it looks great! 


We've called in a crane for Monday to finally set the curved beams and the front truss. But there is plenty to do before that.  Set the third decorative truss, and 8x8s for the curved beam on the porch.  

Photos

Lifting a truss up. This one still has the metal bar in the bottom chord
Trying to get it aligned
Aligned and attached. Unfortunately this will have to be stained in place using the Skytrak and the basket.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/19/2016 11:01:51 PM

Timber trusses finally made it today after delays related to getting a wide load permit.  No one understands it.  The roof trusses were wide loads and a standard wide load permit was fine. But a police officer with the commercial vehicles office decided he wanted an escort for the load, in direct opposition to the requirements that are laid out already regarding size.  I don't get why someone can simply think they can run over statutes and then get away with it.  And to top it off where he indicated the short distance where he wanted the escort, someone in the office writes it up as an escort for the entire 4 hour drive.  You can't fight city hall they say and the shipper finally gave up and got an escort for the truck.  It's put us back two days at a critical time since the roofer is coming in a week and a half.


They arrived late today and I saw that one for the front of the house was not made correctly.  Looks like they made it according to an earlier design, rather than the last we had come to agreement on.  Have a call into the fellow and will talk to him in the morning.  Not a hard fix, but will require new material to be ordered and installed.  And it'll slow down the roofer.  

On other notes - the excavator has set the pump tank, and I have gotten the electrical and fiber conduits run from the retaining wall into the house.  (We still have to dig and run electrical from the meter to the front of the retaining wall.) this allowed more backfill to be placed and I can now set the window well tomorrow.  Backfilling will continue and should be close to be done by the afternoon.

About a hundred tons of road base were brought up to the site on Monday, which was spread yesterday, creating a great parking area at the house where we have easy access into the garages, plenty of space to maneuver vehicles, and a place where the crane can set up next week.  AND - cover much of the dirt the has been blowing lately. We still need probably another 75 tons to finish the parking area, and many times that for the driveway rebuild.

Photos

Road base spread. So nice to have a clean, flat surface to work on.
Timber trusses finally arrive!
The three gable end trusses



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/17/2016

Seems I set the delivery of the timber trusses for tomorrow, Tuesday, not today. They are driving them up tonight and we'll offload them in the morning.  Not sure whether we will set them first, or the curved ones.  I'd prefer we set them last as I'd like to stain them before we get them up.  In the meantime, the framers started setting more windows today.  The excavator brought the pump tank and backfilled part of the side.  Tank is set at the right level and he'll finish the connections tomorrow and begin to add some more backfill so I can set the window well.  Yes remember the window well?  


First thing tomorrow I need to run the rest of the electrical conduit now that I can reach it.  Excavator left off backfilling right at the top of the conduit that I ran weeks ago.  I need to get that done before he can add the backfill for the window well.

I took the brackets for the curved beams off today and using a drill press from the company that is bringing in road base, I drilled out the anchor bolt holes so there is some wiggle room to better align them to the beam and the bracket across the room.  Took a while as the drill press wasn't the most powerful.  And fortunately they had a grinder so I could sharpen the drill bit - about ten times. Reset the brackets on the top of the wall and we are ready for beams. 

Over the weekend I cut foam from around the garage door openings.  I need to set lumber around the perimeters to set tracks and springs.  It was not fun.  First I needed to take a saw and cut through the foam.  I looked like Frosty the Snowman afterwards.  Then I took the hammer drill and chiseled the foam and the plastic ties from the concrete.  Some clean up work still to do on one door, but a nasty job taken care of.

While the weather has been nice with night temps a little warmer as well, I've gotten back to setting some stone, expanding what we started a few weeks ago when Sandra tore her rotator cuff, wrapping stone around a deck pillar that is on the wall at the same time.  Taking forever as there are so many corners and with the pillar, extra cuts. I can't wait until I get to a long stretch without corners and I can just run stone after stone.  With all the things on my plate - electrical conduit, staining the timber trusses, running lumber around the garage doors, setting the garage doors (at least temporarily) in the openings, I'm not sure how much stone I can continue to run.  But I'd like to concentrate on it as much as possible as long as the weather holds. That may be wishful thinking.  Oh by the way, did I ever say that being a bit ADD helps when you're building a house? So many things that you have to take care of as the opportunity presents itself. You often have to turn one thing off to jump on another and then back again.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/13/2016 9:35:17 AM

As mentioned in the last post, I fired the original excavator after much frustration.  The new one brought out equipment on Friday and started Monday and so far, I'm very happy with him. As the framers were in the active area Monday, he started off on the driveway, taking down the huge piles of debris that had lined the upper section of it since May.  He used it to raise the level of the drive as we needed to do and which I had been asking the original excavator forever.  Took him about an hour or so.  When the framers were out of the area, he then went to work on a large area nearer the house that I have also been trying to get dug out for months, and where the electric line from the transformer to the house needs to go.  The dirt he placed and graded around the side of the house where we will eventually carve steps into it.  The boulders he placed neatly along the edge for later use around the parking area.

Backfilled in front of the electric meter and transformer in a very cool manner by building a retaining wall with some of the smaller boulders before filling behind with dirt.  A marked difference from the other guy who simply dumped a bucket of dirt in front and left it at that.  The operator is really proficient with the equipment.  He can maneuver the 2000 lb bucket like someone brushing off a fly.  You have to admire it!

 I'd did call the owner last night though as we need to concentrate on getting the east side backfilled and pump tank set.  The timber trusses come Monday and we have to get those on.  He has been concentrating on a job he already had taken over at Taos Ski Valley and was trying to finish that up.  I understand, but in the meantime, fill can be brought in and my fellow can be placing some of it.  All in all, I'm very happy with the new company.  The framers have remarked at the speed and quality of work.  They also think it was the right thing to do.

The framers meanwhile have finished setting the porches, and while there is still bolting of the upper porch to the house to be done, they took advantage of low winds yesterday to begin decking the roof where the conventional trusses exist.  They may continue that today if winds cooperate.  They can only do so much however as again, the timber trusses are not on yet.  We'll try to set a few more windows as the roof decking continues.  With that on, there is little chance of a piece of plywood falling off and hitting a window.  We'll just be judicious with what windows get set.

I have been continuing with scratch coat where the lath has been run.  Slowly making progress, with much of the first story finished.  I do need to get back to framing out the garage doors, though.  Need to get closed in on that level as we do have the water line coming into the garage and while the plastic PEX pipe can freeze and not normally burst, I'd still like to keep that from happening.  That means getting the garage doors up!

Pics below.  For those of you new to the forum, you have to open by double clicking in order the see them clearly.

Photos

Decks are on! House is starting to take shape.
Simple but effective wall for backfilling in front of the electric. He picked up and placed the rocks like someone placing pebbles. He's good with his machines.
With the right equipment, the job goes much faster. An issue with the first excavator is that he doesn't own large enough equipment for a job like this.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 10/6/2016

We got back yesterday after being gone a week, expecting the see the excavator far along in the list I presented him almost three weeks ago. As of when we had left, he hadn't been there in a week and a half despite promises to do so. During the week we were gone we learned he had spent the day before our arrival backfilling the back of the house, bringing it up to near where it needed to be. That was it. The side of the house that was a top priority was still vacant of any fill. And all of the other items on the list were not touched, including backfilling the water line, important as it is freezing at night.


Enough is enough. I called the excavator that had brought over the hammer during the initial excavation. He came over this morning, looked at everything that needed to be done, gave me a price that was not far off of the other guy's, said he'd start Monday and it would take him a week. Backfill, driveway, septic. I told him to line everything up he had a deal. Now, I expect it might take two weeks as he has to pull a septic permit, but to get the rest done in a week is fantastic. He actually called tonight and said he'd get somebody over in the morning to start.

Now I go tell the other guy he's done and he gets all pissed! Asks me why I need this done so soon? So soon? I've been waiting months, and getting nothing but promises to come while he keeps taking other jobs, milking mine. Right there I knew I made the right choice.

Meanwhile, the framer and his crew continue on the decks, finishing the west side and the SW front on both levels. They started the SE front this afternoon. They are really coming out nice, eight foot deep on the front of the house and twelve on the west side.

I'm continuing to apply scratch coat ever so slowly, but I'm making a dent in it.

Photos

West side decks
West side from a distance



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/27/2016

All things come to those who wait. And boy have we waited - for four months, but last Friday we finally got a meter and temporary electric, and today we finally got water. If you may remember, the village wanted to charge me for a meter hookup, even though there was a meter in place for 30 years, saying they didn't know if anyone had paid for the original install. Well the mayor got involved and went to bat for us and we got connected today, with a new meter no less as the village is putting in radio transmitting meters. They are missing pressure reducing valves, so there is 160 PSI on the system, far more than healthy. They are on order. For me it's not a problem as I lose 25 PSI up to the garage where the line enters and currently ends and the line can take the remaining pressure. But the house next door has piping and fixtures that are 30 years old and that kind of pressure could cause them to burst. So after the workers replaced their meter, I had them shut off the line until the reducing valves arrive. I'll give the owner a call tomorrow and let them know what's going on.


In the meantime, the framers are starting the decks, having gotten several of the beams set and have been setting joists. It's really starting to add to the look of the house!

Photos




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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/25/2016

I couldn't think of a decent chapter name on the blog today, so the date will suffice. We are continuing to move towards getting the house ready for dry-in, but things seem to be moving at a snail's pace. Excavator was supposed to start on Monday, now tells me Wednesday. Same old song and dance. All I can think of is that he doesn't takes me seriously on using someone else. If I fire him, then it will take a few days time for the transition, we have to leave town for six days and I wouldn't be around to fully explain the work to the new fellow. I'm in a quandary. I'll discuss it with the framer on Monday to see how much a delay will set him back. He has material to build the decks and that alone will take a week or more, and of course we want the decks up before we try to finish the dry in.

In the meantime, we headed to Albuquerque on Friday to order and pay for the metal roofing as well as pick up a load of 8x8s for the decks. I'm still working on the scratch coat for the stone. Making progress, but slow. The night time temps are close to freezing for the next few days so I can continue to put it on. If it gets back down to the low 20s like it did a week ago, I'll have to stop.

Fermin was to come yesterday but broke down with a failed transmission. Sandra's stone work will come to a halt as she tore a rotator cuff while setting it last week. Poor girl!!! Talk about unexpected setbacks.

Before we head out for the trip, I need to run sewer pipe through the wall at both the second and third levels and put in tees for cleanouts just in case the excavator shows up, backfills and sets the pump tank. Wishful thinking?

On a more pleasant note, the days have been nice, the aspens are changing to their beautiful brilliant yellow and set against the dark green of the evergreens it is such a wonderful sight! While Fall is a precursor to the long winter ahead, it is the prettiest time of year and foe a few short weeks we need to enjoy it.

Photos

We set the first windows! Needed to figure how I wanted to trim the outside of the windows with stone, and the framers needed to learn how to set these things. So we set the lowest pair. I still need to put a mullion (post) in between the pair. Later in the day the framers started throwing trash boards from the roof to the trailer below, parked immediately in front of the windows. Yikes! They freaked as well when I yelled up to remind them!
The rafters and sub facia are set on the stairwell
Lath is slowly getting covered with the scratch coat.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/20/2016

Well, after opening the tile saw that Sandra spent four hours getting yesterday, I got it assembled pretty quickly and we started the adventure of laying up the veneer. It's really much like setting wall tile, which is something we have MUCH experience at. One item to remember is outside corners are started first and work your way from there. Well we don't have any outside corner pieces at the site yet so we chose sections that didn't have any. While Sandra was setting, I decided to run a scratch coat over other areas to get ahead and simply cover as much foam as possible before it chalks further.

Before Sandra gets over tomorrow, I'll finish the garage door framing and then back to stone with her.

Fermin told me today that he'll work this Saturday after all. That's great news! I'll have him run the scratch. It would be great to knock much of that out.

Photos

First section. Trying to run along where she didn't have to get on a ladder or scaffold. Also running where it is not in a very visible place. Good idea - practice where it won't show.
Got as far on the corner as she could reach, (since the excavator STILL hasn't filled that hole) so she switched to an area between two garage doors.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/19/2016

It was a lot easier when all I had to do was coordinate Concrete John and Framer Jason and order floor trusses. Now all I have to do coordinate deliveries of trusses, sips, glulams etc etc - all of which are arriving it seems daily. The curved beams were unloaded first thing this morning. After lunch all but two of the glulams for the porches arrived. In the meantime, I went done to pick up a couple of pallets of stone veneer. We don't have enough space to bring up the 20 some pallets even if they do stack.

Sandra was going to start running the stone, but we hit a wall (pun intended). We needed a wet saw to cut the inside corners as the stone is irregular and can't simply be woven at the corners. Trouble is one tile saw we left in Nashville so the Mutton Busting kids could finish a project, and our other one is 4 miles away, but buried deep inside the storage unit. So Sandra drove an hour and a half to the nearest Lowe's to pick up another one. A bit crazy, but what can you do? We have to get started on stone. The nights are hard freezes. It just going to get colder. 19F yesterday morning, but 72 in the afternoon. That's what living with little humidity can give you!

So I have been slowly trying to frame the garage doors. First attach plywood to the metal brackets that were embedded on the foam surface of the door opening as concrete was poured. Then attach Doug Fir 2x to the plywood and shim to make plumb and level. Slow work as the lengths are long, I'm working by myself and I'm having to set ledgers to hold ends up while lift and set the other end. But they are getting done. The Sikens stain system I ordered for the doors should arrive by the weekend, so we can begin finishing them and eventually install them.

Excavator got one of his guys up today to backfill the most critical section. I did have the heart to heart, gave him a list of things that need to be finished in order, and a deadline of October 15. We'll see if he holds to it.

Framing crew continued trimming out the roof trusses. He's going to hold off on sheathing until the decorative trusses arrive. A lot of intertwined things here.

Photos

Curved glulams wrapped, but waiting to be transported up the slope to the house
If you look closely you can see a framer setting 6x6" extending past the last truss. This will attach to the big decorative timber truss when they arrive and get set.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/16/2016

Went four-wheeling with friends today. Great fall day at nearly 12,000 feet, but at one point I felt like I was out of retirement and working again. Every time I got cell reception, calls were coming in, text messages, voicemails, emails. All revolving on deliveries, directions, can we deliver on the weekend etc. But at this point, I certainly needed to take them. All of the items are on a critical path and need to stay on track. But it was a flashback to my previous life just nine months ago before I retired.

The framers spent the day placing the bracing and sheathing on the set of trusses they set yesterday. Monday they'll set the gable truss with its sheathing already in place. Early next week, they need to set rafters over the stairwell. While the curved glulams will arrive on Monday morning, setting those will have to wait until the side porch (two levels) needs to be constructed. The last curved beam sits on posts coming off that decking. Before the decking is set, backfill needs to be completed underneath it. Excavator was given instructions to accomplish that today and I was assured it would, but nothing happened. Got to have a heart to heart with him on Monday. It's at the point that the unfinished excavation projects will now begin to affect my and the framer's schedule. I can't let that happen. A touchy subject and Sandra's advice on handling the situation in the best manner will be really important.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/15/2016 11:08:34 PM

While the framers were working on the roof trusses, two deliveries came in today on long leads.  The first one was the SIPs.  The drivers actually got to town late last night and parked in the framer's yard.  We unloaded them in the morning, and at the yard as we won't need them for about three weeks.  There really isn't enough room up at the site. The second delivery was of the three garage doors.  They were packed into two plywood crates, each weighing about 1500 lbs! And they were long! One was 19' and the other 10'.  Try unloading those from a truck without a loading dock! This delivery also took place at the yard, but I am shuttling those up piece by piece after uncrating. 

The third delivery takes place tomorrow when the steel brackets for assembling the porch beams and posts arrive. And the last delivery takes place Monday when the curved glulams arrive from Oregon.  Will be waiting on the timber trusses to finish off the list but that'll be another two weeks.  In the meantime, the framer has plenty to do with setting rafters over the stairwell, constructing the porches and setting some of the windows. 
I am starting framing of the garage doorways. Would have been nice to have done that already, but - .
Sandra is going to try to tackle setting the stone veneer.  I was going to use the framers fellow that I had been using, but he is tied up with the framing crew for the foreseeable future.  The lath has been attached on a lot of surface area, and I am worried that degradation of the foam from sunlight, may cause issues.  With the lath in place, I can't go back and rasp those areas to clean up sun-damaged foam. And - it is only getting colder.  We can mortar for only so many weeks more!

Photos

Load of SIP panels on the truck
Lower roof trusses in place. Only missing the gable end and the decorative truss.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/13/2016

While the front ones were finished last Friday, there are three shorter ones for the west side decks that will get finished today. Each of them vary in height, and because the glulam is not as tall, the final height is 6" taller than the front ones. As decks wrap around and meet, I have to form the last 6" of the side ones in order to get to the correct height.

The framers will begin setting the roof trusses today. Hopefully the SkyTrack will extend up and far enough for them to use it and save the cost of a crane until the great room glulams and the decorative end trusses get set. Crane rental is not cheap.

Photos

Pilasters on the left side
Pilasters for the west side deck. Note the form at the top to make the additional 6" necessary for the decking to match the front.
Pilasters for the right side. One is just visible against the stairwell. These are 12' tall. Doesn't seem so high until you dump concrete in, bucket by bucket.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/9/2016

So. When we were working on the Mutton Busting house in Nashville, I swore I wouldn't mix concrete in a wheelbarrow ever again. This was after mixing somewhere around a hundred bags over the course of the project. Well I finally decided on mixing by hand for the pilasters instead of calling in a truck. Sandra said I was crazy. She's probably right. But with hand mixing, I could fill them halfway up, let it sit for a day and finish the pour the next. All without having to brace the stack of blocks that would have been required to pour all at one time. Now bracing would take time, and I'd have to drill into the bedrock to set the stakes for several of them. That was something I didn't want to have to do.

So as crazy as it is, I went with mixing by hand. So far, 53 sacks to do the front pilasters. Have the side ones to do, but they are much shorter. In a week, they will have developed enough strength to go ahead and build the decks off of them. I can't wait to get them going. It's scary looking down from the third floor.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/5/2016

After a week and a half on the road, through Missouri, Nashville with the trailer, and then to Texas to see our daughter at the Barrel Race project, we are back in Angel Fire and I can't say enough how happy we are to be back in cooler temps. The trip had started out warm, but had gotten progressively hotter and humid, with the several days in Texas having us vow NEVER to visit there again in the summer. We really mean it. Just beastly hot and humidity in the upper 80s.


So being great weather, today I started laying up the cement pilaster blocks for the deck pillars. They are roughly 16" square with a hollow center that when stacked, I'll fail with concrete and rebar. But, there was a slight problem. We had expected the walls of them to be around an inch and a half like regular cement blocks, living a 13" opening. When Concrete John poured the footers, we set rebar with that in mind. When I tried to place the blocks on the footers, the rebar was spread just a tad too far to get the block set over it. So I had to take a 4" diamond saw blade on my angle grinder, gouge out four sections at the bottom of the first block on every footer. Then bend the rebar inward to allow the block to set down in place. A pain to be sure, but it worked. Started stacking the rest of the blocks, but at $50 each I got about half set before I quit. I'd have used to Skytrac to help move them, but the framer has the key. I'll get it tomorrow and use it to get the others over to the footers and also to get them lifted up as I can only do about 4' by hand. Some of the pillars are 12' tall.

Been deciding whether to mix concrete by hand and fill them with a bucket or get a trick and a line pump. Really only about a yard and a half of concrete, but a truck would be significantly less work for sure. But it would also be significantly more expensive. I've got a day to think about it. Better get it sorted out.

Photos

Last afternoon shot of the house now that the fourth floor is on. We'll add 2" of foam over the sheathing to seriously cut back on the amount of heat lost through the studs.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/29/2016

The Mutton-Bustin' kids in Nashville decided to look for a classic trailer to restore and outfit as a B&B. Apparently classic trailers are hot, really hot. So they found a 30' sixty-four-year-old trailer in Missouri that hadn't been moved for thirty years and needed to get it home. Mom and Dad to the rescue. We picked it up Sunday morning from an elderly fellow who was a hoot. Really nice guy. I was pretty worried about the old tires and the bearings. Had a couple spare tires with us, but that didn't cover all that was on the thing. We took it slow and finally made it just before darkness set in. This morning we disassembled two sections of fence so I could back it into place, which had been cleared and graded by Todd very nicely. After about five minutes, we got it back in properly and they can start their own adventure! It is really cool to see them use what they learned on the house project to move on to their own.

Photos

The old beast in place, and starting to get gutted.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/23/2016

Framers are still at work on getting the exterior walls up on the fourth floor. They had gotten the two end walls up earlier. Today, they got the rear wall up, and two wing walls on the front are ready to raise. Last Friday they set the rest of the sill plates on the top of the third floor for the beams and the roof trusses that sit there. 


Sandra and I took a few days off and returned to the job site today. I had an idea to see if I could skip getting a jackhammer to break up the blowout that covered up the holes in the retaining wall. Those holes were for drainage, electric and fiber. Decided to see if I could break it up with the hammer drill I have. It took nearly all day, but I finally got it cleared and could stuff the 6" PVC drain pipe through and cleared the other three inch lines that were intact. Tomorrow I'll haul the 18-foot piece of 6" PVC up and around to the backside of the wall, connect a elbow to it and the piece that I pushed through the wall and strap it to the wall. With that in place I'm one step closer to being able to get that area backfilled. I do need to run the electric and fiber conduits. Hopefully I can get those in place this week.

Excavator Kyle has not showed up to dig the water line. Hopefully tomorrow. I think I have all of the materials to get that in place once the trench is dug.

Final electrical inspection on the meter base and disconnect took place yesterday. Waiting for the utility to place the meter and we'll have temporary electric.

Waiting on pilaster block I ordered three weeks ago. Need to get that set. Now it's going to be here on Monday. Argh! 

Waiting on another quote for the metal roofing. A lot of waiting these days. There are so many things that are in queue that things being late are going to cause problems.

Photos

Back wall of the fourth floor up



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/17/2016

Framers got the subfloor on today. One thing nice about them is that they clean up after themselves when they get to a stopping point. We came back after they had gone and the place was immaculate! Swept, all the bits picked up, tools and cords all arranged. The place had been pretty messy the last two days with all the activity. They should begin the wall framing tomorrow.


Got the call I was hoping for this morning. Windows would be delivered around noon. Freight company had taken them to Albuquerque and gotten "two men and a truck" to bring them up to Angel Fire. Crazy but they arrived in a rented Penske truck with a Tommy lift. While I thought we would unload, they did it. Unfortunately only to the garage, not the three floors above. Wishful thinking?! But we weren't taking them that far really. Will do that over the next few weeks. Some of these suckers were huge. How they got them off the truck I don't know. I tried lifting them myself and barely got them to budge. The biggest at 6'x8' must weigh 300 pounds if they weigh an ounce. But they did it. Two guys lifting one guy guiding. The framers can set some of these if they have to wait on roof trusses. But the floors that get roof trusses will definitely not get windows until the trusses are on. No courting disaster of a truss flying into a window as they get lifted into place.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/16/2016

The framers began laying out the fourth floor yesterday, setting the sill plate and getting the trusses up the slope. We are at a point now where it is easier to bring materials up the ski slope where we offload at the third floor. Those were set today along with the rim board, and they run the decking tomorrow, and then frame it out. Meanwhile, Sandra and I have finished the interior framing on the third level. Finally decided on how to hang the decorative trusses. We'll hang them against the house, attached directly to the gables instead of them hanging out two feet. So I placed the order for the roof trusses and as soon as I have drawings on the gable trusses I'll get them over to the timber guy to lay his out to match.


We are leaving for much of the next two weeks and I am a bit pensive. It seems that so many clarifications have to be made each week that things may get dropped while I'm away. I really don't see how anyone can have a custom home built without being a part of the process. Or maybe they have a more complete set of plans to work from? ;-)

By the way, it snowed today on the nearby mountains. It was at a higher elevation than us, but - did I say the weather is changing? It's only mid-August!

Photos

Setting the final floor trusses
The Skytrak has been a lifesaver on the framing. And it has much more to do.
Trusses in. On to the walls!



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/14/2016

Busy weekend. Weather held pretty well this weekend and that allowed Sandra and I to begin framing the third floor. We are able to do this before the next level is done because the concrete topped out at a uniform finish and height, where the two previous pours varied some due to the nature of the pours. Saturday we chalked the walls which as you recall we couldn't on the second level due to the wetness. What a difference in setting the walls! Set the walls on the lines and they're in. Two long days with Sandra culling 2x4s from the pile of ICF bracing and cutting them to length while I laid out the spacing and put the walls together. Together, lifting them in place they were set and plumbed.


The final set of floor trusses arrive tomorrow. The framer will get them up the hill, but sounds like he'll be a day or two before he sets them and begins framing the last level which is part of his contract.

Still haven't given the OK to order the roof trusses as I don't have the final heel height, nor gotten a final design on the decorative timber trusses. Talked to the timber guy today and I'll sketch out my idea of the cantilever supports tonight and get it to him. This has simply got to get sorted out early this week.

Got a call from a freight company today. They had the windows loaded on a regular semi truck. I specified they needed to be brought on a box truck when I placed the order. No way a semi truck can make it up the drive and I don't wish to risk damage by shuttling them up from town. Told them they needed to find a box truck with a lift gate. I had paid extra for that service. They need to deliver by Wednesday as we are leaving for a few days that evening. I sent an email to the factory today for their help on the matter.

Last, there is a change in the air here. Summer is quickly fading at 9,000'. Nights are much cooler, and today Sandra was in a sweatshirt much of the day. The hummingbird food is lasting a bit longer, and we see new birds passing through. While most of the rest of the country is still sweltering, and fall is far from anyone's minds, it is definitely approaching here. Makes getting in the dry all that more important as winter will not be far behind.

Photos

Third level poured.
View from the kitchen area to the slope side.
Framing up the third level



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/11/2016

Concrete John came back with his crew on Monday to finish setting up, expecting to pour on Wednesday.  I didn't think he had a snowball's chance to make that deadline, with so much work to finish, including building a retaining wall that bridged the gap between the house and the steep rock wall that still remained from the excavation.  But to my amazement, they got it ready and poured on time!


While most of the crew went back to Santa Fe, two stayed to remove forms from the walls and begin cleaning up.  Extra forms, rebar, etc were packed up.  They'll be finished in the morning and that phase of the project, in some ways the major part of the project, will be over.  With two months of a "two weeks on, one week off" schedule, I think they were glad to finish the project.  

With the second level framed, Sandra and I spent a little time yesterday roughly marking the rooms out on the third level just to see how they feel.  We decided on some minor changes before darkness set in.  Tomorrow we will go ahead and chalk-line the walls to start the framing.  Monday the floor trusses for the small 4th level will arrive and the framer can begin framing the final level.  

I ordered roof trusses today. The curved beams will ship Sept 9, and the SIP panels for the curved section ship Sept 15. I've got to order the decorative trusses very soon.  I had been waiting until the foundations for the supports had been poured, to get the final dimensions.  As this happened yesterday during the concrete pour, I can now get that to the timber truss company and get them ordered. And with those support dimensions, I ordered the glulam beams for the porches.  The windows ship tomorrow and will arrive early next week.  A lot of things going on!



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/5/2016

Been working 10 and 12 hour days, so a bit hard to get down to the blog when I get home.


This week has simply been awful in terms of weather. It has rained every day. Now the rain here is a bit different in that it isn't measured in inches, but having it soak the site every afternoon is still a pain. Today, I let Fermin, the older fellow who I have working with me, go home shortly after lunch, and paid him for the full day. I was really afraid he wouldn't make it out of the lot as the drive is slick as snot. Even I had a hard time making the corners on the downhill drive with 4WD. The front tires just slide and don't turn you. It'll be great when we get gravel up there, but that'll be a while yet.

But the week has been quite successful! Concrete John and his crew have gotten much of the last floor (for them) up. But they have quite a bit more to do before pouring concrete on Thursday. I'll bet it gets pushed back to Friday unless he can get the rest of his guys up. Included in the pour are footers for the deck posts, and a retaining wall between the right front corner and the excavation wall. One side of that will be pinned into the rock wall, and the forms will have to be trimmed to fit around the jagged surface.

The excavator backfilled the electrical trench and the utility came up today and pulled the high voltage wire through and set the transformer. The electrician will come out next week and set the meter. I'm going to ask if he can run the lines to the house as well instead of setting a temporary. But not sure he can do that at this time. Somewhere my temporary set has disappeared. Been at the site for a couple months, but when I went to look for it today it was gone. Maybe the electrician picked it up on one of his trips up to the site. If not, I'll have to build another one. Damn!

Excavator also got much of the rear wall backfilled up to the third story! We can finally walk out the back door (well the opening where it will be) and step down to soil and walk out to the ski slope. Just as I envisioned it. When Sandra gets back in town, she'll finally see how it turned out. All along she could not figure how it would come together. She'll be blown away at the change! We'll need to get more dirt up there, but it's 90% complete. 

Fermin and I have gotten quite a bit of framing done this week. Nearly all of the second level is complete. We'll finish it up on Monday. I've been laying out the walls while he has been going in putting up the lintels and fire blocking the stud cavities. It takes the both of us to raise the walls up, get them into place with a 5 lb. hammer and plumb them.

My blueprints have been getting wet as I would try to find a dry spot on the floor and kept losing that game. So he came up and said "can I build you a table?" Of course! I was thinking a simple flat table, but he came up with a sloped table like a draftsman's! I was blown away! It's a godsend! 

Photos

Backfill reaching the third level finally!!! Remember ther are two stories below.. Remember to double click on the pics
The front of the house with the forms partially up on the third story
Shot of what will be the master bedroom
View out of 1 1/2 of the 6x8' windows across the back of the house
View out of another 6x8' window in the great room. You can see we are at tree top level. What a feeling!
Half of the second level framed. In front is it's great room and kitchen, open concept. The second have is behind me and will be finished Monday
Just a shot of the drive after all the rain we have had. There's 1000 feet of this!
Gotta have a picture of Fermin, my helper. All of probably 110 pounds and he has more energy than someone half his age. He has been running lath on the outside, now framing and will set the stone when it comes in.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/2/2016 10:52:50 PM

Monsoon really came at us today.  Opened up at lunchtime and let loose. Water ponded in areas of the second floor.  Needless to say we couldn't chalk the interior walls.  It was a mess.  But after the concrete guys removed all of the bracing and got it up to the next level, we started to building the interior.  Didn't get really far.  Had to move in more lumber and get things set up.  It would be easier if the trusses weren't in as the fit is tight, but it's the way we have to build this.  Hopefully we'll move along quicker tomorrow now we are started. But it is great to see walls going up!

 


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/1/2016 10:18:30 PM

Concrete John will begin the 3rd floor tomorrow. In the meantime, I've run some of the fire block around the elevator shaft.  Not really easy to do, but getting there.  Too many surfaces that need to be blocked, especially the joists that surround it.  I did get the blocking done today on the end walls, with Sandra's help.  She cut while I nailed in place.  And as soon as Concrete John's crew pulls the bracing out of the second floor, hopefully tomorrow, Sandra and I will go ahead and pull chalk lines for the rooms and then I can start framing the interior walls!  


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/27/2016

The rain held off today until 3:30 PM, which was much better than as forecasted. And in the end it was not much more than a sprinkle, but by the time it stopped, we had packed everything up.


But all of the trusses above the second level, creating the floor for the third level, are in! Howard spent most of the day drilling through the upper blocks into the concrete to set the bolts, 210 in all. He was beat at the end of it about another 70 to drill and set, but I'll relieve him of that tomorrow. Framers will begin decking, Sandra has said she'll apply Thompsons sealer to it if the weather holds. As often as it has rained lately, it's important to get it on to protect as much as possible.

In order to set the four short trusses, I had to put together the front wall of the elevator shaft again. Fortunately, it was much easier this time as I had the garage floor section to use as a template. Howard and I will try to get the other three walls put up before he leaves for home on Saturday. The rear wall will be a bit of a challenge as instead attaching directly to the ICFs, the ICFs are thinner on the second level and we'll have to shim out to meet them.

But all-in-all, a good week in spite of the rain. Just talked to Concrete John and he'll be back on Monday to start the third level!! So far we are keeping close to schedule.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/26/2016

Well, monsoon season, which generally arrives at the beginning of July, had held off until this week. While the rain is welcome from a general perspective, it has been playing havoc with building. Normally monsoons in the southwest mean decent weather until around mid-afternoon when the skies open up for 30 minutes and then move on. But that 30 minutes kills the rest of the day's work and makes for sloppy conditions.


The framing crew set and leveled the sole plate and started laying out and setting the floor trusses. As for the last floor, we are running plumbing and HVAC ducts through the trusses and thus must lay in pipe and ducts as the trusses are set. Making sure I have everything in there before they are all in is extremely important. 

With Howard's help today, we finally finished the waterproofing and water screen. Backfilling can proceed for all except where a retaining wall sits against the front wall at one corner. And with his help we got the basement section of the elevator shaft finished. Hopefully we can get the second level shaft done before he leaves later this week.

Photos

Framer Jason hauling a load of floor trusses up the ski slope. Really the only way to get them up to the level we are at.
Skytrak following the load of trusses up so it can offload them
Second set of trusses (for the third floor) being set today. As Concrete John held dimensions better during the pour, they are slipping right in as they should.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/24/2016

The second floor walls were poured on Thursday and all went pretty well. One small bulge at a window, but that shouldn't be a problem. The biggest thing was the penetrations had issues. I used duct pipe for the 6" and 8" ones and unfortunately the force of the pumped concrete tended to crush them at least partially. I'll have to go in with a hammer chisel and open them up. The walls were straight, the distances were held, and the framer's crew should have no issues in setting the floor trusses this coming week.


Monday, I need to get on a couple more rolls of waterproofing, and what is left of the water screen so the excavator can finish backfilling the back wall. Framer needs this done to access the second floor with the Skytrak to lift the trusses in place. I still don't think there is enough dirt up on top to do everything we want, but we'll see where we end up this week.

The windows should arrive in the next couple of weeks. I need to check on them. We can actually begin setting some of them but will need help getting them off the truck. The large ones weigh in at around 400 pounds. We have the Skytrak to help us but I'm sure it will be a struggle requiring a few people.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/22/2016

Just a few pics. Double-click as always.

Photos

Todd has a bit of fun while priming the second story wall for waterproofing .
Excavator Kyle can run equipment to extremes.
Back wall of house with waterproofing and water screen in place
Backhoe in the trench shows the scope of the project
From afar as today's pour is proceeding



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/21/2016

This week, especially the last couple of days, has seen major activity at the house. For two days we had ten people working with three pieces of earth moving equipment, multiple saws operating, nail guns blasting, generators going - you get the point, a flurry of activity.


Howard and Todd installed blocking and insulation between the floor joists where they met the wall, while I was cutting the blocks and insulation to throw up to where they stood on scaffolding. Excavator Kyle returned with his crew to backfill and compact the first floor. Concrete John and his crew were feverishly setting the second level, with all the lintels over the six windows, the two French doors and the stairwell opening, as well as having to make and set the rebar cage for the bond beam the engineer required for the next level of floor trusses. Overall, we remarkably stayed out of each other's way for most of the process.

It is wonderful to have the first floor (mostly) backfilled as getting into the second floor was becoming a challenge because of the height. We can now enter through a side door. 

It's been hard to get this out as at the end of each day we are dog-tired and right now we need to get to the site as there are a couple of last minute things I want to check before they start pumping concrete for the second floor in a about an hour. Pics later!


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/16/2016

Starting this past Wednesday, I had some tremendous help from my son-in-law from the Mutton Bustin project, and my brother-in-law. They have been helping to get the first section of exterior ready for back filling. Without them, I couldn't have done it. Too much work, too little time and most things that still needed to get done required three people.


First day was spent setting the French drain. A lot of digging and wheeling gravel around the house, but we got it done. The past three days we've been setting the peel-and-stick waterproofing and drainage plane, tedious but not nearly as hard work as the French drain. We should finish tomorrow and be ready for the excavator to back fill. That needs to be done before the third story is started as we need access from the back (higher) for the framer to get roof trusses in and very possibly for Concrete John, now that we are 26' off the lowest point. Looking at it from the top seems enormous.

The framer lent me a fellow to use for whatever I need him for, until the framer needs him back. The fellow is 69 years old and has done a lot of things in construction. I've started him on running the lath for the stone on the first floor and the stairwell. While the stone will arrive in a few weeks, he can run this and put the scratch coat on while wait for the stone. If the framer still doesn't need him, I'll see how well he is at setting stone. His cost is really reasonable.

Photos

the green is a primer for the peel and stick waterproofing. A pain to work with as it becomes very tacky as it dries, but acts like contact cement with the membrane which is in the background of the picture
Back wall with the first row of waterproofing membrane. That 89 feet seems like a mile when you are working it.
First row of drainage plane. It's a dimpled plastic sheet that has a tough geotextile fabric attached to the front side. It's attached to the wall after the membrane and allows water that contacts it to simply run to the French drain eliminating hydrostatic pressure.
Second story right side. The "shadow" on the lower section of wall is the metal lath for anchoring the stone.
Son-in-law and brother-in-law after a hard day.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/12/2016

While the trusses were set on last Thursday, much of Friday was spent nailing 2x6s along a vertical chord ten feet from each long wall. This member ties the trusses together, provides the proper spacing (when measured correctly) and stiffens the entire structure by spreading loads across multiple trusses. Once that was done, they began to lay the subfloor while I went back to drilling the blocking and fastening to the concrete. Saturday morning I went over to begin applying Thompsons water sealer to the subfloor to help minimize issues from rain. To my surprise, three of the crew showed up to continue decking the trusses! As they laid, I waterproofed, and by the end of the day they nearly finished. Yesterday morning, The final pieces were in, the concrete guy arrived with a load of ICFs and we were off to the second floor. It's taken nearly two days to prep for the second floor, building a platform in the stairwell to work off of and truing up everything as by the top of the 14' pour, some small deviations in dimensions had taken place. But at the end of today, the blocks started to get set.

Photos

Decking on. This is the floor for the second level.
View from underneath.
Did I ever say the garage is tall?! My brother-in-law who came yesterday to help.



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/7/2016

Another long day for me and the framers, but by the time they finished, all the second floor trusses were set! Yay!???????? I was worried about the shorter trusses that set on the front wall of the elevator shaft. Three of the four trusses were right on. The fourth hung over about a half inch due to the concrete issue. I'll trim it with a Sawzall in the morning.


While the crew was at lunch, I got out my monster hammer drill and began drilling holes in the concrete for the blocking. Each block gets two bolts. Got about 80 holes done before they came back. The thing drills concrete like butter. Was offered a battery powered torque wrench to set the bolts. Man! That worked fantastic - while the batteries lasted. As you can imagine, torquing these 1/2" bolts chewed up battery life pretty quick. I went through four Li ion battery packs before those 80 bolts were set. I've taken home all the batteries tonight (7) to make sure they are fully charged for tomorrow's work. I've got around another hundred or more holes to drill as the crew sets up for decking.

Photos

Underneath shoot of the trusses from about 1/3rd from the right end wall. Behind the scaffolding you can just make out the front wall for the elevator.
An artsy shot with the shadows playing off everything
Lifting trusses with the Skytrack



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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/7/2016

Framers finished leveling the sill plate and then mid morning began setting the trusses. Unfortunately, there was an issue. The top half-form rotated a bit when the concrete was poured as I think I mentioned before. It was enough that they mostly didn't fit. The crew has had to chisel back the extended concrete wherever a truss sits. With that they are able to get them in, but it is slow going. They only got a third of them in whereas they could probably have gotten all set if things were better. I discussed with Concrete John and we agreed to brace the joint at the half-for with plywood. I also mentioned I want to check the outside to outside dimensions of the block before we pour.


All in all, it is looking great! Just slower than everyone expected. I've offered to help them tomorrow as well as help them install the subfloor later this week. The offer was appreciated.


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Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/5/2016

Yes, it was one of those days when there is a lot of activity but nothing really shows! Framer and his crew came up and began laying out the sill plate. There is some unevenness to the concrete ledge as usual, and they'll have to shim it up a bit here and there. I drilled holes for the anchors that needed to be inserted and we got the Simpson anchor screws in, so no cutting of traditional bolts and epoxying them in!


I began laying out the elevator shaft on the slab, and once I get the final height of the sill in the morning, will go and build that. There are shorter trusses that hang off the front of the shaft.

Trusses made it to the address but the truck and trailer couldn't negotiate the driveway. So it was offloaded at the street, and the lumberyard sent a smaller truck over. With Concrete John's Skytrak, huge extendable fork lift, the smaller truck was loaded. Three trips and they were up.

Excavator Kyle returned and nearly finished the electric trench. But, would you know, nothing is easy at this site. He ran into a ledge of rock about a third of the way. About two feet thick and continues across the trench in both directions. He'll get a jackhammer from Taos, and bust it loose. Shouldn't take too long. Nothing is ever straight forward. He did get all of the rest of it dug. Electrician dropped off the conduit and ran it as far as the rock. Not sure when we'll actually get power, but the framer has a generator so we can run that way to keep moving.

Although it's only around 80F, the intense sun and the reflection off of the ICFs is tough to deal with. Really wears you out. And I need to remember to use sunscreen. That reflection gets around the hat I'm wearing. I'll try to start early morning as best I can. But without power to the site I have to wait for the framers to arrive if I am doing anything like sawing or drilling.

Photos

Floor trusses, all 64 of them
Electric trench and conduit. Trench is five feet deep.



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