ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Scott 2 »

My general bias would be in favor of the "wrong" garage doors at a 50% discount, but not with the amount of personal labor you've invested into the project. I am admittedly ignorant when it comes to construction, but the home you are creating looks much better than anything I would expect from a hired builder. I think your continuous attention to detail will be very evident in the end product.

ffj
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Scott

It was tempting, haha. One of the reasons I am doing so much work myself is so that the money we are saving can be applied to materials that are better than the norm. And also, once we sell our current house we won't have to carry any debt. If I get out of this with no money owed I'll be dancing a jig, there is even a possibility we could make money but the pessimist in me shuts down that thought pretty quickly.

My expertise is knowing about said materials and quality construction methods and my wife is pretty good at color coordinating and just matching style and finish. We make a deadly team, ha. So even if I had wanted the savings, she would have still vetoed my wishes. But I agree with her as I am not building another house so we need to get this one right. Our friends and family have been pretty generous with the compliments so far in regards to the house and property and I think they are genuine with their praise which is encouraging. I'm always leery of social niceties in these situations.

Anyway, more boring progress. Boring in the sense that I just don't think you guys want to see me fitting pipe or drilling holes. But the forms are completed for the porch pours and I've hired a crew to pour the concrete tomorrow. A crew that knows how to finish concrete properly. I'm excited about getting this done. I've also added wire mesh for reinforcement but I took the picture before that was done.

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I've also added the ledger boards where the two decks/porches are going to be built. I have four exterior doors on this house which seems kind of crazy but it flows with the design. For something as simple as bolting a board to the side of the house, there were a lot of steps involved to get this done right so it doesn't rot the side of my house. Flashing, counter flashing, specific bolt placement, etc, made this job take much longer than I anticipated.

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Ignore the dirt, but here is the final product to ward off the water.

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I am also making good progress on the plumbing and by the middle of Sept. I hope to be done, which should correspond with my siding guys getting close to starting that phase. We'll see.


I finally got them to sit still long enough to get all three in the picture. Yellow face in the foreground, Slinky to the right, and Mustachio in the back. What is hilarious is that they follow me around now and watch what I am doing, whether they are hungry or not.

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ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Well I fixed my front door issue. It was simply a matter of reversing the door swing and if you have the right tools it's not too complicated.

I bought a door hinge template with the accompanying router bit from a yard sale about 12 years ago and it sat in a drawer until last week, whereupon it finally got some use. I set the hinge size, adjusted the router bit for correct depth, and then made sure my measurements were perfect before I fastened the device to the frame.

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Once I had installed the door, I realized that the reveal was a little bit off in the upper left corner so I will show you guys a common trick to adjust that at the hinge side. Simply make a shim that won't compress, I used vinyl siding, and place it behind the hinge you want to shift.

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And fixed.

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By the way, the concrete porches are done! What a difference that makes. The guy that poured and finished them also said he could fix my terrible pour of the shop by grinding it flat for $600, which somebody upthread recommended from the start. After looking at the porches and how good they look, it is even more embarrassing looking at my sloppy job. :oops: So I'll probably go that route.

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I walked in the barn to this sight the other day. My model home has a purpose still! Everybody gets their own room, although Mustachio looks like he could murder me, haha.

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The Monarch butterflies are back on their southern journey, which is a welcome sight. I have several zones that I just let run wild such as this riparian area here that just explodes with flowers this time of year. I need to start documenting the types of flowers and plants all around me as I have with the trees as they are attracted to something I have growing.

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The house at this point:

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It's prepped for the siding and once that is complete it should start to really look good. While I wait for the siding guys to show up I continue the work on the plumbing which I may document here shortly but it kind of hard to make interesting to be honest. Currently I am working in the crawlspace in the dark which doesn't lend itself to nice pictures anyway, and it's one of those fundamental areas that gets covered up and forgotten until something goes wrong. But I am making headway which is important.

jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

I think Roy Underhill just died a little on the inside with that plastic jig ;)

The fancy hand tool approach to the door issue is a butt mortise plane. E.g. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/products/butt-mortise-plane

The ghetto hand tool approach can be done with a chisel. First chisel out the edges to prevent blowout like you would a mortise. Then hammer the chisel all the way through a piece of scrap wood(*) at about 30 degrees until the tip pokes out on the other side just enough to match the depth of the mortise. Bevel down! You now have a ghetto router. If the mortise is deep you will have to move the chisel down gradually. The nice thing about this approach is that one can make as many "routers" as one has chisels, e.g. start out with a 1/8" and then finish the surface with a 1.5".

(*) It's a good idea to first drill a hole for the chisel to follow to prevent splitting the wood.

ertyu
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ertyu »

wonderful, wonderful cats. thanks :)

SavingWithBabies
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Location: Midwest, USA

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by SavingWithBabies »

How do you do your crawl? Just curious if you need to put down a vapor barrier (and if so, how you keep it in place)? The cats look so happy! They are lucky to have you.

ffj
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@jacob

ha! I didn't see Roy anywhere when I had to get the job done. :D I bought that jig for $5 years ago and it worked great. If you'll notice the shoulders are rounded to match the hinges, which a router will match perfectly. It's harder to do with chisels unless you have a half-round wood carver handy.

@ertyu

I post them mainly for you. Come visit and you can have the one you want.

@saving

I am having a hard time getting the crawl space to dry out completely. Part of the problem is that I don't have gutters. or sloped grass around the perimeter. And my opening for the crawl space is at a low point so heavy rains allow water to come in even though it's blocked off with a piece of plywood.

Once the siding is on, I will put gutters up as soon as possible with drains to take the water away from the house. Once the stone is put on the bottom, I will grade the yard and plant grass. I will also install a separate drain for the crawl space opening.

At that point I will monitor the moisture and more than likely I will install a vapor barrier. The reason I don't already have a barrier is because I didn't have time to put it in before the carpenters showed up to be honest, once the floor covered the space I kind of forgot about it. But that has been a blessing because I've had standing water down there several times due to torrential rains. There is nothing more nasty than slimy, mud covered plastic.

The plan is to install the plastic and maybe cover with crushed stone, which will be a pain in the ass at this point. The plastic will ideally need to come up the walls which they make special tape for adhesion. I will also install a sump pump with a well for any accumulating water. Possibly a dehumidifier too. But I'll mainly just monitor and adjust accordingly.

My goal is to not have anything critical residing in the crawl space, especially an air handler/furnace, ductwork , etc. Water and humidity issues have been my number one headache for all the years I've owned a house by far.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Wow, the house looks great! It's incredible you've done most of the work yourself. Great job! Thanks for sharing the progress here.

ffj
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Gilberto

Thanks man. I'm guessing when it is all finished I will have done about half the work on the house, having hired out several tradesmen. It's all a balancing act to maximize savings and time. There are days when I wonder why I even care about saving so much money as we are financially set but it just runs counter to my personality not to try when I have the ability.

My new neighbor is also building a house at the same time and he has been quite free sharing his costs which has been nice. My house should come in under a least $100,000 compared to his if not $150,000 so that is a strong motivator.

If I knew my current house would sell for what it is appraised then I would hire out the rest of the house but I'm just not sure due to the horrible neighbors. Just a couple of hours ago there were three police cars rolling up their driveway looking for someone. Nobody wants to live next to a bunch of criminals.

ertyu
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ertyu »

a gamble: wait to see if something happens with neighbors and they clear out. idk why i had this thought/intuition when reading. i found myself thinking, hm, someone could really profit if they bought this house cheaper because of these guys and then it would appreciate after they're gone

now, i obviously don't know them or your area, it was just a piece of intuition i had. good luck with sale of property regardless; someone has to keep yellowface, mustachio, and slinky into kibble :lol:

ffj
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@ertyu

Unfortunately, there is no indication that they plan to leave. All of their offenses are drug related for the most part and the one son that was dealing is gone after spending a couple of years in jail. So unless they scale up in their crimes nobody is going away for very long as most charges are in the realm of a couple days in jail and a fine. Which is a lifestyle they are comfortable with.




I finished the plumbing vents and drains. Everything is dry-fitted at the moment as I would really like a certified plumber to double-check my work once I install the supply lines. Somebody to verify that I got it right before I start gluing and soldering all of these joints. I figure for a couple hundred dollars I could get a plumber to inspect my work and recommend corrections, if any. Easy money for him and no costly mistakes for me.

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Here is my access hole I created almost centered in the house. This has been quite the time saver as the outside access is fairly far from the plumbing. I've crawled in and out of this hole many, many times.

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The siding and trim arrived the other day, so I officially am ready to clad the outside of my house. Now if only my installers will show up. ;) I'm going to call them tomorrow to see what kind of delay I am dealing with.

I have two styles of siding:

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All of the trim is a PVC product that will never rot or need painting, as well as the vinyl siding itself. Personally, I don't like all of this plastic on the outside of the house but visually it should "pop" when installed. It will look good, but I really like the cement board products better. My wife would not compromise in the slightest as she wants no maintenance, especially caulking and painting. Maybe I will thank her stubbornness one day.


My goals for the rest of the month are to finish the supply lines and get a head start on the electrical, which has already happened. I have been purposefully slowing down a bit and focusing on other areas such as the land to maintain some sanity. I am still working quite a bit, but I am focusing on other demands which have been ignored in the pursuit of getting this house weathered in, which is giving me more balance in my life. It feels good.

Scott 2
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Scott 2 »

Do you leave the access hole when the house is finished? Like does it become a secret exit?

Riggerjack
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Riggerjack »

Watching the build, it's been interesting to see how things get done in areas w/o the local seismic code beefed up as we do here.

What is your plan for the joists you notched for your main drain plumbing, just sister them? Is that room going to be finished?

Where you are supporting your drain line with plumbing tape in your crawl space, would require a wrap and a half, up here.

But things get bouncy up here, so our code would reflect that.

Looking at your crawl space access, I would be tempted to build a step ladder to leave down there, and set up the cover to hinge, and lock against the wall and have a grab handle. When open, you have steps and a handle. Closed, a floor. And the stepladder can move if you need it to. When the house is finished and occupied, moving a ladder into position is a different experience.

Also, since you are about to start on your electrical...

When we did our house, I used double gang boxes as my default. 4 outlets beats 2. Outlets are very cheap, so double your capacity for about a buck per box. With so many outlet mounted transformers, and so many devices, I've never wished I had fewer outlets...

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Scott2

I put the hole under the staircase and I plan on keeping it. I'll build a door in my master closet wall to access that void space to get to it. It's just too handy not to keep it and I guess you could call it a secret exit. Although I'm not sure what I would need to be escaping from, haha.

Although you know the space under the stairs will be kind of secret too so maybe I'll store my gold and silver coins there in a safe. That's a joke, please nobody come to my house looking for loot, haha. I love the idea of secret hiding spaces but other than tools I really don't have much worth hiding.


@rigger

When I finish gluing up the pipes I will go back and beef up any cut joist and hanging pipe. I've just put in the minimum amount of strapping to keep everything in place at this point so glue-up will be easier. The plumbing tape, I call them straps, is just there to hold everything at the correct slope until I get them glued up. It's hard to see but I have 2x4's screwed to the floor joists that the pipe will be fastened to at 16 inch intervals once I am done, and I will do that to the return you see also.

We don't have the seismic issues you guys face but I tend to over-engineer everything I do so in the end this thing is going to be bulletproof. The notches I had to cut will receive reinforcement which usually involves sistering scrap pieces of wood along the weak point.

I don't like the look of the double-gang boxes in a residential, so I'll just put more singles in to compensate. We laid out a rough electrical schematic last night and tomorrow I'll start placing boxes. I also have a friend who is going to update me on all of the current codes that I may not know which is a nice asset to have at your disposal. I just wish I had the equivalent in a plumber, ha.

Hristo Botev
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

ffj wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:00 pm
hey make installation kits but they cost as much as the panels so I think I'll do a little more research and redneck my way around the expensive options.
I'm very much enjoying doing a slow read through your 5.5 years+ of journaling; but I absolutely HAD to stop to comment on your use of the phrase "redneck my way around"; I love it, and I'm stealing it!

Hristo Botev
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

ffj wrote:
Sat May 30, 2015 8:09 am
I've been checking out Craigslist for at least a couple of years now looking for a beer kit for a reasonable price and finally a couple of months ago a guy had the complete kit with lots of extras, even the beer bottles. I was able to acquire two 7 gallon carboys, stainless steel brew pot, thermometer, specific gravity tester, cleaner, brush, capper, bottler bucket, auto siphon, drying rack and the bottles for $100.00. It was worth the wait.
I promise I won't continue to comment on 5-year-old posts from your journal, but needless to say, you did a helluva lot better on capital costs than I did, and I didn't even get a drying rack (I've been using the dish drying rack from our sink, which works, but you have to be VERY careful the bottles don't tip over). I tell myself it's OK because I'm supporting my local homebrew brick-and-mortar retail business, as opposed to buying from Amazon. That said, the additional cost I paid was totally worth it given that the woman who runs the store gave me a soup-to-nuts tutorial on how to homebrew, and she's even fielded a couple of my phone calls when I think I screwed something up.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

"soup-to-nuts"

That's a new expression to me, ha. The tutorial I am sure was worth the extra money as you probably didn't know shit from Shiloh about brewing before her advice. :)

I still use that same kit for my beer and wine making. Here in a couple of weeks I'll be picking thousands of pounds of grapes at my in-laws vineyard and I'll take some home to make some new wine. I follow a very simple regiment that involves racking and time until I get the results I want. Every batch that I have made has turned out decent and quite drinkable. It's very easy to do if you get the urge.

I read on your journal that you would like some medical training and are interested in becoming a paramedic. You'll need to become an EMT first and like your buddy, I think that will satisfy your skill-set needs. A paramedic will be able to perform advanced skills but unless you have the equipment or drugs it becomes a moot point. Around here a 3 month EMT course will cost around $1000, including a skills test. You'll have to schedule for the national written exam and pass (along with the skills exam) to be considered an EMT, with your licensure good for 2 years at which point it needs to be renewed, usually with a small fee and continuing education hours credited. But to really learn your skills, you should ride an ambulance to get a good idea on how pre-hospital care actually works. And a bonus would be a good paramedic who is willing to teach you some advanced stuff, even if you aren't legally allowed
to perform those skills on an ambulance.

Hristo Botev
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

Thanks for the info on the EMT course; very helpful! From an ERE standpoint, would you see a lot of value in the EMT training? As in, would a competent EMT be in a position to prevent some or even many routine trips to the ER or urgent care (for himself, his family, and his friends/neighbors), by being able to do some basic triage for which most Americans typically rely on urgent care, etc.?

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Like every skill, you need to apply what you've learned for it to really be "learned".

The course is worth taking, but don't expect to suddenly be able to read every situation and know what to do, as that takes experience in the field, and equipment. And keep in mind that very little diagnosis occurs at the EMT level, beyond the obvious, as we are trained more to react to conditions presented. My mother will call me at times and ask me medical advice way beyond my scope and I have to tell her for the hundredth time, I am not a doctor that specializes in that field. Not only am I not a physician, I'm not even a paramedic, I'm just an EMT. So I don't know, I tell her, but I'm pretty good at chest compressions. ;)

So my advice would be if you do take the course, really try to get some ride time on an ambulance. Maybe your FF friend can help facilitate that happening. Just having casual conversations with him and his experiences will help you immensely, especially once you become familiar with technique and equipment. But treat the course as a primer, as your real experience begins by making calls.

Also, you can buy the book many EMT students use: https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Care-D ... 238&sr=8-3

And I bet your friend has a copy he could loan you.

Regarding trips to ER or urgent care, that is so situational that I couldn't advise. As a parent, it's usually pretty obvious when your child needs outside help whether you are an EMT or not. And keep in mind that you will not have access to diagnostic tools a hospital will have on hand.

Lastly, be careful advising others if it appears even remotely or potentially life-threatening. Did I recall correctly that you are an attorney? When people learn that you have some medical training or wear a uniform, suddenly you become the expert, whether warranted or not. Ask your buddy about just wanting to blend in the crowd without any responsibilities. ;)

Hristo Botev
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

Wow, just finished getting totally caught up on your last 5.5 years. Thanks for the crash course in home construction! I've always been the poser that nods his head confidently when someone mentions soffits, sheathing, rafters, joists, flashing, footings, etc., because I knew it was something that I was supposed to know, but I really didn't have a clue as to the differences. And now I do! Thanks for all of the fantastic photos and explanations; really, really great stuff and super informative. I certainly don't see building a house with my own hands in my future, but you've given me some confidence to perhaps be a little bit more hands on with some honey-do items around our house (of which there is a long list).

I also enjoyed seeing the development of the brewing, and wine, and gardening, and mushroom ventures, and I'm looking forward to following your progress on these and other, future ventures--and learning a lot along the way.

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