Monday, October 17, 2011

Woodpile days

Well it's National Forest Products week, as you're probably aware. In case you didn't know, there's still time to put your inflatable Paul Bunyan out in the yard. The holiday comes at a good time for me as I'm done hanging drywall for a while, and on to gathering firewood.

I had nothing to do with this photo other than nabbing it off of a sculptor's website because it inspires me. -link- I don't think I'll be making sculptures this year other than the usual rectangular shapes (which I always find attractive).

Yep the upstairs drywall is all hung up now and cleaned up. The joints aren't taped yet but we're going to put that off until the downstairs is finished so we can move in very soon (~1 month?). There will only be a very basic kitchen and other plumbing as it progresses.

This is the fourth year in a row now that we set out in Spring with the goal of moving into this place before Winter's snow. Everyone's getting excited as it seems really close this time.

Erica and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by staying the night out at the house without our children. And by taking a hike up 'Shattuck's hill.'

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Neighborhood place for sale.

Update: This cabin was recently acquired by some new friends as a family getaway.  They're giving it a lot of love.  It now has a second floor and roof and a finished bathroom. We're so grateful you're here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

How to bend drywall

A strong wind this weekend is stripping the trees and giving us the sky back. The colors, smells, and other sensations of this season have been fantastic as usual. The biggest news in the neighborhood lately is the birth of a baby girl to the couple next door. She was born healthy through a long labor and during a hurricane-strength wind storm. As for me, I've been hanging drywall.

We have a plan to get us moved in before the heavy snow which is to roughly finish the upstairs and move into there, and then work on the downstairs through the winter. The other significant part of the plan is that I've committed to working 40 hours on the place every week. This means only a half day on Tuesday and Wednesday and a full day every other day except Sunday. It's not different from what I've been doing except that now I'm counting the hours. It makes a huge difference, as it's very easy to stretch breakfast and checking email into the afternoon. Now if I do that I have to stay at work until after the kids are in bed.

Breaking news: The attic room now has a staircase.

Now to the drywall bending. After experimenting with long scraps over the course of the last couple months using the various tips I learned from people I talked to or read about online, I've come to an understanding of how this is not difficult at all.

The materials you are dealing with are gypsum and paper. The paper holds the gypsum together. Gypsum becomes flexible when moistened, but paper becomes very weak when wet.  Gypsum's special power is that it loves to hold water, so it has the ability to put out fires, and, relevant to the bending process, it sucks water out of whatever it can.

1. Cut the width of your piece as it's much easier to cut a straight piece.

2. Lean the piece against a wall at about 45ยบ.

3. In hot, humid weather this may be enough to get the bend you want. If it doesn't bend much over the course of an hour or two, you can loosen up the gypsum by wiping the top side of it with a wet (but not dripping wet) sponge or dampening it with a spray bottle. Add a little water and wait an hour to see if you need more.

Be sure not to get the paper on the lower side of the sheet wet, because this will cause the sheet to break. Also be sure both sides of the paper have dried before handling the stuff.  It dries pretty quickly as the gypsum soaks up the water.  You may also want to wait until the mud dries inside before handling the piece so it's not too floppy.

You can then handle the bent piece just like a regular sheet.  It's unlikely that it will be exactly the same shape as your framing, but if it's close you should be able to screw it into place, or else slowly use clamps as in this post.

Some people will tell you to slice the paper sheathing many times but I had no luck with this.  Isn't that the way you cut drywall?  It's likely I was doing something wrong.

We have a few curved drywall surfaces in this house, and although there have been moments of impatient regret in the process of their construction, when it's all done I love the curves.

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