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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Diving into the Laundry Room

On to the laundry room.  I've had mixed feelings about this for, well to be honest - since the day we bought 173.  It's complicated, cement, electrical, plumbing, carpentry etc etc... This room's going to take just about every (near) skill I have.  I have no delusions...this is a basement laundry, it'll never have that ultra-finished look to it, but we're looking forward to it looking better than this:


See that lone, hanging light bulb?  Besides the window, that's the only light in the room.  And here's a shot the other way:


Not much better huh?  So this weekend I dove in.  Part of the problem was deciding what order to do things in.  Well, nothing could get done until the appliances were out of the way.  For that, and for the first time ever, 173 has a hand truck, I suppose that was going to happen eventually, I'm just not getting any younger. Moving the washer and dryer revealed a shocking mess!


Look at this will ya??!!


Enough of that...the loose concrete had to come off, and I removed some of the old plumbing.


The spot under the window was alarming!  I kept tapping and more concrete just kept falling out.  I was beginning to worry I was going to see snow!  But it did eventually stop, check it out:


Anyway, moving on...here it is all cleaned up.  You can actually start to see the nice tile we laid back in '99.


Then up went the cement:


After the cement went up, the next step was to finish the wall, in a sense.  See that arrow?  That points at a 4" gap from the top of the wall to the joists above.  


I think the gap was left because all manner of electrical wires run through there.  It looked like hell.  


Besides that, I have a plan for the ceiling, so I had to figure a way to fill or cover that gap.  I decided to cover it.


Hey!  There's the new hand truck, my new best buddy!  So, that's how the weekend ended...pretty satisfied with the progress up to this point!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gettin' at the Workshop (and a little foray into the Laundry Room)

As I mentioned the other day, I was having a hard time getting motivated to get back to the walls.  A lot of stress this weekend left me rather disinterested, but at the same time I wanted to be busy and at least plug along.  Here's a shot of the east wall in the laundry room, the same wall that's shared with the workshop.


As I got to the far end near the door to the cold cellar, I ran into a little snag:


It seems that this old board had seen better days...so I cut off the lower section and figured I'd splice a piece in. Also, the concrete behind that board crumbled quite a bit, so the cold cellar will get some attention too.


Here's a shot of the east wall looking into the workshop.  The concrete bonding agent has already been applied.


A couple hours later the cement went up...


Then this afternoon, the first coat of Drylok:


And just for fun, here's a before and after (although it's more of a progress shot):


At least it was a little progress!  Getting closer to the laundry room (excitement mixed with nerves).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow, Slow and Trapped

I don't mind winter, as a matter-of-fact I rather enjoy winter.  I could do with a few less sub-zero temp days, but I do enjoy it...the crisp air, that cozy feeling in the house, the snow... Okay.  The snow.  I do love the snow, but in the last two days we've had a total of 20".  That doesn't bother me too much, except that we had a family situation this week and there was no way to make the trip.  Thankfully, dad's improving so the stress factor sure has been reduced!


I did take the involuntary shut-in time to get some more work done in the basement.  Thing is, I just couldn't get motivated to get started on the walls again.  So I puttered around, started looking for ways to make more space so I wasn't crawling over everything all the time.  One of the things that helped was this work bench.  I have a home made one in the workshop, but the main part of the basement really needed one too.


This one came from Home Depot.  It was $69 and was essentially pre-assembled.  So that'll help with getting this place back in some kind of decent shape.  I know it's a but early, there's a long way to go in the basement, but I wanted to show at least a little before and after.  This was the basement a few weeks ago:


I know it still looks messy, but most of the next picture messiness is the cement mixing station I have set up. Outside of that, I think you can see how things are coming along!


Hopefully tomorrow I can get motivated enough to spend at least a little time on the walls. And just a thought - glad you're on the mend Dad!  You'll be back at it in a wink!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fixing the Workshop Floor

So, this was the cause of it all.  It sounds like I'm complaining, but I guess I'm really not...after all, 173 will have a fresh new laundry room when it's all over.  The other side of that is...I just wasn't mentally prepared for it!  Anyway, these are the boards that got eaten by some kind of bug rotted out and needed removal before continuing with fixing the basement walls:


Here's a closer look...those boards crumbled in my hand:


Cleaning out the sawdust dirt:


All cleaned out:


I'd forgotten how much concrete we laid when 173 got a new basement floor.  And every bit of it was made one bag at a time, and carried down from outside in 5 gallon buckets.


The wheelbarrow is under the back porch, and in this weather there was no way in the world I was going down there to pull it out for one bag of concrete.  This $5.95 solution was the perfect choice!


And there she is...one hour later the floor is fixed.


Here's the "artistic" shot:


Now, back to cementing the walls, re-routing plumbing, building the new laundry room, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” - Picasso

After my little electrical mishap the other day, the last couple evenings have finally seen the destruction of the laundry room/workshop wall.  There really wasn't a great angle to get it all in, but here's a shot of the little wall behind the furnace (I even added an arrow in case you couldn't pick it out):


The little wall gone, time to move on to the main wall.  Again, an arrow to help out:


And here it is all torn down.  


I have no idea what the beaver boards said in this case.  But let me tell you something...this wall was built to last!  It was three layers...under the beaverboard was this thin balsa wood-like layer, all nailed to 1x8s!  And when I say nailed, I mean about a thousand three inch railroad spikes!


See that electric panel hanging down from the main beam?  That provides the service to the kitchen upstairs, and half the laundry room.  Half.  Anyway, it was nailed to the wall, so - no wall, no support.  The weight of the cable itself nearly tore it down.  So I had to cob up a temporary support for it - and after my mishap the other day - I wasn't too thrilled to be doing that!


Then tonight was all about clearing out all the rubbish.  Now the side yard looks like a trash dump. But it's starting to come together:


Here's a shot looking into the laundry room.  We put the tile down several years ago...so proceeding will have to be careful.


So the next step will be laying some concrete...we'll see what time I get out of work tomorrow.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Man - O - Man! It Doesn't Pay to Rush!

Turn off the electricity.  Turn it off, check it, double check it, then proceed with caution!  If you're in a hurry - check it a third time!  Or else you'll be doing the Uncle Fester!


Yep, got home from visiting my folks and thought I'd quickly take down the wall between the laundry room and the workshop.  Then I realized I hadn't removed the light switch and the fuse box.  It's kinda cool, I have the workshop on it's own little fuse box, nothing simpler than pulling down the lever to cut the power.  On top of that, the fuse box is about four feet away from the junction box and the switch!  How convenient!  So I removed the switch box, then took the cover off the junction box -Ah!  Two simple screws and I'm on my way!  I started to remove the top screw and...


That's not the first time I've done this, heck, it probably isn't even the 12th time I've done this.  But it sure does freak me out when I cause these minor explosions!  


I'm always amazed the damage electricity can do!


And here's my screwdriver:


And this was just a nice little picture as a constant reminder!


After that, I fixed the wires I blew up, and thought I'd just quit for the day.  If my heart stops racing by tomorrow, maybe I'll give wall removal another shot.  I just hope, as I have every time I've done this, I just hope this is the last time I cause a short!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Don't Ya Just Hate It When...

Before I get into this, I wanted to take a moment to document one other thing I did on the west wall of the basement.  When we bought 173 these many years ago, I noticed that there was a hairline crack in the foundation just under the main beam.  I've always kept an eye on it; the crack really looked quite superficial and it never got any bigger.  But I figured, while I was doing all this work down there anyway...I put in a floor jack.  


It probably isn't doing much, but I put it in nice and snug, so maybe!  Besides, for $50 it gives me a little peace of mind - even if it turns out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors!

Now onto the meat of this post (not to be confused with the one pictured above!).  Over the past few weeks I've been (relatively) flying through fixing and painting the basement walls.  I mean, just the other day I finished the main portion of the basement, then I had half a wall left in the workshop, then onto the laundry room!  I was flying!  Then it happened.  I started removing the loose concrete from that wall in the workshop and I came across a problem.  First, a little back story.

When we got 173, the basement floor consisted of a very thin layer of concrete, that over the years had broken up enough that most of the floor was just dirt.  Several years ago now, we put in a new basement floor.  Two weeks of sun up to sun down labor and we had a great new floor.  But when we got to the wall that separated the laundry room and the workshop, we left the wall in place and concreted (can we make that a verb?) around it.  the wall was a bit rough, but it was solid as can be and I really liked my little shop.

So the other day, while cleaning up the loose concrete from the east wall of the workshop, I found that the sole plate was rotted, maybe worse - it may have been bug chow.

Photo from here.
So the wall has to come down.  To give a little context, in this picture of the phone stand I made, in the background you can see the wall.  It's the one with the shelves and pegboard with stuff hanging all over it.


I took all the stuff off the shelves and removed the peg board and here's my wall...


Now, I'm not an idiot (if you ask me - and no one else), but I started removing the wall - the hard way, from the stud side.  I know, I know...but there was a reason.  As I said, this is the shared wall with the laundry room, and the laundry room side of the wall was sheet rock in pretty good condition, so I wanted to save it.  I also knew that there was some space between the sheet rock and the wood wall on the shop side, so I figured I could surgically remove the wall and save the laundry room side.

Yep.  Best laid plans of mice and men.  First of all, Mr. Mosher (the original owner) meant business when he built walls, as I found out when we remodeled the third floor.  He used HUGE nails, 10 penny maybe?  I don't really know that stuff very well - my dad does, but I don't.  Anyway, these things might as well have been railroad spikes!  It took forever to remove just two of these 10" wide boards, but when they came out, I found something cool!


An old advertisement!  Here's a better look:


Some of it was a little faded but I'll translate best I can:

In white at the top: Doesn't the old fashioned water heater seem out of place?
Superimposed in orange:  Here's the point
In blue:  You save money when you buy Niagara Hudson coke on the budget plan.
White at the bottom:  pretty much illegible.

Just a neat little piece of americana.  I thought about extricating it and keeping it or selling it on eBay or something, but really - it would have sat in the basement for years to come and the next owners of 173 would have found it, said, "Cool, look at this old ad," then tossed it.  So I figured...might as well forge ahead. Then came the big surprise!


The ad wasn't in the wall, the ad was the laundry room wall!  It wasn't sheet rock - it was beaver board!  I learned about beaver board back when we did the third floor, the walls of the original two rooms up there were made of the same stuff.  The upside is - it's a whole lot less messy to remove than sheetrock!  The downside is this:


That's right...that's the freezer in the laundry room you're looking at.  See that window way in the background?  That would be the far side of the workshop.  So the die is cast, I've crossed the Rubicon, we're all in, there's no turning back now...173 is getting an entirely new laundry room!  In the end, it's probably best, but don't ya just hate it when....

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