Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Writing Shed, Part Five

My brother and I have decided that close not only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but that it also counts in regard to framing. Especially when it comes to sheds. Granted, lots of guys are precise to about an eighth of an inch. My brother is far more picky, so a job done in the slovenly midlander fashion for him is about par for the rest of the world.

We started in the morning pretty early. I don’t know what it is about Idaho weather, but as soon as one thinks about installing a roof, it will rain. It did that day, but only briefly, as if to say, “Ha ha hurl.” Anyway, the first truss is the most important because everything else depends on it for layout, plumb, and square; and also because of global warming. As such, naturally, you’ll want to consult your guidebook of sailormouth expletives because the first truss will also probably be a cast iron Mongolian cluster flock. It wasn’t so bad. It only took about an hour to fix all the mistakes I had made on the walls that translated quite logically into the roof. See, this is why I have help. And he pays off in cheap beers, which is even better.

It wasn’t long before we had installed two or three of the trusses, and things were going right along. Note the bracing. The tails of the trusses were allowed to run “wild.” We would cut them off later. Twice. Really. You’ll notice at some point in the perusal of these images that the roof has a certain asymmetrical stance to it. This is one hundred percent intentional and not in any way the result of a mistake of any kind by anyone involved on the job. It is also not similar to an episode of ancient history involving two men, one of whom was helping with this roof, who at one point were replacing the starter on my old Euro-Ford whilst drinking beer and then proceeded to catch the car on fire.

Adding to the hilarity and all around enjoyable nature of the day, we had “help” from two small children who happened to be walking by and spontaneously began climbing ladders, brandishing hammers and saws, and mostly saying, “Hey dad! Watch this!” So we had no excuse, therefore, to not build the best damn shed roof you ever saw.

We eventually built ourselves right out of materials and had to run to Home Depot, where we parked in the PRO CUSTOMER parking, which I think is self-explanatory, obviously. We brought home a bag of H clips (which are officially called something else in order to be as confusing as possible), some tiko nails, and lots of sheathing. Either my neighbors love me and prefer generosity, or I have angered them and provoked them to rummaging around in their spare parts bin and giving me various tidbits to hurry the project along. I prefer to think it’s the former, with gifts like this. My Dutch neighbor from across the street gave me this gable end vent, which is precisely what I need in order to make the winter season cigar ventilation device work properly. More on that some other time.

Once all the trusses were set, we had lunch. There was some homemade lasagna from the night before. It tasted even better the next day. The sauce was homemade from Italian sausage, pepperoni, crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, sherry, and salt. I never knew they had those oven-ready lasagna noodles; boy howdy. What a time saver. I also found whole milk ricotta and mozzarella. That really made it. But it has almost nothing to do with building a shed, so on with the subject matter. But note the asymmetry. Again, this has nothing to do with beer. The longer eaves on the west side will create a safe place to hang my rakes and shovels while also keeping them handy. It’s intentional. I told my brother, “My wife will hate it. But I love it because it’s just slightly eccentric. Make it so.”

We started nailing the sheathing down after lunch. We let the ends run wild because, after we determined the length of the overhang for the gables (we’re basically freehanding this; there are no plans), we would only have to make one cut. Smart! Even with beer. The H clips install on the top edge of the sheathing in between the trusses, adding strength, and for cheap. They serve to tie the sheathing together top to bottom on their horizontal edge.

After what felt like a wrestling match with a cougar (not the sultry sophisticated kind), we were pretty much done. The incredulous look my brother had given me at the beginning of the day, when he had discovered that I had built the trusses to an 8/12 pitch, was now understandable. My body hurt from fingertip to toenail. As a matter of fact, I can still feel it, and it’s not nice. But we did good work, and I’m proud of it. Now I can fill in my gable ends and complete some of the framing on the inside (for finish work like sheetrock). I can do that all by myself. Which probably means it will be asymmetrical, and that will be intentional. Duh.

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