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August 2008 Archives

August 1, 2008


I am amazed at the generosity of people showing up to help work on our home. We had such a great group of people show up over the past two weeks to help put up bales and wire mesh.

Here are the volunteers that I recall. Please email me if I missed you.
Sarah, Roland, Habib, Denis, Mickey, Stan, Keith, Eleanor, Michelle, Shaindel, Carl, Barb, Lee, Gary, Bob, Chuck, Art, John, Don, Karen, Marie, Scott & Son, Mike, Grey.

The generosity of my friends and neighbors is truly amazing. Their work makes the house that much more a home.

August 4, 2008

The Last Bales

Michelle, Sarah and I put up the last bales today. Now we have a lot of stuffing to do and wire mesh to put up on the outside. This will take at least another week.

Rounding and tightening the wire mesh around the window and door openings is time consuming. So far we have only finished the mesh on the west wall. The four windows on this wall have the mesh rounded into them, though there is still work to do to prepare for window installation. We have to wrap the buck in tar paper and build sills.

Trimming the windows has been much more complicated than I thought. We finally decided to pour external cement sills for the main floor windows and to cut wood sills for the upper floor windows.

The windows will sit flush with the outside of the bucks and the 12" deep bucks sit 2" in from the outside of the bales. Thus the windows will be inset about 3" from the finished exterior stucco.. This inset is what complicated matters.

August 15, 2008

Window Fiasco

Windows for this house have been a challenge from the beginning. We decided to inset the windows 2-3". Deciding on wood windows was an expensive option to accept, but I did. Finding a manufacturer that had a reasonable price was a bit of work and actually choosing the windows took many weeks. Unfortunately, the aluminum clad wood windows that we ordered arrived with out the cladding. The supplier cut us a deal that we could live with. So, we got windows.

The architect supplied a window detail that was challenging, so we decided to modify it. This was mostly because we didn't think that the window bucks were substantial enough and would easily fall out of square as the bales were pushed against them. Unfortunately, our new more solid bucks did not provide and adequate anchoring surface to attach the wood windows. (The wood windows came without a nailing flange nor brick mold.) So we are now tearing the plywood face of our bucks off so that we can install a 2x4 or 2x6 flat behind it.

Additionally, we detailed the exterior of the West window buck with the mesh curved in too close to the inside of the window buck, hence we don't have room for a piece of weather molding to cover the gap between the window jam and the buck. All that work must be redone.

Against the advice of my friend Joe the Builder, we are still planning to inset the windows. So, as a general contractor he cannot install the windows since any failure due to water infiltration would then be his responsibility. I don't blame him for that.

Did I mention that I have agonized over the window sill detail for months now? Our new buck design made it very hard to incorporate the architects window flashing scheme. I couldn't wrap my mind around how to do it and some people counseled me that it was unnecessary. It may be overkill in our dry climate, but it ought to be done. I think that I finally figured that out. I'll post details and sketches of all this later.

We did install three doors yesterday. Though we decided not to inset those due to thresh hold issues.

August 27, 2008

Stucco Preparations

Well, we set the last bales almost one month ago and have been working daily towards stucco since. We have been sewing the mesh on and stuffing cracks, but mostly preparing the window openings. We did set one window, over a week ago, to see how to do it. I hope to set more windows today.

Fortunately, after flashing a few windows I know what I am doing so things are moving along smoothly. Chris Van Etta showed up last Friday and offered to help and Roland showed up Sunday. Consequently we have been really flying along.

I think that we are still about a week away from being ready to stucco. This part of the job is much harder than preparing to put up the straw bales.

About August 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Poco Casa della Paglia in August 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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