Shangri La

Shangri La

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Siding Intermission: Essential Tools

I was just making notes on what I want to accomplish on my next trip to Shangri-la, and the tools I need to be sure to bring, and it occurred to me that I've never commented on the tools that I've found essential to an effort like this. So without further ado...

First Place: A pickup truck. Absolutely essential. You cannot build something like this without one. Best tool ever. Once you own one, you'll never be able to live without it. You'll begin looking down your nose at the smooth-skinned pansies who drive around in European sports cars. You pity the guys you see at the dump who have to cram their garbage and yard waste into the back seat or the trunk. You'll also suddenly be the best friend of anyone who doesn't have one, unfortunately.
Second Place: A gas nail gun. Nothing will make framing go faster. The best tool I purchased next to the pickup. And it's like a gun, so it's got that going for it.
Third Place: 12" Compound Mitre Saw and stand. You cannot live without this for any kind of roof framing, and - as a bonus - it makes quick work out of walls, siding and trim.
Fourth Place: Clamps. From quick-release to pipe clamps, these are essential to working alone, taking the place of the slave labor you couldn't find.
  • Heavy-Duty cordless drill
  • Corded drill (because your batteries will run out, and you'll need it while they're charging)
  • Hammers (for small nails, and for when the gas nailer decides to go on vacation for no good reason)
  • Ladders in various sizes, from a step-stool to at least 24'
  • Speed Square (you'll be amazed at how much you use this)
  • Power Saw
  • Hand Plane (don't let Norm fool you - not all the best tool have power chords)
  • Assorted Screwdrivers
  • Tape Measures and Pencils (the more the better, as they are always getting misplaced)
  • Chalk Line
  • Pneumatic Finish Nailers and Portable Compressor (a second-place winner for trimwork or cabinetry)
  • Levels in various sizes, from 4" to 5'
Other things I always carry with me:
  • Compass (the pencil-and-point kind, not the directional one)
  • Chisels
  • Paint brushes
  • Sawhorses
  • Japanese saws - small and large (cuts on the pull rather than the push)
  • Hand Saw
  • Cat's Paws in various configurations
  • Nail cutter
  • Socket set or wrenches
  • Vice grips
  • Pliers

And to hold it all: A good-quality tote and tool belt.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

...and continues....

Had to get away from the Corporate Grind yesterday, so I high-tailed it for the cabin and continued the shingle work. Made it to the top of the first floor and then took a break to install the 2x6 facia boards for the porch. The sides weren't too bad, but trying to test fit the 15' front section was a trial; thank god for clamps - they are the MVP of tools for anyone working alone. The day was typical for New England - freezing and partly cloudy in the morning, ominously overcast and windy at noon, clear skies and warm by 2, and partly cloudy again when I left.Again - believe it or not - this was a solid 5 hours of work.

We'll have an 8x8 deck off the back door for the grill, and likely a patio to the left.

Someday I'll get those final two pieces of shiplap up.

*sigh* I'm going to be a slave to the lawn mower on vacation, too.

When the leaves start falling, it's clear I could have a nice view of the ridge with a little tree thinning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The siding continues...

I did a quick day trip to Shangri-La last Monday to get concrete in the Sonotubes for the back porch and begin the front siding. I'd never worked with concrete before, but - other than lugging around the 80-pound bags - it was no big deal. The siding went faster than I expected, but I'm still guessing it's going to take 3 more day trips to complete it and the porch trim.

Dan was right - the grass is coming in pretty quickly. Enough so that I may have to bring the mower up next time. Looks good!