Reboot would have been 16 today. We miss our puppy.
Emerald Hill is now turned over to Luis, stairbuilder.
He is turning hickory planks, carefully, deliberately, into risers, treads and nosings, cutting wood with what has to be the smallest, most-underpowered, beaten-up, portable Black & Decker table saw, set up outside on the front walk, on a dreary, overcast and sometimes wet day, matching his skills and tape measure against a 7-inch thin-kerf blade. He bought the machine used, he tells Steven, at a flea market 10 years ago, he thinks. He’s burned through many larger, heavier, more powerful table saws, but this is the machine he comes back to with trust. It’s the story he will scribe as he builds the stairs over the next four days.
The table saw is mounted to a pine slab.
Luis trims down the dimensions of a plank of hickory to create the first riser.
He checks the fit. The board is long. He will take it back outside to the Ridgid chop saw to cut down to size.
He nails the first riser into place.
The stair treads come with a bullnose. Jacquela and Steven have asked for a square nosing. Luis trims off the rounded edge.
The bullnose after it is cut off.
Luis begins to test fit the tread, using a cutoff template to ensure the tread extends no more than 1/4 inch past the front of the riser.
One long holiday weekend later, the City of Austin today issued a new and separate permit for the construction of the garage,
resolving questions about how to call for inspections of the garage under the existing permit for the house when the inspections of the foundation, steelwork, concrete, framing and roofing of the house are already complete.
Ron Dahlke from Ranserve files this week’s summary.
Installed hard wood floor
Set rebar for slab
Misc cabinet repairs
Start hardwood install on stairwell
Schedule form survey
Structural engineer visit
Resolve permit issue
Above — Steven carried one of the kitchen stools to Emerald Hill for a test fitting under the island. It works. But he may need to trim an inch or two off the height of each leg to create more clearance.
Some of the “loot,” so far …
For Black Friday, FedEx and the USPS delivered:
14 passage locksets, Schlage F10 V LAT 619 CEN, ordered online via Amazon at $28.63 per set vs $34.98 from Home Depot or $39.97 from Lowe’s.
3 deadbolts, Schlage B60 N 619 CEN at $31.80 from Amazon, vs $35.80 at Home Depot or $35.97 at Lowe’s.
1 entry set, Schlage F60 V CEN 619 LAT, $126.65 from Amazon vs $157 at Lowe’s and apparently not sold by Home Depot.
Ring wi-fi enabled doorbell. 1
Rainmachine HD-12 “smart” sprinkler controller that connects to NOAA weather forecasts, promising to cut water use when watering the lawn.
Still on order — privacy and dummy door handles, and the “smart” lock for the front door.
Steven observes: Ordering from Amazon is saving multiple hundreds of dollars on lock sets, door handles, deadbolts, smart devices.
It may be the Friday after Thanksgiving, but two of the painters are working inside the house, filling nail holes with wood putty, then sanding.
The hickory floor is finished in what will be Jadin’s bedroom.
Jacquela danced ballet as a girl. Somewhere, boxed for the move, are her toe shoes. Today, at Emerald Hill, she gets her dance floor.
Landers is almost done installing the prefinished hickory planks.
Step into the house from the side door at the kitchen, walk through the kitchen — here is the family room, with the fireplace hearth at right and the passageways to the library and entry hall at left.
Ivan leads Steven on a guided tour of the wood floors. This is the library, with Steven’s office through the door at left.
The floor in Steven’s office.
From Steven’s office, looking back through the library to the family room, with the entry hall and stairway through the passageway to the left.
The entry hall, looking back to the library at right and family room at left.
From the far back corner of the family room, with Ivan walking through the entry hall, the kitchen at left, and the library between.
Upstairs, the loft.
Looking down the upstairs hall from the loft to the master suite.
The master bedroom.
Looking down the hall in the master suite, from the bedroom to the bath, with the master closet door halfway down the hall on right.
The master closet, illuminated by cellphone LEDs — Steven at left, Ivan at right. The ceiling lights need to be installed and powered up.
Looking back toward the master bedroom, from the master bath, with the closet now at left and the upstairs hall at right.
Down the upstairs hall to the loft, from the master suite. From where Steven shot this, the bedroom is at left, bathroom at right.
Back downstairs … Bedroom 1 at the front of the house, glued up and almost done.
From bedroom 1, looking through the hallway to bedroom 2 at the back of the house.
Bedroom 2 — this will be Jadin’s bedroom.
Fun shot. Steven backed up into one of Jadin’s closets to shoot Manny walking past, carrying planks to cut to length.
The closet under the stairs.
What will become the electronics closet.
Ivan holds a tube of the colored caulk used to close gaps between the wood planks and tile floors.
The woodshop at the back door that the Army of Landers is using to cut lumber — two sliding miter saws and one portable table saw.
Ron and Kathleen from Ranserve report they have contacted the City of Austin to resolve a question about the garage construction permit.
As explained to Steven, the City approved construction of the garage as an amendment to the construction plans for the house — which is what the City advised was the correct procedure. But … when Ron spoke with the inspector two days ago about how to get the foundation for the garage inspected and approved, the inspector checked with the office — and he advised that the City needs to revise the permit, separating the garage as its own permit and construction process — which in turn will allow Ron to call for the foundation, steelwork, concrete, framing, roofing and other inspections — which he cannot do at this point because all those inspections are already done and approved for the house.
Kathleen advises she will have an update next week.
In the interim, complying in full with the plans already approved by the City, Gilsa continues to install steelwork for the foundation.
Above, long runs of rebar are prepped from front to back of garage.
Ely hammer-drilled into the foundation of the existing garage yesterday. Today, rebar is exposed into the drilled holes and tied to the steelwork for the new garage bay, tying the two structures together.
A long run of the cross ties.
A spent tube of the epoxy used to “glue” the steel rebar into the existing garage foundation.
By Steven’s count … three vans, two trailers, a small mountain of dirt — and there’s still room for at least two more trucks.
For a history lesson,
Emerald Hill is invaded today by the Army of
Landers — Ivan and his team of eight tasked with installing the new hickory wood floors — Victor, Diego, Carlos, Leonardo, Aldo, Miguel, Manny and Gerardo.
Steven anthropomorphizes. She’s cute in that flirty miniskirt. But then she shows up in that little black dress …
Ron says it took Ivan and his army 10 minutes to remove what remained of the existing oak flooring from the upstairs hall, and the office, library, family room and entry hall downstairs. Ivan says it took 30 minutes to remove the glue. Here is most of it, loaded into a van for recycling.
Then they floated the downstairs slab and some of the upstairs subflooring level and smooth with a lightweight concrete mix. Here’s the entry hall with a glimpse into the library. The concrete would dry quickly if the weather was warm and sunny — but today is cool and cloudy. It takes several hours for the concrete to dry — even with fans blowing air across the material.
While they wait for the concrete to dry, Ivan and the army prepped — moving a lot of the prefinished lumber in boxes and the raw hickory treads into bath 2, out of the way. They also stacked boxes of the hickory strategically, putting it within easy reach of where they plan to install floors.
By 2 pm, they are pulling a string line tight down the middle of the upstairs hallway — and snapping a chalk line to follow with the wood.
Manny trowels out glue along one side of the chalk line. The army leaves clear the other side of the chalk line as a passage between rooms.
The first boards are down, starting at the entrance to the master suite at the back of the photo, traveling toward the stairwell.
While the crew upstairs is installing wood, downstairs, Victor uses a jamb cutter to trim clearances from door casings and base board. This saw screams. Victor is wearing ear buds as ear plugs.
Victor flicks away the cut casing.
He test fits a plank of hickory flooring under the casing.
And pivots around the corner of the casing for a second test fitting.
The master bedroom is started. Blue painters tape helps to hold the boards tightly together, to prevent the glue from lubricating the planks apart.
30 minutes later.
45 minutes after that, done — and moving into the master closet.
The master closet and hallway, halfway done.
Two views of the many layers of the hickory planks. From the edge and top …
From the edge and back, with the expansion slots visible to help the wood flex on uneven subfloors.
Manny finishes the last board in the upstairs loft.
Scraping smooth and clean the floated concrete floor in the family room next to the kitchen tile — removing bumps and ridges that might make the wood flooring uneven. It’s all done on hands and knees — scraping, sweeping, scraping, sweeping.
Pulling a chalk line from front to back of house to guide the proper installation of the hickory — straight and square.
Ivan and his army first work to the left of the chalk line, spreading glue up to the line and then swiftly gluing down planks. Stock is laid out to the right of the chalk line. The mallets are thumping. The house resonates with each blow.
Spreading glue to the other side of the chalk line.
By 4 pm on a cold and cloudy day, the army needs lights to work by.
Watching the mallet fly by shadowed light.
The riff is just so obvious …
Ernesto, Jose Luis and Ely from Gilsa Construction today began laying steel rebar for the garage foundation.
Above, Ernesto bends steel with his bare hands — plus a pipe sleeve into which the rebar is inserted, with the rebar also clamped into a bending jig.
At a second jig, Ernesto assembles the bends of rebar …
That Ely, left, and Jose Luis, right, place the steel formwork into a trench for the garage footings.
Ely drills into the foundation slab of the existing garage, cutting the hole into which rebar will be packed, to tie together the existing and new slabs. Look closely at the drill bit. He wrapped masking tape around the bit to mark the depth of the hole he has to drill — the same thing the rest of do when drilling wood.
Ely cuts rebar to length. Sparks fly. He’s wearing safety glasses.
Ernesto ties together two pieces of rebar, twisting heavy wire around the joint.