The first step

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 plywood slab.
The table saw is mounted to a pine slab.
Luis trims down the dimensions of a plank of hickory to create the first riser.
Luis trims down the dimensions of a plank of hickory to create the first riser.
He checks the fit.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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Garage permit, version 2

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.

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Week ending 27 Nov. 2015

Ron Dahlke from Ranserve files this week’s summary.

This week:

  • Installed hard wood floor
  • Set rebar for slab
  • Misc cabinet repairs

Next week:

  • Start hardwood install on stairwell
  • Schedule form survey
  • Structural engineer visit
  • Resolve permit issue
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Notes, 27 Nov. 2015

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 ...
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.
  • 1 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.
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.
The hickory floor is finished in what will be Jadin’s bedroom.

 

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Shall we dance?

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.

Let’s dance:

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Upstairs, the loft.
Looking down the upstairs hall from the loft to the master suite.
Looking down the upstairs hall from the loft to the master suite.
The master bedroom.
The master bedroom.
Looking down the hall in the master suite, from the bedroom to the bath.
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 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.
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.
Down the upstairs hall to the loft, from the master suite. From where Steven shot this, the bedroom is at left, bathroom at right.
Bedroom 1 at the front of the house, glued up and almost done.
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.
From bedroom 1, looking through the hallway to bedroom 2 at the back of the house.
Bedroom 2 -- this will be Jadin's bedroom.
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.
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.
The closet under the stairs.
What will become the electronics closet.
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.
Ivan holds a tube of the colored caulk used to close gaps between the wood planks and tile floors.
The woodshop that the Army of Landers is using to cut lumber -- two sliding miter saws and one portable table saw.
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.
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Garage permit question

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.

A spent tube of the epoxy used to "glue" the steel rebar into the existing garage foundation.
A spent tube of the epoxy used to “glue” the steel rebar into the existing garage foundation.
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The Army of Landers

For a history lesson, click here.

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. Ivan says it took 30 minutes to remove the glue. Here is most of it, loaded into a van for recycling.
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.
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.
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.
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 the chalk line.
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.
The first boards are down, starting at the entrance to the master suite at the back of the photo, traveling toward the stairwell.
The master bedroom is started. Blue painters tape helps to hold the boards tightly together, to prevent the glue from lubricating the planks apart.
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.
30 minutes later.
45 minutes after that, done -- and moving into the master closet.
45 minutes after that, done — and moving into the master closet.
The master closet and hallway, halfway done.
The master closet and hallway, halfway done.
Manny finishes the last board in the upstairs loft.
Manny finishes the last board in the upstairs loft.
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. The mallets are thumping. The house resonates with each blow.
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.
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.
By 4 pm on a cold and cloudy day, the army needs lights to work by.
Watching the mallet fly by shadowed light.
Watching the mallet fly by shadowed light.
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The men of steel

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 into an assembly ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ernesto ties together two pieces of rebar, twisting heavy wire around the joint.
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