Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 8: Big Update

Things are going slightly better digitally.  Still only have internet on my Mac but some of the other image issues have either been solved or have workarounds.

The other day, before it rained, I got to climb up onto the roof deck above the sunroom, and check out what the view will be like from up there.  It's actually remarkably similar from what it is in the room below, but it's just more exciting to be on the roof looking at it.  That's why I love roof decks.

Plus, it will be an awesome stargazing spot, and what could be more romantic?

Here are a couple of pictures where I marked up how they relate to the views above:

Also, while I was up there, I got to get an idea what the Great Room will be like from the mezzanine, even though it's full of scaffolding and stuff and it's a little hard to read:

But that was on one of my recent, frustrated blogless days.  Today I had a different kind of fun: I got to play The Enforcer.

Our local timber supplier, which is a very important item on this house, sent over a beam that was completely substandard.  Before I arrived on the scene here, it got installed.  Bob the Builder is on board with changing it out, even though it means that a lot of temporary supports will have to be put in place to hold up a whole corner of the upper part of the walls and roof while it is done.  But, Mr. Client is the one signing the checks, and once he told me it was unacceptable to him, my work was cut out for me.

(I have to say, I really appreciate how Bob is stepping up and taking responsibility for making sure things are done right, and correcting them if it's pointed out to him that they aren't.)

Here is the beam, in all its ugliness:

It's pretty bad.  That is way too many, and too large of, knots in the wood.

The rest of the timbers to construct the mezzanine are all cut, kiln dried, and ready to be delivered to the site, but we are having them hold off, until Dave the framer gets back into town next week and we can start installing.

Today, I took the opportunity to travel a few towns over and show these photos to the guy we had been working with at the lumber mill, and explain that this beam need a replacement, because it was not 'appearance grade' in the least.  He actually defended it somewhat(!?)  but ultimately fell back on the 'but the client isn't happy and he needs to be happy' as his justification for replacing it.  Damn straight, the client needs to be happy - so jump to it and cut us a new beam, STAT!

The other purpose of my visit to the lumber mill, given the problem with this beam, was to check out the stuff we had there, waiting to be delivered, and make sure there weren't any other issues with that material, since we still have a week until its delivered.

There were issues with that material.

2 beams will need to be replaced, and a 3rd needs additional planing because it was not the required smoothness.   I hope they can see, at this point, that we are serious about quality.  If not, they'll be hearing from me again.


Yesterday Mr. Client and I explored Knoxville a little bit, and checked out some potential steel suppliers for my furniture and welding projects.

The first place we went was Triple-S Steel.  I was in heaven.  I felt right at home.  It was a giant steel warehouse building full of ... wait for it ... STEEL!  I talked steel with the Triple-S Steel peopleguys and it more than overcame all my digital frustration.  I felt my sense of life quickly restored as I soaked up all the steely goodness like a sponge.

We had parked on the other side of the building, and as we drove away, I felt even more sympathetic towards the Triple-S Steel peopleguys, when I saw their message to the President.  I definitely want to buy some metal from them.

The next place we went was as different from Triple-S as you could get, yet still be selling steel.  It was a 'salvage' company, but in reality, it seemed more like the Town Dump with a makeshift yard sale going on within the premises.  As weird and slightly upsetting as it was, I will be going back, because they had a few interesting things that I want to transform into furniture.

These two corrugated panels could make a roof for a doghouse for P + T;

The second piece from the left (not counting the pipe-like thing towards the back) is actually a piece of railroad rail.  I would love to make something out of that.  Mr. Client is into that idea, too.

The scale is a little hard to read with this one.  The holes in those pieces are about 1 1/2" in diameter.  I think there is enough material for 2 chairs there.  That would be 2 really playful, cute chairs with big ol' holes.

I have no idea what this next one even is.  It kind of breaks my heart in a weird way though.  Someone spent some real effort engineering this thing, figuring it out, designing it for a specific purpose.  It looks like it held part of a machine axle in place.  I feel like I could write a whole blog post just on this thing.

And yet, I suppose it had a useful life, and served its purpose.  Now it is obsolete, and it's sitting here in this junkyard, and there's nothing really wrong with that, is there?  I wonder how many of them were produced?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Where were they cast, and by whom?  What role did they play in improving peoples' lives?  This piece rests on a whole body of knowledge developed over hundreds of years.  I think I might have to get it and return it to useful service in some way.

These ones are even weirder than the one above.  All the same questions apply, but they almost have characteristics of dead bodies.  Sorry to get morbid here.  There was a ton (actually many, many tons) of this kind of thing laying around at this salvage place.

And then there was a moment of verdant life amid the desolation.  These plants remind me of a type of papyrus that is grown ornamentally around L.A., but which also can easily just sprout up voluntarily in your yard.  Without knowing what it is, I would guess they're related.

And then, as I was leaving, I recognized something that really made me smile.  Not just a smile, but a big grin.  It was somebody's 'learning to weld' sample piece.

Here, they first welded those parallel lines as a way to practice making a bead on the metal, and getting used to the way the welder feels in their hands.  Then they welded that piece of angle in the upper right-hand corner.  I've taught enough people to weld that I can easily recognize this for what it is.

It makes me smile because it represents the passing down of a skill that I value.  It marks the continuation of my craft from one person to the next.  This is how knowledge grows and human achievement is advanced.

And now that person is out there making his own welded creations.  I wonder who it is?  What are they making now?  Are they still alive?  Who did they teach or inspire during their lifetime?

Who will you teach or inspire during your lifetime?  What will you teach them or inspire them towards?

All worthy questions, I think.


Tomorrow morning I'm up early for a visit to the vet with Paul and Todd, for some shots.  Can't have them getting lyme disease while we're here.  They've been quite busy learning about life around horses and donkeys, and I hope to update you on all that over the weekend.

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