Monday, August 25, 2008

The Difficult Wall

Butch Warning- Construction Talk Ahead
Chuck steady your eyes.

In the scramble to fill in the gaps in the cabin before the rain, I have not spent any quality time with the vegetable garden in the last few days. When we quit work for the day and had finished putting away the tools, I immediately walked back through the meadow.

Were my seeds sprouting? Was more corn ready? How are the potatoes? Has the Big Wilt spread to my new cucumbers?

To the right of the Angelica and Ageratina and the first blush of yellow on the Goldenrod, you can just make out the path through the meadow. In this section the wildflowers are a good foot over my head. I wanted to check out the vegetables, but I had to stop and admire this first.

Lurking below the short rise at the back of the roadside vegetable garden is the cabin with the difficult wall.

This connecting wall between the two roof sections interacts with elements in both rooms. And I want it to have windows.

In both rooms, part of its edge forms a plane for the surface that will eventually cover the 2 x 12 rafters filled with insulation. At the ends, a nailer is needed to attach what ever I finally decide to have for the finished ceiling. I was thinking a metal roof on the inside, but then someone pointed out that can cause condensation and it would rain inside the house. Not good. I'll think about it later.

Instead of a railing, the loft will have a half, 36 inch high, drywalled wall. This meant the connecting wall could just descend to the loft floor to the point were the 36 inch height of this half wall begins to separate from the 45 degree pitch of the ceiling.

The pitch of the roof means that the top of each stud has to be cut on an angle. This inverted V shape necessitated a lot of angle cuts. Is you head spinning yet?

The frame work is finally done. Now the plywood sheathing can be attached. All needing to be cut on angles. Spin, spin.

Oh yes, the windows. A single window in the peak won't work. The cross ties in the loft that give the roof rafters more stability are in the top at the eight foot of head room level. You can see those horizontal boards through the studs. These will form the ceiling with what ever material I eventually settle on to cover them and the insulation. A window up there would be a window into no where.

Now how do you fit a square or rectangular window of maximum size into an angled space? You don't. There will be one special ordered angled window on each side to fit in between the sixteen inch space between the studs. They need to be at least four inches above the finished surface of the front roof.

So two windows, one on each side, will be going in the second space from the wall's outside edge. That is the space to the right of the lone piece of plywood that got cut and nailed on today. Now I just need to order two windows shaped like that.

You can see why I needed to spend some quality time with the vegetables.

Fall gardening is proving to be more of a challenge. The high insect numbers in summer are mowing down the seedlings of carrots, kohlrabi, turnips and lettuce as fast as they come up. Let's see I need a small green house for spring veggies and row covers for fall gardens. There is still plenty to eat. Sweet corn and green beans for lunch again tomorrow.

I pick those right before they go in the pot and yes I pissed off the raccoons.

Before I headed back I had to stop and enjoy the Ironweed.

I just love this weed.


Frances, said...

Ha Christopher, you are kind to warn Chuck, does he really need warning? Your slanted windows do seem like the only way to let light in, and they will look great. Lucky you have an expert helping you with the measuring! Our steeply slanted ceilings in the loft over the garage and the addition joining the two buildings is tongue and groove pine with clear water based poly on it. I didn't want the wood to yellow with age and was told the water based would stay light. It has darkened slightly upstairs but still looks great. I hope to never have to to anything to it. There is thick batting between the rafters, unstairs has a ceiling fan which gets used year around for air circulation. It looks very cabiny. We are getting major rain, hooray! I am hoping to plant the fall crops of arugula, lettuce and spinach, maybe in my raingear. Your meadow is like a forest of wildflowers, way over my head, I didn't realize it was over yours also. You have the best ironweed plant I have ever seen! Good job with the raccoons.

Anonymous said...

Christopher, my father was a builder. You don't scare me! I know custom windows are expensive, so I hesitate to ask. BUT, is there any way there could be TWO windows on each side - in the second and fourth spaces from the ends? I think that would give you more light and look more balanced from both inside and outside. And you're getting off lightly with me. If Dad were alive and looking at this, he'd be wondering where the dormers are (they were just his thing). He put them on the dog's house. My mom and I just shook our heads. But four windows would look better than two, I think, if you could swing it. Oh, and I just thought of something - IF they don't go into that no man's land you mentioned. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christopher! Your flowers and veggies look great. I love your description of what is to come on the cabin. It is looking great!

Anonymous said...


I love that ironweed! It is amazing what mother nature can do on her own without our (cultivar) "improvements".
My husband and I sympathize with your angles as our pine-paneled house is nothing but complex angles and we have paneled it ourselves! He is now regretting designing all those angles into it.
Now mind you, he is from Florida, but he asked would windows 4" above the roof be enough to avoid any snow that might accumulate on the roof? He is worried it could come 4" up to the bottom of your windows and leak in. Just a man thing. (:
My opinion is that your roof slope looks like it would shed snow pretty well......
Enjoying following this process!


Christopher C. NC said...

Frances, tongue and groove or a cheaper imitation is one option for the ceiling. Drywall is out, too heavy to put up there. I just want to avoid the "cabiny" look. I'm going for a more modern, even high tech look if I can.

I am wondering if I can replant some more seeds to replace the vanished ones. It is getting late in the season for me. Can't hurt!

Kim, I put two windows on each side in my minds eye. That would work. I even thought of a row of glass block, one block between each stud following the pitch of the roofs. My contractor starts getting fussy when I make things more complicated. In a way the loft is much like a very big dormer. That is what I would tell your Dad.

Thanks Siria. Always look for the pretty things then you can forget the problems.

Bev, I need more Ironweed!

Your husband's thought about snow is a good one. Yes this roof will shed snow well and melt it quickly with a good south west exposure. The common wind pattern could pile up snow on the right roof side though. It will have an ice shield underlayment that goes up the wall a ways and onto the roof and the windows will be made to shed water from the sill. As long as it is well sealed I think it should be ok. I hope?

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about a tin or aluminum ceiling? That would definitely give you a modern or industrial (contemporary) look if you didn't choose antique-y punched tin. I don't know about weight . . . . . .