email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Next Project, Part 2

Made some progress on framing in the area around the sunken patio wall and deck posts the past to days.  It's a bit awkward using just the deck leftovers, but I think I have them arranged so that I don't have to dig really deep trenches to set the boards into the ground.

The lower end needs a 2"x12" board and a 2"x10" board to reach the top on the cinder block wall, but the far end is almost level with the wall, so I only need a 2"x4" board.  The in-between part will have a couple of stacked boards to complete the frame and make it level on the top of the boards.  And I can attach those directly to the deck posts, so it will be very sturdy.
I had some problems figuring out how to attach the lower end boards firmly, until I thought of drilling holes down the width at both ends.  I can put a 3' remesh bar through both and pound them into the ground with a sledgehammer.  That will have the remesh bars 1' into the ground.  Plus I will use some exterior caulking cement to attach the boards to the cinder block for some extra stability.  It's not epoxy or resin, just like really thick toothpaste.  I'm not sure what that stuff is actually called, but I've used it before to attach wood and cinder block in the basement and it holds like bolts!

Drilling the holes through the width of the 12 and 10" boards took 2 hours today!  Fortunately, I have a large drill press (generic image).  With some clamps and a speed square, I was able to get most on the holes drilled straight. 

But it won't go all the way through a 12' board (8" depth only).  So I had to finish the drilling manually.  Fortunately, having the 8 inch holes drilled straight allowed me to use a manual drill for the rest.  The drilled holes allowed me to stay straight for the final work.  But I couldn't have done THAT without the extra long drill bit.

I bought a 6-piece set of extra long drill bits many years ago thinking "I'll need those some day".  They're not the best quality either.  Not titanium or even high-speed steel, but how often do you need something like those?  So they were cheap and they work well enough.  Just using a couple of the cheap drill bits a couple of times has been well worth the cost.

It took some work though!  Every inch deep, I had to pull the drill bit out and remove sawdust packed in the drill spirals.  Could I have simply turned the boards over on the drill press and drilled from both sides?  Yeah.  But experience has taught me that no matter how carefully you measure, holes drilled from 2 sides will NEVER meet in the middle.  Sad but true.  You need factory precision tools to do that.

But that part is now done.  Tomorrow, I will attach the bottom pieces by pounding rebar through the holes and gluing the ends to the cinder block.  Then it will be a lot easier to trench the long side boards and attach them to the deck posts.

Filling in the framed box will be easy.  Why?  Well, the yard is made of dirt; I can steal it from almost anywhere, LOL!  I'm going to move the front yard hostas to the new box, and hostas don't even LIKE really good soil.

One interesting thing is that the hostas will be almost at eye level when I'm out on the sunken patio.  I used to park at a city garage that had an arrangement like that, and it was really different seeing the plants that way.  It was always calming.  So I'm hoping for the same effect here.

Surprise discovery...  The new deck posts are set precisely 14' away from the house.  But the distance from the sunken patio cinder block wall varies by 6".  The cinder block wall is NOT square to the house!  Every project I do reminds me that the builder did a slipshod job in all aspects.  So the framed box is not going to be a nice rectangle. 

But it was either make the framed box a 90 degree rectangle (in which case the deck posts would have been variably farther inside the frame, or use the deck posts as the guide for the frame and the frame gets 6" narrower toward the high end.  I decided that using the deck posts as a guide made a more logical appearance.

If any of my friends ever decide to measure it, I will rap their knuckles with a ruler!  LOL!

Some notes from the first picture...  1) At the far side of the sunken patio, there are some hostas already planted.  I had one common green hosta planted near the old deck stairs for 20 years and it spread some.  I was able to divide it into 12 pieces and transplanted them there.  All seem to be recovering well in that really terrible clay soil.  Well, its what they were growing in before, so I assume they liked it. 

2) That object in the upper right is a mailbox.  Of course, I don't get my mail delivered in the back yard.  But it makes a great place to store all my various garden hose nozzles and plumbers tape*.  I have another out in the garden where I store all my small hand tools.  Great idea to keep track of small items...

* Plumbers tape is thin plastic that wraps around the threads of hoses and attachments.

 It does a great job of stopping water leaks around hose and nozzle connections.  Leaky connections?  Give it a try.  $1 at most hardware stores.


Megan said...

Looks like you're making a really good job of it, Mark. Thanks for the tip about the plumbers tape. I'm going to get some!

Sydney, Australia

Katie Isabella said...

Boy, what a grand achievement. I can't do anything bug I can sure enjoy your effort.