Days 282-285: Paneling Part VI, The South Wall & Triple Thick

Thursday, 4/21
This was a day of wrapping up bathroom loose ends (those skinny pieces) and organizing the space in the house. Since we just attached the last 4×8 sheet of plywood in the bathroom, we now have a big clear work space in the center of the house.  We moved stuff around, including placing partial panels on top of the bathroom.

Nice shelves!

Nice shelves!

The oscillating tool --

The oscillating tool would only turn on if you bent the cord near its base, so Brian started fiddling with it and worked out that there was a cable discontinuity somewhere near the white clamp we see held in with screws.

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Brian cut out several inches of cable near the clamp and spliced the ~18 AWG cable with two tiny wire nuts he had lying around.  Brian suspects that the white cable clamp was traumatically pinching the two conductors in a stacked fashion, rather than just holding them in place side by side.  The factory assembly line might not have noticed this with the conductors cloaked in a thick black jacket.

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Repair completed. These were the tools involved.

Skinny panels complete!

Skinny panels complete!

Skinny panels in the nook complete. These were incredibly tricky.

Skinny panels in the nook complete. These were incredibly tricky.

Reward snack at Tre Rosat. We were hoping they'd have more key lime pie but unfortunately, that was a complete fluke. They made it only because one of the owner's had received a gift of key limes last week. Boy were we lucky to have had dinner there that night. [This appetizer was a Chilean sea bass crostino with cream cheese and pickled fresno peppers.]

Reward snack at Tre Rosat. We were hoping they’d have more key lime pie but unfortunately, that was a complete fluke. They made it only because one of the owner’s had received a gift of key limes last week. Boy were we lucky to have had dinner there that night. [This appetizer was a Chilean sea bass crostino with cream cheese and pickled fresno peppers.]

Friday, 4/22
Okay, time to start paneling the main walls and we’re going to start with the south wall (endcap) first.  The first panel was the trickiest because we had to make the cut for the bathroom vent.  That consumed most of the day that wasn’t committed to organizing, clear coat research and around-town errands.

In the early morning, we were convinced we wanted to go with some type of clear coat/polyurethane because the wood is just so darn pretty.  Then we found out that we would likely need to sand between coats, use a brush instead of a roller, apply at least three coats and ultimately spend more time and money on the project than just painting.  So now we’re not sure again.

Brian also discovered that the sawz-all works great at cutting rough arcs in the panels.  This is surprising given how violently it behaves and how poorly (messily) it has cut other surfaces.  In this case the 18 TPI Lenox blade we had used for PVC seems to be the key.

Solution to tiny seams.....

Brian’s patented Tri-PLY seam management system: bridge seams with Tri-PLY scraps so edges are never hanging over a void [& plotting to bulge out of plane when you least expect it].

Challenging panel on the south wall.

Challenging panel on the south wall.  With a pipe in play you’re kind of flying blind until you figure out the proper channel to cut for it.

When I drove down Idaho St on Friday evening, I was greeted by a huge covey of quail (~15 individuals) crossing the driveway. I've noticed them every night this week. They cross the driveway, heading south (up our hill) between 5-5:30pm. I guess our drive-way is on their evening commute.

When I drove down Idaho St on Friday evening, I was greeted by a huge covey of quail (~15 individuals) crossing the driveway. I’ve noticed them every night this week. They cross the driveway, heading south (up our hill) between 5-5:30pm. I guess our drive-way is on their evening commute.

Saturday, 4/23
After more research with some exciting discoveries, we are leaning in the direction of clear coat again.  We found a polyurethane that provides the coverage of three coats with only one application…and thus requires no between-coat sanding.  What?!!?  And…it might be about the same price as paint.  What?!  So it is fewer coats than paint, it self-levels, requires no sanding and costs less!?!  It is Varathane triple-thick polyurethane.  To top it all off it’s water based and so has little to no odor.  Incredible.  Finally we’ve found the clear, water based paint we’ve been dreaming about.  And no priming – ONE COAT!   We’ll test it on a panel first but the reviews look very promising.

We worked together for nearly the whole day and closed the shack at 2pm, starting at the house around 3pm.  We attached three panels on the south wall, leaving 3 small gaps in our second row, and called it a night around 8pm.

After a short while of clunky working, we developed an efficient system.  We take the measurements for a given panel and complete the first cut.  While Brian is checking it on the wall, I use the oscillating tool to cut the bridge pieces we use to connect the panels to each other (an example is shown on Friday, above).  When Brian is done, I help him take the panel down off the ladder and he uses the oscillating tool to make adjustments.

Once the panel is ready to be attached, one of us is on the ladder with the drill/driver and the other is on the ground, acting as the extra hands.  Create hole, hand down drill, take driver and screw, attach screw…repeat.

Why all the rolly-polly bugs all of a sudden?! The big ones were heading north and the little one was moving south.

Why all the rolly-polly bugs all of a sudden?! These were found at the apartment.  The big ones were heading north and the little one to the right was moving south.

That's one dark rolly-polly.

That’s one dark rolly-polly.

Second row of panels on the south side is complete except for those three gaps.

Second row of panels on the south side is complete except for those three gaps.

Close up of gaps over the windows.

Close-up of gaps over the windows.

Sunday, 4/24
An efficient and wonderful Sunday.  Domestic duties and then a productive day at the house.  We finished the three gaps and then took a quick snack and coffee break.  We got the first panel of the third row (featured in image at top of post) attached with ONE cut.  Meaning, we measured, cut, test-fitted and attached.  No extra cutting and adjustments.

We had to cut and attach the bridges for connecting the second row of the panels to the third row.  This took a little while.  Once those pieces were done, we started cutting the other rounded panel for the third row.  This one had an issue with some blind screw protrusion so it required many trims to get it to fit.  Prior to attaching it, we took a break to go eat ice cream.

Upon arriving back at the house, we were dismayed to learn none of our power tools worked.  After confirming the power was out at the meter, driving to the apartment and finding no power there either, we decided to use our mandatory 2-hour idle time and go on a hike.  Having frisbeed for more than an hour in the morning and then going on this hike, the dogs were absolutely pooped by the time we got home.

We went back to the house to work until 7pm, completing the attachment of the other rounded panel and brainstorming about what to do in the space between the two end panels.  The distance remaining in the third row is about 8 feet 5 inches, which is 5 inches more than two whole panels.  We don’t want a 5 inch wide panel so we’re going to use two partial panels around the HRV and a full – uncut – panel to the left of it.

Before covering up the insulation, we are stuffing our recovered insulation in the gaps created by the insulation settling.

Before covering up the insulation, we are stuffing our recovered insulation in the gaps created by the insulation ‘settling’ (a.k.a. drying out completely).

ANOTHER quail crossing.

ANOTHER quail crossing.

Both rounded panels are attached.

Both rounded panels of the third row are attached.

After 3 minutes of more Trooper hair trimming, he collapsed into my lap.

After 3 minutes of more Trooper hair trimming, he collapsed into my lap.

3 thoughts on “Days 282-285: Paneling Part VI, The South Wall & Triple Thick

  1. Greg Gadd

    CR, don’t know if you remember, but I buy lots of (what I call) throw away tools at Harbor Freight. Bought 3 of those oscillating tools when they first came out and do use them a lot. Paid $40. for the first and 19.00 for the others. Haven”t failed me yet and so handy. Buy a similar piece at HD and pay about 5 times the price! LOOKING GOOD!

    Reply
  2. Jeff the Chef

    I have a comment, and please take it with a grain of salt, just a suggestion.

    If you love the look of natural wood, I would suggest a (light) stain, prior to sealing. IMHO, it adds a great deal to the look of natural wood. It’s a hassle and takes time to do right, but if done well, it can be remarkable looking. (You can always paint over it later, yes?)

    FYI, please don’t be fooled by products that make claims such as “self-leveling”. Remember, that is in a laboratory, under perfect conditions!

    Love the progress, keep up the great work.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      I hear ya but stain is a little too ambitious for us at this point. We’ll test our clearcoat on a panel to make sure its not a disaster but as long as its relatively transparent and protects the wood we’re probably fine with it. The time/effort savings afforded by that single coat is extremely alluring. Based on the reviews, the Varathane Triple Thick does some real-world self-leveling if applied thickly enough, but even if brush strokes are allowed to set in, reviewers say they’re not noticeable.

      Reply

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