Days 300-302: Strutting and The Paneling Ram

Monday, 5/9
Something we forgot to mention yesterday – we called and made an offer on the local ELF.  The owner was not amenable and he said that he had $5000 in it.  Considering I was not 100% satisfied with the test drive experience, we were not willing to offer more than $1800 or so for it.  Brian wants to note that he liked the pedal position a lot and prefers it over a normal upright bike’s because you can brace against the seat for max power (whereas on a normal bike you might be standing on the pedals).  Our reasons for not being more generous with the ELF offer are twofold:

1. The cabin is surprisingly loud and rattly to the point where you strain to find the smoothest path through any and all road irregularities.

2. The ride feeling is cumbersome, disconnected and not very fun; quite un-bike-like in fact.

Be that as it may, the ELF does check the big box of being a functional car-less car powered by the sun, so despite the sensory assault, we made an offer.

Given the possibility that enclosed bike-cars might be uncomfortable or uninspiring to drive and any un-enclosed vehicle (bike, motorcycle, scooter, etc) will likely lead to riding together to work on bad weather days, we decided to direct our efforts into electric-assist bicycle research, the simplest thing that might work in the gamut of powered transportation options.

In other news Brian recently spoke to the HRV vendor to ask about the interplay between the Lunos and the bathroom fan.  His concern was that the bathroom fan (pulling 80CFM) may overwhelm [and perhaps stall one of] the Lunos units (the Lunos pair runs at around 22CFM).  The Lunos tech support said that it isn’t a problem – the makeup air for the bath fan would probably pull through whichever Lunos unit was in blower mode at the moment, and that if one ever did get overwhelmed somehow, it would automatically shut off for bit rather than stall and burn up the motor.  That safety feature is designed with heavy wind gusts in mind.

Brian subsequently confirmed the makeup air situation with a piece of paper towel (see pic below).  The negligible downside is that the Lunos’ heat recovery efficiency drops during bath fan operation because a bunch of extra under-heated air comes in.  The awesome upside is that [in our fairly airtight house] no additional wall penetration is needed for the bath fan’s makeup air needs.

2016-05-06 12.51.33

Here a piece of paper towel sticks to the Lunos unit that is blowing air outside whilst the bathroom fan is on. That means the exhausting Lunos fan is able to overcome the bath fan’s force and that the additional 80 CFM of makeup air is being drawn through whichever Lunos unit is pulling air in.

Brian left the shack around noon and headed to the lumber store for 2x4s.  In order to panel the arched walls, we have to attach vertical furring strips so the panels can connect on the sides.  You could consider these the ‘bridges’ of the arched walls.

Brian cut and attached a 2×4 furring strip and then came upon two annoyances:

  • The double furring strip situation on the west wall is causing a small problem.  Our first strip was the solid one on top of the cross beam and we attached the second one (the one with pieces that span the cross beam gaps) underneath the first one, butted right up against it.  This was the wrong move – the distance between the paneled row and the row to be paneled is now ~1/4 too small which creates too little furring strip space for the connection of the next row of panels.
    • We are going to solve this problem by attaching a few 2×4 scrap pieces where needed, but in the meantime, Brian decided to work on the strut…
  • The second annoyance was with the Milwaukee battery.  The same battery is used to power the circular saw (for cutting the 2x4s) and driving in the screws (for attaching the furring strips).  Going back and forth, up and down the ladder, removing and reattaching the battery, remembering to grab the battery, etc was just too bothersome.  We ordered another battery last week and it should arrive sometime Tuesday or Wednesday.  Knowing it will arrive soon and alleviate the annoying battery changes, as well as having to fix the furring strip situation, prompted Brian to just abandon paneling altogether and start another, short-term project.
The end of the ruler (48") is where the panel will terminate. Then we need to allow for a 1/8" gap and then attach the other panel. As you can see, after the gap, there is very little attachment space.

The end of the ruler (48″) is where the panel will terminate. Then we need to allow for a 1/8″ gap and then attach the other panel. As you can see, after the gap, there is very little attachment space.

Veritcal furring strip connection helper - this thin piece of plywood paneling is connected on the top and the bottom to prevent the 2x4 from falling out. Remember, right now we're working on the arched walls so nothing wants to stay in straight up and down. The next row down will be nearly vertical so things will be a lot easier.

Vertical furring strip connection helper – this thin piece of plywood paneling is connected on the top and the bottom to prevent the 2×4 from falling out. Remember, right now we’re working on the arched walls so nothing wants to stay in straight up and down. The next row down will be nearly vertical so things will be a lot easier.

Remember our grand plans of attaching a climbing rope to our metal frame, up at the center of the house?  And our desire to create and suspend a bird playground?  Both of those things rely on a strong connection to the metal center ridge beam and we’ve been brainstorming about it.  We introduced two different strut options on Day 293 and since then we decided to go with the 12 gauge 1 5/8″ square design, which has a weight load limit of something like 1700 lbs when supported every 2 feet.

Once Brian decided to take a short break from paneling, he started to investigate how to attach the strut beam to the center metal beam.  The center metal beam has a 2×4 furring strip that runs the length of it so in theory we’d be connecting the strut through the wood and into the metal beam.  Here comes the problem – that is a thermal bridge and aside from heat loss, might conceivably lead to the screws getting overly cold in the winter and attracting condensation indoors.  Nobody wants drips from the ceiling.

This concern led Brian to a different option – attach a 2×2 piece of lumber to the already-attached 2×4 furring strip, creating a thicker connection and allowing the use of the extra [awesome] 3″ lag bolts we had left over from the service entrance attachment.

So next – back to hardware store to get metal objects, back to the house to clean the metal beams (unlike the typical clean strut from Unistrut or B-line, this strut from Copper State Nut & Bolt had an annoying light coat of oil on it) and then …..dinner time.  At least we’re prepped and ready for Tuesday.

Brian's strut diagram:

Brian’s strut attachment diagram:  There are three ‘rows’ under the TOP METAL BEAM.  In order from Metal Beam down, there is a 2×4 furring strip, a soon to be connected 2×2 and then the metal strut.  If you look at the vertical lines attaching the different rows, you can see that they are staggered in depth; if a screw is attaching the furring strip to the metal beam in a given location, then the connection point for the final piece will be offset.

Tuesday, 5/10
The pieces are gathered and now to put them in place.

IMG_4111

Here’s what the thermal break sandwich is made of. The small hole saw is just a depth gauge for how much to recess the 3″ hex bolt to ensure that it threads into metal.

Check the fit of the 2x2.

Checking the fit of the 2×2.

Use the blah blade to drill a hole.

First the spade bit makes the recess.

Check the depth of the hole - It is the correct depth when the ??? goes in up to the metal circle.

Check the depth of the hole – it should be able to hide the circle.

Make hole

Make a clearance hole in the center until metal is hit.  The clearance hole is a hair wider than the threads of the 3″ self drilling hex bolt so no jacking will take place as it furiously bores into the metal.

This is what it looks like.

This is what the prepped hole looks like.

Use ???? to hold it all together.

It’s metal drilling time!

Ta-da!

Ta-da!  Every two feet.

After work, I helped by holding the metal strut in place while he drilled holes and attached screws.

After work, I helped by holding the metal strut in place while Brian drilled holes and attached screws.  We attached a 10′ piece on either end, leaving a small gap in the middle to be filled tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5/11
The goal of the day was to finish the top strut attachments and create the barbaric device that will act as Brian’s paneling assistant.  The completed strut is shown in the featured image at the top of the post and the development of ‘The Paneling Ram’ is shown below.  It’ll be like a medieval battering ram but more for holding thin panels in place against a curved wall.

2016-05-11 16.45.53

3/8″ eyebolts in place, ready for rope action.

2016-05-11 17.09.32

Forging The Paneling Ram from wood and metal.  10 minutes later…

2016-05-11 17.11.18

From this angle it kind of has horns.

2016-05-11 17.50.12

Behold the power of the mighty 2×6 counterweight.

2016-05-11 17.47.16

It pushes the panel into the wall and upward so Brian has both hands free to make attachments.  Attached to the end of The Paneling Ram is a thin, circular rubber pad to make sure no scuffing occurs and so it doesn’t slide around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *