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high desert. small house.

Days 328-330: Polyurethane, Part II

Monday, 6/6
Wake, walk, ride, roast.  Lots of stuff going on at the coffee shop, both with coffee traffic and the Smart car getting picked up.  Brian was delayed until nearly 1pm just waiting for the tow truck to arrive.  After lunch runs and errands, that put him at the house around 3pm.  Instead of launching into a round of polyurethane, he moved stuff around, took care of little things and primed the work space.

Our super Kryptonite lock arrived this morning.

Our super tough Kryptonite lock arrived this morning: The New York Noose 1213.

It's crazy heavy! But don't worry, me strong woman.

It’s crazy heavy! But don’t worry, me strong woman.

Goodbye Smart car.

Goodbye Smart car.

2016-06-06 15.20.16

The DAP Butyl Gutter and Flashing caulk used to seal the window flashing has cracked everywhere where it was less than a certain thickness…

2016-06-06 15.23.06

However it retains much of its silly putty like consistency – here almost a year later – so a crack can often be smooshed away.  If not, another layer of caulk will do the trick.  In hindsight the cracks were all due to me (Brian) overzealously trying to tool the beads into water shedding wedge shapes right away.  I should’ve applied it in thick, ugly, water-catching beads and NOT tooled it into shape right away.  Instead I should’ve waited until the NEXT DAY as it would have transformed from messy mozzarella string glue into a soft and utterly pliable silly putty that can be precisely formed with your fingers.  Upon discovering this method, I think this caulk is fantastic for window flashing and other outdoor unpainted uses when applied around at least 1/8″ thick.  At that thickness or greater it seems like it may never crack.  Also, unlike many caulks, this one it claims to be UV stable.  Note that I have not yet used Through The Roof or NP1 so I cannot compare them.

2016-06-06 15.50.35

For the second Lunos filter, I realized it was very easy to remove for cleaning.

2016-06-06 16.24.34

After removing the clutter from the base of the north wall, Brian taped off the floor.

2016-06-06 15.25.06

Saw a lightweight-looking single prop plane with a an unusually large wingspan noodling around before a thunderstorm. Once the lightning started, it split.

Tuesday, 6/7
We usually pick up ice on the way in to the shack most mornings.  It was Brian’s turn to ride the bike so we did an experiment to see how it would be transporting the ice.  No problem –

20 lbs of ice on one side of the bike - no issues.

20 lbs of ice on one side of the bike – didn’t even notice while riding.

2016-06-07 12.20.25

The new 2.5″ brush is as wide as will fit in the quart cans of Varathane TripleThick.

2016-06-07 12.20.33

The fastest method seems like it’s to load up the brush excessively, smoosh it against the wall in ~three places to shed before it drips, and then vertically stroke (with the vertical grain) to uniform depth.

2016-06-07 12.21.24


2016-06-07 12.31.59

The sadness of over-countersinking.

2016-06-07 16.41.44

North endcap after Varathane.

2016-06-07 16.33.52

End of Tuesday progress – north endcap complete except for the one upper left-hand triangular piece that was not accessible from the metal ladder or the wooden scaffold.

Wednesday, 6/8
We were determined to finish the polyurethane today so we postponed some shack tasks until Thursday and Brian started at the house around noon.  We have the two triangular pieces, one on either endcap and the whole west arched wall.  Between 12-1:30pm, he moved stuff around and then prepped the panels by wiping them with the microfiber cloth.  He has previously been doing this right before ‘painting’ a given set of panels but that has led to the polyurethane clumping up on the brush during its down time.

So this time, he wiped everything down, ran lunch to me at 2pm and was polyurethaning by 2:30pm.

Another thing happened – We confirmed our tile timeline with the tilesman.  He’ll start THIS Friday at 9:30 and work Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  That means we MUST finish the poly Wednesday so that Thursday can be devoted to clearing the house and sealing the floor.

ALSO, the Smart car peeps called us and reported that they found the rear tires to be worn out and there was some battery-related filter needed.  Those were the original rear tires from nearly 3 years / 20K miles ago – not bad!  Anyhow the tire wear has led us to consider leaving the car there and terminating our lease [3 months] early; otherwise we’re buying new tires that’ll last use 3 months.  We’ll see what the deal is in the morning when the sales rep is back.

At the house – Brian worked as fast as possible on the poly, starting with the top flat surface of the bathroom (which we had forgotten about), then doing the remaining triangles and then finally moving to the arched wall.  I arrived at 5:30pm and found him on the second panel of his first arched wall row.  So…..5 rows to go before bedtime.  !!!!!

While the dogs ate, I moved stuff out of the house, starting with the incredible amount of panel scraps.  We are holding onto these annoying pieces because they are good sized and can be used for other things.  We have other things we want to build and they would work great.  But that has meant a lot of shuffling of them outside and inside.

Next was lumber scraps.  Once the easy-to-store-on-pallets-under-the-house items were outside, I began sorting through piles of stuff to find garbage – empty Varathane cans, scraps of all sorts of building materials that were not reusable, empty screw boxes, etc.  At that point, it was 7pm so I took the dogs home to make dinner.  Brian had completed 2 of 5 rows.

When I got back from making dinner (~8pm), Brian was finishing up row 3 (so 2 remaining).  We were just about out of light and we still had some team things to do with the stuff outside.  We didn’t make our goal of all 5 rows but at least the remaining 2 are the easiest (accessible from the ground and mostly vertical).

Wiping the panels down

Wiping the panels down to remove fuzz from around screw holes and sawdust.

Oh no, bubble alert!

Oh no, bubble alert!

Blister has been popped.

Blister has been popped.

It is difficult to see in this light, but Brian has painted himself into the corner where his feet are.

It is difficult to see in this light, but Brian has painted himself into the corner where his feet are.

Three levels of scaffold

Three levels of scaffoldization.

Brian thought this was a nice picture of the sheen.

Brian thought this was a nice picture of the satin sheen.


  1. What type of panels did you use? How thick? Any info would be helpful. My boyfriend and I will start our build in September. Thanks!!

    • If you go to the page All the Posts there is a list of everything we have done. The posts between Day 260 and Day 321 all have to do with paneling.

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