Thursday, October 22, 2009

Miracles do Happen

In a testament to the fact that miracles do indeed happen, I somehow managed to put a rough opening in, all by my lonesome. For the record, it was incredibly hard to do, and not only did it bring tears to my eyes, but I almost gave up. I couldn't, however, face my Mentor after doing that, so I persevered. And best of all, it only took me about 6 hours to put in, but at least it's in, and I can hold up my head in pride. The following pic is not the finished product.

I based the design on the other windows, since we were simply moving the front ones to the back, so the ROs (contractor lingo for rough openings) would be identical. With this in mind, it all seemed so simple, but I forgot to factor in the fact that the green wood that we're using, rough cut hemlock I believe, weighs a metric ton, so when all is said and done, the actual header (more contractor lingo for the top part) weighs about 50-60 pounds. This would not be so bad if you didn't have to lift it over your head while balancing yourself on a sawhorse and then secure it. Whatever you do, don't try this at home.

I ended up dropping the thing 5-6 times before I finally came up with a plan. My Mentor would have been proud of me. The header rests on posts I believe they call "jacks," but whatever they are, I was told the fit should be tight. What I ended up doing was placing the jacks in first, but at an angle to the studs (the boards that hold up the roof). I placed the header on the angled jacks, then gently forced the jacks plumb (contractor lingo for vertically flush) with the studs, thereby lifting the header into place. What a nightmare, what a dream.

I was so pleased with myself that I went inside and celebrated by making lunch for the kids and then doing the dishes. I have to confess, I shamelessly went back to the RO that I'd made again and again to just stare at my handiwork. Call me vain, but it left me with a warm glow inside.

Just a quick sidenote, my Mentor warned me repeatedly to not leave boards with nails lying around, and of course I completely ignored him in a rush to get as much done as possible. And, of course, I ended up stepping on a nail, but luckily for me, it didn't hit my foot, though I could feel it penetrate the rubber soul of my shoe. Not a good feeling, but as I've always said, the lessons you learn the hard way are the ones you never forget. Unless you're stupid. I'll leave it at that.

Now I'm light years away from completing this project, but I am gaining some degree of confidence in my limited contracting abilities, so much so that I am looking forward to cutting out the next rough opening.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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