Team Seacats

Archive for June, 2012


by on Jun.21, 2012, under Garage Mahal

Aaaahhhh…I think I’m cracking open a $16 bottle of beer tonight that I’ve been hanging onto for a while.  I passed both my plumbing and electrical inspection with only a minor thing to fix…I had missed caulking a couple of upstairs top plate electrical penetrations but the inspector signed off on it and asked that I get that taken care of before insulating.  I’m surprised at how anxious I was about that – I feel like a weight has been lifted!  I had kinda hoped to get some kudos from the inspector for the effort I put in – but he was pretty matter-of-fact about the thing.  No problems, his signature said it all!  He then gave me instruction to call them back once the insulation is in to sign off on the framing…but my building contractor had taken care of those permits and I’m quite sure the framing permit was inspected and closed.  I’m not quite sure what to do there but the inspector said he would look into it and that I should give him a call in the morning for some instruction.

new-2 new-1

Unfortunately my insulation contractor can’t get out here for about two weeks…so, maybe I’ll head to the lake for a little R&R at some point.

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Insulating the Blast Furnace

by on Jun.12, 2012, under Garage Mahal

Part of both the downstairs and upstairs walls mate up with the pre-existing attic space above the little workshop (now the “Instrument Room”).  It gets pretty hot in that attic and I wanted to pay a little attention to insulating and sealing that area off from contacting the insulation in the new building walls.  There was some studding in the old gable end wall but it wasn’t very even and not on standard centers (old construction)…batted insulation was pretty much out of the question.  The old “exterior” side of that wall has some sort of really soft particle board on it.  It’s been considerably damaged through the construction process and it full of holes. I also have a multiple utilities that penetrate that wall; electrical, pneumatic lines, HVAC linesets,  HVAC communication wiring, network communication (Cat 5 and Coax), drain line for the upstairs HVAC, various plumbing, etc.  My plan was to seal off the attic space from the inside, remove the soft sheathing, wrap, and tar paper, and have both stud bays (the new structure and the attic structure) filled with the blow in insulation planned for the rest of the building.  Making that wall mostly air tight proved to be tricky in the confines of that low head room space.


You can see the felt paper and some of the broken sheathing just above the door opening.. This is a bit of a problem where it interfaces the floor because it’s unlikely this floor structure will be 100% filled with insulation.  Any air filtration from the attic into this space can migrate throughout the entire floor.


The top of the gable end can be seen near the floor in this photo of the second story.  It blasts hot air into this space like a furnace while open.


Showing some of the penetrations that go through this wall

First, I made a cardboard scoop for an old box fan so it could sit on the edge of the attic opening and draw cool air into that space – this really dropped the temperature up there significantly and made working up there in the evenings bearable.


the attic is hot (duh)…a modified box fan with a hood scoop helps bring downstairs air up dropping the temps up here significantly

To solve this problem, I precut several pieces of R-max foil backed insulation board, donned a respirator (that fiberglass dust is dreadful), long sleeves and pants, and headed to the attic to start trimming and taping the board into place.  It took probably 3 1/2  hours of work to get it to this point and I still have a little more work to do to cut some smaller pieces to fit between the ceiling joists – but it’s mostly complete.  Once those smaller pieces are in place, I’ll spray foam the penetrations and around the perimeter of the foam panels to seal it up tight and keep that hot attic air from coming into direct contact with my fibrous insulation.


I worked HARD for this insulation and sealing the air flow on this wall – still a bit left to go at the bottom followed by spray foam to button it up

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The Beam is Beaming

by on Jun.08, 2012, under Garage Mahal

A recent completed task is the beam for the ceiling hoist.  I welded on end-stops to prevent the hoist trolley from traveling off the end of the beam and to also keep it somewhat inboard so that the trolley will, at most, travel to the center span between the last to joists so no one joist has to see the full hoist load.  It also got treated with a wire brush in my side angle grinder, some rust-o-leam primer and silver grey paint.

I must also salute my Makita side angle grinder as it finally released the magic smoke while cleaning up the beam.  I believe the gearbox started to come apart and overloaded the motor as my garage floor was sprinkled with metal shavings and my garage filled with the dirty-brown smoke.  That grinder has cut more fiberglass, steel, and concrete than any angle grinder should be asked to do and has served me extremely well.  I guess I’m shopping for a new Makita.


welding end-stops on my hoist rail


hoist rail with several coats of primer and paint

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A Few More Posts to Catch Up on…

by on Jun.06, 2012, under Garage Mahal

Things have been moving along at a pretty good clip lately…but first, I have a few more completed tasks that I need to get us caught up on.  Late last year, I had debated tackling the old 12 x 19 shop before or after the garage was finished.  I decided it would be best to commit to it now and get it done (which would make work easier completing the garage later).  I got some help and hired a friend to help me manage the mess and reconfigure the workshop making it a little more usable back in January.  I find that not only is the help much more efficient but I work harder when I know I’m paying the other guy out of my pocket…and they usually can’t keep up!  We cleaned out 60 years of crap in the attic (that the previous owner left behind) – there was probably about 400 lbs of thin gauge scrap steel, wood trim pieces (mostly unusable), shingles (melted), old vinyl tiles, four badly worn tires (why!?), two bags of lime, and one bag of concrete cured rock solid in the attic humidity (seriously now…).  After that, we took to cleaning out my own mess of a shop cluttered with an appreciable amount crap I “would use some day”.  We pulled everything out including the shelving and work benches.  Things that were to be kept were stacked / shoved in the unfinished garage to make room for the work in the shop.  Everything else was either given away or went to the dump.  It was here that I created a new approach and with each item I evaluated I repeated “how will my life be different if I didn’t own this tomorrow”…After two really full truck loads of junk were hauled away, we started to address the fact that I had two exterior entry doors within 6 feet of each other.  I’ll never understand why it was built this way.  The door that was never used was removed, framed in, and covered up.  My shop bathroom, which is an incredible convenience, was far too small and even my small frame would have my knees hit the opposing wall if seated on the throne….not to mention that the toilet seat couldn’t possibly be lifted up because it hit the wall framing.  And yes, my old shop was pink.   Just changing that alone will be a great change!  In hindsight, not only was this a good idea to undertake now, it was necessary!

The pile of Keepers

All the keep-able crap from the old shop – this is AFTER cleaning and getting rid of many things.


After gutting the old shop, this “extra” door was framed in and made to disappear…for some reason, there were two exterior doors within 6 feet of each other. I’ve never understood why.  removing this door also allowed me  reframe the bathroom making it larger.



kitty litter being sprinkled on the wet paint


Donnie helping me finish the exterior of the door – we’ve got some brick work to be done on the chimney somewhat soon…when that gets done, I plan to have the mason brick up this opening.


the compressor in it’s old home but finally permanently mounted on rubber isolation pads. You can no longer feel the compressor vibrations inside the house.

IMG_2214loading up the old shop


loading up the old shop – with a lot of emphasis on organization


loading up the old shop – with a lot of emphasis on organization


the door from the old shop (now the “instrument room”) stepping down into the new garage.  This is an exterior grade steel door – which adds a layer of fire protection should something go horribly wrong…it also isolates the compressor noise from the garage.


pneumatic manifold ready

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