Yesterday was the first day we built for the entire 8 hours. It was blistering hot, we moved at a frenetic pace, and by the end of the day we were completely exhausted. Instead of everyone working together with oversight we all worked on different sub-projects (the roof, the trusses, the board and batten siding, etc.) and Patti and Lizabeth made themselves available for consults as needed. While it was fantastic to crank out so much work, it was pretty hard to keep track of everything going on and I didn't really have a single focus area. I started off the day toe nailing trusses to the frame, but proceeded to help out on about five other things.
Alas, I decided that on our final day (today) I wanted to go back to working on a single, focused project. I signed up to build the door. Naomi signed up to be my buddy. The process looked a little like this:
- Put your tongue and groove (TNG) boards all in a row and decide which side you want to show. We decided on the plain side since we were going to be nailing a double-Z pattern of braces on top of the door for stability and didn't want too much flair going on at once.
- Measure the rough opening of the doorway. Hopefully you remembered to leave a doorway. If not, there's a big design opportunity calling your name right about now. You'll want to subtract about 1/16 from the hinge side, 1/4 from the bottom edge, 1/8 from the top, and 3/16 from the leading edge. These are Patti's numbers. I trust her because she's a girl genius and a very experienced carpenter.
- Shift the boards around and mark the ends with knots or splits. Those will be cut off.
- If you're not an all-star at mental math then this is the part where you bust out your Construction Master Pro calculator (or app) and figure out how much you will need to plane off of your two end boards. You plane both end boards to the same width so that your door is symmetrical. Symmetrical = pretty, but don't tell that to Lyle Lovett.
- Mark your boards and drag them over to the table saw. Slice them up and bring them back over to where the rest of your door is.
- Your boards will be staggered based on where the imperfections are that you want to cut off. Some of them will jut out on one side and some will jut out on the other. Make sure when you slice off the imperfections that your door will be long enough. If it will, go ahead and clamp the boards together with pipe clamps.
- Nail one of your bracing boards below where you plan on making your top cut, then use it as a guide for your circular saw. A perfect and easy straight cut! I believe you will end up with 4 5/16 of an inch above where you nail in the bracing board. That will be the top of your door. I hope you made sure that board was square. SQUARE, LEVEL, PLUMB should be your battle cry.
- Do the same on the bottom, and double-check your measurements so that the door ends up the right length. Again, when you use the bracing bar as your guide with a circular saw you wil have 4 5/16" below the board.
- Now your door is really looking doorish. You just need to put on a center brace that is parallel to the top and bottom brace and equidistant from both. Then put in the two diagonal pieces. Make sure you get the angle right on each side. You should probably use a carpenter's bevel. I did, and it was pretty sweet.
- Nail the diagonals in. Now your door won't rack! Congrats! Screw on some hinges while you're feeling invigorated over the fact that you just built a door. Use a vix bit to make your life easier.
- Figure out what you want to do for a handle. Per Lizabeth's suggetion, Naomi and I went for a walk in the woods, cut down a hardwood (deciduous) sapling, debarked it, cut it on the chopper, and screwed it into place. Rustic and Vermonty. We knew that Carol would love it. We picked a yellow birch because the wood smells like wintergreen. Verminty!
- BAM! A door! A real live door!
Yes, I am wearing jorts. No, my (male) partner is not impressed. I will note, however, that the only apparel promise I made to him before leaving was that I wouldn't come back with Carhartts. Promise fulfilled.
With the door complete, it was time for me to take a little rest.
While I napped in the Yestermorrow tree house I remembered a fun fact: knots with black rims around them signify that the limb was dead when the tree was chopped down. These knots can sometimes fall out, especially in cedar. Knots lacking the rim are from limbs that were alive when the tree was felled. These are usually the higher limbs.
I like to keep the living knots and remove the dead ones. Personal aesthetic choice I guess.
I also like chartreuse.
After the door was attached there really wasn't much more to do. Lizabeth and Patti had put in the window earlier on in the day and there were just a few pieces of board and batten left to nail into place.
About an hour later someone (Abby?) pounded the final nail into the shed, and just like that, our week of hard work came to an end.
J and Celeste had already left, but the remaining ten of us tore apart a variety pack of Harpoon (thanks, Lizabeth!) and talked about what type of lives we would be going back to.
Between organic farming, calling for contra dances, working in a pickle factory, acupuncturing, and fighting foreclosures through song, one could never accuse the group of being bland. Part of what made the week so incredible was getting to know 11 women who I would never interface with during the normal course of my life.
I clearly need to do some social circle diversification.
Though it's hard in SF, where it seems like everyone I meet works in tech and spends all day online #n3rds
But I digress. With the shed put up and the beers drank down, it was time for good-byes. Hugs ensued, some people took off for one last skinnydip in the watering hole, and I hopped into my rental Corolla with my compass set to Boston.
In case you're wondering, Carol named the shed, "Stud" based on all of the boards she saw that had STUD written on them in big bold letters. I know I speak for all of us when I wish Stud a life of max happiness and min mice infestations. May he forever keep all of Carol's tools and garden equipment safe and sound.
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. - Alexander Graham Bell