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GoToAway
01-17-2011, 09:34 PM
...the 18v Ryobi drill-driver I picked up tonight. This thing beats the hell out of my old '70s era Black & Decker, and it certainly should, because the damned thing (including chucks and bits) cost nearly $200. I really ought to grab the matching reciprocating saw as soon as I can afford it.

Lacking any other options, I will be attempting to rebuild my (now completely collapsed) stairs. I cleared the rubble out today. If anyone is interested, I'll post pictures of the most peculiar construction used to build them. I'm not sure if the wedges were dremmeled out, or if it's glued on 1/4" plywood... But it's little wonder that they failed so spectacularly. Not a single screw was used in their construction. I counted four nails and several dozen staples.

Having nothing to "repair" makes things easier. I have a (relatively simple) plan in place to do it from scratch. The only iffy bit is precision cutting... and my girlfriend's dad is into woodworking, so he said he can handle that bit on his table saw for me.

I plan to use birch unless anyone has a good reason not to.

In the meantime, I'm reaching my remaining bathroom via ladder.

Wish me luck. Hopefully I'll have this banged out by this time next week.

On the plus side, I'll have actual carpenters coming in and out over the course of the week to rebuild from the flood damage, so they can at least check my work. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

AndyJWest
01-17-2011, 11:05 PM
Not a single screw was used in their construction. I counted four nails and several dozen staples.

I'd be tempted to cite that as a prime example of the failure of contemporary capitalism, if I wasn't presently living in a spec-built house over 100 years old that seems to have been built to similar standards. Impressive enough to look at from the front, but with shallow foundations, on clay - the consequent movement as the foundations dry out each summer have made for some interesting cracks, to the extent that only gravity seems to be holding the roof on. One time I helped the landlord remove the rotting plaster from a wall, which revealed an interesting approach to brickwork - no mortar at all in several places on an external wall. Safe as houses...

GoToAway
01-17-2011, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
I'd be tempted to cite that as a prime example of the failure of contemporary capitalism, if I wasn't presently living in a spec-built house over 100 years old that seems to have been built to similar standards. Well, it's hardly a recent development. People have cut corners to save minuscule amounts of money (even if it only amounts to a handful of screws or a few ounces of mortar) ever since corporatism became a religion.

The contractors that I have working here tell me that it's par for the course... and has been for a while.

Messaschnitzel
01-17-2011, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Not a single screw was used in their construction. I counted four nails and several dozen staples.

I'd be tempted to cite that as a prime example of the failure of contemporary capitalism, if I wasn't presently living in a spec-built house over 100 years old that seems to have been built to similar standards. Impressive enough to look at from the front, but with shallow foundations, on clay - the consequent movement as the foundations dry out each summer have made for some interesting cracks, to the extent that only gravity seems to be holding the roof on. One time I helped the landlord remove the rotting plaster from a wall, which revealed an interesting approach to brickwork - no mortar at all in several places on an external wall. Safe as houses... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

And you probably thought that you found a 'secret panel' at first when you accidentally pushed the bricks in. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

I've seen stuff like that working on old houses over the years as well. I never seen the 'no mortar at all' on the brickwork yet, but I've seen close where there is hardly any in that the brick has about 1/2" wide border of thin mortar around the edge of it (if even that much) to give the appearance of a supposed solid layer of mortar once the bricks are laid in place.

Every entrepreneur since the beginning of time knows that wasting less material on the product saves money, especially if the customer won't have any idea about what to look for.

Maybe that's part of the reason why the tradition of the 'Baker's Dozen' came about, due to the customers getting frequently shorted and the subsequent laws enacted by the Crown to prevent such shenanigans. On a side note, I recall reading where certain products a long time ago would be restricted to being made during daylight hours in order to prevent shoddy work from being done indoors at night with poor illumination. IIRC, there would be patrols of watchmen making the rounds where one of their duties was to be on the lookout for anyone caught doing the restricted work. I also recall reading where it was advised when having slate roof repairs done using copper nails, to make sure to closely supervise the workmen and see that they did not pocket the nails and replace them with cheaper iron ones that would eventually rust away. (and therefore make future work for the roofers and slaters, natch.)

M_Gunz
01-18-2011, 10:11 AM
Originally posted by AndyJWest:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Not a single screw was used in their construction. I counted four nails and several dozen staples.

I'd be tempted to cite that as a prime example of the failure of contemporary capitalism, if I wasn't presently living in a spec-built house over 100 years old that seems to have been built to similar standards. Impressive enough to look at from the front, but with shallow foundations, on clay - the consequent movement as the foundations dry out each summer have made for some interesting cracks, to the extent that only gravity seems to be holding the roof on. One time I helped the landlord remove the rotting plaster from a wall, which revealed an interesting approach to brickwork - no mortar at all in several places on an external wall. Safe as houses... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

There is a paint-like coating that can be brushed over those bricks that will hold them very well. That's how they do cinder block construction for over 10 years now. From the description I got it's loaded with some kind of fiber. The good part is you could firm up the wall without taking it apart.

M_Gunz
01-18-2011, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Messaschnitzel:
I also recall reading where it was advised when having slate roof repairs done using copper nails, to make sure to closely supervise the workmen and see that they did not pocket the nails and replace them with cheaper iron ones that would eventually rust away. (and therefore make future work for the roofers and slaters, natch.)

Stainless steel nails would be far cheaper and more dependable wouldn't they? Or galvanized nails.

Messaschnitzel
01-18-2011, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
Stainless steel nails would be far cheaper and more dependable wouldn't they? Or galvanized nails.

Today they would be, but stainless wasn't around in the late 19th century. (I was referring to a book written around the turn of the 20th century, but forgot to note the time period) Also, galvanized nails cost more than undipped iron or steel ones, but the even more expensive copper nails will outlast either one of the latter even if they had the relatively protective zinc coating.

M2morris
01-18-2011, 11:28 AM
It sounds like you are following the suggestion that I added to 'that' thread witch was the simplest of all.
Now you can plan it out, take your time do a good job and then you can stand back and admire your work. Just don't drill your thumb like I once did!
Goddayam that hurts.
Happy Building!

iroseland01
01-18-2011, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AndyJWest:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Not a single screw was used in their construction. I counted four nails and several dozen staples.

I'd be tempted to cite that as a prime example of the failure of contemporary capitalism, if I wasn't presently living in a spec-built house over 100 years old that seems to have been built to similar standards. Impressive enough to look at from the front, but with shallow foundations, on clay - the consequent movement as the foundations dry out each summer have made for some interesting cracks, to the extent that only gravity seems to be holding the roof on. One time I helped the landlord remove the rotting plaster from a wall, which revealed an interesting approach to brickwork - no mortar at all in several places on an external wall. Safe as houses... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

There is a paint-like coating that can be brushed over those bricks that will hold them very well. That's how they do cinder block construction for over 10 years now. From the description I got it's loaded with some kind of fiber. The good part is you could firm up the wall without taking it apart. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


ahh.. the joys of old houses. My place is now 111 years old. When the place was built it was in a very upscale and trendy neighborhood. The area was growing pretty fast and real estate speculation was pretty rampant. So, some builder bought the whole block and put essentially 6 of the same house on it. They have the same layout, only the facades and some finish choices are different. it was probably pretty convenient to build that way. But at the same time the corner cutting was pretty rampant. The sheathing underneath the siding ends about 6 inches from some of the actual corners. The bump out over the master stair case is roofed with lap siding, the window seat bump out in the dining room has a "what were they thinking?" flat roof that leaks like crazy. Instead of real fireplaces, they put in these very wacky faux fireplaces, with some weird, and probably dangerous gas burner system. The floors are quarter sawn oak downstairs and very nice clear maple on the second floor. When we renovated the second floor I started out being very worried that I would have to buy all new flooring. When we started pulling up the floor we quickly noticed that nearly no nails were used to hold it down. So, the good news was we got to keep the original floor. The better news is that those rooms no longer squeek and are now also heavily insulated. As for capitalism being to blame, I am not sure.. I think the only reason that houses ever get built well is when the owner is very involved in watching over the actual construction. Just see how well framers and plumbers get along on their own. The framers will go through all th trouble of framing just to have the plumbers cutting inconvenient notches in joists because they are more interested in taking yet another smoke break getting the job done, and billed instead of getting it done right on the first try. This is where involved owners, good project managers and great general contractors make the difference. There are a lot of moving parts in construction, and more than a couple of the trades are at odds with each other. That means someone needs to be around to keep things under control.

GoToAway
01-18-2011, 01:15 PM
Just gave the new tool a try. I'm impressed. It should make things pretty quick going once I have the wood.