Shingle Siding Finally Started

The house is starting to look more like a craftsman/mission style home and less like a mobile home now that the shingle siding is started. I started with a non-incised pressure treated 2"x8" at the base as a water table ledger and added a 2"x4" sill to the water table. I ripped a 12 degree bevel on the front and back, so that it will shed rain water. The shingles are laid in three five inch exposure courses, then one three inch course to add interest and break the pattern. The windows are trimmed with non-incised pressure treated 2"x4"s. The sill is also beveled 12 degrees and has an apron underneath. I rabbited out a 3/4 inch x 1 1/4 inch space for the shingles to fit into, leaving a clean finish. The short shingles that go into this space are nailed in with galvanized brads, so that the nail heads won't show. For a neat detail on the window frames I cut in square pegs to carry out the mission theme. The pegs were ripped to 1/2" x 1/2" out of some old South American Cherry flooring that I had in the shop. It is not a true Cherry wood, but more similar to Mahogany, so it should hold up to the weather well. There is already felt on the house, so I am only adding felt where it is missing and around windows for additional weather protection. The window trim receives a small copper flashing over the top as an additional precaution. The copper comes from scraps that I have salvaged over the years and held onto.

Dipping the Shingles

We started dipping the shingles and have completed enough to cover a couple of hundred square feet. It goes pretty fast. Daniel and I work as a team. He dips anywhere from five to fifteen shingles at a time, and lets them drain for a little while. He then hands them to me and I stand them up in the rack to let them finish draining. The rack is inclined toward a bucket that catches the excess. We let the dipped shingles sit overnight, then we stack the shingles and they are ready to go. We are using Chevron shingle oil, because it penetrates and offers lasting protection from insects and preserves the color. Dipping the shingles is time consuming and labor intensive, but offers superior protection to spraying them after installation. I am very happy with the finished result.

Go Sunday - Volunteers Needed for Foster Family

On Sunday, September 6, 2009 we will be building a barn for a foster family home in Tacoma. They need a place to store hay for a horse that was donated to help in the therapy of a little girl. I need volunteers with carpentry, labor, painting, and roofing skills. The barn will be 12' x 18'. That is the maximum we can build without a permit. I am the site leader on this volunteer project so email me at if you want to help with labor or materials. This barn will be a great blessing for a family that takes in children with huge needs. It will be a fun project that we will complete in one day.

Inexpensive Outdoor Structure

We always need an outside area that is protected from the weather, just to sit and enjoy the outdoors or to entertain. Until recently we did not have a dining room table and ate outside - Rain or Shine, Hot or Cold. The outdoor structure we bought at Target, had definitely outlived its original purpose and it was time for a more permanent structure. My friend Sean gave me some clear polycarbonate panels, that were left over from a job of his. The length pre-determined the size of the structure I would build. I went to Home Depot and bought some 4" x 4"s and 4" x 6"s and cut them all on my sliding compound miter saw. I built the trusses on the ground and gave them a light sanding. By the end of the day the structure was standing, completed except for the the polycarbonate. The roofing was completed with lights and I went to bed tired and satisfied. The following morning Sheila and I ate our breakfast under the protection of our new structure. I need to give it a light sanding and apply a couple coats of finish. I may remove the roofing for this job and re-install it afterwards. It will be difficult to finish around it and the purlins would weather better if the finish was on all four sides.

Buying Tools on Craigslist

Daniel and I went to Olalla, just north of us to purchase a concrete mixer we saw advertised on Craigslist. I often find great deals on tools and materials there. When we arrived at our destination, Wow! What a surprise! It looked like we were driving into a Disney theme park. The owner, Yvonne had used the mixer to make a patio in back and was finished with her projects. I said it looked like a great place to have a wedding or bed and breakfast. She told me that is exactly what she plans on doing in the near future. You never know what you will see or who you will meet - Life is really a fun adventure.

The New Siding is Getting Closer to Reality

I'm very excited. Some of the Mobile home look is coming off and going into the recycle pile, in preparation for the new shingle siding. I think I will put the shingles up in three courses of five inch exposure and one course of three inch exposure. That will make a nice look with the shorter course adding an accent and breaking up the large expanse of wall. I am so happy I found A&A Shingles in Forks, WA. - Mike Allen's prices are a third of the cost of buying shingles at the Building Centers.

Awesome Lumber Deal

The new fossil bed/parking pad is part of an overall remodeling project - "The Car Port" The ceiling above is an in-progress job. I framed it using 2" x 8" joists and decked it with 3/4" OSB T&G Sturdi-floor. On top of that I glued down a EPDM 40 mil. rubber sheet, that is impervious to the elements. The ceiling is clear cedar T&G that I purchased from Lyle Schindler in Tacoma. He is the owner of Schindler Woods, and his prices are nothing less than spectacular, compared to the lumber yards. I purchased all of this T&G in a package deal, fifteen cents a foot if I would take the whole bundle, and accept the waste along with the good. There was between 15-20% of the material that was waste, but the price was only 20% of retail. That works out to a cost savings of 60-70% over lumber yard prices. Lyle is great to work with, and has an extensive background in finish carpentry. He carries many wood products that are difficult to find elsewhere. I also purchased some vertical grain, shiplap paneling that will be featured in a future blog on Craftsman style Interior Trim.

Shortcut and Handy Tip

Cutting out Windows and Doors in sheathing is always a chore. If you precut them before nailing on the sheathing, they often need to be trimmed or don't fit properly. I always carry a router with a straight bit for this job. If you look at the bit it has a spiral cutter, to help the cutter stay on course and follow the lumber. It also has a double bearing, which I often spray with Tri-flow or WD40, since they tend to heat up and stop spinning over time. The bit pictured is made by Ocemco. Amana and Velepec also make a straight bit with double bearings. The cut is always perfect and easy to make, except for the sawdust that sprays all over me. Do not try this with a 1/4" shank router bit, use only a 1/2" shank bit. The smaller bits will bend under this type of pressure. I use my old Porter Cable 1 1/2 h.p. router for this job. I own a couple of 3 h.p. routers, but they are just too cumbersome, and the 1 1/2 h.p. works just fine, as long as it is not pushed too hard. Next time you have a window or door cut out, try this technique. You will be pleased with the clean result. Make sure there are no nails or nail heads sticking out for the router to hit. It will shoot shrapnel all over and ruin an expensive router bit.

Logging Two Tall Trees

Earlier this year Vincent Frey, owner of Black Diamond Tree Service came over from Spokane and cut down a couple of large,tall dangerous Fir trees. These trees were big enough to crush our house in a bad storm and were in the wrong place for any of us to have peace of mind during the big winter storms we have in Puget Sound.
It was a thrilling day watching Vincent climb, limb and top these giants. The coolest part was his skill in cutting logs right off of the stump, and expertly landing them without damaging the logs or the driveway below. These logs are destined to be peeled and built into a gazebo this summer. It is really fun to think about using the logs for something more productive than firewood. Daniel stayed home from school the day Vincent came to take the trees down. It was an awesome educational opportunity to watch a master arborist at work. I was busy on the ground with rigging and pulling limbs out of the way, while Daniel took pictures and had the time of his life.

Mission/Craftsman Style Entry

The old entry looked like an old fishing pier, complete with pier poles and rot. It was time to revamp the entry in anticipation of our new shingle siding. Budget is always an issue, so I decided not to hide the pressure treated lumber, but instead feature it. The 6"x6" posts and timber framing have the incise marks right out there where everyone can see them. I don't own a nice band saw yet, so I used a jigsaw with extra long blades to cut out the cathedral arch from pressure treated 4"x12"s. The balustrade uses 1"x6" cedar fence boards that I cut out also with the jigsaw, then eased the edges with a 3/16" radius bit. The ceiling and wainscot are just a mix of standard 2"x4"s, 2"x6"s and 2"x8"s. Daniel being the one with the discriminating eye for color and balance, stained the boards different colors and then we nailed them on to create a random pattern and mix of widths and colors. We were very pleased with the look and low cost of the project. It still needs a couple of coats of finish and more handrail/balustrade, but we will get to that..........some day.

Fresh Fossil

The picture shows how the "Fossil" material looks after the stone is ready to season. If you wait too long to remove the leaves, ferns, etc. They come out in small pieces and are a lot of work to remove. If you take them out too soon the impression will not be as sharp. I poured a stone at night and woke up early to remove the goodies only to find I should have removed them earlier, and ended up picking out the pieces and using a slow stream of water to soften the materials and wash away some of the excess concrete. I found some dog tracks in some of the stones, must have been an ice age coyote, going to the stream for a drink.

Sidewall Shingling

One project is under way - The Fossil Bed, and its time to start another. We're going to reside the house. The aluminum siding has got to go - It makes the place look like an old two story double wide. Sheila and I drove up to A&A Shingle Mill in Forks, Washington on July 3rd. We met Mike Allen the owner and bought 20 square of #1 shingles. We are not using his premium grade, even though he sells them at a fraction of the price lumber yards charge. We only had a budget for the #1's. They will look awesome and will be featured on future posts. Mike is a neat guy and he owned the friendliest and biggest Husky that we had ever seen. It was a beautiful drive and we were relieved that no Vampires attacked us.

Building a Fossil Bed Parking Pad

Daniel is out of school for the summer so we are officially a crew now. We decided to make a parking pad and incorporate our fascination with fossils. We started by breaking up a bunch of old concrete bags that had partially hardened with sledge hammers. After we pulverized the mix, we spread it out to make a base between three and five inches thick. We hosed this down and let it dry and harden up for a few days. Each of our fossil stones consist of two 80 lb. sacks of concrete, mixed stiff so there is no slump. We formed the stones with this mix and then laid ferns, leaves, cones, bark, flowers and whatever else we thought would make suitable fossils onto the freshly formed stone. We troweled these items down until the concrete formed a thin film over the top of them. Six to Eight hours we pulled the leaves and ferns out and waited until the next day to hose and clean the surface. Daniel used smooth, colorful stones that we picked up at the beach to make the stream bed. He is very particular about the placement, so this is his exclusive job. After the fossils are cured we will brush on a thinned down water base stain and then a coat of water based sealer. The final coat will consist of a glaze with green coloring and maybe we will add some black accents to highlight the fossils. We will publish more pictures when the job is complete. So far it is a really fun and cool project.

Never Ending Projects

I seem to never stop remodeling. There are always projects under way, beginning and seldom completed.