Big Metal In The Air ~ I Begin The Big Roof ~ Part 1

With the big wall upright, I can now start the Big Roof. There is still some welding to be done on the big wall, but I will get to that when the welder is again on the roof. I started by welding together 2x4s to make columns for the front wall of the house and 2x6s to make the first roof beam. Here are the 2x4s: P1020033 And here is the first pair of 40-foot 2x6s welded together:


I was getting a little tired at the end of the day and I burned a couple of holes in the metal. This won’t affect anything except my ego.

I sent Armando home early last Friday. He had a massive swelling of his right jaw, probably an abscessed tooth. Today is Tuesday and he still isn’t back to work, so I am on my own. My first task today was to raise the 40-foot beam into the air and rest it on the appropriate walls. I did this with pulleys where I could and my shoulder where I couldn’t use the pulleys. I figure that the beam weighs about 140 pounds, so it was slow but sure (I just learned the equivalent Spanish, “lento pero seguro”). Here’s a progress shot with the left end of the beam on a ladder and the right end up where it belongs:


At this point I took a break and had four of our delicious bananas. They are ripening rapidly and I can’t eat them fast enough!

Here is the two pulley arrangement that I used to lift the beam to the top of the big wall. It sure made life easier: P1020039 Here is the beam lifted and placed: P1020047 Metal on metal slides very easily, so I used clamps to hold the ends in place. And because the beams are on an angle relative to the 2×2 that they are sitting on, I had to use metal shims to straighten the beam. In the next photo you can see the beam before I placed the shims under the right edge of the beam: P1020049 I spent the rest of the day cutting to length and raising two of the columns that will form the framing for the front door and the windows on the front wall of the house. In the next photo you can see that the column on the left is all welded in place. The column on the right is welded at the bottom; a rope is holding the top of the column:


Yes, I know there is a splotch in a lot of my photos. I’ve tried to clean the lens, but it appears that the dust spot is on the inside of the lens. Welcome to the world of throw away electronics.

I made sure to make the column on the left plumb and square with the framing that it is sitting on. Then, before I welded the top of the right hand column, I cut a spacer from a piece of tubing. I moved the spacer up on the wall as high as I could reach and tacked it into place, thereby perfectly setting the width between the columns. Then I welded the top of the second column to the beam above. By the way, I felt really nervous welding at this height; my balance is distorted inside the welding helmet, so I got into my safety harness and tied myself to the beam. I just wasn’t up for a fall from eighteen feet:


You can see the spacer tubing about half way up the wall.

Along the way I kept checking for plumb and square. These openings have to be perfect because there is no trimming the big glass panels when they arrive on the job:


This collapsible 45- 90-degree square is one of my favorite tools.

On Wednesday, I walked to the house with Jabo. We played tug-a-rope all the way there, but when I went to open the front gate I realized that I was really tired. I decided to take some time off. Back at the rental house, I got a 45-minute nap before Armando arrived for work. He still has the bad tooth; the dentist is treating him with antibiotics to reduce the infection before he pulls the tooth. I gave the keys to Armando and instructed him to clean the drainage ditch on the other side of our back fence. I think that he likes it when I give him autonomy; he always tells me not to worry about him for the day and to go back to sleep. I went back to the hammock. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I was back to erecting columns and welding them in place. I had to curtail operations and cover the tools with a tarp a few times as thunderstorms rolled through in the afternoons. Here are progress photos: This is the alignment that I like to see:


Looking dead on at the wall and only one post can be seen.

But move a bit to the side and you can see that all the posts are in perfect alignment. This took a lot of time and a lot of fiddling to get it right: P1020063 Here is the end of the day on Friday:


Even though the columns are standing, I still have a bunch of welding to do to complete all the joints. Plus, I have to weld a line of double 2x4s at the same elevation as the header over the door.

And here is the front wall/first roof beam in place at the end of Saturday:


Here is the wall viewed from the living room. Yes, I have been welding between raindrops:


You can see where the front door will go. All the other panels will get glass. The door and the lower panels are all eight-feet tall.

In other news, the rainy season is coming and I have been wanting to seal the concrete roof on container #4. No appreciable amount of rain has hit the roof for nearly four months, so now is a perfect time to apply waterproofing. Looking at all the products at Cochez, I decided to use an elastomeric coating called Siliconizer. Over the course of two days, I applied the primer/sealer and two coats of Siliconizer. The primer is blue; in the next photo I am applying the first top coat:


I had a long pole attached to the roller, but the cheap imported crap of a pole broke off at the cheap plastic crappy threads. What is it about Marginally Engineered Products these days? A paint roller used to last years, but now they are cheap imported crap and you are lucky to get one use out of them. Rant rant rant.

I cleaned the joint where the metal 2×3 meets the roof. If you look at the photo above you can see where some concrete had spilled during the pour. Here it is cleaned and ready for sealing: P1020031 I ran a bead of urethane caulk in the seam. When the caulk is fully cured, I’ll continue the Siliconizer over the edge of the roof:


I used the pneumatic caulking gun; it sure made dispensing the thick urethane effortless. I used high quality Sikaflex urethane caulk, now being stocked at Cochez.

That’s all for now. Next week… the roof begins in earnest!