The Big Roof ~ Part 5 ~ And Thank You Zach!

First, I want to shout out a big thank you to friend Zach. Zach reads my blog and saw that this site was having difficulty staying live. Zach, being the very good Geek that he is, volunteered to move my blog to another host and server where I might have better results. In the process of starting the move, he did a chat with the current host, DreamHost. During the chat, it was discovered that PageSpeed Optimization, whatever that is, was enabled, and that doesn’t work well with WordPress. They unchecked the box and this site has been up and stable for days now. So thank you Zach for speaking fluent Geek and helping me with this!

Now on to the big roof: In Part 4, we were left with something that looked like this:


It was time to weld that upper left corner of the roof (previous photo) that I have been putting off because of the swarm of bees in the trees. The bees were fewer, but still a threat, so I set up a tarp on a plank. I wormed my way under the tarp and made the weld. The bees didn’t even know I was there:


I thought I was in a B pirate movie; Arrrrrrrrrr, crawl the plank, matey!

Working at the very top of the ladders, I welded the rafters into place. Then Armando and I placed five more roofing panels. I used the sawzall to cut the panel on the angle:


Armando screwed the edge of the panel to the beam.

At this point the roof looks like this:


The next part of this Big Roof task is to frame the roof over the roof deck on container #1. This involves raising this long beam above the outside edge of container #1:


I decided to sit the beam on four 2″x2″ columns, and these 2x2s will be integrated into the railing that will go around the deck. You can see the columns welded into place in the next photo. You can also see that I have moved the beam closer to where it will go, set up a ladder at the right end of the container, and am assembling a scaffolding at the left end of the container:


Now we have arrived at an interesting (difficult, dangerous, and dumb-if-I-do-it-wrong) point. I have to balance the heavy beam on top of the 2×2 columns and weld it into place. Hmmmm. That’s not going to happen with just Armando and me. With metal against metal, the beam could too easily end up on the ground and I hate it when that happens. So what I decided to do was to cut four square 2″x2″ (plus a whisker) holes in the bottom of the beam; the beam will then just slip over the columns and give me all the time in the world to weld the beam to the columns.

I moved the beam a bit closer to its final resting point and called Armando into play. In the next photo I explain the process to him: we’ll lift the beam onto the top of the scaffold and the ladder and then onto the top of the columns. He, on the scaffolding, will slip the first column into the first hole, and I will keep my end high enough for him to then move and place the second and third columns into their sockets. Then I will drop the beam over the remaining column. Here we go:


Discussing the action plan…


Lifting the beam into the air…


Now my end…


Just a little more… 


Today, Armando…


One down…


And another…

And here we admire our handwork:


The beam sits about twelve-feet off the top of the container.

With the beam in place, we can now extend the long, angled beams. Here is the first one:


If you take a closer look you will see that I cut away the top and bottom of the beam so that it would slip into the end of the already-in-place beam and reduce to zero the time Armando would have had to hold it in place while I welded it:


Tab A into socket B, like this:


Here it is all placed in its socket and ready for me to weld it tight:


Now you can see that the roof continues to sweep up into the air. This beam is now 52-feet long!

Rinse and repeat three more times:


Next it is just a matter of welding the rafters into place just as I did on the rest of the roof. Here I have a good start:


I’m beginning to see the end of this Big Roof project. Now I need to weld in the rest of the rafters and then frame the far end of this part of the roof. When it is all framed, I will trim the ends of the beams that are sticking out on the left (above photo) and weld on a 2×6 facia. Armando and I are chomping at the bit to get the last of the roof panels in place. You know what that means? No rest for the weary; time to tackle the Big Floor!

In the mean time, Armando has been building a kitchen onto his house and he needed a door. Manufactured doors can be bought for around a hundred dollars, but that is out of his price range. So he bought three pine boards for fifteen dollars. I helped him cut them to size and assemble the door. Here is the outside of the door:


To take the warping power out of the wood, I made a cut (about one-third of the thickness of the board) down the middle of each of the three boards.

We assembled the three boards with bevel-edged cleats attached with drywall screws. The screws stuck through the other side a little bit so I had him grind them down with the angle grinder:


On this side of each board I made two cuts about a third of the way through the thickness of the board to further control any warpage. Armando was mighty happy and proud to take the door home for his wife’s kitchen. “Better than a store-bought door!” he proclaimed (even if the screw pattern isn’t quite perfect…).

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by and THANKS AGAIN ZACH!

16 thoughts on “The Big Roof ~ Part 5 ~ And Thank You Zach!

  1. When the big roof is finished and the space is closed in, will you be doing something to reduce the noise from the rain on the roof?

    • Hi Kyle, Yes. The noise will be deafening if we don’t do something. My current thinking is to spray an inch of two-part urethane foam on the underside of the roof panels. It will be a lot of work getting up in the air, but not nearly as much work as would be if I put Styrofoam panels between the rafters. Maybe I’ll make some stilts! And then I’ll put another zinc panel on the underside just as I did in the other part of the house. That will be a big project!

  2. Big project , Great pictures , Fred you once again amaze me with what you do . Armando`s door looks great , his wife should be very happy and a thank you to Zach from myself as well ( I need my weekly fix 🙂 )

    • Hi Mike,

      Big project yes. I think I may be in some state of shock when the roof is finally done; the long project has become the norm. The other projects after the roof should move along a lot faster and I’ll feel like I am sailing through the project!

      Armando has to buy things at market price even though manual labor pays poorly. We treat him well, but even so, a store-bought door would have cost him a week’s pay. I’m glad we can help him with various things here and there.

      Zach–you have a fan club!

    • Completely agree with you Mike; I’m hooked! “Mucho Gracias” to Fred, Armando and the supporting staff for making it happen and Zach for allowing us to stay in the loop.

  3. Thanks for the photo compliment. I stood in the back of our pick up to take these photos of the big beam install. Let me tell you, it’s tough to take photos while you’re trying not to bite your fingernails watching this tough work unfold!

  4. i fall in love with your project, am 28 years old, am panamenian and you inspire me a lot … is not just about build a house. i want this in my live! A M A Z I N G !

    We had almost given up on being able to follow the progress from Fort Worth. Nena is from Boquete and we are major DIYers in our own house but this project has kept us on the edge of our seats.
    Great to see the roof going up, and relieved to read that Ramiro is doing OK.

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for hanging in there while I got the blog thing straightened out. Stay tuned for more, the Big Roof is nearly done. I fear that it is getting boring for my readers… I’m weary myself from working on it! But I think that it looks swell and I couldn’t be happier with how it is turning out. Thanks for your comment. Fred

    • Hi Russell,

      I’m happy that you like my project, and I would probably enjoy participating in the Alternative Housing community but… I know nothing about G+ at this point because I am just too darn busy with this house project! Maybe when I can get my head above water I can take some time and learn what’s what with G+. Thanks for the invite. Fred

  6. Hello Fred,
    Just looking at all the potential solar Real Estate you have there. Which direction do they face and what are the angles of inclination?
    A tip for next time. When I have screws that protrude through the other side, I simply remove them and nip off the offending bit of screw and replace. Often the hole closes right up and no one is any the wiser.

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