Back to the Begining….Hobbit House Roof Part 1a

We’re getting close now. Probably one more good weekend of work and we can really start getting into the roof framing.

There’s always something though. Isn’t there?  I had to stop working Saturday to go pick up a water softener for my house. I had this one from Sears and it died on me months and months ago. For those of you who are not learned in the ways of water softeners a quick explanation. My well delivers “hard” water and what happens is as the water goes through the boiler to get heated a scale comes out of the water and clogs up the hot water pipes.  To remedy this you have to install a water softener. Needless to say our hot water is now trickling out of our water lines and I really have to do something about it. Hobbit house or no Hobbit house. I’ve been dreading this day.

Like I said we’re getting close. Football season is now officially over and I had some of the hired help back to give me a hand.

The first order of business was to jack up all of the jacks I had installed previously to the correct elevation. Once this was completed it’s just a simple matter of installing the balance of the jacks to finish the jack installation. Jude and Kevin took care of this for me. They really blew through it. It’s so much quicker when you have a partner.Here are a few pictures.

Jude jacking up the jacks with the laseer level.
Jude jacking up the jacks with the laser level.

 It’s important to get this part of the installation level. It will make installing the curved roof a lot easier if everything is perfectly level. Well…within a couple of eighths anyway. Jude is holding the receiver, the laser level is on the tripod in the back of the picture.

Jude and Kevin installing the balance of the jacks.
Jude and Kevin installing the balance of the jacks.

The easy way: Top guy starts a nail in the stringer,bottom guy raises the jack as the top guy guides the jack through the nail hole in the jack. The top guy then bends the nail over with his  hammer. Bottom guy lowers the jack down to the ground and goes to get another jack. Top guy adds another nail to the jack into the stringer and puts the pin in the jack and snugs it up to the stringer. Then he moves his ladder to the next location. Repeat 70 more times. Or so. Like I said, they did this in about 3 hours.

All the jacks are now installed.
All the jacks are now installed.

So what was I doing all this time? …….Who’s asking? Just kidding. I didn’t like the way one of my roof templates came out so I redid it. There’s a lot of cutting to do before we really start installing the roof structure and I wanted to try and have the boys help me with this. I figured if I set up a simple way to align everything they should be able to do it without cutting their fingers off. So I kind of spent a lot of time setting this up for next weekend. It will also benefit myself as well because the way I have it  set up makes it a cinch to do the cutting. We are going to have to cut about thirty pieces of plywood out of the same template. We’ll get into this next weekend though so I won’t get into it here.

Terence had his last football pratice Saturday and after that I picked him up and he came over too. I set him up drilling the holes for what we call “snap ties” in the business. Snap ties are what we use to hold formwork together so we don’t have a blowout during the concrete pour. I didn’t think to get a picture of one but it’s function is similar to the flat ties we used when pouring the walls of the house.The tie is made of steel and goes into tension when the pressure of the concrete hits the forms. It’s not rocket science but it works.

So we’re going to use the snap ties on the wall form extensions that I had installed previously. I was going to go with just one row of ties but I decided to go with two. One just above the concrete wall and one just below the wall form header or 4×4 at the top of the extension. There is going to be just under three feet of concrete on top of the wall so there will be some pressure there. Two rows of ties will help me sleep better the night before the pour. Here’s Terence drilling the snap tie holes.

Terence drilling for the snap ties in the wall form extension.
Terence drilling for the snap ties in the wall form extension.

I would like to put the ties in next weekend if I have the help. It will be a little easier to do the ties and walers without the roof on although it’s not necessary.

I know I spoke about bracing the whole stringer system up before we started. I didn’t finish it but I got that started as well. I put about 4 braces on and it really makes a difference. Although everything looks fine without bracing it is really critical that the whole system is braced properly before going up on top of the stringers and starting the roof. If you grab a jack and shake it the who;e system will move. Once I put these four braces on you couldn’t move it in the direction that the brace was in. I have to put about 8 more braces on before we go up . Two in the north south direction and about six in the east west direction. I won’t be putting all the braces in now. I’m just going to put enough to stabilize the stringers for doing the roof. Once you put in all the bracing it kind of makes it hard to walk around under the deck. Here’s a picture of the bracing I used. It’s basically what we call a shoe block nailed into the concrete with a 2×4 nailed into it and then nailed to the stringer. Check it out.

Bracing the stringer system. 2x4 to a "shoe block".
Bracing the stringer system. 2×4 to a “shoe block”.

 Those stringers you see are in the North south direction. You cannot move the stringers in a direction parallel to this now. You can move them in the east west direction but we’ll remedy that next weekend.

That’s all we were able to get done this weekend. I’m hoping to get a lumber delivery Saturday of 2×4’s and HDO plywood for the deck. Then we can really start cooking! See you all next week!

Take it easy,



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