A Spandrel Takes Shape Part 2….That’s Way too Much Mustard. What are you doing?

This roller coaster weather ride is really starting to get on my nerves people. One day 65 degrees the next day 32. Can Mother Nature make up her mind already!

Well we had a good day Saturday weather wise so I’m thankful for that. It rained a tad but nothing to write home about. There are a lot of different items that need completing when building a Hobbit house and I’m not going to be able to write about all of them here. Suffice it to say that I’ll try to find the right balance between what’s interesting and what’s not.

One of those items was completing the protection issues around the deck of the house. Safety first my friends of Middle Earth. Falls are always an issue with house building and this house is no exception. Since we are going to be doing a lot of additional work on the roof we want a safe environment. Keep your eyes open in some of the pictures and you’ll see what I did. It probably took an hour and a half  or so to do it but  it’s something that really needed to get done. Prevention is the key. Prevention to keep things safe.

Oh yeah,  speaking of prevention. I’m going to go out on a limb again but I am 50 years old and it’s time. As Saruman the White said “You know of what I speak.” Free folk of Middle earth over the age of 50 are sure to guess. Those in their mid forties are wondering. It’s not on anyone else’s radar though. It’s the dreaded colonoscopy. Yes my friends I gots mine the other day. Whew. Glad thats over and I’m polyp free! So I got that going for me. (Feather in my cap) Anyway I just thought I would mention that colon cancer is the second leading cause of  cancer deaths in adults. To not have this done is insane. The procedure itself is painless. I actually worked for two hours at the Hobbit house after the procedure. After a nice nap I might add. Anyway the prep the day before I guess some might consider tough. But to know that you’re in good shape is really priceless. If you’re over 50 and haven’t had it done do yourself and your family a favor and go see your doctor about having one.

So anyway, we’re working away Saturday. It was  myself, Jude, and Terence and it’s like 12 oclock and I ask these guys if they want to get lunch. “Naaaa… I had a late breakfast I’m good for a while.” They says. You can kinda see where this is going can’t you? The short version. We were running out of screws so I had to go to the hardware store anyway so I just ordered the sandwiches before I left so I could pick them up on the way back. Two “Dutchers” (its like a grilled chicken sandwich with cheese and barbeque sauce or something) and a ham and cheese on a roll with extra mustard for me. Okay, so I like a little extra spicy brown, what can I tell ya. I get back and I’m eating the first half of my sandwich and I’m like:  “Man they totally overloaded this thing with the spicy brown.” I mean my eyes were tearing up. I’m not kidding. Meanwhile, I think Jude ate his whole Dutcher in about 2 and a half bites and the next thing I know he’s going for the other half of my sandwich which is still wrapped up!!!! I’m like ” What are you doing?” He says, “I just wanted to see the mustard.” Yeah right. He thought I didn’t want the rest of my sandwich. Geez….get your stinkin’ mitts off my sandwich….and he had just told me 20 minutes ago that he wasn’t even hungry. Kids. C’mon you don’t mess with another man’s sandwich!

I don’t know how relevant that was as far as building a Hobbit house is concerned but we’ll end it there.

So what did we do this weekend?

I got there a little late and worked on the roof protection I previously mentioned and that was about the time the boys arrived. What I had really wanted to get done this weekend was get the spandrels up and in place. So what does this mean? A couple of things. I had previously cut out all of the spandrels labeled and marked them for diamond layout. The only problem was we had to finish cutting and routing all of the diamonds. So that was the boys mission once they got there. Tedious work. Position square block on mounting block,carefully screw into place, route a 45 degree angle around entire block, unscrew block. Repeat 64 times. Oh yeah, get frustrated at the screw gun and almost smash it against the wall. (They told me that later.) So I wasn’t going to be able to get started until they finished so I worked on my retaining wall curb. The screw gun survived to live another day.

Now we all know that Hobbits live in a hole in the ground so that goes without saying. But you can’t really put dirt on top of a house and expect it to stay there forever. The last thing you want to have happen is a heavy rain and your soil roof wash away in the storm. Hence the retaining wall curb. This curb is going to sit on the top of the house in the front and back if you will and will enclose the roof insulation and the soil above it. I thought a lot about different ways of doing this to make it look as Hobbit like as possible and this is a very tricky detail. Not only does it have to look good but it also has to perform a critical function for the house. I’m hoping it comes out nice. I’m not sure if it’s going to change the look of the finished project too much. We’ll see. Here’s a picture of the retaining wall curb taken from the roof. Check it out.

Retaining wall curb.
Retaining wall curb.

I don’t know if this picture is helping with what this is going to look like.  Anyway this is one half of one side, so I had to take this apart and cut three more side like it. One exactly the same and two that would be mirror images of this. It’s important that you label everything as you go so you can sort it all out later when you actually start to put it together. I came up with a few good ideas while I was working on this as far as tying these walls together. Hopefully we’ll get into that next weekend.

After the boys finished cutting all the diamonds out I had them work together and install them on each spandrel. It’s pretty simple. I had done all the layout when I cut the sides out and marked where they go. So it was just a matter of centering each diamond and screwing it onto the plywood. We want it screwed on so that when we strip the forms off  after we pour the diamonds don’t get stuck in the concrete. Anyway once they finished that I had them pass up the sides and I installed them. Here are a few pictures.

North spandrel side.
North spandrel side.

Did you notice the protection?

So I know I had checked the spandrel template on the roof ages ago when I first cut them out. But, nothing is perfect and the curvature looks perfect but it really isn’t.  I had to do just a little bit of scribing to get it good. Get it…Got it…Good. If you looked at it now up close you might be able to see what, and where I did what. But after I put the trim on no one will be the wiser. Here’s another picture.

Spandrel with 1x4 header nailed on.
Spandrel with 1×4 header nailed on.

I wasn’t able to finish off everything this weekend but I did get most of it done. I just have to finish nailing that 1×4 header on and brace up the side plumb. I’m not sure I’m going to put the trim on yet. There are a few other details I have to install that might be easier to do without the trim on. You’ll see.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your week! Call your doctor if your over 50. It’s the most preventable form of cancer if it’s caught in it’s early stages! Bilbo had his done…..he says it in the Red book.

Take it easy!


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