A few weeks back when Jude and I were watching the Hobbit, the Traveling Company found the entrance to the mountain trolls hide away. It seemed kind of small. I was crossing my little bridge over at the house the other day and I started to think that it would be interesting if a troll lived under the bridge. It’s kind of low though. Hmmmm. As my friend at work would say: “You’ve got problems.”
No. I own a Hobbit House.
The mind of a Lord of the Rings nerd…..It’s probably not fully developed. Maybe it was all that Captain Crunch cereal I ate as a kid? Maybe it was the Crunch Berries? I probably have to donate my brain to science to find out though. (The editor thinks a good MRI might shed some light.) Welcome….and let’s try to stay a little focused today people. This is a construction blog remember!
Anyway thanks for stopping by Free Folk of Middle Earth and the rest of you who just don’t get it. No offense.
So it’s happening people. I don’t know if it’s happening to you but it’s definitely happening to me…..badly I might add! I’m getting the “I’ve got to strip these forms off right now and look at the ceiling bug.” But the winds do not seem to be blowing my way at the moment…..or is there something else at work here???? Personally I was getting the feeling that there was some sort of conspiracy going on. Paranoia? Perhaps? But Friday didn’t seem like any mere coincidence.
Let’s backup. Okay, so I have the bug like I mentioned and Friday’s a gorgeous day. I’m thinking I’ll get out of work, get up to the house and get a jump on the weekend. This will be great. The editor has to go to the ice cream social at the school where she works, (The editor’s day job is Pre-school teacher…..a cute one I might add.) and Terence has his Friday night football dinner. That leaves me with a couple of hours to get a few things prepped for Saturday.
I’m working at 31st street on the west side right now. Over on 6th avenue. I know most of you probably haven’t a clue what this is like but just picture yourself walking a boardwalk during the high season at the Jersey shore or whatever. It’s like a zoo. People and traffic everywhere. It really is like a zoo. That’s really the best way to put it. I work at the zoo….and by three thirty on Friday I wanted to get the heck out of the zoo like you couldn’t believe. Oh, and by the way we’re doing one of the hardest concrete jobs in the city right now. A lot of stress. Things didn’t go very well at work Friday. I’ll save that for a different blog.
So…..and I’m gonna try to make this quick. I’m trying. Walk to the parking lot, get into my car, get to the street and bam. Traffic like you wouldn’t believe. I mean, when I got to the car park 31st street didn’t look too bad. By the time I drove down the ramp to street level it was a parking lot. Traffic just stopped and not moving anywhere. It took me 15 minutes to get from the entrance of the lot to the corner of 8th avenue. That’s like 200 feet or so….for the record. I’m thinking: why? Why me? Why today? It never fails. It’s like everyone who lives or works in New York City realizes that they’ve got to get the heck out town all of a sudden. It was insane.
But instead of putting my “Jim ya gotta keep calm” hat on, I put on my “Jim ya gotta figure a way to get outta here” hat on. It’s almost always the wrong hat. I make the right on Eighth Ave. Take a left on 34th street. I just miss hitting a guy on a bicycle. The only reason I didn’t hit him was he’s shouting “Watch out! WATCH OUT!” Good thing I had my window open. He was going too fast anyway. (These New York city cyclists are nuts.)
I’m starting to turn into a demon…..a demon of the ancient world.
34street isn’t so bad and I head for the West Side highway. It’s backed up to 57th street. I can’t believe it. But I realize it’s backed up too late. I couldn’t make the right to go for 11th avenue. Darn. But hope remains….while company is true. There’s always the 125th street bypass. Hardly anyone ever uses it. You know? Get off at 125th head to 133rd, make the left and get back on the West side highway. It cuts off about 1.25 miles of bumper to bumper. So I get to 133rd and the traffic is crazy. I’m in the right lane. Making the left onto 133. I couldn’t really get over to the left lane because of the traffic. (I didn’t really try too hard.) So I make the left turn from the right hand lane when I get to the light. There’s a cop there waving at me to pull over. I can’t believe it. I get a ticket for making an illegal left hand turn. Why? Why me? As I’m waiting I count 20 cars, 1 bus, and two school buses make the same turn as I did. Nobody else gets pulled over. I tell this to the cop. He says: “That’s why I’m here!” Thanks a lot buddy. Have a nice day.
Traffic does get a bit better. I finally get out of the city. I’ve been driving for a while and start thinking I need a coffee. I had to stop! It was just a little pick me up.
I finally arrive at the Hobbit house. So what I wanted to do was set up three scaffolds across the front of the house so I could work on stripping the ceiling plywood. You really can’t do this work from a ladder. Way too dangerous.
Anyway I get out of my truck after my two and a half hour drive from the zoo and start to take the scaffolds out of the truck bed. I lay everything out on the ground and go to put my first tower together and then I sense something. A certain something. A something that you realize has no other outcome. There is no way around this outcome….a light sweat breaks out on my forehead. The coffee is kicking in. I go into denial. I say to myself: I’ll be able to deal with this I just have to finish the scaffold. I curse that lousy coffee I had to have! I curse my stomach! Once my system goes into this procedure it cannot be reversed though. It is over! I’ve got to get out of here and fast or the results will be horrific. I call my mother in law as I’m pulling out of the driveway and hitting the gas. (I’m sweating profusely now.) Her house is not 3 minutes from the Hobbit House. Thank the Lord! By the time I got there I could barely speak. Man that was a close call! Whew, just made it. After I’m done I’m thinking can there be anything else to prevent me from finishing up? The dark? It was dark when I did finish up around 7:45. That was some afternoon! Oh yeah, here’s how I set it up.
Georgia came home for the weekend so that was great. She’s doing her student teaching up in Adams, Massachusetts. Seems to be going well. She’s loving her apartment. She got a cat. Name’s Eskimo. Mo-mo for short. Hmmm. I guess you can name your cat anything you like. Georgia’s doing well though.
Terence had a home game Saturday at 1:30 so I was only going to be able to work a half day anyway. So now you can understand all the pressure I had on me Friday afternoon. Anyway it was a good game and he played well. Outside linebacker. They lost 18-14. It started to rain shortly after the first quarter. It was still a great game to watch though. There were some big plays and a couple of chances for them to win at the end of the game. It was fun and I had a good time watching it.
So the rain was predicted and the temperature was like in the low to mid 60’s. What does the editor wear to the game? Flip flops. I mean you’ve got to be kidding me right????? What was she thinking? We get home and she’s freezing!!!! Standing outside in bare feet on a rainy day in 60 degree weather has nothing to do with it. Jeez.
It seems like I lost my focus. Sorry people.
Let’s get back into knocking this formwork down. As I was saying before this is dangerous work. That’s why the scaffolds a must. And two planks to stand on as well. Probably going to go with three moving forward though. Just a little extra space while you are moving around up there. It doesn’t hurt.
Once I got there Saturday morning around 8 AM I realized there were a couple of little odds and ends to do before I could begin. So I got right to it and then set up my planks. As you can see everything is connected. Even after all of the jacks are removed you still have to dismantle the whole thing piece by piece. It’s pretty labor intensive and there is stuff crashing down all over the place. The first thing I did was remove the balance of the post shores supporting the first row of stringers. After that I used the four foot stripping bar to pry these stringers off the upper structure. These would crash to the ground and then I would use the claw of the bar to remove any nails in the stringers and then I would stack them.
I was initially thinking that I would do just a small section and get a sheet of plywood down. (Because I only had a few hours to work.) After I got started though I realized it would be better if I just worked square and kept it simple.
Just one other thing that I don’t want to forget to tell you. Especially all you engineers out there. So usually when we pour concrete in the city we strip the forms the next day and then “reshore” the slab. What this means is that the concrete has not reached full strength and needs to be temporarily supported until that time. Concrete takes 28 days to reach full strength. If a flat slab is not reshored after stripping it will deflect. (That’s a problem.) Our situation is a bit different though. We waited 14 days to remove the shores and we had shores supporting the floor for almost 21 days. On top of that this structure is an arch. Which means the concrete in the roof is in compression.(Remember our little discussion about concrete way back when?) The structure was also designed to be fully independent of the side earth loads that would help support the wall systems supporting the arch. So if you were thinking that when we backfill against the walls later on that would help the walls from moving outward when we load the roof you would be correct. But the engineer who designed this structure said that he did not consider the value of the earth on the sidewalls. Therefore the wall system does not need any help to support the soil and roof loads that will be applied when we cover it up.
Hmmmm.I lost you all didn’t I? The editor probably skipped to the next paragraph. In a nutshell what I’m trying to say is that we don’t need to reshore. For a number of other reasons as well. I’m going to stop now. What can I tell ya? I tried. So once the stringers are down I could get up on the scaffold and start taking down the radius plywood pieces. Learning curve here too. The first one I took down I pulled the nails out of the ply. The next one I just ripped the whole thing down in one shot. You have to be careful where you stand because the plywood really goes down pretty hard. If you lose your balance you’ll be going down with it. It’s a real workout though. You pretty much are working over head all day long so your arms get tired quick.
Then you know who shows up. Yeah, Bob stops by. In my head I’m thinking of all the days this guy has to show up. I’ve got a half day and now I’m going to have to lose an hour talking to this guy. I mean the guy is really excited. I mean he’s into it. He’s like I can’t believe you got it done it looks great yada, yada, yada. So I’m explaining to him what I’m doing and he’s like, “Why don’t you stay on the ground and I’ll strip. This way you don’t have to go up and down the scaffold to clean everything up.” I was like…well…okay.
Bob turns into half an animal. He’s like ripping stuff down nonstop. He almost knocked me out with a four by four at one point. It was crazy. I could barely keep up with him. Then he says something like, “This is better than playing “Find the Halfling”!!!!” I don’t know what that’s all about but didn’t care at that point and I wasn’t about to ask. Had to take a few pictures of him in action. Check it out.
I gave him a hard hat. I put his name on it so I don’t mix it up with the one I’m using. He was sweating like a Uruk-hai! Nothing personal Bob….it’s just business.
His hard hat fell off cause he was moving so fast, I think. We got a lot done in one hour. He’s not much of a carpenter but he’s got a lot of potential as a formwork stripper. (I might use him next weekend if he’s available.) Like I said in the title this might just work! Anyway I better throw some more pictures in before Terence gets bored. The sequence.
This is a partial of the dining room ceiling.
This is a great picture of the thermal barrier that leads to thermal bridge free construction. Very important. This will be part of the building envelope. As you can see that barrier goes right down the wall line as well.
Georgia stopped by later on. She couldn’t believe how big it looks. I think once we strip out everything and pour the slab this is going to look even bigger. Very, very exciting.
Well thanks for stopping by! We’re ready to hit it hard next week! I can’t wait Till then…enjoy your week!