Why Is There an Airplane Taking Off in the Hallway?

One Ring to rule them all.

One Ring to find them.

One Ring to bring them all….

and in the Darkness bind them.


In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.


Tis true. I am a Lord of the Rings nerd. I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic though. That would be going too far. I’m sure there are some family members who would disagree. There is a fine line between nerd-dom and fanaticism. I don’t believe I’ve crossed that line yet. To me that would mean quitting my day job and throwing all my efforts into finishing the Hobbit house. To be honest, when I have a bad day at work, the thought definitely crosses my mind. I would even go so far as to say that I was a casual Lord of the Rings nerd…..Hmmm. That might be going a bit too far in the other direction though. (I’m starting to spiral downward so I’ll end it there.)

A fanatic to me would be someone whose read the books multiple times and I haven’t. Well, I’ve read the “Silmarillion” twice. But that’s more like a history book than a story. You need to have a lot of imagination to enjoy that book. (And I haven’t met anyone whose even gotten through “The Silmarillion” much less enjoyed it.)  Although there are some good stories in there, my favorite being the story of Beren and Luthien.

Jim…..Jim nobody cares about your reading list okay. Move on for God’s sake already.

I’m really just trying to sort of expand peoples horizons here. That’s all.

The horizon dims…..

So the computer. Our computer is driving the Editor and myself crazy. We’ve been having computer problems for quite some time now. You know the whole, “Why is the computer so slow?” ordeal. It’s not just us, is it??? Every time we bring this up at the dinner table “Terence the Wise” goes into a rant about how old our computer is and how we have to get a new one. (Terence is now called Terence the Wise Ass.) It’s always so easy spending other people’s money isn’t it? The real concern was our computer was making these really loud noises. Our computer is in the hallway right off our bedroom. So we’re laying in bed one night and we here this noise and I turn and say to the Editor, “Why is there an airplane taking off in the hallway?” I mean this computer is going on and on like it’s about to explode…..and all our stuff is in there somehow. So it’s a concern.

We lived with this airplane noise outside of our bedroom for about 5 years. Now I have tinnitus. (That constant ringing in the ears thing.) I’ll have to write a nasty letter to Dell. So we finally splurged and had this computer guy come to the house to take a look at it.

These computer people are all the same though. They all think that you know what they are talking about when they’re explaining something to you. It’s really so annoying. Buddy. WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT COMPUTERS!!!!!!! What is so hard to understand about that? If we knew anything about computers we wouldn’t have called you. I mean I just figured out how to e-mail somebody just a few weeks ago. It’s pathetic.

So we have two problems with our computer. It’s slow, and it’s causing us to lose our hearing. Thank    God I wasn’t home when he was going over all this stuff. I think I would have had to crack him one. The Editor is much more diplomatic than me…..and I can be kind of rude when I’m impatient.

So he, “Fixes the computer.”

It’s quiet as a mouse but it’s still slow. Actually slower.

Did you ever want to rip your computer from the desktop and throw it through a window? That’s how slow it was. Trust me. I got home after a long day at work one night and that’s what I wanted to do. Throw the whole thing onto the lawn.

Then a few days later everything was working fine. Amazing. It’s like these computers are playing with your mind.

I could really keep going on the computer thing but it’s too annoying.

Oh yeah. The construction blog. Sorry about that. Welcome once again and I’m glad you’re still with me after that long intro.

So the grass is really starting to come in on top of the house. I didn’t take a picture yet because I think in another week it will really look green. Right now you can tell there’s grass on the roof but it isn’t long enough to cover up the jute erosion mat that’s on top. I give it one more week in the sun and it will really start to look like a green roof.

So this week’s task was to somehow figure out how to frame the bedroom windows.

The key feature of this is getting the curvature of the window right so that when we put it in it fits. So last week while Terence and his friends were at the house we moved one of the windows away from the wall it was leaning up against and I traced the curvature of the top of the window on a piece of plywood. Remember the window is wider than 8 feet so I had to splice two pieces of ply together. Let me show you it.

Window curvature on plywood.
Window curvature on plywood.

As you can see I screwed the splice plate to the two sheets of plywood. This way if I had to move the splice plate later on I could do it easily. Which I did have to do in order to cut that radius.

So the task was really creating a template of the actual window that I could use to mark out the window on the exterior sheathing. Hmmm. One step at a time here people. You might not get what I’m getting at. The bottom line is these windows weigh about 800 to 900 pounds and Godzilla isn’t around to help me pick them up and temporarily install them so I can scribe the outline on the sheathing. Hence the template.

Full scale template of the bedroom windows.
Full scale template of the bedroom windows.

This took me about an hour to make I would say.  I used the 3-4-5 triangle method to square it up and screwed everything together so I could readjust it in case I made a mistake. It worked great. I was able to stand it up and get it in the window opening and then clamp it into position once I had it centered where I wanted it.

Window template installed for scribing.
Window template installed for scribing.

This picture is a little confusing. What it’s showing you is the exterior sheathing temporarily installed with the window template clamped to it. So now all I have to do is scribe the outline of the window template onto the plywood, take the exterior plywood down, cut it, and then reinstall the plywood. 1-2-3 done.

Exterior plywood cut and nailed in place.
Exterior plywood cut and nailed in place.

So the key feature here is the gap between the window template and the sheathing. I need 3/4 of an inch at the top and 1 inch on the sides and bottom. It came out pretty sweet.

So the other issue on the agenda was how do we frame the window opening on the inside of the plywood sheathing? Remember this is a completely different setup than the front windows. Let me show you what I did.

Framing the inside.
Framing the inside.

So as you can see here there really is no room for a header beam or for swinging a hammer. So I decided to cut a series of small studs and hang them from the exterior plywood and the interior top plate. I just cut the stud to the right width and then held it in place with the clamp as shown. Then all I did was screw it in place from the outside with 2 inch course thread drywall screws.

Stud screwed in place.
Stud screwed in place.

It was actually harder than it looks. That HDO plywood is a pain in the you know what to screw through. I should have drilled pilot holes but I was too lazy to set it up.

Once that was done I used my friendly neighborhood banding wire to secure the other side of the stud to the top plate. Check it out.

Secure the stud on the inside with banding wire.
Secure the stud on the inside with banding wire.

This worked really well. You could do chin ups off of these things. You just need a really small chin.

First piece done.
First piece done.

Well not entirely done but close. Eventually I’ll nail 1/2 plywood to those studs to form the curvature for the window. That 1/2 inch plus a 1/4 inch gap is the 3/4’s I told you I need at the top. Once the plywood is installed I’ll install blocking between those studs for sheetrock and trim.

Boy. Look at that soffit detail outside of the window. Is that cool or what?

Off topic: I’m going to have to take a picture of the job I’m working on in Manhattan for you. We’re really getting up there now and there’s a really gorgeous view of Central Park. Donald Trump actually mentioned the job at his victory speech on Tuesday night. It was kind of weird. 220 Central Park South.

Maybe I am actually a Lord of the Rings Geek. Not a nerd. I’m going to have to find out.

Enjoy your week and thanks for stopping by!

Hobbit Hollow Jim


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