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Keeping Up the Good Work

The Essential Craftsman’s spec house project rolls on with   Allowable Tolerances In Framing.

Call me crazy but this Youtube channel is where I go when the wild world of political dementia is too much for me. I find it soothing to the soul otherwise adrift in the roiled waters of today’s events. Recomendo.

Listening to Scott Wadsworth’s exposition here it strikes me that the rough transcript of Scott’s remarks would be equal to the rough first draft of a chapter titled: “Allowable Tolerances” in the forthcoming EC book ZEN AND THE ART OF CARPENTRY.

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  • Casey Klahn May 6, 2020, 10:21 PM

    It happens that I am full-on at carpentry right now. Remodeling the Model T Ford garage that became a greenhouse and now wants to be an oil painting studio. It took the CV virus to allow me the breathing space to get back on it. Allowable tolerance – I love that phrase. Don’t get me started on code (like the 1898 parlor stove and it’s variance from code [ahem]).

    Although my back is toast, I still got it together enough to move 2 granite steps that the wife had as benches in her garden from there to the job site today. Leverage.

    One weird feature now is that a guy cannot just “go to the hardware store”. If I need lumber, I have to root around like a hog in one of the other outbuildings, like the Quonset or the barn. Scrapping for wood is kind of a good feeling; makes you feel thrifty.

    When the Model T garage is finished, it’ll be a man cave, excuse me, art studio. Well, “finish” is another word I don’t do very well.

  • LS May 7, 2020, 4:48 AM

    You aren’t crazy. I found EC three years ago when I was trying to figure out how to frame a chicken coop from plans existing only in my head. I’ve been watching ever since. There is something about how and what he says that lifts my day no matter what the topic.

  • ghostsniper May 7, 2020, 4:58 AM

    Having been through the home building process a few times I can honestly say, “You can’t buy good construction, but you can supervise it.”

    In all things today, if you don’t know what you are buying (in great detail) then you are probably getting the shaft. Skill, and Quaility Control are in the shitter and nobody seems to care.

    When I hired a carpentry company to do the rough framing on our Florida house I was appalled from one end to the other. I fired all of them and hired my brother, and together he and I bought what was needed and tore much of the completed work down and built anew from scratch. I shit you not, I saw 1/2″ air gaps between the ends of major structural elements (joints between girders and roof trusses – held together with a dozen 16d nails fired from all angles from nail guns) and a host of other mishaps by all the trades that worked on the house.

    The rear porch of the house spanned the entire length of the home and was supported on 4 large concrete columns that went almost to the edge of the pool. While spraying the stuccoed columns with primer the painter noticed it was 5pm and closed down but took the time to spray, “Fuck you!” on one of the columns. After supper that day my wife and I drove to the site so she could see the progress and she was livid. SHE called the painter the next morning and fired his ass. And on and on.

    I’m in the business, and I know good people. But the amount of unskilled and uncaring people in the trades is overwhelming. I worked in concrete construction in the late 60’s and early 70’s and this problem did not exist. There has always been shabby work but for the most part cared about the quality of their work as it reflected on them as a human being. Today nobody gives a shit about anything.

  • Andy Havens May 7, 2020, 9:13 AM

    My brother builds houses, so he’s my go-to for guidance on any kind of project. I suffer from extreme expertise paralysis, not knowing which materials and hardware are best for which application, and therefore being hesitant to do much of anything. I know when I need wood, but which kind of wood, what thickness, which fasteners, etc. I’m generally just a step or two above clueless.

    When I ask my brother he usually gives me two options: The way it should be done (the way he does it), and the way to do it that’ll be good enough (the way I’ll usually do it, being only one man with relatively limited tools).

    I never thought of it as allowable tolerances, but there it is.

  • James ONeil May 7, 2020, 9:52 AM

    Allowable tolerances, building my house 50 years ago after our flood I wanted it absolutely square, meaning +/- 3 inches twix the corner diagonal measurements on the 40X40 foot structure, rather important when building to last.

    Last fall my son & I threw up an A frame over my 26 foot sailboat, 20 foot 2X4s very roughly 4 feet apart with rough cut 1 by stringers holding it together and tarps atop it. Extremely loose tolerances as you can see here: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/319805/49328104 This was a temporary structure just to keep the winter snow off (http://www.ipernity.com/doc/319805/49855244 ) and allow air circulation, I’ve some deck cracks/leaks I wanted perfectly dry to repair this summer. It did the job and we took it down this spring.

    As EC noted, a number of things define necessary tolerances and you approach a project designed to last sixty or a hundred years quite differently than one to last a winter season. Come to think of it, we didn’t take any measurements at all throwing this up, didn’t even have a tape measure in my tool belt (For me, that’s extremely unusual.).

    We’d put the A frame together with screws and all the wood is stored and stacked, ready to use on another project.

  • ghostsniper May 7, 2020, 11:00 AM

    James sed: “…all the wood is stored and stacked, ready to use on another project.”
    If you’re serious about that you need to set them sticks on something level, off the ground, then wrap them in several places with cinched down ratchet straps, otherwise they will be twisted toboggans when you need em. They don’t make SPF like they used to. Spruce/Pine/Fir