Tuesday, October 27, 2020

0 Shred Shed - DIY Music Studio, Vol. 2 - Walls

On nearly every project I take on, there's at least one thing I've never done before, and depending on the consequences of doing it wrong, I'll do various amounts of research and fretting and weighing different options. In this case, that thing was taking out walls. Which, if done improperly, would have been disasterous.

Here I stood. Over and over again. Looking at the side. Looking at the rafters on the inside. Thinking. Fretting. Until I finally just decided I had to start somewhere.

Originally, I wanted to create a barn beam opening, where there were two 7' barn beam posts supporting a 14' barn beam header. Now, I don't know if you've ever lifted a barn beam, but there was simply no way to lift such a structure in place without heavy machinery or a bunch of people on ladders. The loft in the shed that I removed was created with (5) 2x12's, all 12' long. Although I wanted 14' openings, 12' was what I had, and they were lightweight and easy to install myself. So in the spirit of upcycling, I modified the plan. I took (4) 8' barn beams and used a circular saw to cut out a notch (basically make a bunch of cuts 1" or so apart and use a hammer to knock them out. Works wonders.) the size needed to put (2) 2x12's on each wall. I then stood the posts up into position.

I now had to support the trusses to prep for wall removal. I had some leftover long 2x4's laying around, and some not-so-long that I nailed together, and shoved them up against the joists. I tapped them with a sledge on the bottom just to make sure they were secure enough and wouldn't slip, then went across the wall, removing each 2x4 stud with a sawzall. With each stud removed, I would stand back and look at the wall, the ceiling, listening for creaking or any sign of collapse. It never happened, and the wall was removed without incident

I then quickly grabbed the 2x12's and lifted them into place, using 3" screws to connect the first one to the post, and the second one to the first one. I then carefully removed the supports and everything held fine! The last step would be to nail the trusses to the header, which I do later using a framing nailer.

The second wall was much easier and less stressful, having done it once and knowing what to expect.

This got me excited to finally put some barn walls up! I called some friends and got them to agree to lift these stupidly heavy panels into place.

At this point, the walls had been sitting on this trailer, under tarps, for nearly a year. I pulled out Matt's angle grinder and set to work grinding off any rogue nails (there were a lot of them) and then pulled each panel off to brush off and vacuum out all the random dirt, animal fur, beehives and whatever else had accumulated in the walls in the 100 years they stood.

I then measured the size each wall needed to be - (2) 10' walls joined at the corner with (2) 14' walls. The baseplates on all the walls had rotted to nothing as well, so I replaced them all with new 2x6's. Then I measured the location of each J-bolt sunk into the concrete blocks and drilled holes where we would drop them onto the bolts.

Couple of quick notes - I mislabeled the walls so originally we flip-flopped them and had to swap them back after re-drilling holes wider thinking I just messed up the measurement. Secondly, I ended up just cutting out a notch where the J-bolt holes were to more easily drop them onto the bolts. These walls were EXTREMELY heavy, so even small adjustments were very difficult. Even with 5 people on a wall, those 14' walls were a struggle. BUT, we got them all in, and I was ecstatic.

As the barn stood originally, there was a 6-10" lift from the concrete foundation, making these walls 6' at the rafters. Being that they're on the ground level here, they were just under 6', so my next calculation was to figure out how much I needed to add to get the peak to match the peak of the shed roof.

I measured the distance from the floor to the peak, and then reassembled one of the truss pieces to determine the height, and then I was able to determine the actual height the wall needed to be, which was about 7.5 feet. FINGERS CROSSED.

I used the extra wall sections to both fill in studs on the side where there was windows before and to create the extension. I figured I'd just use some framing nails and a hammer to build the extension. BOY was I wrong. Every nail I put in would go about 1/4" in and start to bend. 100 yr old hardwoods are essentially rocks.

I went out and purchased this Senco FramePro, along with some 3" framing nails and some 2" exterior galvanized nails (knowing I'd need them to reattach siding pieces). Till this point I'd only used a brad nailer on new lumber, so I was used to about 85-90 psi. The first time I tried that with this wood, the nailer about took my arm off jumping from the board. I ended up at about 130 psi, which is just insane to me. But, it made quick work of building the extension. 

I'll finish with a little rant - with these sorts of projects, always keep any scrap you can on hand, and constantly check for level. I had to do a lot of patching and revising and recutting to make things square and level, and even then, it'll never be quite perfect, not like new built. BUT, we'll chalk that up to "character"!

Next time - trusses & an actual ROOF!


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