Second Floor Walls

Second floor walls get built on the first floor deck, which, in this case, is about nine feet above the ground. Three of us need to be able to lift the walls after they are framed. Nailing the exterior sheathing to the walls before standing them will make them super heavy. Nailing sheathing after they are standing will require working 12-18 feet off the ground. We need a way to sheath the walls laying flat on the deck and to be able to raise them with that extra weight. Wall jacks solve that problem.

How to use a wall jack
I wish I had a patent on these.
We had a bit of difficulty with the wall on the right of the photo. The wall is 18′ tall and very heavy. Called balloon framing, in the parlance. We used tow straps and come-alongs to raise it into place.
Framing boards, used as braces, which will be used later, maybe two or three times, hold the walls temporarily.

After a few more gyrations, we will be ready to set trusses, which is a whole other thing.

Beer Bicycles Music

David Bromberg

I lived in a motel in Springfield, Ill. I had a little portable record player and listened to David Bromberg’s Wanted Dead or Alive album and drank cheap beer. I had a ’69 Ford truck, for which I paid 600 dollars. During the day I would drive around and install cable TV. I had some metal braces, with curved blades at the bottom, which were strapped to my lower legs. I would use these to climb telephone poles in order to make the connections for the coax cable going to the houses. I was paid according to how many installs I made every day. I did this in Leavenworth, Kansas and Anaconda, Montana too. But that is a different blog post.

There was, and still may be, a bicycle shop in Springfield which had on display a Motobecane Champion Team. A beautiful orange, full Campy bike for the same money my truck cost. I would have bought that bike but I still owed my parents for my truck.

I was often paid cash by the customers. One time I used that cash to buy groceries or beer. Probably beer. When the day of reckoning came- when I was supposed to turn over the proceeds from my work tickets- I didn’t have the money. I told them I had spent it. My boss just said, “Don’t do that shit no more”. And I didn’t. My boss lived in the same motel. We watched the movie Casablanca one night in his room with another fellow. He referred to me as the Montana boy, and he wondered what I did with my money.

I had a Peugeot PA-10 bicycle that I rode down to Champaign-Urbana on my days off. There is not really anything there, so I would just ride back to my motel and listen to David Bromberg and drink cheap beer.


Rolling The Floor

Sounds sexy and easy. But it’s not.

This beam was heavy. Our neighbor’s Dad had a backhoe and didn’t charge us to raise it.
Making sure we are plumb and square.
The center bearing wall.
All the I-Joists are in place and ready for sheathing.
No, this is not a Kansas landscape. It is the floor sheathing completed.

Framing The First Floor

Bryan volunteered to travel from Idaho to help us frame the walls. We started out, randomly, on the north side. For the first wall we cut slots into the pressure treated bottom plate lining up with the anchor bolts in the concrete slab, thinking that this would make it easier to stand the walls. Turns out, it was just as easy to take a couple measurements and drill holes for the anchor bolts.

nailing the bottom plate
Bryan nails the first board. We should have been using galvanized nails to nail through the treated sill plate, because the treated wood can corrode nails. I went back after the walls were up and toe-nailed the studs into the plate (code approved) with galvanized nails.
This is the easy part. Everything looks simple and clean.
The beams to carry the second floor framing can be seen. The OSB sheathing panels on the corners will keep the walls square and plumb.

We worked our way around framing the exterior walls. Then we went back and stapled OSB sheathing on the corners to keep everything square. The next phase is laying out the second floor joists and rolling them into place. Holderness Supply in Tucson designed the I-joist floor system and sent the whole package, including beams, hangers, layout drawings and, the 3/4″ sub-floor.