Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Progress

The site has been disturbingly quiet for the last 2 weeks for the holidays. Not much happened, with the one notable exception that the NanaWall was installed during New Years week.

It took 3 guys all day on the 2nd to get it fully installed, aligned, and to load the panels. We haven't been able to operate it for real yet as the tarp has been over the house for 2 weeks solid.

However, we did get a brief glimpse of non-rain today. Here you can see the giant NanaWall over the back deck, as well as something starting to approximate the appearance of an actual house.

The place was crawling with contractors today, especially since the insulation company swooped in and got the rigid board insulation installed on the roofs - at least the sheds.

I'm not sure about the flat roofs since I haven't had a chance to climb up there today after work. The shed's were done in a couple of hours, I suspect that the flats will take considerably longer as they have to tweak and adjust the slopes for drainage.

Here's the front elevation just after our site meeting. You can see Cathy with Libby, as well as Drew and Fred in the driveway, with some other dude I didn't recognize.

I also spent nearly every day of the holiday break under/over/inside the house running all the low voltage (orange) "smurf tube" (normally smurf-blue) conduit, pulling speaker wires, CAT5e networking, and phone wires.

It turned out to be an even bigger project than I thought (and I've done this before), but worthwhile as this place will be wired for everything imaginable.

The beauty of the smurf tube is that I can pull anything I want later, and change my mind down the road as technology changes. Wireless is good for some (very limited) number of things, but you can't beat good old Copper for a fast and reliable connection.

Here's a typical box with CAT5e network cable and another for phone.

And here's my new best friend - my dad's old Milwaukee "Hole Hawg" right angle drill with a giant auger bit. This thing will bore through anything, and damn near rip your arm off when the drill bit hangs up. I've got the skinned knuckles to show for 10 days of non-stop excitement of being on the meat-end of this thing. You don't so much as use it as it uses you.

There were more than a few tricky spots through which to run cable and/or tubing - some days I'd only get 1 or 2 boxes installed. Here's one of the more fun ones - trying to tubing over to Cathy's new window office, but without boring a giant hole in one of the 4x4 posts supporting a pretty significant beam overhead. I had to mill a special drill guide block (after laying it out in CAD first) to make sure that I got to where I wanted to go without tearing out of some shear wall sheathing and leaving the post intact. It worked out great, actually.

I still have a bunch more wiring to do, but the worst of it is behind me. I've mostly got the home theater/surround sound stuff in the family room still left. That will be a weekend project at some point (soon).


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