Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Threads

After a break for Christmas to visit family in Florida, I'm back to work on the addition. Despite rain while we were gone, the addition stayed nice and dry. Only after we got back did the wind kick up and blow some of the tar paper off the roof. Things got a bit wet inside, but nothing too bad.

One of the things left to do was fix some of the foundation bolts that I'd left too long. Originally the bedroom at +21" would be all at one level, but I changed it so the uphill side was a couple of feet taller to make it easier to keep the necessary clearance between the wooden part of the house and the ground. That meant that the bolts in that area didn't need to go through the floor, as the wall sits directly on top of the sill plate. So before I left, I ordered a die to cut some new threads in the bolts that were too tall. Today I discovered that using the die was as easy as 1-2-3. A metal cutting blade on the sawzall, twist the die with a wrench, and voilĂ ! The bolts are now the right height.

And I love the newer design of Simpson earthquake holdowns. The old ones used two big bolts through the 4x4, which meant drilling two big holes with a right-angle drill. Easy enough sometimes, but a royal pain if there were studs in the way, like near windows and doors, or near corners (which is where most of the holdowns go). And if you're particularly unlucky, the 4x4 can split since you're drilling two really big holes into it. I spent a lot of time at Habitat working on holdowns. The new ones use 10 or more special lag screws instead. With a right-angle drill and a socket, they go into place in a couple of seconds each, and no splitting.

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