July 11, 2018

July Building News

by Alan Beatts

Hi Everybody,

So, remember last month when I said that the work on the building had been pretty slow and irritating in May but that June was going to be better?  Whelp, thankfully that was true.  Much was accomplished, most notably getting the I-beam fixed, then up and shored in place; pulling out several of the old posts (they were in the way of the excavations for the new foundations); cutting the concrete floor of the basement for the new foundations; and, a bit over a week ago Sunday, getting all the excavation work done.

That Sunday, the 1st, was a truly Borderlands kind of day.  Based on some rough calculations by my friend Zach, it seems we shifted more than 3 tons of dirt up a flight of stairs and then 80 feet into the garden.  There were five of us moving the buckets of dirt and, most of the time, one of us digging and filling the buckets.

It took three hours.

That's 6000 lbs, and averages out at about 33 lbs of dirt every minute, non-stop, for three hours.  That is, if you'll forgive the language, some seriously bad-assed frickin' bad-assery.  So, let me salute Cassie, Emily, Dave, Salem, and Zach -- they're a crew who really know how to put the hammer down and do the job.

With all that done, I spent  much of last week getting in the reinforcing steel (e.g. rebar).  Now that is completed, we need to get an inspection from our structural engineer to make sure I did it right.  I'm pretty confident that we'll pass that, and then we get the concrete poured for the foundations.  With that out of the way we get to yank out all the posts in the front of the basement as well as getting progress made on putting up the beam that will support the upper stories when we demolish part of the lightwell wall to accommodate the new bathroom.  At the same time, (because there will be delays in getting the SE and concrete scheduled), we'll be putting up a temporary enclosure over the front of the shop so we can tear that out and start building the new store-front.

But, before all that, there was last Sunday.

I've been keeping my eye out for salvaged brick, because part of my plan for the backyard is to put down dry-layed brick on the walkways and seating areas.  Last week I found someone who had a patio that they wanted removed.  The lovely thing about it was that the brick was layed dry.  In other words, it was put down on a sand bed and supported on the sides.  That meant that there was no mortar used, which in turn meant that I wouldn't have to clean off the old mortar before I re-used it -- a truly miserable job that I wasn't looking forward to.  The not-so-lovely thing was that they wanted someone to take all of the brick (or, at least most of it).  That patio was roughly 1000 square feet, which was a lot more brick than we needed. However, the owner was willing to let us take just around two-thirds of it.  But that's still a lot of brick.

We did it, and it was a job that made the previous Sunday look like a relaxing day at the beach.  Thankfully, a lot of people volunteered to help.  For most of the day we had a crew of 18 people working to fill three flat-bed trucks with brick.  You see, it takes around four and a half standard bricks to make a square foot, and bricks weigh around five pounds each.  So, we loaded each truck with 1080 bricks (which was the weight limit for the truck), and then drove them back to SF, where we unloaded half of them (the other half we unloaded on Monday).

That's just a hair over eight tons of brick.  Adding in the unloading, we shifted twelve tons of brick last Sunday.  (Say what you will about Borderlands, we certainly attract some hard-working volunteers!)

With all that out of the way, I'm back to getting the structural work done so that we can start on the framing of the new bathroom.  It's going to be an interesting month . . . actually, it's going to continue to be an interesting month.

There are more pictures up at our Flickr account, including some of the recent basement work and the brick-apocalypse (https://www.flickr.com/photos/borderlandsbooks/albums/72157669041641327), so please do go check that out (https://www.flickr.com/photos/borderlandsbooks/).

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