How to Build a Treeless Tree house – Part 1 – Footings and Deck

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Nov 18, 2017
Treehouse Clubhouse in the backyard DIY

Once upon a time, we had small children who loved having picnics in the front yard, dressing up like frogs, and playing on a good ol’ swing set.

Building a Woodshop from Scratch – Electrical Wiring

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Nov 3, 2017

If you’ve been following my other posts about this wood shop, you’ve seen the framing and then the siding, trim and roofing and broken rib come along over the last little while. By that point I only had two big projects left to do outside the shop: running electricity to the shop and building the front doors. I’ve started on the front doors and have come a long way but at this point in the year, it’s starting to get colder and darker so I figured I’d better hold off on the doors (I have temporary doors in place – they’re super ghetto but they do the job) and focus on getting power and lighting into the shop so I could hook up the heating/AC unit and stop running 100ft extension cords from the house for power. This will allow me to build the doors inside the shop and put them up as soon as they’re ready; hopefully in the next few weeks or so. I haven’t yet finished wiring the inside of the shop but I have started, and the shop now has its own power. Here’s how that all went down.

Building a Woodshop – Sheathing, Roofing, Trim and a Broken Rib

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Nov 3, 2017

Holy Schneikes! It’s been months since I blogged about the shop and it’s come a long way since my last post. Since finishing the framing, I’ve worked on the next steps, which are many:

  1. Wrapping the structure in OSB
  2. Roofing: Applying OSB Sheathing to the roof, then tar paper, drip edge and shingles
  3. Wrapping the structure in moisture-resistant house wrap
  4. Installing all of the windows
  5. Putting up the LP SmartSide Panel Siding
  6. Installing trim around windows, doors and panel joints
  7. Installing soffits and fascia
  8. Installing gutters

My dreams have come true!

by , on
Oct 24, 2017

There are 12,000 reason why we love our house. We feel very lucky in many ways, considering we went into this whole purchase pretty blind and went off of a gut feeling that it was right. We truly had no clue what we were in for project-wise when we moved in. It’s been non-stop projects galore, but it’s okay because it keeps us out of trouble, and it keeps us from saving any of that pesky money. Who needs a savings account, anyway?

How to Fix Your Car’s A/C in 5 Minutes

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Aug 17, 2017
how-to-fix-your-cars-ac-in-5-minutes
It’s August. It’s been averaging 102 degrees Fahrenheit where I live. Not having some good air conditioning in your vehicle can be pretty rough. When my A/C stopped working on the left side of my car, I knew it was time to recharge it. Recharging your A/C is a really easy process and only takes five or ten minutes. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Turn Your A/C on High for 3-4 Minutes

Put your A/C on all the way cold, recirculating and the highest setting. Let it run for 3-4 minutes at least before proceeding to the next step. This ensures that your system will be attempting to draw the refrigerant through the pipes, which is what we want.

2. Locate Your Low Pressure Service Port

Every vehicle that has air conditioning should also have a high and a low pressure a/c service port. They’re typically aluminum tubes, one thicker and one thinner. They also have removable caps on them labeled with an ‘H’ and an ‘L’ respectively. Locate the low pressure service port and remove the cap. It should either thread off or just pop off. Be sure to put it somewhere safe.

3. Use the A/C Gauge to Determine Your Current Pressure

The refrigerant you purchased should have come with a pressure gauge. The adapter on the end is identical to that of an air compressor hose. Pull up the collet and attach the adapter to the low pressure port. You should get a reading on your gauge. If you’re pretty much out of refrigerant, or very low, you’ll likely get a reading between 0 and 15 PSI. That means it’s definitely time for a recharge. If, however, your reading is in the blue zone (typically above 30 PSI) you might not need refrigerant and may have a different issue altogether. Be aware that over filling your refrigerant can be harmful to your system and may cause the same lack of cold air as an under-pressured system.

4. Shake it up!

Once you’ve determined that you need more refrigerant, start shaking the can. Its contents need to be well agitated to mix up the settled contents. Keep shaking throughout the next steps as well.

5. Fill It to the Appropriate Level

Check the included chart to determine what PSI you need to be at, which is determined by the outside/surrounding temperature. If you’re in a room temperature garage, for example (70 deg. F), then you’ll need your low pressure to be at 35-40 PSI. If it’s 100 degrees out, you’ll need to be up at 50-55 PSI. Keep moving the can horizontally and vertically as you squeeze the trigger to pressurize the system. Be sure to stop from time to time to check the pressure level so as to not over-fill it.

refrigerant pressure temperature chart

Refrigerant Air Conditioner Pressure to Temperature Chart

That’s it! You should have functioning A/C again – woohoo! If you’ve been without it on a scorching hot day and then get it fixed, you know what a joyous occasion this can be. In this case, I was working on my Dad’s old truck and he actually has never had A/C in it since he bought it a couple of years ago so you can imagine how pleased he was to feel the ice-cold air blowing out of the vents. Summers are suddenly much more bearable!

A Few Tips

  • The symptoms for low refrigerant pressure are varied and can include:
    • Warm Air coming out of the vents when the A/C is on
    • Cool air but not as cold as it should be
    • A/C only working on one side of the vehicle or certain vents
    • Pressing the A/C button doesn’t seem to have any impact on the air temperature
  • If there’s a bit of refrigerant still left in the can, you cannot remove the nozzle and use the can again. You must use it all in one shot, or at least without disconnecting the hose, or else the remainder of the refrigerant will leak out.
  • The hose and gauge of the refrigerant can be reused. The hose and gauge seen in this video is the one I bought for my car and then used on my Dad’s car, so he just has to buy the bottle, not the bottle, hose and gauge.

Happy recharging!

Ready to watch the video to see it in action? Check it out.

https://youtu.be/C_IhGe0Kip8

Building a Wood Shop from Scratch – Framing Progress

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Aug 10, 2017
Roof Trusses in Place on Wood Shop

When we were looking for a new house a few years back, we really hoped to find one with a good amount of space and a three car garage, so that we could park both cars in the garage and then have some room for me to do woodworking and my many projects. We ended up buying our current home, which we love for a hundred reasons, but it didn’t have a three car garage. Katrina, knowing that I really wanted a work space, allowed me to pour a concrete pad for a wood shop as a sort of down payment on a future shop. Well, now that we have put the yard in, finished the basement and we’re finally getting a rock wall to replace our massive, weed-infested hill, it’s time to start on the shop. I got started a couple of weeks ago and it’s going well so far.

To begin, I designed the shop in Google Sketchup, which allows me to get a feel for size, color, space in relation to the house, etc. After that, I mocked it up in Photoshop using our existing garage as a starting point and then bringing in some color and texture to make it fairly realistic. The second image below is my Photoshop job of what the shop may look like, though we’re definitely not 100% decided as of yet on colors, textures, etc. The size and shape are pretty accurate, though.

Wood shop design

This is the design for the new shop, rendered in Google Sketchup.

New Wood Shop Photoshop Render

This is my Photoshop job of what the new wood shop might look like.

I decided to do 2×6 framing instead of 2×4 since I’ll be insulating it and adding a heating and A/C unit. The shop is 15′ x 15′, so it’s not a big shop, but I’m excited about it. I decided to do 9′ ceilings, with a loft for wood storage. I’m putting several windows in it, including a row of windows above the door, a 3’x5′ window on two of the walls and a smaller window on the fourth wall. Let there be light. The best part about that is that I bought all of the windows already, including several extra, for a grand total of $100 from a person in our area. Thanks, local online classifieds! They’re all used double pane, insulated windows and most of them are either sliders or crank-openers. I’m looking forward to putting those in. It’s amazing what you can get for cheap when someone is remodeling their home.

I bought a framing nailer (should have done that years ago) and have been building the walls one at a time and then getting some help from neighbors to stand them up and put them on the lag bolts in the concrete then tight them down. I have to say – 15′ x 10′ walls made out of 2x6s are extremely heavy. Definitely not a one-person job. My poor wife had her feet under one of the walls when it fell into place so she’s got quite a pair of bruises on her feet but luckily it looks worse than it is.

16 foot lumber, Toyota Tacoma

Turns out this is way illegal. Apparently you can’t have 10′ of board hanging out of your truck bed. 🙁 Lesson learned!

 

The first wall of the wood shop

I did the first wall framing in the driveway.

 

Raising the first wall

Raising the first wall

 

The first wall of the wood shop

Two walls up!

 

Woodshop Walls framed

The four walls are up!

With the four walls up, I started on the ceiling / loft floor. I used 2x10s and mounting brackets and it’s quite sturdy. Those 15′ long 2x10s are some heavy suckers. I finished putting those up and then, with Katrina’s help, put the 3/4″ OSB up for flooring. That made it way easier to work on the roof trusses (stick framing) without having to use a ladder to do it all.

Wood Shop Loft Framing

Wood Shop Loft Framing

For the roof cuts, I used a great little truss calculator to get the angles, distances and other cuts, which was super helpful. Me no do math good, so that was kinda fantastic. It gives you the angles, the birdsmouth cuts, the distances where to cut them and everything.

One thing that helped a lot on cutting the rafters was to create a template to make the marks faster. I created these small templates to slide onto each end of the 2x6s to make it really easy to mark every board in a hurry. It took me about 11 minutes to mark 24 boards, which is great. The templates took about 20 minutes to make.

Framing Templates for Roof Trusses

Framing Templates for Roof Trusses

As of right now, the rafters are up and nailed to the ridge board, so now I’m ready to finish the framing of the gable faces and then I can put the OSB up on the roof. Yay!

Roof Trusses in Place on Wood Shop

Roof Trusses in Place on Wood Shop

No injuries or accidents (other than my poor wife’s foot bruises) so far, so knock on wood. That’s it for now! More pictures coming soon and, of course, I’m videoing the whole thing for a complete how-to series on it from start to finish. If you want to learn about framing walls, windows, soffits, doors and closets, I already have some videos on those!

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