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August 14, 2005
Marathon part 2: Extended bays: one down, one to go


The extended bay wall for the pantry and bathroom -- the bathroom window is on the left
(Note the amount of finished trim work, as well as the thin strip of the side wall's dado on the right-hand side)

On Saturday, August 13, Russell's brother-in-law Matt was available to help for one day only... and we took maximum advantage of his presence.  Matt not only helped cover the roof with tar paper, he also helped us with a problem that had been vexing us for more than a month: the extended bay walls.

Back in the beginning of July, we tried to install the eight lower-story walls.  At this time, we discovered a problem with the extended bay that houses the pantry and bathroom.  It was impossible to install the two side walls at 90 angles to the main wall, as they are supposed to be.  Instead, the adjacent corner panels pushed them inward at one end, while the main wall pushed them outward on the other end.


An inside view: the corner panel is directly in the center
(Note the thin vertical flange on the right side of the corner panel, which pushes the side wall of the extended bay inward)

Our first idea was simply to remove a couple of flanges from the adjacent corner panels, so the side walls would no longer be pushed inward.  However, when Gail suggested this idea to Topsider, Al Fielders promptly told her that it would not work.  If we did this, the side walls would not rest correctly on the sill plate.

What followed was more than four weeks of confusion on the part of Topsider, and frustration on the part of Gail and Russell.  Al asked us to measure the wall, the side walls, and the sill plate.  He suggested that the side walls needed to be dismantled and re-cut.  He suggested that the large wall needed to be dismantled and re-cut.

At the end of July, Al went on vacation.  At this point Gail, began talking with Brian Reed; and the process started all over again.  Brian asked us to measure the wall, the side walls, and the sill plate.  He suggested that the side walls needed to be dismantled and re-cut.  He suggested that the large wall needed to be dismantled and re-cut.

At this point, we lost patience.  Gail told Topsider that we would not dismantle and re-cut any walls.  There was too much finished wood trim on the walls for us to do a professional job with our tools and experience.  Topsider was welcome to hire a carpenter to do the rework... or simply send us a new, corrected wall.

Brian went back to the drawing board.  After consulting with his designers and engineers, he finally suggested a solution: why don't we simply remove a couple of flanges from the adjacent corner panels, so the side walls would no longer be pushed inward?

Gail reminded Topsider that we had suggested this idea more than a month ago, and Topsider had vetoed it.  Brian verified that this was the correct fix.  So we had one person from Topsider telling us to remove the corner flange, and another person from Topsider telling us not to remove the corner flange.  We had to wait an additional week for Al to return from vacation, so that he and Brian could give us a consistent answer.  The final suggestion was to remove the corner flange.

So on Saturday, August 13, while we waited for Joanne to return from the store with additional tar paper, Matt, Russell, and Gail uninstalled the corner panels and removed the flanges.  The side panels were now able to slide over, and the walls met at almost 90.  In fact, it was obvious from the angle of the cut that the walls were meant to fit together this way.

    
The side wall "before": note the gap between the side wall and corner panel, and the lack of a 90 angle (noticeable on the sill plate)
The side wall "after": note how the angle of the side wall aligns perfectly with the corner panel

After weeks, the problem of the pantry/bathroom was finally resolved.  We installed lag screws at the bottom and top of all five wall pieces, and the extended bay was finished.

We now have seven out of eight of the lower-story walls installed.  The final one -- the extended bay wall for the stairwell -- will have to wait for Russell's friend Steve and his winch.  But in the meantime, Russell took his "day off" on Sunday to re-arrange the lower-story work space.  We are actually able to use the pantry space for storage.


The pantry and bathroom, currently being used as a tool shed and kitchen

 

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