I didn’t get a whole lot of barn work done today. I spent several hours trying some various ideas for getting my new air compressor running on my 4kW generator, none of which actually worked. In the end I tried running just the motor with the compressor drive belt removed and I found out that the generator won’t even start the compressor motor with no load at all. Here’s what I think is happening: The motor starting winding draws a ton of amps when the motor first kicks on. On utility power this isn’t a big deal, there’s a centrifugal switch which turns off the starting winding once the motor comes up to speed a second or two after being energized. On my generator however, the start winding draws enough current that it causes the generator engine to slow down. The reduced speed causes a corresponding reduction in the frequency of the power that the generator is putting out. Because of the lower frequency the compressor motor never gets turning fast enough to disengage the start winding, so it’s sort of a Catch 22. The generator can’t put out enough power to fully energize the start winding, and the start winding won’t disengage until it gets enough power to get the motor turning at full speed.
Clear as mud? Never mind. Anyway it didn’t work so I gave up and used a little compressor that I brought with me from the shop to use as a backup. My big compressor isn’t going to work until I get utility power hooked up.
Once I got around to actually doing some work instead of just playing with the machinery I got some roof flashing installed along with the starter strips for most of the upper North roof and one strip of roll roofing. Here it is:
The wrinkles show through a little bit but I think it will be okay; you can’t see them at all from the ground. This isn’t meant to be my permanent roof anyway, it’s just intended to last for a few years. It’s pretty cheap as roofs go, the roll roofing only costs about $26 per 33 foot roll. That’s under $400 for the entire roof. By way of comparison my lowest quote for the vertical seam metal roofing which I want to install was about $4800. The metal roof will outlast me, which is nice, but if I’m going to pinch pennies somewhere then the roof is the place to do it because it’s comparatively easy to re-roof the building later on. The siding which I want to use is also a fairly expensive material and I’m never going to go back and re-side the barn so I need to buy that up front.
There were some more entertaining pictures yesterday from my buddy over at wanderingsofbaloo.org. Who’s that crazy guy up on the ladder? 🙂
By the way, my old air compressor has turned out to be actually factually dead. Not just mostly dead as made famous by the film The Princess Bride, but really truly completely dead. It isn’t even trying to start any more. I took it back to the bay area in case I get inspired to tinker around with it some, but I’m not sure it’s worth putting too much effort into a cheap Husky brand compressor which I bought back in 2003. It has served me well and it may be time to put it out to pasture. Maybe I’ll cut the old tank in half and make a super-strong charcoal grill, or a backyard planter or something.
Oh, one other interesting detail of note: The neighbors are having a pretty sizable solar array installed. At least they say it will be sizable, the crew hasn’t gotten started yet. Today they were cutting down some trees to clear a nice sunny area for the panels which are to be ground mounted. For the most part I couldn’t see where they were working but the sound of the chainsaws carried just fine. I might be interested in “going solar” at some point, but I’m not going to use anywhere near enough power in the barn to make it worth the money right now.
After eight months of inactivity, I’ve finally got enough time available to put the barn back in rotation!
The fine fellows at wanderingsofbaloo.org came out to California for a three day weekend, and were kind enough to help me out with some otherwise impossible lifting and fastening. Progress was as usual slower than we would have liked, but we got all of the roof trim installed and some of the drip edge as well.
I’m still planning to eventually put a metal roof on, but the fall season is here and I don’t think the underlayment I installed will last through the whole winter. I’m going to put on some inexpensive roll roofing which ought to last me for at least 5 years. That’s plenty of time to finish the rest of the project and then I can worry about installing a nicer roof. Speaking of which, after searching all over the country for a supplier for Metal Sales Image II vertical seam roof panels I discovered this weekend that Hills Flat Lumber can order them for me. They even have a display in the back hallway of the store!
I won’t be going with the blue color shown here, I was thinking that Forest Green or Sierra Green would look nicer. I’m happy that I’ve found a local vendor though.
We had a lot of trouble on Monday getting work done. A couple of hours into the morning my ten year old old cheap air compressor stalled and then died. We took a trip into town to get lunch and also picked up a nice new oil lubricated unit at Tractor Supply. It should last me for a long time.
The only hitch was that it turned out my generator doesn’t put out enough amps to get the compressor motor up to full speed. We borrowed power from my next door neighbor 150 feet or so down the hill, but I don’t want to have to impose on him every time I need to get any work done. I’m going to try using a smaller motor pulley on the compressor to reduce the starting load. The pump will run slower but it should still pump air okay.
I haven’t had much to say recently, I’ve been really busy at work and the extracurricular projects have been on hold. They’re still there though, waiting for me to find a bit of free time.
Since I got the waterproofing on the barn I haven’t been back up there to do any work on it. It’s hanging in there just fine, although I discovered a wasp nest on my pickup truck which made for a bit of excitement. I knocked it off and drive down to the local coin wash to clean the beast, and it came out looking nice and shiny.
No photos of the truck, but here’s the barn with some Spring tree leaves.
I’ve also found a bit of time to start working on the condo again, which has been empty for about 6 months now. Once I finally finish up and get that place generating some revenue it’s going to feel like Christmas! I’m going to put a second coat of paint on the cabinet doors and frames this evening and they should look okay.
I finished the house wrap this weekend. With that on the walls and the Grace Ice & Water Shield on the roof, the barn is pretty well equipped to keep out the rain. I can comfortably work on San Jose projects for a while now without feeling as though I need to hurry it up trying to get the barn closed in.
You might have noticed that I always take sort of gloomy-looking pictures of the barn, either on the shady side or just after sundown. It’s not that I live north of the arctic circle or something, it’s just that the details are more easily visible. I do have plenty of dappled sunshine available which is very pretty in person even if it doesn’t photograph so clearly. Also I’ve usually accomplished more by the end of the day than I have at the beginning.
I started getting house wrap installed on the barn today. It’s “all dressed up”, as my friend ‘Rin said.
Even though it’s not finished yet, the lower band will help keep the plywood dry if it ever rains again in California. There is a lot of splash-back when the rain drips off of the eaves and splashes on the ground.
It really feels as though the project is making progress, seeing the plywood getting covered up. I’m excited! 🙂
Not a whole lot of progress this weekend. I only spent one day on the barn, and I didn’t do any carpentry at all. Instead I painted all of my fascia boards while they are still on the ground so that I won’t have to do it up on a ladder.
It’s interesting how this color appears on different surfaces. The gray appearance on the trim boards themselves is more like what I was expecting, the sort of antique white color of the drips on the paint can was kind of a surprise.
I painted all six sides of the fiber cement trim, and I put a second coat on what will be the exposed face. I’ll still need to touch up the nails and any scuff marks, but that will be easier to do than painting the whole surface after installation. I’m going to order my siding pre-finished so that I won’t have to paint it all.
I also picked up a couple of rolls of Tyvek house wrap on Saturday while I was getting lunch. I may be able to install that next weekend.
I built the skylight curbs and finished up the roof underlayment this weekend. None too soon it seems, as there’s finally a forecast for some rain in California later in the week.
I’ve started installing roof underlayment on the barn. This isn’t the permanent roof, but it should shed water pretty well in case it rains. It’s approved by the manufacturer for use as a temporary roof for 120 days. I kind of hope it rains, otherwise California will be in for the biggest drought since the seventies.
Although it’s difficult to see clearly in the picture, there are now fascia boards on the eaves. I’ll be ready to install some roofing pretty soon, if I can solve the problem of how exactly to get the material from the fabricator in Woodland out to my building site in Grass Valley. Lacking a forklift I’m not sure if I will be able to unload the material if they truck it to me.
I took Monday off this week to have the county guy come out for a required building inspection. He passed my roof and wall sheathing and the seismic strapping, so I can go ahead with getting the roof and siding installed. My roof underlayment should arrive at the Auburn Home Depot store for me to pick up by Thursday.
I added fascia blocking to three of the four eaves, with one left to do. Normally I would let the roof sheathing run long to cover a continuous fascia board so that I wouldn’t need to cut all those little blocks of wood, but my structural engineer drew it this way so that’s how I built it. The roof looks a lot more substantial with a solid edge.
I finished up the barn framing this weekend! It has been looking more or less complete for a few weeks now, but there was a big list of things to finish up. Most of the items didn’t have much of a visual impact. I finally crossed the last thing off the list on Sunday evening and I’m ready for the building inspector!
I’ll need to take a weekday off of work to meet them on site.