Day 8: Look Ma…no stairs!
Quiet, that’s how Day 8 was shaping up. The noise and dust of full on demolition had subsided, gone were the crews of helpers, it was just me…time to create. But first, there was one last item to remove, THE STAIRS. Working in a 200-year-old structure you never know what is tied to what, so removing a stairway is a sketchy task, double for this structure. You see, this cabin once had a switch back stair to the cellar that had been removed and covered over.
The bracing and header framing in the cellar was inadequate and two of the headed floor joists had seriously settled causing a significant sag in the floor. So, now my homage to the simple shim: With a well placed hardwood shim and two-pound hammer you can literally lift a house, with five well placed softwood shims, I can lift a header and two sagging joists long enough to slip a post on a footing, under solid blocking lag bolted between the two. Another twenty or so shims driven between the joists and floor will level the flooring prior to adding sisters to the joists to carry the newly leveled floor. There you have it, a stabilized floor, more level than not, good for another 200 years. Well, back on the first floor the stairs were still standing. Before removing them, we needed a wall to carry the load of the second floor transferring that load to the newly stabilized floor and post in the cellar. Now, getting the wall into place was no easy task; I mean, what do you square from or to for that matter. Well, even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and then…me, I managed to get the wall in, plumb and square. As I cut away the framing around the stairs, I was careful to watch the connections of the ceiling joist to the logs in the proximity of the stairwell. As luck would have it, nothing moved…a good sign, load transfer working, OK to wail away on the old staircase. An hour later the stairs lay in a pile on the floor. The floor had been cleared and the dust was settling and it was time to call it a day. Day 9…construct landing, complete framing for under stair powder room and prepare new stair chase.
For now… there’s a glass of wine calling my name.
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