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General => General Forum => Topic started by: glenn kangiser on April 05, 2006, 08:32:32 PM

Title: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 05, 2006, 08:32:32 PM
Rained out from my regular job so taking care of a few things around the cabin.

Interesting thing happened on the way to the hardware store today.  I was going to get some stove pipe this morning when I noticed a group of people standing around one of the old buildings I hoped to help restore someday.  


Picture from this site:  I have some of their books.

More Gold Country info here:
Trabucco Warehouse
The Trabucco Warehouse was built by Christopher Kerrin, who later sold it to John Trabucco for use as a warehouse. Dating from before the 1866 fire, it survived in part due to its fireproof construction. The brick walls and heavy iron doors were not always proof against the terrible fires which plagued the mining camps, but in this case they proved to be up to the task.

Another piece of information from the web:
The Trabucco Warehouse, with the typical Gold Rush brick construction and iron shutters, dates from 1859. After a fire destroyed much of Mariposa in 1866, the fireproof warehouse advertised that it had plenty of supplies for the miners who had lost everything in the conflagration ... at exaggerated prices, of course.

The mortar was either not strong when built or deteriorated over the years with rain passing through the bricks and leaching what little lime that was in it out.  It currently has the consistancy of adobe clay with sand in it.

That prompted this note recorded on the Mariposa Footprints site.
Demolition of Trabucco Warehouse
Tuesday, January 24, 2006, 03:48 PM
The Demolition Permit Application for the Trabucco Warehouse was discussed at the Historic Sites & Records Perservation Commission meeting yesterday January 23rd. Leroy Radanovich, member of the Commision, asked the owners of the property to work with the Commission to find a way to not remove the old building. The Trabucco Warehouse dates before the 1866 fire. The discussion will continue in future meetings.

That's all academic now as it decided to self destruct.  The unrelenting heavy rains we have had softened the soil and the bricks came tumbling down on the left front corner.  Most of the bricks had no mortar adhering to them-- nearly totally clean.

I introduced myself to the owner, engineer and other interested parties.  I had previously talked to them on the phone about the project.  I told them what I would do --the engineer agreed and they asked me to bring my crane truck down and get started.

I very carefully started pulling corrugated iron sheets from the canopy.  The building shares a wall with the Pizza Factory next door - in fact the pizza place does not have a south wall.  It is the wall of the building that is falling down.  After removing the canopy without incident My helper and I cut the corrugated iron roofing all along the roofline joining the two buildings together - CHP and Caltrans blocked the road lane off as we worked in case the building front decided to fall into the highway.

After cutting the roofing loose about 2 feet wide we cut the joists loose from the pizza building - the common wall is of the same bricks - slightly better mortar quality than the other walls.  By doing this we hope to keep the common brick wall from falling if the rest of the building collapses.  Under the top roof about 6  feet down is the old roof from before 1866 -square nails and flat seamed roof.  I climbed down there and with an ax cut the tin loose in about a 2 foot wide swath.  Under the tin was a layer of ceiling bricks-- yes the bricks were probably there to kill the heat as an earthen roof would do.  About 2 1/2 inch thick standard bricks with a layer of dirt over it and 1x12 board sheathing under it over about 2 1/2 x 14 's or so joists on 16" centers.  There is a full basement under all of this too.  After we removed the 1x12 about a foot out from the wall we found 4 steel reinforcement straps embedded in the brick wall and attached to the ceiling joists - if the building fell the brick wall would go with it.  I climbed down in again with a chain saw and cut the 4 reinforced joists loose from the wall so in case the building falls tonight it may not pull the common wall with it.  

Now that we have relieved a bit of stress on the wall we intend to see if the roof of the Pizza Factory is supported by a hidden header or if it is supported by the common wall and recommend shoring its ceiling , roof and possibly floor-very strongly - if the building is still standing.

The CHP police officer told me I was crazy for working on the building-- he said if it fell he would tell someone I was in the basement if they came looking for me.  I told him I never had been accused of being sane.

Hopefully I will have time for pictures tomorrow.  Today was non-stop fun and games.  The owner even thanked me for showing up today.

Trabucco Warehouse <1866 - April 5, 2006 RIP
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: jonsey/downunder on April 05, 2006, 09:40:01 PM
Will you get any salvage out of the old building? The old bricks could make a nice feature wall in the dugout.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 05, 2006, 09:44:15 PM
The bricks are planned to go into whatever building they reconstruct there- very soft so decorative, I'm pretty sure.   Corrugated and timbers will be salvaged if possible.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: MikeT on April 06, 2006, 04:52:41 AM
That's too bad that the building has to come down.  I am the president of the Historic Preservation League of Oregon and a former employee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  I usually like to work by the old mantra: where there's a will, there's a way.  I understand there are circumstances that lead us to demolishing historic buildings and often that can't be avoided--but often it can.  People often are not aware of federal and state tax incentives for rehabilitation of historic structures, especially those with commercial uses.  These incentives often make it very cost effective to rehab instead of building new.  Plus is there a more environmentally friendly way to build than to re-use?  I forgot to mention that owners of historic building can also donate an easement to an easement holding organization (like mine) and can write off the donation on your taxes.  This way the building is really preserved as any facade changes need to be approved by those that hold the easement-- a great protection!

Like I said, it probably does not apply in this case, but for any of you in the future, chime in before the bulldozer comes!

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 06, 2006, 05:24:41 AM
I agree, Mike.  I had talked to them several months ago - much testing was done and every effort was made by everyone here to preserve this building.  Unfortunately it decided otherwise --Imagine hundreds of tons of bricks stacked 25 feet high with nothing holding them together.

Glad to have you on board and I'm sure your advice will come in handy as I work on other buildings around town that are of the same era.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 07, 2006, 08:46:00 PM
Long successful day today - the building is on the ground and safer than it was - at least.  We managed to keep the common wall which was also part of the Pizza Factory from falling.  Everything went as planned with the exception of the back wall being a bit tougher than we thought it was.

Here is a shot of the failed corner


First I removed the canopy carefully, a sheet at a time until I was able to remove the last sheets and purlins as a whole


Next I cut the rafters loose from the common brick wall that was still in use by the Pizza parlor along with cutting the lower old ceiling/roof joists where they had wrought iron attachments to the wall.  My concern was to protect the owner from liability by keeping the wall from accidently falling or being pulled over by our demolition of the building.


I insisted that the pizza parlor owner let us look in his attic and basement to check the structure before we went any farther.  As I suspected, the roof joists on their side of the common wall were set in pockets in the top of the wall.  I notified the owner that there was no question that if the wall accidently fell half of his building would go with it, and it was imperative that the wall gets shored up.  He finally realized that I was serious and got his carpenter on the project.  The carpenter jumped on it and in 1 day we were able to proceed.

After rushing Caltrans and the police through a few hoops for us we were able to get the building down and make it safe (safer).

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: jonsey/downunder on April 07, 2006, 09:45:20 PM
What's the plan for the site now?
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 08, 2006, 06:55:13 AM
They plan to rebuild a building that looks similar to the old building probably in one of it's historic versions -slight change to the roofline would be the main difference.  Probably steel framing with a new front veneered with the old bricks.  Some of the corrugated will probably be incorporated in places in the decor.

At this point the owner, his family and men are finishing dismantling the building by hand and saving all they can save.

The lot is quite a bit deeper than the building was as there were old buildings back there in the past, so the back end will probably be larger.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 13, 2006, 05:54:09 AM
Photo by Dan Tucker

Here is the photo from this weeks paper and part of the  the story below.  It is copyright Mariposa Gazette and presented here for fair use information purposes- they change stories weekly and are hard to find online.  Here is a link to their site.

Besides, I and the owners provided the entertainment and story. :)  I was standing on top the adjoining Pizza building as this side went down directing the action and feeling the wall for excessive shaking.

Trabucco warehouse crumbles

  By Dan Tucker  
Sometime between 11: 30 p. m.
last Tu e s d a y, and 7 a. m.
Wednesday morning, the aged, deteriorated mortar between the five layers of bricks that formed the long outside wall of the historic Trabucco warehouse in downtown Mariposa reached its breaking point. It had had enough of the several weeks of pounding rain, and time took its toll as a huge chunk of the wall came crashing down, leaving the entire
structure dangerously weakened.
The owners of the building, Kitt and Judy Kahl of Le Grand, and their son Bruce Kahl of Mariposa, were quickly on the site to assess the damage and react to the situation. The Kahls purchased the building last November with the intention of rebuilding it with a similar historic appearance.
It was now obvious that the rest of the structure must come down, but the major problem was that the warehouse and the Pizza Factory shared the weakened common wall, and the foundations farther down Fifth Stre e t under the Mariposa County Arts
Council gallery and office, along with Ahern’s School of Massage were attached to the common wall as well. That also put those building at risk of collapse, as well as the Pizza Factory, if the common wall didn’t stand when the balance of the building was brought down.
The Kahl’s hired local contractor John Mabon of Here Comes Mabon Construction, who has done extensive work to the Pizza Factory and other older buildings downtown, to build a bearing wall inside the popular restaurant in case the common wall gave way. They believed that in that way, even if the common wall didn’t stand, the ceiling and roof of the Pizza Factory would.
Bruce Kahl and another local contractor, Glen Kangiser, began cutting away shared rafters while Mabon was building the bearing wall. Plans began to take shape to demolish the building as early as Friday m o r n i n g .
Bill Hilton of Hilton C o n s t ruction in Mariposa planned to brace the supporting center beam and wall of the warehouse that faced Highway 140 with his excav a t o r, while Bruce Kahl and Kangiser used pole saws f rom the Pizza Factory ro o f to cut loose ceiling rafters in the warehouse, allowing them to fall directly down.
The plan worked and after t h ree or four re s o u n d i n g thuds followed by billowing dirt and dust, most of the ceiling on the Pizza Factory side of the warehouse was safely down.
That’s when Hilton and his excavator went in, tenuously pushing the roof and f ront wall to the center of the w a rehouse. Caltrans and the California Highway Patro l closed Highway 140 during the demolition and re d i re c ted traffic to Bullion Stre e t .
After about an hour of knocking large chunks out of the building, Hilton put the giant bucket of his excavator on the end of the main supporting beam and began to push. The primary fear of the Kahl’s was that the building would collapse all at once, and that the common wall wouldn’t hold.
As Hilton put pre s s u re on the main bean the building moaned and shuddered, and then, with one colossal
collapse, the long brick wall and half of the back brick wall gave way and down it came spewing a cloud of historic dust.
When the dust settled, about half of the back wall was still standing, and holding up the remaining part of the roof. After Hilton used his equipment to dismantle m o re of the stucture, workers w e re able to fall the back wall later Friday afternoon.
On Sunday afternoon fro m his home, Kitt Kahl said he couldn’t estimate how much time it would take to clean up the site. “ I can’t even predict how long that will take.
We want to salvage as many bricks as we can, so we have to do everything by hand,” Kahl explained.
“ T h e re is still the issue of the common wall with the Pizza Factory, and that of course is going to take his input ( Ron Wi l l e y, owner of the Pizza Factory and the whole Fifth Street stru ct u re),” Kahl said.
Last week, Mariposa County Planning Dire c t o r Chris Schenk said that the County would be engaging a s t ructural engineer to determine the safety and soundness of the common wall.
T h e re is some information that indicates that has apparently changed, and now the p roperty owners ( Willey and the Kahls) are to bear that re s p o n s i b i l i t y.
On Monday, from San Francisco, Willey said, “ Obviously I feel bad for the c o m m u n i t y, but most of all, I
feel bad for my employees.
Wi l l e y, now operating in his 26th year at that location, said that he “ hopes to get a g reen light from the inspector so that they can re o p e n ” during whatever work is re q u i red for the common wall. Willey said that right n o w, Pizza Factory is losing between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000 per day in revenues, not to mention what he is losing in rental income from the other p roperties effected. “ We need some answers, and I am hoping to get some of them t o d a y,” Willey stated.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: bartholomew on April 13, 2006, 06:53:13 AM
Front page news, you're a bona fide local celebrity now! (too bad they misspelled your name though)
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: Jimmy C. on April 13, 2006, 07:50:02 AM
I weep for the loss of this building... At least we know Glenn put it to rest with respect and compassion.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: Amanda_931 on April 13, 2006, 03:49:26 PM
That's a really exciting picture, especially for a local paper.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 13, 2006, 09:25:22 PM
Local paper is directly across and a bit north of the building, about 1/2 block so coverage was good -- yes-- nice picture - I couldn't get one as I was too busy making it fall.

I really wanted to save this building but it was impossible - the owners are great people and did all they could.  The replica reconstruction will be nice.  They were going to try to save the century plus grafiti but I don't know how they can - it's plaster on loose bricks.

Maybe later when I get back to the Underground Command Center I can post a bit of it.

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 13, 2006, 09:36:03 PM
Yes, Bart -- I'm pretty famous -- people recognize me on the street now --- The CHP call me crazy and The Axe Man -- you gotta love it. :)

Hope I don't get pelted with stones by the few who fail to understand that it had to come down because it was coming down on its own -possibly with someone in it if not careful.

Name spelled wrong I'm used to, but I'll take anything close. :)  Can't pronounce it myself. :-/
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: Sassy on April 13, 2006, 10:20:53 PM
I was talking to the owner today & he said someone on a motorcycle drove by & yelled "are you going to tear down the rest of the town?"  Don't know if he was joking or serious...
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on August 20, 2006, 10:56:37 AM
I am working on another one - this time actually getting to restore some of it.

The owner wants to restore the existing floor to original type methods and using all the original materials they could.  I was the only one who would do it the way they wanted.  The building was rebuilt after a fire in 1866 and the ground floor was probably put in around 1909 to 1935 when there was a restaurant there.  


The floor had been built with salvaged lumber - 2x4's on 16 to 24" centers wth individual posts every 4 feet setting on top of plain wood pads.  We slipped 4x4's under the existing floor on 4 foot centers using treated posts and pads every 4' and treated 4x4 beams in areas near possible dampness.  In the worst areas we noted a little bug damage to the old pads into the bottom of the wood but not through it.  All foundation post locations were dug to undisturbed soil, leveled with a bit of concrete then a piece of 30 lb felt, treated pad and treated post.  The loading was calced from charts in Charlie Wing's book, "From the Ground Up."

Bad floor joist were replaced as necessary - many had multiple splices.  The object was to keep it as repairs rather than new construction. :)  As  you can see, as many original boards from the old floor were replaced as possible in the sub-floor.  The finish floor will be local t&g pine.  All beams and joists were reset with a laser.

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: PEG688 on August 20, 2006, 01:17:09 PM
Glenn if possible get some good , great would be better venting setup to vent that space.  That , a unvented space , will be the killer of that new old floor . MTL the street outside / sidewalk's have been built up , happens everytime they pave , redo the street. Use  area wells , lots of um cuz they will fill up with crap from the street,  even with grates over them , over time , a lil bit at a time small crap / FOD. Keep the vent open in other words Clean them out , maintance routine  . G/L PEG
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on August 20, 2006, 03:01:52 PM
Sounds like a good plan, PEG.  I hadn't thought much about it but the street is 10 feet above the floor on the front with a sidewalk vent grating that is already a problem with leakage.  I'll make a vent out of it possibly ducting up the wall at the back to street level.  Somehow I need to get aiir through the back 18 inches of brick or would it be possible to take it from inside the room.  I hate to put a vapor barrier on the ground as I don't want to build up a lot of moisture under it.  The area stays pretty dry as the entire street and sidewalk are uphill from it and well sealed.  Some moisture comes through the brick wall - 1866 brick so soft and porous - anybody know what the safe waterproofer is for the outside of that - I know the National Park Service has some recommendations.  I haven't researched it in a while though.

I can stop some moisture by re-routing the adjoining building downspouts.  Wet soil and 18" thick walls of brick don't mix as seen on the above building.

The west side is a walkout so possibly I can figure a way to get some air through under the above shown door and the window about 15 feet south.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: PEG688 on August 20, 2006, 05:48:33 PM
The vapor barrier up here in PNW is a great idea .  If you build up moisture under it that's no big deal , as long as it can stay under . Those down spouts might be a issue if ya can't reroute um .  Even a vent system that just uses the back wall is better than nothing , if possible dbl up the # , won't be cross flow but with your conditions it will be better than nothing or whats existing , MTL ;)  
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on August 20, 2006, 06:19:46 PM
I just had a revelation, PEG.  There is going to be an inner door a few feet back from the iron fire doors at the back.  I can put vents on the floor to allow outside air to go under the floor for cross ventilation to the back and box a duct up the wall to the existing sidewalk vent. The fire doors have space under them for air flow.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on August 25, 2006, 04:42:47 PM
Sub-floor is nearly back together now - I got a lot of nice 1x stock from my other buddie with a sawmill to be similar to the original floor.  He has a lot of aged t&g ready to go for the finish floor.  I have the ventilation details worked out to vent the floor per PEG's suggestion - (See - I benefit from this forum too).

I ordered one of these to put down the t&g.  I could rent one but the trip to town and return it- trip would eat up all the money saved -- the rental company would have my money and I would have nothing -- Instead I will rent it out to the job a couple times myself then still have the tool.

421 Hammerhead - 2 Pneumatic Hardwood Floor Nailer

The 421 Portamatic Pneumatic Floor Nailer is the most innovative and versatile air flooring tool on the market today. This nailer has been designed from the floor up to meet the needs of today's busy floor installer and to protect prefinished and unfinished wood flooring. The tool comes ready to nail 3/4 In. flooring and accessory pads and shoes allow for quick changes to handle 9/16, 33/32 In., Bamboo and 18mm Flooring. One tap with the mallet and your nail is set, tight and in the right spot! This is the only tool in the industry that allows you to add an accessory shoe to convert for Face Nailing and also includes a sturdy carrying case to protect your investment. Our blind nailing shoe is designed to protect the top surface of your floor and our oil-less operating system ensures no oil drops or stains from oil. A quick access gate and clip system allows you to clear a jam without the use of any tools. The nail's wide head and grapple barb design provides superior holding power!

All of the information above was provided by the manufacturer or other websites. It is to be used only to outline the general purposes and features of the product.

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: PEG688 on August 25, 2006, 06:54:04 PM
 8-) Glad I don't need one , bending over all day laying hardwood , been there done that, fun but a steady diet , nah.

 Glad we could help with the venting  :)
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on August 25, 2006, 08:19:38 PM
Actually this is going to be softwood but when you live in the boonies like I do sometimes it's just easier to buy the tool-- this one is air assisted.  I only have a bit under 1500 sq ft to do on this one but if I have the tool laying around - I may do more.  I saw a floor made out of the same stuff -- It looked great and was set with one of these tools or a similar one.

I appreciate the help, PEG.  Sometimes potential problems are not noticed by someone like me who doesn't do things like this all the time.  Most of my floors are mud--not wood. :-/
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on October 11, 2006, 09:24:41 PM
The first half of the subfloor is in and now we are putting in the pine floor.  This is local wood from a local mill just as they would have used in the old days.

The nail gun calls for a felt vapor barrier between the finshed floor and the sub-floor.  It also calls for the first 2 to 4 courses of flooring to be face nailed -it comes with a different shoe for that.  The shoe being used here puts the nails in just above the tongue and just after the rubber mallet hits the head it shoots a nail pushing the board up just a bit tighter, locking it in place.  It uses special cut nails - This one is called Porta-nails.  The nails have teeth to keep them tight.

It started out shooting 2 nails at once, but after a little fine tuning it was working great.  If there are problems be sure to read the instructions to avoid breaking something.  I did it right.  (This time).


Fred nails down the floor.

The hammer and 2x4 are used to knock the boards together without damaging to tongue.  The rubber mallet can be used but the 2x4 is more positive as the board gets a bit tight to get together once in a while.  It doesn't show well here but there are gaps left from the brick wall to allow for expansion and prevent transfer of moisture from the bricks to the boards.

We are continuing to rebuild using as much of the original materials as possible.  (I wonder if they had one of those cool nail guns in 1866?)
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: bartholomew on October 12, 2006, 09:11:05 AM
Hhhmmmmm, maybe you could mod the gun to shoot square-cut nails?
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: CREATIVE1 on October 12, 2006, 11:53:59 AM
And here's a house that WAS saved by relocating it--by barge!  Caused quite a sensation in our area.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on October 12, 2006, 07:05:02 PM
Nice house, Creative.  That looks like it was quite a job.

The nails the gun shoots are a special square cut nail - or at least punched with teeth.  They are about 1/16" thick -2 inches long and 1/4' wide at the top.  They shoot right into the corner at the top of the tongue and contersink about 1/16th inch.  This leaves lots of room for later refinish jobs.  The design is supposed to keep them from splitting the wood.  

Here is a picture of the nails from the Porta-nails site

Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: Amanda_931 on October 14, 2006, 04:50:46 AM
Cute nails.

And from what I've read--and been told--they would work beautifully.  

After all the (contra-intuitive) way to prevent splitting a board is to dull your nail.
Title: Re: Working with antique buildings
Post by: glenn kangiser on October 14, 2006, 06:43:58 AM
They work great- don't recall splitting any of the boards.  We are about halfway done with one side - had to cut the rest of the boards and move our length jig out of the way so we could finish -jig was nailed to the floor.  Note that jigs really pay off if you are doing repetitive cutting or other chores.  Measuring is eliminated - just shove it up to the stop and cut.
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