Author Topic: Tooling up for the job...  (Read 32919 times)

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achildofthesky

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Tooling up for the job...
« on: November 30, 2005, 06:18:13 AM »
Heya all:


   I have been a lurker here for quite some time and have found the site a great place for ideas and inspiration on building my idea of a dream house. I really enjoy the pix posted that help someone like me to see the process from start to dried in to finished. I have to say thanks!

   I am hoping to start on building soon and would like to ask those who have or are building this: What would your personal "got to have" and "nice to have" tool kit for building a quality small cabin for full time living? I am a pretty reasonably well kitted person, tool wise, but I am a helicopter pilot by trade though in the past have worked as a automotive engine machinist, Journeyman Ironworker (highrise, package buildings, bridgework, rigging, general industrial...) and Journeyman Boilermaker (Nuclear Sub's) so I am more skilled in metal at this point. I have helped build and especially finish detail a large (4200+sf) milled log lodge in the high country of Colorado, so I have at the least some woodworking skill.

   The cabin I hope to build will be small (about 700 - 1000sf) for two people with some sort of small office/second bedroom and a nice porch area for Puddin, the big fat family Bobcat. Probably 1 story to save the climb as knees age but maybe a small loft for spare/occasional room or storage. It heated by wood, some solar/electric, possibly hydronic floor and some sort of back up (propane?). Probably on septic but not quite sure as I am looking at a nice lot in a little town. If on septic I would like to harvest rainwater as much as possible, given 1 of the properties I like has no water or electric and will be a lot more rustic. The house will be built out west (western S.D., though possibly Colorado) in a climate with fairly cold and some snow to way cold and very snowy winters. I really love the winters...

   This project has been brewing in my mind for more than a decade and I have to get it pretty much right the first time as I am hoping to "work" less and do other things outdoorsey that have been on hold due to my EMS schedule.

   Well enough background stuff. Thanks in advance for your help and expertise.


Patty

Jimmy_Cason

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2005, 07:15:09 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

I joined this group about a year ago and would not have attempted building a cabin without the support and info found here.
I am building a little at a time and paying cash when I have saved enough to complete the next phase, so I will not have a mortgage payment.

The first thing I did was to buy as many different books on framing as I could find. Home depot had three. My library had five. And almost every book had a little info that the others did not.
John has suggestions for several that are must-reads.
One called Working Alone has helped me the most.

Building in slow stages like I am, It is important to have large tarps. Wood weathers a lot faster than I thought. So far the only tools I have used are:
Shovel
Post hole digger
garden hoe
wheel barrow
All of this was for the posts of the foundation

Power generator (No electricity at the site)
Homemade water level
4 ft level
string line and torpedo level
10" circular saw
drill/driver with 400 lbs. torque for deck screws
framing hammer
framing square
speed square
chalk box
3 quick grip bar clamps (an amazing help in several areas already)
plumb bob
100 ft tape
25 foot tape

And now that I started framing this past week I found that I need at least two 6 ft. ladders, a 20ft ladder.
And I am checking into renting scaffolding, I have not figured that one out yet.
I dont want to rent them for six months and only work on the house a total of three.

At this time I really don't have a wish list of tools other than more hands on deck to help out!



« Last Edit: November 30, 2005, 07:20:15 AM by Jimmy_Cason »

glenn-k

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2005, 08:12:25 AM »
Impressive work experience, Patty.

One of my favorite tools is my electric chain saw- wasted money on cheap ones - none would last- Finally bought a Stihl - I like it - it should last.  It is good not only for logs but beams and big boards also.

With power add a nail gun -framing Porter Cable FR350 is good and fairly cheap -- small high output compressor - Rigid seems to have the best value for the money now 3 HP I think about 6 cfm @ 90 psi.  There are other comparable ones but there are also other small one that dont have the cfm @ 90 psi- they would be slow when you get to doing things that require more air such as running an impact wrench to pull off a tire, spraying texture etc.

Jimmy - check out the crank up scaffold brackets - they go on your 2x4s and only cost around $70 per bracket-

http://www.countryplans.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1108804737


PS- I'm only a lowly pilot.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2005, 08:17:02 AM by glenn-k »

achildofthesky

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Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2005, 12:33:37 PM »
Jimmy and Glen:

   Thank you for the tool tips. Your comments and suggestions are exactly what I was looking for. I would rather get all I need now rather than getting in the middle of building and figuring out that something, probably simple, was missing from from my tool "kit".  

   I like to play with chain saws and have 2 Husky's, 1 is a small "arborist" saw for climbing and cutting and another for more straight forward logging. They drive Puddin to distraction though and she is skittish for a spell after I get through running them. Imagine a 40# cat that is irritated...

   I inherited a decent collection of snap-on tools from my father's automotive engine rebuilding shop but need to get my wood working toolbox. It seems to be better to get a good tool once rather than bust knuckles with poor quality stuff. My friends and neighbors can attest to that as it saves on copius cursing and the odd trip to the base to get one of the guys to fix broken/damaged/cut body parts. I reckon I have enough scars for now...

Glenn:

 Cool another pilot. Do you still go and commit aviation on a regular basis, I hope?

   Thanks again for the ideas, I am always open for suggestions.

Patty

RAB

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2005, 12:56:04 PM »
I would consider myself a full time builder and here my common and most used tools - all tools on green tarp will fit into yellow Craftsman tool box. Not shown but often used is a portable compressor along with a framing nailer, trim nailer, stapler, and chop saw with table and horses. Yep I actually use my safety glasses and ear plugs, can you see them?

glenn-k

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2005, 01:13:25 PM »
That looks like a working man's truck, Ryan.

Yeah, Patty-- I'm just waiting for my plane to get out of the shop - C-205 - had some corrosion and had trouble finding parts so was put on the back burner for 3 years.  He's working on it again now.  I have instrument and commercial also but haven't done much with that.  16 trips to Mexico with a couple Indiana Jones trips included.  I'll have to get current again but shouldn't be a problem unless too much senility has set in. :-/

Amanda_931

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2005, 01:55:30 PM »
That is a monster cat.

Hate to have that one decide when to become a lap cat, especially if, like Tinkerbell 25 years ago she thought that laps could be where she wanted them to be, for instance an outstretched arm, got right upset if I wanted to move or found her 6 pounds heavy. (She took the concept of cursing--"well piss on you"--quite literally.)

tc-vt

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2005, 03:01:25 PM »
I'll add a few things to the list:

I used a Paslode framing nailer which runs off of small gas cartridges.  I have no power at the site.  This is an incredible time saver.  I rented it for
20-30/day.

A "Wonderbar" pry bar, cat's paw, heavy long-handled sledge hammer to persuade things and also install tongue and groove underlayment.  

Get a couple of different hammers.  You'll find a favorite, and another you never want to use so try out a few.  I have one with a flare at the end of the handle that makes it difficult to remove it from the loop on the tool belt easily - it never gets used (the hammer).  A hammer with a magnetic head that will hold nails to start nails that going in a place that is out of reach is a great help, too.

If you are digging, an iron digging bar is useful.

For pouring a cement slab, get an aluminum - I'll call it a cement rake.

I bought a 32 foot fiberglass extension ladder.  This is long enough to extend a good distance up the roof, laid flat on the roof and extending to the ground on the 12/12 roof of my story and a half.  It's improper use of a ladder but was very useful.  Get ladder hooks for your ladder so it can be hooked over the ridge.  The guys that installed the metal roof did it this way.

Get a sheetrock square.  It has a 4 foot long leg.  Speed squares, and tri-squares are must haves, too.

Caulking guns.  If all you can find are the cheap overseas models for $3, better get two.  If you are going to be gluing flooring and/or sheathing, consider the large size gun.  They are better built and you will save some money on the larger adhesive tubes.

I'm sure there is lots more and I'll add them if they come to me.   Have fun.

Tom


Bouncer

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2005, 03:22:59 PM »
My 2 cents.
Power miter box(save time
I used the cordless nailer to and it is nice. No hose to pull around.
A good tool belt or apron
And what I love most is The bucket Boss. It holds all my hand tools for easy carrying.

achildofthesky

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2005, 07:36:19 PM »
   Wow! Thanks to all for the pix and comments. A while back I demo'ed a  really nice double compound Hitachi chop box, then bought one. I got it for finish work and some household furniture projects I have dreamed up but the slider reach means it can easily cut 2x10's. Ryan, your tailgate shot is great and is a help to me, thank you.

   With a bit of headscratching about location I hope to be starting in the spring on this project. I have a very nice set of plans of a 1 bedroom cabin with a half loft measuring 20X22 (about 660sf) that has a nice feel, proportion and layout to it but I may punch it out a tad in 1 or both directions for just a little more volume. The pictures of the cabins in the gallery section really give great ideas on room layout and intelligent building practices.

   I sold my house a couple months ago. It was a 2700+sf 3/2.25/2 ranch and 700sf simple gabled guest house out back. The master br/bath in that was more than 2/3 of the size of the small house I'd like to build. Small is definately more cozy to me. I am living in what used to be my guest house now while I prep for the move outwest and love the feel of the more compact layout. Lots less cleaning and maintenence too.

   For a strictly 1 floor cabin I really like the layout of Mr. Raabe's Volks cabin. A huge bedroom and another small room for the office/2nd br. Not too sure on the foundation type yet. The lot or acreage and location will pretty much determine that...

   Amanda: Puddin is pretty much great big baby with only occasional bouts of grumpiness. She loves her muttonchops scratched HARD. Bobcats are headbutt greeters, when they (I reckon I am an honorary Bobcat to Puddin and Boofus) meet, they tilt their eyes down and bump foreheads and then rub faces then do the kissy/face licking thing. She doesn't meow but purrs really loud and has yips and barks like a puppy when it is play or food time. Your comment about lapcat cracked me up. Been there, experienced that, got the (stained) t-shirt. She will most definately let you know if she wants attention or not. Kind of a genial aloofness alot of the time.


  Thanks to all again for your help and good luck with your projects.

Patty
  

Amanda_931

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2005, 03:26:09 PM »
A lot of random thoughts.

If you're running extension cords, watch your size and length.  What amperage you can use safely goes down pretty fast.  I have an inexpensive AC Skillsaw because of that.  It works, probably won't last too long.  But it didn't get burnt out fast because of too-small extension cords.

I keep my wunderbar SHARP and use the right angle part as a chisel a lot.  Files--or carbide sharpeners or scythe stones--are good for sharpening.  Not so much use for a file any more, circular saws now all use carbide tips.  

Had a friend doing mostly remodeling, the one tool he couldn't live without was a sliding bevel gauge.

Check the levels in the store for levelness.  Four-foot levels are useful for more than leveling things.  (Once worked for a fool who watche us use mine on the job because we were putting things 4 feet apart, went out and got himself an expensive three foot job--not the only reason I'd call him a fool.  He ended up as a building inspector.   ::) )

Digging sticks are mandatory for my hard soil.  

Gloves--anything that fits!  Womenswork ones are nice, but they don't work real well for my short fingers.

Any day now, I'm going to get/make a nice tool box.  Be nice to be able to find things.  Although I'm not all that happy about becoming a fanatic when one little nail set or something is a quarter of an inch out of place.  I don't know who I channeling when I get like that, but I do.

I have occasionally gotten plantar fasciitis.  (that's when the first step out of bed in the morning is excruciating)  Occasionally could be traced to a too-heavy tool belt.  One extra lightweight wrench seemed to bring it on for me.

Also on my list is a pair of made-by-me and the right height saw horses. It's good experience for cutting rafters, and nice ones that you can saw into without feeling guilty or hitting a metal part are wonderful.  Although one time I went overboard with 4x4 crossbars and the legs dadoed in at an angle.  Made for a great scaffold.  Really really sturdy.

glenn-k

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2005, 11:11:37 AM »
Hey Patty,
I thought of another one- a major tool I use for my cabin.  Probably bigger than you are thinking of but --how about a sawmill - make your own lumber.  You do not stop to see if you can afford wood or not -- you just drive around looking at tall trees, lusting after them and thinking how many boards you could get out of them- then you need a way to move logs - and things kind of snow ball.

Mine is similar to the band sawmill in this article, and is the Wood Wizard, made near here.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/library/2002_December_January/Choosing_the_Right_Sawmills

I paid $3500 used but with an extension to over 20'.

Note that codes require graded lumber but I know of a person here who got a variance and built a 3 story home with his own lumber. Maybe 2 story with large usable attic.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2005, 11:12:47 AM by glenn-k »

Chuckca

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...Harbor freight tools
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2005, 06:09:36 PM »
What are your thoughts about Harbor Freight tools?  Are they a good or bad value?  I'd appreciate your comments....!

Thanks
Chuck

peg_688

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...Harbor freight tools
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2005, 06:40:11 PM »
Quote
What are your thoughts about Harbor Freight tools?  Are they a good or bad value?  I'd appreciate your comments....!

Thanks
Chuck


  Cheap junk , used by a skilled wood worker marginal results,  used by a DIY' er , poor results , feeling of not being able to Do It Yourself , buy the best you can afford you'll only have to buy it once , unless you loose it / lone it out . If you do lone it out , write down , to who , and when , WHERE YOU"LL BE ABLE TO SEE IT AND REMIND YOURSELF , who has it !!!!  Most of my" LOST "tools where LOANED OUT TO FRIENDS >:( But to whom , I can't tell ya , or I 'd go FIND UM .

  BTW the skilled guy would wear it out in a few use's making it useless, IMO. PEG

peg_688

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2005, 07:58:39 PM »
Heres some basic hand tools , if your of that mind of doing it .
     

jraabe

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2005, 10:14:26 PM »
I love it! People taking pictures of their tools - what could be more personally expressive and information rich?

Worth at least 1,000 words.

This couldn't have been done (by normal people) even three years ago.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2005, 10:14:42 PM by jraabe »

Daddymem

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2005, 03:55:51 AM »
Must...resist...inner child urges....
Ok, I made it. (sorry, army and auto garage influences)  
Now, why couldn't this have been done 3 years ago?

jraabe

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2005, 08:35:45 AM »
Only a few years ago most people didn't have digital cameras or the ability to easily upload them into something like this forum. The old forum archive is almost totally text based (with the exception of a few scans and photos that I had to FTP to the website).

Now, for most of us, a digital camera is just another tool in the box and we increasingly find uses for it. More and more our forum postings are becoming visual as well as verbal and are accordingly richer and more valuable.

Also, I'm currently reading a fascinating book about historical and cultural evolution (Nonzero, by Robert Wright) and am seeing indications of our quickly changing cultural evolution everywhere. This board is just one example of people sharing their hard won evolutionary wealth (information and experience) in a non-zero sum game where the larger community is the beneficiary.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2005, 08:36:52 AM by jraabe »

peg_688

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2005, 02:47:01 PM »
John I totally agree. I pack my camera every day . Shots of wall cavity's , under ground plumbing , wiring . For just a better "menory" on what that "detail "was  back at the job site when your in the shop . In the store to compare $ apples to apples on stuff .  

  No where is that picture , it's in the puter, safely stored . And the  fact you can spend 2 hours discribing how to do it and thats still if"ie  the picture shows the good/ bad . Way it was done , very cool .  

  My camera is ANOTHER tool in the box. Paul  

Daddymem

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2005, 04:51:16 PM »
I agree, digital cameras can be life savers-especially camera phones or pda phones...they just are there and can be invaluable when needed.  

I think boards with more adult topics like this one (how many teenagers are members here do you think?) are slower to take up technology.  That is where my question comes from.  I know at least 7 years ago I had a digital camera as did most younger people I knew.  And I have been a member of other communities way longer than 3 years ago where pictures were being posted instead of explaining things.  Heck, in most forums the first thing new members do is toss out the stock avatars and replace them with personal pics. That, also is where my question comes from.  I just thought it was an odd statement "This couldn't have been done (by normal people) even three years ago."  Heck YABB has been around longer than that.  I run into this all the time at work now...I just took over the IT department.  I implement technology to make my coworker's lives easier all the time...the problem is, few want to take the time to learn how to use it and when they finally do, they are amazed at what they could have been doing all along (and I work in an office with lots of alphabet papers [degrees] on the walls).

Just being on this board, I think the members here are far ahead of the curve of a lot of (dare I say older, but never "normal") people.  The next generation of software will be browser based.  The next generation of web sites will be dynamic, collaborative sites, similar to forums.  Check out Microsoft SharePoint Services.  Just take a look onto sites like Myspace and realize the age of the kids creating these pages...the younger generation certainly does not have trouble setting the time on the vcr...they practically come out of the womb aware of the web.  My almost 5 year old son plays games online, my almost 2 year old daughter emulates him and knows the mouse makes stuff on the screen work.  I myself am finding it tough to keep up with things and I had my first PC in 1982 and have built my own since.  As many knocks as the next generations takes...they already think outside of the box and make objects do tasks they weren't built for...check out http://www.i-hacked.com/ Most of the stuff they do has limited use, but it is the point that someone thought about doing it (hacking elevators?)  The younger generation is really team oriented.  Maybe we can call them generation collaboration.

None of this is meant to be a knock, just an eye opener...we really could have done this three years ago.

Hey Glenn I couldn't figure out a way to get black copters or a knock on officials in, but an ok rant still?  :P

glenn-k

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2005, 06:30:36 PM »
One thing at a time Daddymem - your skills will improve as you get more experience--- what I do not understand is how you managed to leave that one alone-------the first one ---- you have really been working on your self control..... now if I can just leave it alone-----

As to knocking on officials --- I'll hold off until they again deserve it. :-/  --and black choppers are good just about anytime but all in all - yes -- a decent rant.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2005, 06:31:38 PM by glenn-k »

hnash53

  • Guest
Harbor Freight Tools
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2005, 10:33:47 AM »
I bought my air compressor and my framing nailer from Harbor Freight...and they both have lasted me longer than it took to build my cabin... see www.countryplans.com/nash.html ... and I shot a boatload of nails and brads.  Saved my arm, wrist, and shoulders.

I've yet to be burned by tools from Harbor Freight.

My opinion, of course.

Daddymem

  • Guest
Tool Deal
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2005, 06:21:38 AM »
Johnson Level 86481 48" Aluminum Box Beam Level (BigX)
Johnson Level 925 25' "Big Johnson" Power Tape
Use the "Buy Both and Save"

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009WG4EA/ref=nosim/102-9793087-6732960?n=228013

Add:
Sheffield WH58009 Folding Lock Back Utility Knife
For free with coupon code: SHEFELDQ42K5

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BK4P9G/ref=nosim/102-9793087-6732960?n=228013

[highlight]Total: $20 free shipping[/highlight]


careful Glenn  :D

williet

  • Guest
Re: Tooling up for the job...
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2005, 08:09:14 AM »
Quote
Heres some basic hand tools , if your of that mind of doing it .
     
That's some nice tools. Glad to see them being used and taken care of.

Daddymem

  • Guest
Re: Harbor Freight Tools
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2005, 08:18:15 AM »
Quote
I bought my air compressor and my framing nailer from Harbor Freight...and they both have lasted me longer than it took to build my cabin... see www.countryplans.com/nash.html ... and I shot a boatload of nails and brads.  Saved my arm, wrist, and shoulders.

I've yet to be burned by tools from Harbor Freight.

My opinion, of course.


http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Category.taf?CategoryID=325&pricetype=

 

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