Building at the Ledge – Part 5 (The First Wall)

Thursday we just bathed the slab regularly and cleaned up all the junk on the edges.

Then Friday we got to start playing with those structural panels mentioned in the July 26 notes.

We started on wall J, which is the west wall. Three windows, no doors, so it should be simple.

First Structural Wall Panel in Place

The panels are fastened onto a 2×6 pressure-treated (PT) board, which in turn sits on a thin 6.5" piece of PT plywood. Both layers of wood are bolted to the stem wall (foundation perimeter) using the bolts that were set into the stem wall.

So T.B. had to do some preparations before we could start. First he set the corner boards so that he could be certain that the foundation was still square. This might seem redundant, since he has checked everything many times over, but it is evidently part of doing a Very Good Job of making the house straight and the corners square.

Then he set the plywood and 2×6 in place on the west stem wall, and marked off where each of the panels would fit. In the meantime Don collected all the panels that would be needed to build the J wall.

During this time I was away from the site. When I returned, T.B. and Don had set the first few panels. (In the photo below, that’s Don on the left reaching into his nailbags and T.B. looking through the window opening.) To make me stop taking pictures, T.B. set me to work nailing the panels in place.

Standing The First Wall in Place

Now you have to understand that I’m not a carpenter — other than hanging pictures I haven’t pounded very many nails. But T.B. gave me some tips, and made me promise that if I bent a nail I would pull it out and start over. I wasn’t quick, but in an hour or two I managed to hammer in a lot of nails and didn’t bend any. Very satisfying!

As for working with the panels, it wasn’t quite as simple as we had hoped, primarily because some of the panels were unevenly cut or a little too wide in places and had to be trimmed.

But still, by the end of the day we had a full wall standing. The next walls should go faster now that we have worked out a system. Stay tuned!

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