Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Old studs vs. new studs

Here's a pair of photos I could go on about for hours:


In fact, I'll probably make several posts about them.  The upper one there is a 2013 #2 SYP KD-HT treated with "Frameguard", a piece of drop from a current project.  The lower one is a circa 1850 longleaf pine from our house.

From our viewpoint as carpenters, the two boards can be compared in terms of stability, resistance to rot and termites, strength, ease of use, and cost.  Now, as an old-house junkie and aspiring craftsman, I have a strong preference for the old stud -- bordering on bigotry against the new.  But I have to admit that there are some ways in which the new wood outperforms the old.

I'll get to that eventually.  For now, just have a look at the end-grain of each board (that's where you see the growth rings, not the side of the board).  The new stud is cut from smack in the middle of a young tree, whereas the old is from an undetermined corner of a very old tree.  If each ring represents a year, the new stud was chopped down when it was under ten years old.  The other was...  I don't know, I stopped counting at forty-five.  Also, note how close together the rings are in each.  The younger tree grew at a tremendous pace compared to the old one.

The size, number, and orientation of the growth rings determine how boards perform in the categories listed above.  Which I'll get to soon -- it's daylight, and time to get to the jobsite.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The difference a few mils can make

Now, I am a fan of the reusable grocery sack, and countless other items that are just plain better made with something besides plastic.  But in some cases, a sheet of plastic can't be beat. Below are two photos of concrete floors.


The photos were both taken within a few minutes of each other, within a few yards of each other.  Both are indoors, the left on in our shop, the right in the new apartment-in-progress.  What's the difference?  A six-mil sheet of plastic under the concrete on the right.  It rained a lot the past weekend, then turned quite warm and humid.  I can't explain the physics of it, but the damp in the soil under the slabs is sweating up through the concrete without a vapor barrier under it, while the other concrete stays dry.  Conclusion: use plastic wisely, in the right places.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Year and A Third??

So it's been a while.  All apologies to everyone who keeps track (Mom).  Honest, it's not because we've been lounging around living off our lottery winnings.  We've done quite a bit of work on this place:

That's the little apartment in the back of our house, occupying the up and downstairs section of the old Slave Quarters.  

And this place, we've done quite a bit of work taking it from blight to almost beautiful:

Plus this former messy storage area, now a halfway-finished apartment in our downstairs:

And, of course, the girls, the five young ladies new to our family:

And, most importantly, this guy:

That's Morris, who joined Kerby & Company in October 2012.  (He's getting ready for a wedding in that photo, but he does always dress better than us.)  Morris has the reins of our sales and financial departments.

More on all the above to come.  Thanks for looking.  Jeff K