Building "off-grid"

- Ceiling Joists -
(click pictures for larger view)

August 2009:  I started working full-time again in mid-July, so that slowed my pace a little, and I had to start coming up with smaller 'weekend' projects.  Now I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so getting offered a contract this summer after taking the entire winter off was clearly a Godsend.  On the other hand, I have to admit that I was a little torn, because my hips were finally starting to feel pretty good again, and I was looking forward to making some larger leaps in construction.  Fine, so weekend projects it is for awhile.  Early in August it was very hot and humid, so air conditioning came back to mind.  The plan is to run the corrugated up the wall and into a ceiling loft space. From there I'll "tee" it into a PVC drainpipe that runs the length of the building, up close to the peak.  I'll need to suspend the PVC, so the first step is to hang ceiling joists.  I eyeballed it and decided on a height I liked, measured the width so I could start cutting 2x4's, then started hanging them.  The first one I just plain hung and leveled.  The second one I had to measure (down), hang, and level both left to right and from the first joist to the next.  I did one more like that and decided I needed a fixture, rather than all that leveling and measuring, which is tough from the top of a ladder.  The first picture below is the fixture tool I made.  It wedges around the main ridge beam down the center of the building, providing both the height and centering dimensions needed.  I slap my 2x4 joist under it, find level, and hammer in a nail on each side (that I started beforehand).  I check the level again, then check it with the previous joist.  Once level is established on all corners, often with some tapping, I put a screw in each side...WAY quicker and slicker than the level-level-adjust-level-level procedure I used on the first couple joists.

Cost:  (2) microlam "scaffolding" planks, some 2x4's (most were scrap) and screws - $150 total, tops.

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