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Monday, September 28, 2009  

Hung

Beware: this entry features a lot of tool-wielding, screwing, wood-handling, and me showing off my manhood.

One of the best parts about being on vacation is that while I was hundreds of miles away, I didn't have to work on the bathroom ceiling.

But since Trash has given me until the day of M. Edium's birthday party in mid-October to finish up this project, I decided I couldn't put it off any more. So I got to work -- asking my dad and my father-in-law how to fix it. I had a couple of options, but the idea I liked best of all was the suggestion to install some crown molding. Not just to class the room up a bit, but to hide what would no doubt be my very sloppy edgework.

I also decided to start by hanging up some of what are called furring strips, which are not as dirty as they sound. They're simply boards hung perpendicularly from the ceiling joists to give me something to screw the sheetrock to. It was also an excuse for me to get some more precise measurements for when I started cutting the crown molding. I'm not all that handy with a tape measure when it comes to inside angles, but if I could cut a bunch of boards that will fit exactly where I want it to go, I could use that as a guide.

Here's what it looked like as of Wednesday, after I'd put up the furring strips:





Yes, it's a little uneven. That's because I ran out of the right size of boards, having miscounted the number I would need. The old carpenter's adage is measure twice, cut once, but the old carpenter forgot to say anything about how many times I should count the number of strips I'd need.

I did my best to place them 16 inches on center, as per code. You may ask how I got so lucky as to not have one of the strips hit that light-fan box. Answer: I didn't. I had to move the thing over a couple of inches. That was fun.

As for that shorter furring strip, that was another result of that "measure twice, cut once rule." I did indeed measure twice. I even marked it twice. And then I cut on the wrong mark. But at least I only cut it once.

With the frame ready to hang it from, it was time to prep the drywall. After following my new policy of "measure thirty or forty times, cut once," I had a big piece of sheetrock that I was reasonably confident would fit snugly into three of the walls, with an opening for the fan box. Unfortunately, it also weighed about fifty pounds.

I dragged it in and got everything ready, staging the bathroom like an operating theater, or the scene of an ambush. I took down the shower curtain rod, unscrewed the light bulbs protruding from the strips flanking the medicine cabinet, plugged in my screw gun, and arranged small, easily accessible caches of drywall screws at strategic spots around the room, including my shirt pocket and my mouth. Then I took Trash up on her offer to help.

I was gratified to see that the piece I'd cut slid neatly into place, "like it had eyes," as my dad likes to say. But we were also holding a fifty-pound hunk of drywall over our heads, standing awkwardly on the toilet and the edge of the tub, respectively, except for that moment when we switched places without letting the ceiling down. Actually, Trash was doing most of the holding, because I was dealing with the screw gun. All my preparation paid off as I found myself doing things like missing the furring strips and trying to drive screws in backwards. By the time I had the four corners secured and we could let go, both of us were exhausted. I looked as if I'd been dipped in sweat, and Trash underwent a severe yawning fit.

But I was pleased with the result. We had more than half of a bathroom ceiling where previously we had had none. The second piece of sheetrock, though it would require a lot more cutting and measuring to fit, would be much lighter. And then it would be a simple matter of taping, mudding, priming, and painting it before I installed the new crown molding. The end of a project I'd begun on New Year's Day was in sight!

And then the next day it rained, and I decided to kill myself. Tell you why later, although you can probably guess.

posted by M. Giant 6:44 AM 2 comments

2 Comments:

Oh no! There's something particularly exhausting in working over your head.

By Blogger Nimble, at September 28, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

Hi! You need a dead man to hold the weight of the drywall. It is basically a T made out of 2x4s that supports one end of the drywall. DIY has a nice video on building one. Can you tell I watch too much home improvement TV?

http://www.diynetwork.com/videos/dead-man-support/23035.html

By Blogger Lisa, at September 29, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

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