A Day in the Basement

Today, I spent a long afternoon in the basement. Mostly, I was trying to get my head around measuring and cutting plywood again – and it was slow going.

Earlier in the week, I had a lot of false starts. I had big plans after getting home after work, but I completed a small fraction of what I imagined. On Friday night, I got around to measuring the last section in the back basement, and that’s all I really accomplished.

The job involved two pieces of plywood – one larger, one smaller. I started off the day trimming down a bit of plywood, figuring I’d start on the smaller piece first.

I’m going to call this my “shame piece,” as I cut the slot for the joist. But I did it while the board was oriented the wrong way. When I realized what I did, I just cussed out loud to nobody in particular – and just had to set this guy to one side.

Eventually, I got around to cutting a larger board – and decided to just jump in and work on the larger piece. I started by sketching out all the places I needed to notch out space for the joists.

When I tried to test my markings by lifting the board into place… I realized I had made the whole thing too wide. The hot/cold water pipes prevented me from getting the whole piece in place, so I had to shave off 2 inches on the far left side.

Once I got that done, I realized that my markings were totally off. By a really significant amount. Going back over my notes, I realized what happened.

If you look at the measurements in the first photo, the top right corner shows 10/16″. But what it actually was was 1 10/16″. And that threw off my subsequent measurements. Ugh!

After re-marking the joists, I got a lot closer. I did a slight re-adjustment (giving myself a little more room), and set about cutting things out. On doing my first dry-fitting, I was really pleased that things more or less fit well.

It did take a lot of additional dry-fittings, but since this board was pretty small – I had an easy time going back and forth. I did a lot of fine-tuning with the multitool, which really proved to be invaluable.

For the far left boards, I ended up just cutting down some longer plywood into rectangles. Everywhere else, we were focusing on using the plywood to strengthen the walls… but here, in the last stretch, it’s a little less important. So I’m piecing in a lot of smaller pieces.

Most of the pieces are sitting well on their own, so I’ve just got one more to cut (with two joist notches). Once that piece is cut, getting it permanently affixed should be pretty short work.

Around 5PM, Bob came over and the two of us installed the second header. With the brackets serving as a kind of guide, it was easier to get this board in place.

Though we did use the bottle jack to make sure the boards were flush, a lot of the work involved Bob using a demo hammer to smack the board in place. You can see small indented circles, where the hammer made contact with the header.

With the two new headers in place, joined with two tubes of liquid nails, and held tight with brackets… we were able to take out the temporary support.

Fixing the header was a huge deal. With this done, things are clear now for us to finish up the stairs – and to actually put up some drywall, to define the basement bathroom.

Installing the New Header
Stair Repairs and Tackling an Odd Shape
Plywood Painting

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