Week 100 (Upper ext. soffit finish, Annex to 9th course)

In construction photos by Michael Tiemann

This week features two parallel story lines: the installation of half the upper soffit cypress soffit, and the raising of the Annex walls to the 9th course.  Here is a single photo that shows both achievements (plus more which are detailed below):annexoverviewcourse9.jpg

Let’s see how we got here.

Last week we started putting up the first of the cypress. and we reached just short of the half-way mark (on three of the Music Room‘s six sides).  The next task was to lay the center board (with lamp penetrations cut out), and then continue outward to the edge.  Here we see the Southeast upper soffit “finished” (except for a fractional last board that will be added later) and the carpentry crew adding the first of three outer boards to the Northeast side:


What the picture does not show is that that particular board would be installed and removed at least three times in that location before ultimately being installed on the outside of the North soffit.  Such is the nature of finish work I am told.  Here’s that pesky board going in after twice being removed (and before being removed at least one more time):


Here’s a view of the elevated workbench for mitering the cypress boards.  Some of the boards are mitered so that they fit flush together at the corner, as you see in this picture, but all of the boards have a 15 degree miter joint where two boards abut.  This provides a cleaner line and better construction integrity.  By design, we try to make those joints as invisible as possible.

Every attempt was made to shape the boards uniformly, but wood is alive, and it continues to change shape after milling.  Moreover, for reasons I do not fully understand, the wood delivered to our specifications of 8-5/16″ was delivered ranging from 8″ and a strong 1/8th up through 8-5/16″.  To accommodate, the carpenters have matched up the boards by width so that similar ones abut each other in their own courses.   Here the carpenters are checking the squareness of the boards that have been installed, ensuring that all the minor variances have evened out:


Here’s a more flattering angle for our beautiful cypress:


And a glimspe of what the East corner of the exterior soffit might look like from the inside:


With the North soffit finished out to the 7th board, essentially half of the exterior Music Room soffit is complete:


And here’s how much remains of our first batch of cypress:


Not much indeed!  We’ll now swing the tour around to the progress on the Annex, returning to the final framing details at the end.

The week began laying up the rest of the 6th course.  (It looks like the 7th course, but that’s because we’re down one course at the garage door opening.)


Our Annex conduits are all nicely labelled.  The thick pipe is the conduit for the 600A service that will come into the building and then branch to support the technical core of the main studio, the lights for the main studio, the HVAC units, and the Annex itself.


We continue to wade through a very wet fall.  The weather data says we only got an inch of rain, but this suggests we got more:


Maybe a lot more:


Nevertheless, when the weather was good enough to work, we worked.  By getting the 6th course of the outer wythe in over the past weekend, they were able to grout ahead of the storm, and the grout was happy to cure while the rain pounded down.  As a result, we were ready to work full-speed ahead as soon as the clouds parted.  Here’s the grout work:


Here’s one of the masons cutting some special blocks:


And his brother making sure everything’s going in level:


And of course after getting the 6th course finished, it was up to the 7th, literally.  The Annex was surrounded by one level of scaffolding that will be sufficient to finish laying up all the block.  No need for the complicated logistics of hoisting blocks higher than our bobcat can lift!


Here’s a more explicit picture of the scaffolding (and a whole lot of rebar, too):


And finally an action shot of the mortaring process:


Now we return to the progress of the carpenters.  It’s not only the masons going up.  The carpenters, too, are starting to do more elevated work.   They built a lower scaffolding so that they could start placing cypress into the exterior lower soffit:


and wrapped that all the way around to the utility room:


They also started setting up the steel scaffolding around the Control Room so that they can prepare to frame the lower roof at the South end of the building:


Here’s a closer view (that also shows the echo of the Annex scaffolding in the background):


Once the scaffolding was finished, the crew installed the double top plates called for in the design:


And the outside view:


The double top plate will provide a meaty connection between the lower roof rafters and the walls, as shown in this detail of the lower North roof already built:


Did I leave anything out?  I hope not!  Here’s a cropped view of the first image:


Now you can see all the elements: the cypress soffits, the double top plate, the annex block courses, tons of new scaffolding—the works!