Week 118 (Control Room Framing, Part 1)

In construction photos by Michael Tiemann

Three years ago I decided to embark on my first from-the-ground-up construction project: an ideal space for recording, mixing, producing, and experiencing music.  This is what the space looked like at about that time:

Two years ago, the Control Room was just an outline of some concrete blocks surrounding some dirt and conduits:

One year ago the Control Room remained a concrete outline while the East and West walls of the Music Room rose to the 14th course:

Six months ago the Control Room masonry was finished:

Three months ago the Control Room rafters were placed:

This month—this week—the framing of the Control Room finally began!


With so much preparation and anticipation, you can be sure we want to do it right!  We are off to a very good start…

Part of the job is having the right materials.  Here are the boards from which the plates, headers, studs, and blocking will come:


Part of the job is having the right tools.  Here the amazing Hilti PMC 36 Combilaser, with 1/8″ accuracy at 30′:


This self-levelling laser sends out points for up/down, left/right, and a wide level beam from its front aperture.  Here you can see the line confirming the height of the jack studs in our door frame:


And from the other side you can see that the line actually paints the bottoms of the headers:


(Yes, I did use the GIMP to enhance the appearance of the laser light in this highly illuminated room.)

Now what’s really fun is that this line that’s partially cut off by the header continues on into the equipment room:


Note that the laser line is consistently above the top edge of the blocks, and filling only half of the 3/8″ high mortar joint.  Then remember that the top half of this laser line was blocked by the header, and you see that at a distance of 44′ (the distance between the laser ledge and the back of the QR wall) the studio agrees with itself—masonry and carpentry—to the very limit of our measuring devices.  And remember that the masons who built this wall were told “nobody’s going to see the inside of this room,” but they built it perfectly anyway.

Think about that for a moment.

Here we see a perfect vertical alignment, and a small adjustment to be made in the left-right dimension, maybe:


How does it all end up so straight?  That’s the final piece of the puzzle: perfect transcription and interpretation of these cryptic runes:


It’s exciting to see this take shape, and even more exciting to know that the shape is this close to ideal!

In other news, the other carpentry crew has spent the week installing more Cypress for the lower soffits:





That’s a whole ‘nother kind of perfection going on: picking the right boards so everything looks like it belongs together.  Also note the rhythm of the light fixtures: in the photo immediately above, you can see five lights perfectly spaced running from west to east.  In the photos prior, you see other rhythmic sequences straight down the center of the center boards.  When you walk under these soffits and see the shift from one axis to the next as you round the corner, it’s a bit like experiencing the architectural equivalent of a tritone turnaround.  Amazing…

Have a great weekend, and remember: always be excellent to each other.