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Old 08-19-2011, 07:41 PM   #31
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


One thing that I remember cocking my head at during the initial walkthrough of this house was that there was coax installations. Everywhere you could imagine. Though I only ever saw two connected to the dish from the exterior on a splitter. Since it's bad signal juju to split splitters a bunch of times, I figured that none of the others must be connected to anything, or just to each other.

I was spot-on. I found a rats-nest of coax in the crawlspace, from two separate cable installs. One looked to be done in the 80s, with two holes drilled thru the stucco into each of the rear bedrooms and professional split. The other appeared to be newer, but the cable drop went directly through the crawlspace entrance and then into a 5-way splitter, where it became a mess of random brand and length coax, covered in a healthy amount of corrosion. Then they were randomly drilled up through the 2x6 plank subfloor, though the 3/4" TNG, and left as terminated heads sticking out of the floor. It's a hardwood travesty.

As I said previously, this is one of the DirecTV install. Look what I found when I probed for extra slack to make a service loop. Lovely, huh?

My local, small-town Comcast installer is a pretty decent guy. I donate my old PC electronics to him, and he makes random builds for family and some elderly people he watches after. In exchange, he just hooked me up with 1/2 a spool of RG-6. I just happen to have a pile of IDE DVD-RWs waiting for donation... I'm confident he'd reterminate that cable for me. For the sake of the project, I just shoved it all back in the wall for now.

This is the end result.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:48 PM   #32
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Some time during all of the action, the little lady woke up. It was probably 2am by this point. Of course, she woke up just as I'd finished making the cut outline for the coax. Funny how she always seems to stumble into the project during the fun parts.

I let her cut the hold, her first time with a drywall saw. We lost a small piece of the paper and texture, but it thankfully hides behind a standard-size plate. I came behind with the jigsaw to straighten and smooth up her cuts, and left little black dots everywhere from a black piece of electrical tape stuck to the underside of the saw. Oops. Comes right off with Magic Eraser, though, and it needs another coat of paint anyway.

Since I couldn't find the low-voltage bracket, I used a standard one-gang box for now. I had to chisel out the brace a bit to get it to fit smoothly, and saw off a small piece of the old work box's drywall backing clamps as well with a jeweler's saw.

Not too bad for a first try. Props to her for that.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:06 PM   #33
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


I took great care with the speaker mounts. The layout plan itself took nearly an hour, as I figured it was important to get proper speaker placement. If I was going to do it, I may as well do it well and only have to do it once.

The front sides are at about 26 degrees from center each and mounted at ear level. The center channel is just above the subwoofer, pointed at the listener. This allowed me the space to plan for some movie posters above and to the sides of the setup, as well as the ability to pull the TV out its full 30" while still getting fully unobstructed sound to the two center recliners. Mounting hte center channel above the TV would have permitted neither.

The surround sides are just barely behind the listener, about 105 degrees to the TV (assuming a perfectly centered listener) on either side. They're ceiling mounted, pointed to just above ear level to take the edge off. They're also 12" inset from the edge of the ceiling, so in-line with the 3 pendant lights.

This is what the plan looks like. Forgive the viewpoint.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:11 PM   #34
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


And here's how it all turned out. Both the TV mount and each shelf track have cable management features, but it was nearly 7am.

Since I plan on putting in a 7.2 banana plug wallplate, matching plates at each speaker location and all-in wall speaker wiring, I figured I'd just leave the wiring ugly for now. The modem/router (and two switches) will also be move to a planned shelf at the top of the wall, with in-wall coax and Cat5e runs. The blocks at either end of the room are planned built-in bookshelves.

I ached, my head hurt, and even mud-like coffee was starting to have no effect. My thoughts exactly, Al. Bed time.

This being my 36-hour work weekend, not much is going to get done around here. There's hardly enough time to eat and sleep between shifts. I'll post if I accomplish anything.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:59 PM   #35
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Woke up late, still dog tired. Suffice to say, nothing physical will get done before I head out the door today.

Been looking at the random mismatch of moulding around here, trying to create a cohesive look in my head.

Most of the baseboards are like so, 4" primed composite stock. They're installed, in good condition, in about 75% of the places I'd want baseboard.



Most of the doors/windows have this style at 2". Sorry I couldn't find a cutaway. However, there are two other styles, one on only one side of one doorway, and the other only around one window (the only window with moulding). Consistency was apparently not the PHO's strong suit.




These two styles seem to conflict to me. I like the increased detail shown on the baseboard, but would prefer something with even less flat surface. It looks a lot more plain when I look across the room in person, painted in a glossy white, then when I look at the profile image.

I want to just replace it all to match better, but have the feeling that it would be cost- and time-prohibitive.

A bit conflicted at the moment. Any advice is welcome.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:31 PM   #36
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


The long work weekend is over, which leaves me about about 48 hours of freedom if I were to stay on a night shift sleeping pattern. If.

Have plans for tomorrow afternoon and evening, so that's already spent. I'll leave it to be a surprise for now.

Just woke up to the sounds of a giant commercial stump grinder mawing away on a tree not 30' from my bedroom window. I understand that it really did need to be grinded on, but... a little prior notice would have been lovely from the neighbors, or even a flyer taped to my door from the company in advance.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:35 PM   #37
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Not much got done today. I spent half the afternoon half-asleep from being woken up with very little sleep and the other half trying to tie up two of my existing projects.

About a month ago, the little lady pulled up the flagstone (slate?) pathway going back to the tool shed. It was "her project", but that's about where it ended - with a pile of pulled out dirt and rock, and a whole lot of missing path.

A little over a week ago I managed to finally find some free rock on Craigslist in my local area. From the pictures and description, I thought I'd be pulling up a gravel pathway. Nope. I arrived to a very messy (and very large) pile. It looked like a pile of dirt, crushed granite, the occasional random river rock, and tons of sticks, leaves, etc. We bought it home, 6 shovel scoops per 3 mil bag, in a total of 20 bags. I didn't expect they'd have so much available, or I would have brought more bags to take more with me.

Since then, she's changed her mind and now wants pavers. I'm waiting for a sale, or somebody's nice project excess to be sold on the cheap.

The mixture got washed down this morning. The sticks and leaves made it into green waste can, the mud runoff made it into a low spot that needed filling along the rear fence line, and the rock was used to cover the unpainted side of the house where 3-5" was just graded off for draining reasons.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:51 PM   #38
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


The electrical problem I was having, where I needed to get a neutral to a box with only a switch leg, is coming closer to being done.

Last time, I went into the attic and drilled another hole in the top plate where the existing wiring comes out. I'm going to steal a neutral from the junction box at the light by rewiring it so that power is at the switch and not the light. This requires I pull an extra run of 14-2 NM from the switch to the light (or replace the existing 14-2 NM with 14-3 NM, but this seems cheaper).

I had lowered a string into the wall pocket, but couldn't locate it near the switch box. I feared that they had drill through the stud and run the wiring up through the next pocket on the wall, then stapled the cable to the center of the stud face.

A lot of ideas came to me. I could use my 54" cable bits up the pocket and then out the top plate. Nah, too risky I may punch a hole through the drywall at the top plate (like last time ). I could steal the neutral from the nearby receptacle. Nah, that's ghetto fab, and pulling a neutral from another circuit sounds unsafe. I could just move over a pocket and drill down from the attic again. Ugh, ok, I'll do it.

Except once I crawled across the house in the 120F attic, there was apparently a 4x8 beam end covering where I wanted to drill.

I tried drilling sideways through the stud adjacent to the switch box and fishing with a coathanger for the string, but it just wasn't working. I couldn't find my rare earth magnets. I ended up removing the cabinet above the switch box and then cutting a rather large access hole on the center of the studs. Sure enough, there was the string, the correct NM conductors, the sideways hole into the next pocket (not pictured) and the staples.

When I'm done, I'll replace the drywall piece, screw it back in, maybe bother cover the screwheads and seam in joint compound, and not worry about it again until I replace the cabinetry.

I can't take another minute in that heat today. I'll have to finish the pull in the morning.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:06 PM   #39
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Wow, what a day!

Started off the morning with coffee and strategizing over this electrical issue. I expected to open up the chandellier's light box and see two or three cables - line in, switch leg out and maybe a branch to somewhere else. I haven't found any rhyme or reason in the existing circuits yet... powering half of two bedrooms, the opposite wall entry, then cutting back around to the garage conversion, for example. Almost like the house was reading my mind, I took the light down ugliest box I could expect, very loosely fastened to the the underside of two sistered 2x8 beams, floating around and covered in stucco.

1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project-49.jpg

Mmmmkay. What the hell is this wire mess? After removing copious amounts of electrical tape, some sort of black cloth tape (gauze-like material), and cutting off the hand-made twists, it was looking halfway respectable. However, whoever though it was okay to strip 1" off the middle of an exposed wire and then the bare end of another wire around it, only to cover the mess in tape, needs to be shot.

1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project-50.jpg

Sure enough, 3 cables. I ensured all circuits were off, then turned this one back on after nutting each individually. I expected to see one hot wire with juice (line in) and the rest dead. Nope, I had one cable where both wires were hot, one where just the black was hot, and one where both were dead. This is with the switch removed as well.

I puzzled for a while, then went into the attic (with circuit off again). Turns out everything on the dead branch was a fire hazard. I removed the entire run for safety, and you can see the big mistakes here.

1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project-51.jpg

On the left, you see the connection at the light. In the center, you see the in-line splice I found about 10' downstream, stapled to the garage firewall. From here, both ends legs pass through the firewall. Why not just branch AFTER the firewall, and spend $5 for nuts/junction box? Oh, because it would be too safe. Good point. One leg went to the rear patio light, which I ended up putting out of service for now because this isn't a GFCI breaker and there's no GFCI receptacle on this circuit at all. The other leg was cut off (!) where you see it in the right side of the picture, and just sitting burred in a pile of cellulose insulation. I should consider myself lucky that I didn't touch that live wire and fall through the ceiling, or die in a fire. I found the other end of it attached to a decommissioned garage ceiling light that was covered over when conversion was drywalled. Yeah, they left the device and NM still attached to the rafter.

After that, I pulled what I suspected was the incoming line into the wall pocket for the switch. It was long enough that I didn't need a junction, so I appreciate that small piece of good luck. However, I noticed that the area where it was clamped had caused a gash in the conductors. Thus, I didn't just have 3 hot wires... I had an energized box and chandellier. How we didn't ground and go bzzt when we cleaned it, I don't know, but I'm thankful for nothing short of a miracle.

1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project-52.jpg

Here's the finished product, dimmed just under half way for the photo. Any brighter, and it washed the lighting out. Any dimmer, and it wasn't visibly lit. It has a pretty wide brightness range. The small quarter-round piece is a light sensor, so it turns off automatically. It can be set in guide light mode by pressing and holding for 10 seconds so it's always on, but I don't have a use for that yet.

At this point, I had about 45 minutes to get ready and out the door, so I didn't have a chance to close up the drywall, remount the cabinet, or reinstall the kitchen light switch. That's going to probably have to wait for tomorrow morning, or maybe even the weekend.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:20 PM   #40
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Here's why I had to go in such a hurry... today was my wedding day! I cleaned up and made it into my dress blues in record time.



(The forum doesn't seem to like my picture, so I moved it to ImageShack)

We came home for a few minutes, to realize that it had heated up inside. Oh, but wait, I forgot to repair the A/C duct that broke while I was in the attic.

We decided an early dinner was in order. We had the most amazing pitcher of Sangria, an huge portions of Veal Saltimboca and Eggplant Parmisana. A nap was in order on the way home, while our driver had to detour around reported 100' flames coming from a propane train car.

(Who brought that crane and cow?)

With that, I'm off. To... well, that isn't important.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:05 PM   #41
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


That A/C duct was taped back up first thing this morning. Not a moment too soon either, as the tiny little fan we put in the bedroom window hardly helped. Blech.

Not a very interesting, so I spared the photos.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:15 PM   #42
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As predicted, Wednesday and Thursday were full of work. I did manage to get started on drafting up the back yard and planned path for the new walkway to the tool shed. Since I'll be replacing the dirt-and-flagstone path with pavers next spring, I figured I may as well move the path if I could find a better route for it. After puzzling a while, we decided on a straight path instead of the curve we already had, and move it to the opposite side of the tree it went around.


After work on Wednesday, I was able to get the cable guy out to re-terminate the in-wall RG-6 in the living room. He took off about 10' and replaced the old connector. That leaves me much more room in the wall cavity, so I move the splitter inside the wall later. I gave him two older IDE DVD+/-RWs that still worked, but were about to be recycled.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:17 PM   #43
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Here's what the plans look like so far. Up is North. Street is to the east.

1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project-209-mesa-28-aug-11.jpg

The lot's a crazy mix of different materials at different times. Grass at front and rear. Raised front porch, large rear patio. Dirt on the NW corner of the home and gravel on the North side at the utilities. 1x6 wood fence on three sides. You can see the planned paver walkway on the South border. While the hatch shows herringbone, it will likely end up as running bond of squares with border.

Noticed that I hadn't laid out the bathroom right after I saved the screenshot. Added the window and shower/tub afterwards. Also forgot a younger sapling just North of the tool shed and a large old oak in the NE corner.

If I have my way, a lot of this concrete will be replaced with pavers incrementally.

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Old 08-27-2011, 02:34 PM   #44
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Spent a good portion of Tues / Wed working with the wifey on what to do next. I gave the choices of a 3-day camping trip along the Redwood coast, a day-trip to Big Sur, a 2-day hiking trip to Yosemite, the pavers/sand/gravel required for her walkway, or a new bedding set. Guess what she chose...

...the bedding set. So the dirt that was removed from the old path and North side grading went back into the hole she dug. The trips got postponed until next summer.

Was originally looking at sets on Amazon from the "Chezmoi Collection", whatever that is. Mixed reviews citing cheap materials nixed the idea of a 8-pc set without sheets for $79 + $17 S/H. Walmart doesn't sell Cal King in stores. Target doesn't seem to either. Ended up finding what she wanted from Kohl's, online only of course , and ordered it. $239 - 20% sale + free S/H worked out to just under $200. Added a small filler in to get back to $201 so I could get an extra $10 cash back. In the end, this premium 20 pc set was about $160 + tax, compared to the $96 Amazon set that didn't come with sheets.

Much of today will be spent running her into town for new clothes to start her new job tomorrow.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:30 PM   #45
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thadius856 View Post
Just woke up to the sounds of a giant commercial stump grinder mawing away on a tree not 30' from my bedroom window. I understand that it really did need to be grinded on, but... a little prior notice would have been lovely from the neighbors, or even a flyer taped to my door from the company in advance.
Yep, I left my neighbors a five day notice. Who wants to wake up to that?

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