Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spider Web Loft

I finally completed the loft floor last night.  It has taken a lot longer than expected, although I suppose I should expect that now.  I'm taking more time and using more energy by focusing on using mostly hand tools.

These are the tools I used to build the loft.  I would like to explain a little bit about them, so others can understand the process and have a glimpse into my developing style of finish carpentry.  The thin metal 3' ruler on the left is amazing.  It's light and flexible and works wonders for layout.  I picked this up a week ago after using one with Abel these last few weeks.  The Japanese saw was used for all the cuts.  I am a dedicated patron of these saws and I continue to use them more and more for most of my fine carpentry and some of my rough framing work.  A small aggressive file with a flat side and a round side.  This tool is essential for so much of my carving and small adjustment work.  A pencil, a utility blade and a tape measure.  The makita impact driver and a foam pad for my knees.  I cut this out of an old sleeping mat.

Here is a bit more about the impact driver:

I got this makita quad drive bit when I went home to Maryland for my Mom's birthday.  It was my grandfather's and he hardly used it because it was in great shape.  I asked my Dad if I could have it and he agreed because he had not used it much either.  I couldn't bring it on the plane, thanks tsa, so my mom had to ship it to me.  This little guy was worth the wait.  It is a #8 counter sinking drill bit on one side and it has an interchangeable drive bit on the other.  For this project I used a #2 square drive.  The reason I like it so much is because usually I have to change out the bit each time from counter sink to the drive, and I always misplace the bit.  I also have started using 2 drills, one for the counter sink and one for the drive, but I much prefer having one bit that flips and not having to manage another drill. 

Under loft view:  I used 5/8 fir strips, ripped into 1 7/8" strips.  They are spaced at about 1/4", which varies a bit because I did not measure.  I like the variance and honestly I would rather not measure.  The spans are a bit far for 5/8" thick material, but this loft will have a bed on it, so it will disperse the weight to all the boards.  I wanted to build lighter and the 1/4" spacing allows for airflow under the mattress to stop condensation, or better put, allows air to breathe into areas that will develop condensation and stop mildew. 

The loft was designed like a spider web.  There are several kinds of spiderwebs, the most common being the spiral orb web.  The loft starts from one corner and has 2x4 joists spiraling out from one point like a sun burst.  The fir pieces then connect the joists  and there is a big 16" piece of fir that is a little cantilevered over the edge.  I cut this piece with a jig saw on the grain line, so it oscillates with the grain of the wood.

It took a lot of work, but in the end I'm really glad I took the time to build something that breathes inspiration, pragmatic design, and aesthetic beauty.  A special thanks to Abel Zimmerman for inspiring me to complete my dreams.  

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