Having been sufficiently mocked by both my laptop and digital camera this morning, here I am posting a few photos of our recent work and trying to compile all into a logical sequence.
We have been hard at it, and nearly the entire north wall, all 32 feet of it, is now complete. We still have to insulate 4 sections (nearly half the wall), but things are progressing admirably.
I took down the dividing wall between the tool room so we have access to the entire north wall. We were working our way backwards to the little access door, which in the end proved to be a futile endeavour since we ended up tearing down all the wood of the knee wall anyhow. It was all too rotten and brittle. This being the North West corner of the house, we found a lot more rot and damage from water infiltration over the decades.
In essence, tearing down the knee wall proved to be beneficial, since having access to the entire space for insulation and wiring purposes did speed things up considerably. The downside, of course, is having to buy more wood to rebuild the entire wall up again, and the time it takes to put everything up again.
In the above photo, you can see the new rafter in place, and how we start to insulate this space. Here we have 2 thickness' of Roxul for a total height of 11", placed up to the outside wall.
Eric places a stay (yes, rigging from a nautical supplier!) at each beam. Since the roof line of our house has become saddle-backed, and the outside walls are bulging in somewhat of a bombé fashion, he thought the most practical solution would be to place these stays at regular intervals. Having the entire wall open, he is able to tighten each stay in sequence, and as each one is torqued tighter, the one next to it slackens slightly. By having all these exposed, Eric is able fine-tune the tension on each stay to create maximum hold. Each stay is rated to withstand 2,000 lbs. of tension. This will not correct the fact that the walls have bulged outwards, but it will prevent any further settling from occurring.
In the above photo, Eric has started to replace the wood of the knee wall with 1" thick pine boards.
Above you can see more reconstruction of the knee wall; in the back, there is a little wall of plywood. This plywood serves 2 purposes: it is hollow, i.e. there is no insulation behind it, this way we are ensuring proper air circulation to prevent condensation, and it also holds the insulation in place that we are putting behind the knee wall.
We now have 2 sections completed on each end of the house, and 4 sections in between.
Here is a detail of the furring strips that prevent the insulation from touching the roof. These furring strips encourage the air flow from behind the knee wall, right up to the attic. This is a necessary step to ensure that air circulates properly, and prevents the formation of condensation. As we tore down part of the ceiling, we noticed that where the fibre glass insulation in the attic was in direct contact with the roof, there was a lot of condensation. With our repeated freeze/thaw cycles, this contributed to a lot of the mildew we found in the ceiling. These little details make the difference between a healthy versus unhealthy house and cannot be overlooked.
All the rafters have been put into place on this northern wall, so now we need to get busy insulating the remaining sections.
Since the drill press is conveniently (not!) located in our living room (remember my nomination for the Patient Wife of 2009 Award?), every time Eric pre-drills the large hemlock beams he uses as rafters, it creates masses of sawdust in our living space which I furiously try to beat back with my trusty Kenmore vacuum.
It's all part of the deal, renovating a farm house without an attached garage or a basement. Call it growing pains, or call it inconvenience, I have learned to simply turn the other cheek (after I finish vacuuming, that is!)