Straight, perpendicular and level … or pay the consequences

Our story so far: Purchase of the 126-year-old Methodist church to turn into a home: Check. Interior demolition: Check. Building begins: Check.

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Here’s what I didn’t understand about walls until I helped build some: They’re three dimensional.

This should be self-evident, but it wasn’t, at least to me. A wall should be perpendicular to the floor, perpendicular to other walls and level. If you don’t get things perfectly square, you’ll end up with a fun house maze.

I imagine this feat requires skill when one builds a house from scratch, but it’s a real trick when you’re building walls between 126-year-old floors and ceilings that may or may not be level.

Tyler took great pains to jack up the second floor to level, but “level” did not mean it was even. Every wall stud was a different length.

I helped build the closet walls on the main floor by performing a role as human tool holder. “Hand me the square.” “I need the level.” “Give me the power nailer.” (Let’s be honest, Tyler usually dispensed with pleasantries and placed orders with nouns only: “Nailer.” “Level.” “Hammer.”). Sometimes, I was promoted to two-by-four transport specialist or measurement expert (by expert, I don’t mean that I was responsible for measuring the length of the stud, but I did climb the ladder and hold the zero end of the tape measure securely to the ceiling).

In this manner, we (i.e., Tyler) built the walls to our walk-in closet which, conveniently also were supporting walls to the second floor.

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Tomorrow: Pocket doors. Uffda. Read about it here.


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