||[Sep. 23rd, 2018|10:15 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
I'm sure that a professional wouldn't have taken 8 hours on this task, but now we know why anything you want done costs $500...
Today's activity was replacing the vent cover on a crawl space vent. In particular, the hard one, which has the new gas meter in front of it, and through which they drilled a hole and ran a pipe, so you can't just take it off, it's trapped by the gas pipe. Further complicating matters, the outdoor faucet is just slightly above the cover, and the people who replaced the faucet had randomly nailed on a large board to hold the faucet. Fortunately, it was only overlapping the cover a little bit and no nails or screws were entwined in the two projects.
My first idea was to try to cut it in half, since to replace it, we'll need two separate boards with half-holes in them. I was constrained by the fact that there's a wood lattice behind the cover, an unknown but small distance, and by not wanting to damage the gas pipe.
Since the moto tool already had the cutting tool on it, I decided to try that first. Fail! The cover is made of a tar-like material, and it melted all over the cutting disk. However, that did give me the idea that it was pretty easy to shred (I should have been able to figure that out by the fact that it has a huge hole, necessitating the whole enterprise in the first place). But it's held in by a wooden frame, so that needed to be cut somehow, in order to pass the gas meter.
So my next trick was to take everything holding the frame off. This included nails, screws, staples, hardware cloth, and duct tape. I was then able to wiggle the frame away from the wall by a few inches (still trapped by the gas meter), and was able to bash at the thing with a saw. Success, it was removed! (With only a little bruising to the surrounding boards, and no damage to any gas company equipment.)
I rewarded myself with a waterski run, having seen the neighbor out mowing his lawn and verified that he was also interested. Yay! It was nippy but not that bad and I didn't use a wetsuit.
So, now the task is to construct a two-piece replacement with the random plywood we have lying about that I used last time. Lay the old one on top of the board, carefully trace, remember that there's always a 1/8 or 1/16 inch gap between the actual ink and the place it should be, run the circular saw.
Cut in two at the appropriate place. Maybe that was the wrong thing because now I have to cut two half-holes and maybe it would have been easier to just cut a hole. Or maybe not, as we only seem to have a 1 inch hole borer, and the pipe seems to be 1.5 inches. Much ineffective screwing around with hole borers of various smaller sizes to try to get something the right size and shape. The drill is acting up. It randomly quits and I have to wiggle the forward/reverse switch to make it start again.
Finally I notice we have a sabre saw. Well, I've never used one before, but it can't be worse than all the random crap I've been trying. In fact it works pretty well.
So, now to try fitting the boards into the slot. Hm. One of those 1/16 inch differences between the drawing on the board and the cutting of the board wasn't right and it doesn't quite fit together. Sabre saw to the rescue, and while that gives a horribly ragged edge, I find the parts to make the drill do sandpaper (continuing to fight with its randomly cutting out). What I really need to do is learn to use a plane. This 1/16 inch thing happens to me all the time, and I just want to shave a little off the top of something.
Finally! It is fitting! Well, almost. There's a 1/16 inch gap cuz I went overboard in my correction. I think I should find some weatherstripping for it.
Next step: Get out the paint. Waste time with some old dried out paint before I notice there's a sign "discard" in the box. Find the paint. Find a paintbrush. Find something that's not really a paint stirrer but has obviously been used for *this* paint before. Set up paper etc in the porch, get the boards covered with the first coat.
I plan to paint the second coat tomorrow evening and install the boards later on. Currently there is a complete lattice work covering the opening, so small creatures like mice and chipmunks can get in but nothing larger.
There's one more of these that needs replacement, but it shouldn't be nearly the enterprise this was.
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