It's good for me to continue to do carpentry. It keeps me grounded. I'm really not the same person on a jobsite as I am in writing. It's like Mad Jack and Siegfried Sassoon: I must cultivate the internal division.
Anyway, I agreed to do a screened-porch for odd neighbor Tina. It's really an addition to her playhouse, which is for her and her two sick pomeranians (don't ask!). So I decided I'd better make footings, since I'm not sure the playhouse is at all well connected to the ground, and I don't want to risk the porch blowing away. So I did the preliminary work today, and took some pictures of it, which I'm going to post and narrate, "This Old House" style. Oh, Tommy, won't you come over to my house? Anyway...
First, here is the site. It is really only about six by six feet, so it clearly can't compete with the 60,000 square foot buildings we used to do--but it's also my first 100% solo project, so I guess I'll not be too hard on me. So here's the site:
Next, I had to dig some holes. For the foundation, I decided on sonotubes filled with concrete. Underneath each sonotube is a flat rock or paver. Since I didn't want to be digging until judgement day (which is only in September for us Jews!) I decided to cut my four-foot tubes into two-foot tubes. I want to leave enough height to put rebar in with a threaded rod at the end, so that I can bolt right into the deck framing. This saves me from having to rent a hammer drill to bolt into the concrete. So here are my preliminary holes, with one sonotube sticking out, as a test:
Then, I wanted to get a sense of how much further I ought to dig each hole, so I put all the tubes in, and tested for level using a 2x4 and my four-foot level on each side, and on the diagonals. Ideally, if there is a difference, the slope should be down and away from the house. I was going for about 1/4 inch difference, if any:
Good work, kid! Very, very close. I then had to widen the holes a bit, to put the pavers in them, and tomorrow I will be putting the sonotubes back in, over the pavers, and mixing the concrete. I'm a little nervous about this part, since I've never done it before. After the concrete is set--then will be the easy part!!