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There Is Satisfaction in Complete Destruction


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Last week was all about pry bars and sledgehammers and demolition. In fact, the one tool that has probably been responsible for the most work done so far is something called a demolition bar. It’s a very long pry bar with one end bent at fifteen degrees and the other at ninety. Bert says that many things will try to resist the demo bar, but none succeed. Whatever the demo bar addresses eventually succumbs. It is heavy, so it can knock things down. It is long, so it provides the leverage to pull things up or apart. It is hard, so things like concrete or nails do not impede its path. The sawzall used to be my favorite tool, but the demo bar has dethroned it. 

After the roof came off the rest of the house fell quite readily. Bert came over with Scott to help remove the shed roof from the kitchen. That happened so quickly that we decided to take the side and rear walls down as well. Ironically, we broke for labor day and then I returned on Tuesday to take down the laundry room and the front facade. Working alone is three times slower than working with two other people. Weird how the math works out on that huh? When Scott and Bert were helping we took down three walls and a really heavy roof section in half a day. Alone I took down one wall and one little four by eight foot room in about six hours. That left us with just the car port, which Ed Botello the hauling guy pulled down via a rope tied to his truck. Ed deserves an entire post so I’ll sing his praises later. For now I’ll describe him as a compact bulldozer of a man who gets things done like nobody I’ve ever seen. 

The carport was the last of the original structure and once it fell we were left with two giant piles of debris. One pile was “clean” and one was “dirty”. Dirty goes straight to landfill. Clean is recycled and most of it eventually ends up as mulch. The dump has giant piles of different grades of mulch that you can buy for a low price. I’m positive that some of the lumber of the old house will eventually end up back in the garden.

While taking down one of the walls I split open a piece of wood and found a bunch of termites. Man those guys are tenacious. It seems like every wall and most of the ceiling was spongy from their efforts. Somehow they manage to eat most of the wood while leaving a fairly rigid structure behind. It’s as if they know that if they ate completely through the house would fall down and they’d ruin their meal ticket. You can see photos of the termites and their handiwork in the gallery below. 

Tearing down the front of the house brought out the neighbors. Every hour or so I’d see someone stop in front, mouth agape and with a “dang!” expression on their face.  I met Kevin from down the street – a woodworking teacher and carpenter. And I met Jake from across the street, a nice guy and also a carpenter. My next door neighbor is a carpenter too. And a few doors down is a roofer. For such an anti-growth town there sure are a lot of dudes in the building trades living here. Everyone has been really cool, offering advice and generally being stoked on the project. 

I’m putting together a video from different stages of the tear down. Until it is ready, please enjoy these photos of recent interest.

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