Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mine Tour - Part II

Last August I reported on my crawlspace excavation project, when I was at the 71-loads-excavated mark:

Since then the digging has only made it to the 94 load mark, the effort pausing while I completed the various steps needed to get the first beam and pillars up, such as learning how to mix concrete from my brother-in-law Efrain.

And here's the first beam and one of the pillars! It is made up of three 2x10s bolted together and supported by two adjustable jackposts, which are in turn bolted to 12" diameter x 48" tall concrete pillars. The pillar is pretty much in the same spot as the shovel in the above photo.

Note the old lone 2x6 beam with the block pillar to the right.

Here is a side view of the beam. From this view you can also see our skyhooks, an idea we puzzled together that was so successful that my wife and I were able to install this extremely heavy thing unassisted.

They are just two "C" clamps attached to a floor joist with a ratcheting tie-down strap hung between them - the kind you'd use to hold a couch in the bed of a pick-up truck. This arrangement supported the weight of the beam most of the time, providing essential peace of mind that if the beam fell while we were setting the jackposts it would be caught by the strap.

Next we will give the threaded jackpost screws a 1/4 turn every few days until the rafters are evenly supported, then connect each rafter to the beam with hurricane straps. At that point we'll be able to knock out those two old block pillars and resume digging!