Saturday, February 2, 2008

Driveway madness..

Well, as anyone who has read much of this knows, we are all but consumed these days with the house. We are out there every day, sometimes for several hours. This week, we have been watching a driveway go through some changes.

Two weeks ago today, the driveway looked like this:

Ten loads of fill had been brought in, shaped, packed down, we could have driven right into the garage.

Then, on Wednesday, we showed up to see a big honking backhoe digging up the side of it all to install the septic system and graywater tank:

This, of course, wreaked new havoc with the driveway, leaving large piles of rock and dirt ( which here is really just crushed limestone powder).

Then, On Thursday, another machine was there scooping up the debris the big honking backhoe left, and using it to cover up the septic system:

He did a pretty good job, too. We spent the afternoon watching him turn it back into a usable driveway:

So, after getting it all smooth again, we went back out yesterday (Friday) afternoon, and discovered that the backhoe had been back, this time with a vengence. The whole driveway was trenched down about two feet into the rock. There were several of these trenches, leading from the new septic to various drain points on the house. I had to put together a three-photo panorama shot to get this all together:

I guess you could possibly use the driveway now, if you had a good offroad bike and were not afraid of leaping some trenches. Amid mounds of fairly respectable hunks of broken rock.

Those grooves in the bottom of the trench are the backhoe's tooth marks, scraped into solid limestone. After the pipes are run, all the crushed stuff will be used to cover it over again. And then, I suppose, it will all get smoothed over one last time. At least we hope it's the last time for a while. At least we can say that slurry of limestone dust and crushed rock is extremely compacted from all the heavy machinery that has been driving all over it. That should be a good thing. I know I can stand on the very edge of the driveway and it doesn't seem to want to crumble. This limestone dirt is some sticky stuff.

That's basically it for news of the house. Oh, there are still things going on inside. The crew is constantly painting, now working on the second coats. Felix the cabinet man has been here several times, and the cabinet tops are getting fitted. Most of the electrical fixtures are now in. Work progresses on the plumbing.

And in the meantime I have been messing around with garage plans. I think I have settled into some version of this for the basic bench setup:

I put a rolling section in the end, so that I can use it as bench extension, or a rolling cart that will attach to the bench anywhere along its front. Or it can of course be free standing, since it's going to be on locking casters:

This approach lets me standardize on "benchtop" stationary tool. If I need to reposition something, I should be able to put it on the 'cart' section and move it where I want it. It also gives me both a corner, and accessible end on the work bench, should I need them. That's sometimes a good place for a decent bench clamp.

I figure this design works for this garage. It keeps everything( so far) within two feet of that large far wall. Now I can start working on some shelving ideas. Putting this all together in SketchUP is time consuming, but by the time you have thought it through, you have essentially built the project in your head. Now it's just a matter of taking the measurments off the components, cutting them out, and putting them together. Kinda like a "Do-It-Yourself Kit" project, only in this one you also get to design and cut out the parts to make the kit. You can take the detail about as fine as you need to. For example, I have all the support pieces for this bench already worked out, down to the 3" tall casters:

I have almost the entire house on SketchUp now. La Gringa's office is mostly designed. This is a very good way to determine just what you need in materials. Helps minimize cost and waste. This is a very useful little CAD program, and it's free!

We haven't been on the boat the past few days. The Trade Winds continue to blow hard and we presently have nine foot seas where we like to fish. I do, however, see a break in the wind forecast for mid week, meaning a fishing expedition is likely coming up.


LeoinSA said...

Gringo - The top of the table saw (or band saw or chop saw or miter saw, etc.) should be the same height as the top of the work bench. That will allow you to use the extra bench space as 'overflow' when you're working with the driftwood chunks.

There are lots of good books about workshop design available - I'd be happy to email you the titles of several if you'd like.

To the septic system. I'm very unclear as to where the leech field is going to go? I've lived in houses with septic systems all my life and all I know suggests that solid limestone isn't going to like accepting the water overflow from the septic tank. The solids of course stay in the tank.

The last time I had a septic tank pumped out the man doing the work took a lot of glee in telling about an older lady of some social bearing that was observing him as the pumper truck did it's thing. According to the driver, she asked, "What's all that brown stuff?" And he was laughing his butt off as he told this - His answer was, "Lady, I don't know what it's called where you come from, but where I grew up we call that sh*t."

Apparently things are done a bit different in TCI - but where is the overflow water going to go?

Enjoying your blogging efforts as always.



Anonymous said...

hello Leo,
Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I know it would be better if the top of the table saw was level with the bench. The problem I have yet to solve is that the bench top tools I have in mind all have different working table heights. Right now I have a (crummy) table saw and a bench top drill press. I hope to be adding a band saw, a lathe, and probably a cut-off saw.
If I make the cart fixed height for one of them, it won't work for the others.

I have been toying with the idea of making the cart top the correct "depth" for the tallest of the power tools, and then bolting wooden "shims" ( 2x4's etc. as needed) to the feet of the shorter tools to bring them all up to the same benchtop height.

The cart is probably the first thing I will build in the new house, to get the little table saw up off the floor and it will be the tool I use the most for the first few weeks while building the bench and whatever shelving I am going to have to design and build for the house.

I already know I am going to want to build some drawers in our bathroom vanity, for example, and probably some shelves in the pantry and broom closet, just to get my old dusty woodworking skills loosened up again after more than a year since I built the deck on Pine Cay.

The height of the workbench, like the height of the counter tops in the house, is 38", or about 2" taller than "standard". This was on purpose when we designed the house.

Malicious Intent said...

Wow, the driveway project looks seriously intense. Best wishes with that.

Anonymous said...

Gringo --

Here's from a serious(and seriously envious) lurker >

Make your table saw top level with your bench top for run out or support of a sheet of plywood. Create a pocket in the bench for your chopsaw with a drop in cover leaving 8' or so to either side. Build the table saw cart with a dust bin / scrap box underneath. Build the cart so all four legs are flat on the floor and solid but add two largest wheels to the side away from the fence side of the saw. That way when you want to use it you lift up the fence side and roll it out but it is stable once you set it down. A drillpress doesn't take much room and a benchtop one can be left in the corner opposite the cart or put under the bench if in the way. Build a plywood cabinet with double doors, full height to store handtools, sanders, circular saws, drills etc 'cause salt air will get them. Mine is 4'w x 8'h x 2'. Like others have said there are good books on shop layout but mostly ideas to help you design what you need for your situation and space.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas on the table saw cart. I am not entirely clear on the wheel configuration. Are they attached in the same orientation as though on a two wheel cart? such as would be the case if you ran one long axle through both legs with wheels on the ends?

Anonymous said...

opps- forgot to remind you to make a cut out in the box top to match the open base of your saw so the dust will fall thru into your bin -

Anonymous said...

WTF ???? Don't know what happened to the comment prior to the hole in the top but I'll try again >>>

Besides, I know you'll be busy moving in and not get around to this project for awhile.

For my saw I added a top extension to the fence side of about 30" so maybe that's why this works so well. I also mounted a router base underneath the extension so I could use the fence with the router.
The saw sits on a box frame made from 2x6s about 1 foot wider and 8" deeper than the saw. Install a drop cord to a outlet box on the back wired to a switch on the front for safe off/on. The box is supported by 2x4 legs run up at a 45 degree angle from a base of 2x4s on either side flush to the floor. 1x6s support the pull out plywood dust bin between the leg sets below the saw. The wheels are the casters with the four hole metal plates and metal arms to support the wheels. Mount the casters to the side of the legs slightly above the floor perpendicular to the fence. When you tip the saw up the casters touch the floor and you roll it like a wheelbarrow. This rig is seriously heavy but needs to be for stability and safety. It that clearer??

Congratulations on your move in. It looks wonderful! Enjoy !!!!