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Sunday, December 29, 2013
Garage update 5

Garage update 5

The garage is getting close to completion, at least the diamond plate siding part is.  Honestly, it was a monumental undertaking for me, but I've had a lot of fun with it.  Will I ever get back the $ I put into it? Probably not.  But, that wasn't the point.  The point was to cover up the exposed concrete wall, because it looked awful next to my newly painted garage floors :)

Now, the walls look awful next to the diamond plate!  That's going to be another monumental undertaking.

This update is a continuation of the stairs.  The decking stairs that were there before, I kept... well, most of it anyway. Turns out, they weren't very level to begin with.  A little shimming here and there helped, though still I wasn't going to just build them all new from scratch.  The banister, I did rebuild, and for that, I planned to create a capped wall.

At this point, I became clear to the fact that I was not going to have enough diamond plate.  The two sheets I had remaining, would cover the inside of the capped wall, but not the outside.  Fortunately my supplier, Phoenix Metals, had more and offered me 3 more sheets at a similar rate.  In total, I used 13 4' x 8' sheets.

Right about this time, I started becoming present to a nagging feeling.  Too much diamond plate?  Well ya, that's definitely the case, but covering the majority of the outside face with all diamond plate seemed like, extra too much.  This is when Amy came out with a drink, and set it on the horizontal 2' x 4' supports inside the capped wall, and said, "you should really make this a shelf so you can set stuff on it."

So that is what I did.  Thanks Amy! Now we have style and functionality!

Making the cutouts for the shelf was probably the most physically challenging part of all of this, even more than moving the stairs in and out of place.  You see, between two sheets of diamond plate, and the plywood backing, that was a lot of cuts to make.  When you cut sheet metal, in this DIY scenario, you use a fiber blade in a skill saw.  The metal sheet flexes, vibrates, and wobbles, and if not careful, the back side of the blade will grab the edge and cause violent kickbacks.

I made heavy use of the laser leveler here, all to align the cuts to the holes.

In the following picture, rather than realign the laser, I just used the plywood backing as a template to markup up lines on the diamond plate.

Here is what happens to the fiber blade after a sheet or two of cutting.  Fortunately, after this much wear, I can use the fiber blade in my angular grinder.

As back-breaking as it was, shifting, aligning, supporting, adjusting, cutting, marking, filing, 30 times over, cutting the holes for the shelf came out surprisingly accurate.

Though it is not implemented yet, I routed a hole in the top right corner of each recessed shelf cubby. I plan to install recessed LED lighting, the Dream Color stuff, once I start back on the electrical.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Garage update 4

Garage update 4

Steady as she goes!

I've been continuing my work in the garage, especially on days off such as Thanksgiving, and what looks like now to be the week of x-mas.  At times, I've hit slow periods because I'd run out of aluminum J-channel, or just get busy with other stuff, but it's coming along.

The last major hurdle has been the stairs.  I finished out the other wall of the garage, with diamond plate, in a couple days.  In fact that process went like clockwork.  The stairs were a little more complex, perhaps the most yet, probably because I lacked a plan, and didn't have a clear vision for them.  But after giving it some last-minute thought, I came up with an idea.

The original stairs were basic decking material, wood & bolts.  I didn't feel that would be an attractive option with the other enhancements, and also felt that whatever I did needed to be durable and have traction.  For this I bought a couple quarts of truck-bed paint (Rhino Liner).  I chose this because it is an epoxy paint with traction built in.

I moved the original stairs back in place, but decided to cover them up with plywood.  By itself, plywood chips and flakes, and isn't real smooth.  I wanted to help that out by covering it with some type of strong putty.  For this I found Water Putty.

That stuff hardens fast, almost too fast, but it is supposed to be strong, and after sanding it down, it smoothed things up for paint.  I also capped the front of each stair with treated lumber nosing, hoping this will protect the plywood a little more.  Many screws later, the stairs were ready to be painted.

With some paint applied (black truck-bed liner paint), I started to realize that the black paint would make the stairs a bit dangerous to walk up and down if the lighting condition was low. When you walk, it is safer to add points of light for peripheral reference, which is why adding hallway lights in the electrical outlets is common.  What could I do to fix that?  Searching around the internet, I found just the perfect option: small. round, LED lights.

These lights were a bit pricey, but I found a discount.  When they arrived, they were a cinch to install.

Even though they are LED, low voltage, low watts, I wouldn't want them on all the time.  Also, I wouldn't want to have to turn on a light switch at the top of the stairs in order for the lights to illuminate, since if you were coming home, you wouldn't necessarily be able to see the stairs in dark lighting before having to climb up them.

I found a solution for this also!  At Home Depot, there is a rather cheap motion detection system that has a plug on one side, and an outlet on the other, with a 6 ft. wire that extend to the motion sensor.  In the following two pictures, you cane see the little white device at the top of the stairs.

Now, when I walk in front of the detector, either from the top of the stairs or the bottom, the motion sensor activates the light, and leaves them on for a minute, five minutes, 20 minutes, or however long I want, before automatically turning the lights off.

The stairs are starting to look quite nice!  But, I did hustle through it, not taking time to trim the edge of each stair's diamond plate.  As it is, the stairs just touch the wall, without any connectivity, which kind of bothers me, but I will have to live with it.

Once more aluminum J-channel arrives, I'll finish the stairs with a capped wall.  Then a little more electrical wiring, then capping the sides with a shelf, and it will be more or less done (minus painting)!


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