Sunday, May 17, 2009

My New Shop, Episode 4: Purple Walls, Drywall, And Dry Skin

Last Saturday, my little brother, Noah, came up for about six or seven hours to help me get some drywall hung in the new workshop. We didn't exactly get it completely done, but we were able to get it to a point where I could finish up the rest with little assistance.

I'd talked to my older brother the night before and he recommended I run some speaker wire before we hang drywall. I do enjoy the swish of a hand plane playing harmony to Jerry's melodious vocals, so I stopped by a Radio Shack and picked up 100' of wire. It would have taken me two minutes but for the two salesmen and five sales pitches I had to fend off.

No, I hadn't thought about speakers yet; I don't even have drywall hung. Yes, I would consider coming back in to look at what they had when I was ready. No, I'm not interested in gold-plated extra-insulated 12-gauge Monster wire that really helps carry all of the sound, from the low base to the highest trebs, and provides me with the best quality music. I'm not an audio-phile; I just want to listen to some music when I'm in the shop for Pete's sake. No, I don't want to buy my male- and female-adaptors yet. Remember, I don't know what speakers I'm going to get. No, I'm not... You know what? Ask me one more question and I'm not even going to buy the damn speaker wire!


Anyway, we started by taking measurements and figuring out how many pieces of drywall we would need. To try and aid in sound reduction, I wanted to use 5/8" drywall on the ceiling. To make it so we didn't have to lug 20 sheets of 5/8" drywall into the basement, and because it matched the thickness of the drywall used on the other framed wall in the room, I went with 1/2" drywall for the new wall.

And thank goodness for that. After hauling 13 sheets of the heavy stuff down some difficult stairs (I don't have a walk-out basement), I was ready to call it quits for the day! But Noah smartly suggested we hold off on bringing down the last few pieces until we saw how much we really needed and leave the four sheets of 1/2" drywall up in the garage, as well. With a right arm that felt like Jello, I was in complete agreement.

While Noah started taking measurements on the first piece, to account for an outlet hole and to mark joist lines, I hung speaker wire in what I refer to as the bulk heads. You can see the blue painter's tape holding the wire in first and second photos.

Once I had the wire run, it seemed like things moved along pretty quickly. After a few hours, we had all of the flat part of the ceiling done. Another hour saw the I-beam and the duct work boxed in. Thank goodness we didn't bring those last few pieces of 5/8" drywall down because we ended up not needing them. What's more, the amount of drywall waste we had set aside at that point was pretty minimal - less than a full sheet, all laid out side by side, I'd say.

Then we began working on the inside wall. After we finished the right side, having used part of two full sheets of 1/2" drywall, I asked Noah if he was sure we'd picked up enough.

He said, "Yes."

I queried, "For both sides of the wall?"


So later on, after we'd finished the inside wall, we went back to Home Depot to return the remaining sheets of 5/8" and pick up another four sheets of 1/2". By that time, it was getting a little late and I knew his knees were starting to bother him, so we just unloaded the drywall into the garage and called it a day.

I finally got downstairs after church this morning to shoot a couple of pictures (now that the camera is back home). I generally avoid using the flash, because it always seems to cause glare, but it was either that or hang some lights I'd have to take back down before the room could be taped and mudded, so I thought I would give it a try. They turned out pretty good!

Before I start getting bids on the taping and mudding, I need to finish up a few things, as you can see. Some of the drywall already hanging doesn't have enough screws in it, so I have to go through and make sure each piece is secured well enough. Then I have to insulate the new wall and the wall shared by the other room before I close it up with the remaining drywall.

Once that's done, I'll be able to have someone come down and tape and mud my joints.

After that, it's priming and painting and no more purple walls!

Saturday night, after Noah had left and I'd cleaned up a bit in the basement, I sat down and took off my work goves to rub my sore fingers. After a bit, I looked down at my hands to see large bits of skin had come off with the slight friction I was making! Then I remembered I'd been working with drywall (i.e. gypsum) all day. I wonder if it was just a form of dermatitis resulting from the talc-like drywall dust... A good dose of hand cream seemed to bring them back to normal, so I'm not worried. I mean, it isn't like I'm shedding skin and starting to speak in Parseltongue, right?

My next two immediate goals are to finish hanging the drywall and find someone to mud and tape for me. In case the latter takes a bit of time to find, schedule, and complete, I have one or two little projects I'd put on hold during shop renovations. Maybe I'll dig them out and try to finish them up in the make-shift shop to pass the time. I also wanted to write a review on a tool I've been using the heck out of during shop construction.


Max J. Potter said...

erm. an amusing read, should

are you a potter fan?

Ethan said...

Yeah, the parseltongue comment was a bit obvious, wasn't it? I used the "Wronsky Feint" in an earlier entry (, but I don't believe anyone picked up on it.

I think J.K. Rowling is an absolutely brilliant writer and I look forward to whatever she comes up with next.

When I'm doing my part-time editing and proof-reading job, I listen to HP books on cd. Keeps me focused on my editing and makes the time pass quickly. My productivity dramatically increased when I started doing that.

I'll settle for "amusing". :)

Cheers, Max!