The Elevator: How it Works

I have posted about the Sedgwick elevator in the house. It is a rope pulled elevator. It seems that this can be confusing to people. Many picture a laborious ride in such an elevator like something out of ancient Egypt. You step into the elevator grab a rope and pull yourself to the second floor. Don’t let go. You will plummet to your death, elevator and all. 

Actually it is an ingenious simple mechanism that allows the elevator to work using counter-weight balance and gear ratios to make the work easier. Modern elevators work in the same manner. There is not a winch with a rope pulling an elevator car up and unwinding to make it go down. Every elevator uses weights that balance with the elevator car. The motor is simply turning one direction to make the elevator car go up and the counter-weight go down. The opposite direction of the motor causes the weight to go up and the car to godown. That is why there are weight limits posted in every elevator. Too many people in the elevator car over powers the counter balance weight. This makes the motor struggle to raise the elevator car and accidents could occur.

The rope pulled in one direction rotates a 48″ diameter flywheel. There is a breaking system on the back of the flywheel that stops the movement when you stop pulling the rope. The flywheel is turning 4 different gears that ultimately turn the Drive wheel that moves the steel cables that are attached to the elevator car on one end and the 500 lb counter-weight on the other. 

So that is how it works. I love the mechanics of it all. Simple engineering at its best. 

Moving Along…Slowly

The deck is taking its final shape. Using a 4’x8′ cement board as the base for the vertical concrete that will be applied next. The railing posts have their decorative features and are ready for paint. Bending the corners with cement board was definitely a trick. Had to build a wooden superstructure that will make the vertical brick stamp feel like an immovable solid brick wall. 50 2×4’s, 28 concrete blocks, and everything custom measured due to the sloping ground; We have a wall. Now to the lathe and mortar. Elizabeth had a major thumb and hammer collision from the nails bouncing on the cement board. The physics show the hammer wins everytime. So yes, not only sweat going into this project but real blood shed in the making of the front porch.

Seems like 10 more days of work can complete the deck. Now to find that time.

And the Deck Goes On and On and On

OK, seems that a 715 square foot deck is a slighty larger project than I anticipated. This ride is definitly not as fun as I thought it was going to be when we started. Now to get it finished. It is coming along. It is just a large project. And following all the building codes really slows things down. As you can see below all of the decking is on. Beth is just finishing putting in the 4,000 screws that hold it to every joist. Finish boards are all along the edge and the posts are trimmed to the right height. I must finish the stairs and the deck skirt. We have special plans for the skirt. Everything has to dry out for three weeks before we can paint it white. Since it has rained every week this summer, that may take a while.

And the Deck Goes On Pt 2

Deck boards across 715 square feet  of area apparently take longer than I thought. Two days and still not finished. Maybe next work day. At least there is progress. The ramp is finished and the section in front of the sunporch is complete. Next time it will be more open space as we finish the right side of the deck.

And the Deck Goes On

Work has continued on the porch doing all of the necessary things to meet building codes for safety. Unfortunately most of the work wil be unseen once the porch is complete. This includes 2-way bracing at each post and beam connection, joist hangers at both ends of 48 joists, and 2 hurricane clips where every joist crosses a beam. So that means 52 braces in 26 locations, 96 joist hangers, and 300 hurricane clips. The hangers and clips take 10 nails each totaling almost 4000 nails for the hardware. Elizabeth learned how to use a palm nailer and went to town. 

The ramp for wheel chair access came out perfect. For every inch of drop there must be 1 foot of length. The drop from the top of the porch and the sidewalk is 15″. The length of the ramp is 15′.

The hand rail posts had to be installed so that the decking could be placed around it. There are 24 hand rail posts and each had to be leveled and double bolted to a joist. I had to use shims to get them all aligned but the work was not too hard.

Finally deck boards are added! The height of the floor is perfect for the sun porch doors to open straight onto the front porch. I just got started but couldn’t keep this interloper off of the finished section. Another two days and the decking will be complete.

The Lady has Curves

It was our youngest granddaughter who gave the Hardaway Cottage my favorite name as only Ellie could. After seeing the house for the first time she nonchalauntly said “I think we should call the house “The Grand Old Lady.” I could not agree more. And this week the Lady got curves. As noted in another post, we designed the front porch early in the process. 

You can see a design choice that helps soften the starkness of the house. The curved corners of the porch were designed to make a strong statement and add great visual interest. Easy to draw, more difficult to make in the real world. Glad to say that the beast has been tamed. The internet is filled with all sorts of methods for doing construction projects. When it comes to deck construction it is more difficult to find ideas that also pass current Georgia building codes. Here are images of the deck without the curved corners. The joist structure is almost complete except for the access ramp, stairs, decking, 52 corner braces, 96 joist hangers with 10 nails each, 300 hurricane clips with 10 nails each, and rounded front corners. OK, still some work to go.

Building curves on a deck can be done in several ways. A small calculation was necessary to determine the circumference of the complete circle then the 1/4 portion I was using to make the curve. 

I used a 36″ radius which would make the 1/4 turn on the corner officially 55.5″ long. I extended it to 60″ length for a slightly sharper corner. I used a nail, string, and pencil to mark the arc of the curve on the joists so that I could cut them to support the curved section. Next, I kerf cut the 2×8 every inch along the 60″ section. The board was extended by 12″ on each side of the kerf cuts to allow for a nailing section. I cut to a depth of 1″. This left 1/2″ of material that became 

flexible to make the curve. One board bent easily with this cut. A second board required an additional 1/4″ depth on the kerf cut to bend correctly. The third board broke at one of the kerf cuts due to a knot. Here is the process. 

So, The Lady has Curves. I did the center inside radius by flipping the board and exposing the kerf cuts. I will use a 1/4″ ply to cover the cuts. With some glue in the kerfs it will firm up nicely. 

Now on to hurricane clip and joist hangers. If you have never owned or used a palm nailer, you must get one. To hammer 2,400 hanger nails in tight spaces by hand is murder. The mini palm nailer was worth every penny of the $40 investment.

Rebirth of a Kitchen Pt2

     “Learn a spaces original form, and you have a guide for reforming that space.”

Warm Springs Vacation

Original kitchen blueprints from architect HW Nichols of Atlanta 

Warm Springs GA Hotels owners

Top view in Sketch-Up of the original kitchen and breakfast room 

     Here are the original plans and layout of the kithen. The blueprint is from the archives of the Roosevelt Institute. Even though this is a private residence, it is still on the grounds of the Institute and had to conform to their building convenents.

     As we removed the flooring down to the hardwood the original structure was confirmed. The wood flooring had repairs that filled-in where walls once stood. Of course these repairs now have to be replaced with hardwood harvested from areas that will be under cabinets. The structure of the original floors is fairly simple. Diagonal strips of wood are nailed to the floor joists. Final boards are nailed to the diagonal boards. In the Hardaway Cottage the diagonal boards are pine and the final floor boards are white oak.

Hardaway kitchen floors warm springs ga
Layers of an older home wood floor. Floor joists are vertical first layer of diagonal boards are pine. Finish layer of horizontal boards is white pine at the Hardaway Cottage

          When we purchased the property we realized that the kitchen had been remodeled by Gene Spalding sometime in the 90’s. The kitchen remodel removed walls and installed custom made, high quality cabinets. This is the one room we are gutting and starting again. We wanted to make sure that the kitchen is ADA compliant and returned to a look and feel of the 1930’s when it was built. We are keeping the larger size without the breakfast nook. Below is a Sketch-Up rendering of the remodel.

new size Hardaway Cottage Kitchen
New size of Kitchen
Haradaway Kitchen Mockup Warm Springs GA
Hardaway kitchen floors warm springs ga

The mock-up shows a new design and ADA accomodations. Elizabeth has designed shelves that leave the windows open and allows for a unique display of drinkware.

We have a long way to go to get to the final plan. It always seems impossible when you start. The transformation begins.

Rebirth of a Kitchen Pt1

In a remodel of any space you start with what is there. You can have all the dreams or images of what could be or what you want. However, you must always deal with what exists first. That is a fancy way of saying, while all of the TV remodeling shows love “demo day,” the reality of cleaning up all of the broken pieces and scraping away of layers of flooring, paint, dirt, and glues is no fun without the behind the scene TV demo minions. It is just long, tedious, dirty work.

Gene Spalding Kitchen Warm Springs GA
Gene Spalding Kitchen Warm Springs GA
Gene Spalding Kitchen Warm Springs GA
Gene Spalding Kitchen Warm Springs GA

Existing Kitchen January 2017. Gene Spalding remodel in mid 1990’s.

     Part of the fun of remodeling for Elizabeth and I is the act of discovery as we uncover the layers of history in a bathroom or kitchen floor. We explore how each family that made the house a home decorated and used the space. What paint was on the walls, What flooring is possibly under the layers of linoleum, wood, press-and-peel tile, original 1933 premium linoleum, and original hardwood planks covered in 80 year old tar. Regardless of what we might think of the color, material, or style; someone took the time to pick out each wallpaper design, every floor covering type, and each cabinet feature.

     We uncovered a brightly colored mid 1960’s kitchen wallpaper design and texted pictures to the man that grew up in the house at that time. He was so excited to once again see his “Mother’s Wallpaper.” Elizabeth and I know the appearance of our house in Atlanta is scrutinized in every detail by our grandaughters to see what has changed. The inevitable questions follow as to why we changed one of their favorite things. Making a kitchen the center of a home starts with design and decor, but is only complete by building memories with family.

     We want to rebuild the platform of memory buidling at the Hardaway Cottage. Functional design is key to inviting people to hang around to bake cookies or nibble as dinner is being prepared. Simple things that we remember the rest of our life. I can still picture two little boys in pajamas helping their Mom press home-made granola into a baking pan and licking their sticky fingers. Then pouring milk for their “bed-night” snack. Those boys are grown now, but I won’t forget.