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For Father's Day, I was given the green light to start building a walk-in humidor. I spent the month
, planning, and re-sketching the room, with countless revisions.
Detailed sketches and Final Design Choice
Looking at the sketches, I sat down and began planning a detailed
, down to the nearest inch, building around furniture, artwork, electrical, and existing obstructions.
Bought How-to books on basic construction and laminate floors.
After reading the reader's digest version of basic construction, I knew enough to feel overwhelmed with this project. I was about to hire a contractor to do the rough framing, but wanted to keep the costs down, and more importantly, I wanted to accomplish this on my own. I bought two additional books today to help me learn in more detail about rough framing and laying down the laminate wood floor.
Bought basic construction tools and some wood for initial head-plate support and wall.
I don't have many 'tools of the trade' for rough construction, so I had to buy a lot of it. Most of the power tools I can borrow from my neighbor. Small things like plumb bobs, chalk lines and a framing square were needed to start this project. While I was at the store, I purchased the door and some wood to lay up the first (and easiest) wall, and header-plate support for between the existing ceiling joists. The door took me 20 minutes to drag into my basement... way too much work and effort for a simple door.
Bought some lumber to start making first wall.
I've done my reading and research, and I'm over-anxious to get started, certain with mistakes and all. I have a neighbor helping me out the coming weekend, but I thought I would get started building the wall, and then he can help erect it with me. Measuring and hammering studs to a top and bottom plate was not too bad... much more time consuming than I thought, but overall it came together nicely. I was proud of this two-hour accomplishment. Another two hours was spent getting the lumber and assembling a saw-horse.
Final planning for two side walls and building them.
I bought additional lumber to build the two side walls and some 2x3's for wall-shelving later on in the project. My neighbor helped me assemble and erect two walls, plus the one I build a few days earlier. Everything went according to plan, with the exception of two measurement mistakes by myself. I made two lazy mistakes (not taking into account a sole plate when measuring stud length) that cost me a half-hour each time. It was then that I learned the importance of SCREWS. I started to replace all nails with screws when erecting the walls, making sure they were plumb, level and square along the way. It turns out I didn't need the plumb-bob, since I had purchased a long carpenter's level to check for plumbness. Today was a learning experience. Next is to figure out how to accomodate the vent ducts, the steal i-beam, and various water pipes running through the room.
Finish side wall around obstructions and plan front wall.
I finished the third wall on my own, and it took about two hours just to get it level, plumb, and square. My biggest problem was getting it even with the existing wall so the wallboard would go smoothly over it. Very challenging. My other neighbor (who knows carpentry fairly well) came over to inspect my work. His biggest suggestion was to make sure I had studs in the right places to support the cabinets I'm installing, making a proper nailing surface. I hadn't thought about this before and I'm glad he brought it up now. When I plan out the cabinet locations in a week or so, I'll add the studs needed and toe-nail them in with screws. I'm going to have to buy more screws!!!
Front wall planning
Now that I only have one wall to go, it becomes apparent that my drawings are a few inches off and is now becoming a problem. I need to fit a cabinet cutout and a door in a 70-inch space (a limitation imposed by a steel post in the middle of the room). The cutout and the door, with all the trimmings and studs take up about 74.5 inches. I have to figure out how to save 4.5-inch in stud and drywall material, without compromising the insulation and climate integrity of the room. Fortunately for my ego, there is nothing I could've done about this problem on paper (i.e. making the plan bigger). The post is 73.5 inches from the cement foundation wall and nothing can change that.
Finding a Solution
With my neighbor, we decided that if we don't use studs against the cement wall on the left side, we can save four inches. We would only
eliminate the studs for the closet cutout
, not for the actual room. That combined with using only 2x3 studs for the opposite wall will give us the additional space we were looking for. Now all I have to do is tear down the existing wall in the closet area.
Partial Wall Teardown.
I borrowed a reciprocating saw from my neighbor and cut the bottom sole place where the closet's back wall would be. I then unscrewed (thank God I used screws instead of nails) the detached wall from the joists in the ceiling and from the cement floor. I will place the new wall four inches to the left at some other time, since it will be detached from the main structure anyway.
Planning measurements for front wall
I am now remeasuring everything three times, and planning the exact measurements for the closet, door, and remaining front wall. I need 36 inches for the door, and 26.5 inches for the closet. Those are the only requirements. We will build the closet walls first, then use the remaining space to measure out the door frame. After that, we'll just finish off the wall. I was initially going to put a recessed cabinet showcase in the right-side remaining wall, but that's a bit more than I can handle right now. I can always tear that drywall down at a later date and put that in if I ever get the time or inclination. For now, a nice picture will go nice there.
Building Closet Cutout and Door Fram
My neighbor and I started on the front wall, but we decided it would be better to build the closet cutout, so we knew exactly where the door would be. Normally, anyone can do this with a little measuring, but I don't trust my measurements anymore. We built the closet cutout, and framed the door. Of course, we cut the header at the wrong length, not taking into account the header must also accomodate the Jack studs. We rebuild the header, and used a piece of my neighbors 1/2 inch plywood as a sandwich filler, since I bought the wrong kind... a 3/4 inch thick piece. That's all we got done today, but it was a lot. The following week, I'll try to construct and erect the surrounding wall by myself. I still see no light at the end of the tunnel, as I still need to frame the inside corners, the left edge of the closet, the ceiling, and extra nailing surfaces for the cabinets and recessed shelving. Eeeash!
Building the Front wall
With the Door frame constructed, I contructed the frame to the left of the door, along with the top and sole plates. I then erected the wall, although it was a bit too snug. Two of the ceiling joists hung about 1/4 inch lower than the rest. I had to swing on the I-Beam and kick the wall into place. A few kicks and the wall was plumb and square. I attached the wall to the joists, sole plate, and closet cutout. I also build about 2 feet to the right of the door, but since there was an I-Beam obstruction, I had to toe-nail the studs into place. The hardest thing about toe-nailing was ensuring a plumb and level surface while screwing in the studs. I wanted to make sure the drywall would go on flush against the studs, with no gaps or stick-outs. This is a challenge since the studs always seem to move a bit when securing them to the top and bottom plates. Anyway, I got it done after a few tries. I have two more studs to toenail on the other side of the vent obstructiion before the front wall is finished. About two hours of work, since I have to measure the top plate, and put bracing in underneath the vent.
Finishing the Front Wall
I finished the front wall today, and it took me about two hours. It went much easier now that I knew what to expect. Just two studs and and an extra sole plate, and I was in business. I added an extra brace for support.
Start on Corners
The 2x3's that I had were terrible. Too curved for doing a corner wall, so I had to buy more. Last night I went to Home Depot and they had a much better selection. I also had a great idea on how to construct the corners using less wood, yet just as strong. I measured, cut and partially assembled one corner. I put it in place to check the fit, and that's when I realized that my new construction method (which turned the supportive 2x3's on it's side), were off by 1 inch (the difference between the width and thickness of a 2x3). So, next time, I'll have to adjust the supportive members by 1 inch. No big deal though. I bought a countersink bit using a quickchange device that has a screw bit on the other end. Since I have to countersink the screws because they're going through the narrow end of a 2x3, I'm able to drill, countersink, and screw in about half the time. Next session, I'll have to adjust the supportive members by 1 inch, and finish the assembly, and mount to the corner wall. All told, each corner (there are two) will take me about five hours.
Build Closet Cripple &
Corner to left of Closet
I'm getting good at cutting and building these walls, especially with my neighbors expensive combo miter saw. In 20 minutes, I can slap together a mini-wall, complete with pilot holes and screws. Today, I had to build a cripple wall above the closet, and two 20 inch walls, that made up the outside corner of the room, next to the closet. This is only to give the structure a 'finished' look, while providing a place to put accessories, or show pieces.
Plumb & Level Corner and Built Closet Ceiling
Today, I got the two wall level and plumb, and nailed them into the cement floor. I also nailed one of the walls to the cement wall behind it. I have to use a spacer to do the other wall, since the cement wall is way out of plumb. I also built the ceiling for the closet, although I initially measured it wrong because I didn't take into account the side plates. Thank God I used screws. I chopped off 3 inches and I was back in business. For some reason, the closet cripple is looking a little off-level, but it shouldn't be since it's butted up against the ceiling joists. Nevertheless, it is off level by nearly half and inch. I'll have to shim it later. I'm guessing the bottom of the Joists are off level.
Shim closet cripple, Screw other corner wall to cement wall, build upper wall to outside corner, and ceiling to outside corner.'
Well, all went well today in this three-hour time-frame, although what always seems to be the easiest part ends up being the hardest part. Slapping up a few pieces of wood for the corner ceiling should have been a walk in the park, but I didn't realize the ceiling joists weren't level. So, some shimming was necessary, plus I didn't have enough nailing surface to nail the ceiling to, so I had to create one. Also, I had more practice at toenailing.
Start on Inside Ceiling
Since I'm not sure how long my neighbor is going to let me borrow his combo mitre saw, I figured I'd get started on the ceiling (lots of small cuts) rather than attach the already-assembled corner pieces. While this seemed to me the hardest part of the room, it actually went very well. I was able to build and attach the first half of the ceiling in a matter of two hours, hiding the steal-beam, the sewage pipe, and some water pipes.
Second-half of inside ceiling.
Today, I finished the second-half of the ceiling, hiding the vent duct. It's at an odd angle, and very low (7ft off the ground), so I decided to challenge myself, and build an angled box frame to minimize the size of the frame around the duct. I simply followed the angle of the duct itself. Again, I have a solid frame of 2x3's, so strong that I can hang off of it. I'm very happy with the way this turned out, and pleased at how easy this is gettting. On a side note, now that I can see light at the end of the framing phase, I'm still undecided about sheet goods and lighting, so I better get cracking on that soon.
Finish up inside ceiling
All that's left to do on the ceiling is frame off two water pipes. It's a nuisance really, since it only protrudes about 1 inch from the joists. I framed it off with 2x3's, in a simple box frame. I had to add a nailing surface to the joists where this new box frame meets the angled frame around the vent duct. This will help with the drywall installation later on. The ceiling is done!
Insulate main corner (behind extruded corner structure) and staple vapor barrier wrap.
After suiting up with long pants, long sleeves, a cap and gloves. I was ready to install the R-13 insulation behind the corner structures, and on the ceiling above those corners. The insulation was relatively easy to cut and work with, although my mask didn't really work, so when it comes time to insultate the whole room, I'll need to buy a good mask. I was coughing a bit more than I was comfortable with. The vapor barrier was pretty unweildy but I was able to secure it to the walls on top of the insulation with plenty to spare on the same sheet for attaching later on (after the electrical). This process took about three hours.
Assemble Extruded Corner Structure to corners of room
took a bit of work to attach, since I was concerned about squareness and plumbness. Drywall, and cedar sheet goods will go on here, as well as perfectly square 12 inch x 36 inch shelving, so these corners (which anchor the shelves) have to be very square and plumb. It took about three hours to attach both corners so that they were where they were supposed to be.
left-side shelf wall-end
Today I built the
left shelf wall end-cap
. It's a 6 inch wall on the left side of the recessed shelf area, so that I can attach casing, and have 3 inch of wall to spare (to give it that built-in shelving look). I built it out of 2x3's and it went up pretty quickly. Getting it plumb and square took the longest time, making this little project about three hours long. After attaching the corner, I needed an additional nailing surface for drywall on the main wall, so I added an additional 2x4 there. I also realized that I had too many studs on the other main wall where the corner touched, which was also the closet back wall, so I removed one of the studs. I removed it because it was going to be too much trouble cutting down tiny 3 inch strips of insulation for each space.
right-side shelf wall-end
I have to do the same for the
, although there are some differences. For one, it only has to be 4 inches, since it's not backing up to a wall, and I need the extra space for the climate control appliances. So, a simple wall of 2x4's would do the trick. It took 20 minutes to build today, but that's all I had time for. I'll attach it tomorrow. I'm definitely seeing light at the end of the tunnel on the framing. I have a few more things to do, and I'm ready to move onto electrical. I find myself now thinking about finishing textures and woods for trim and flooring to get it ready to order. I'm also coming close to lighting decisions in the room.
Attached right-side shelf wall-end & Build
center shelf divider
I attached the right-side shelf wall end today, and accomplished it in under 30 minutes. It's level, plumb, and square, and no problems were encountered. Since this went so fast, I decided to build the
center shelf divider
too. I screwed up on the stud measurement, and wasted a board. I build the wall anyway, but I need to go to Home Depot and buy one 2x3 to finish the wall.
Finish building Center shelf divider and attach.
I bought the 2x3 that I needed and finished building the wall. This one took me 45 minutes to plumb and square it, because I needed exact measurements on both sides of the divider. I measured my beam (that is in the room) and surprisingly found that it was only 3 1/2 inches in diameter. This meant I didn't have to ask my neighbor to rip down 2x6's. I could use 2x4's for the construction, and use the drywall and trim to attach both sides of the poll. So I build the wall and attached it. I'll have to attach the other side of the wall stud (a single stud) right before the drywall goes up.
Buy Lighting Fixtures
I called an electrician, and he will come next week. In the meantime, after
planning the lighting
, I picked up some lighting at Menards. I went with two small recessed directional wide-floods, and a flexible ribbon track lighting system with five spots. I will also consult with the electriction about shelf lighting, rope lighting (for upper and lower shelves), and some low-voltage lighting near the front of the room (with the lower ceiling) and a spot on the outside of the room. My biggest problem is matching the trim and woods together for the finished look. I need to match the laminate floor, with the trim, casing, floor base, wall paint, and upper/lower wood shelves.
Today the electrician came and we talked for over two hours about where to put the fixtures, how many circuits the room needed, etc. We determined that we'll need three separate circuits, 5 outlets, and we'll need a creative solution to house the two solid-state relays to control the heater and humidifier (from the humidistat/thermostat). Cost estimate was around $620
Electrical Work begins
The electrician installed all three circuits and wired most of the outlets and switches. He came up with a great solution for the relays, and housed them in small quad-access panel by the outlet. He also recessed the outlets in the closet so that there would be sufficient clearance... very nice. He still has to wire the ceiling fixtures and outside fixtures. That's for next Monday. I also called a drywall guy for estimates, and he'll be by in two days to look at the room for an estimate. I'm too timid about spackling, smoothing, and taping drywall. I've seen too many botched jobs by professionals, nevermind amateurs. So, I'll leave this one to the professionals if it's reasonable. I'm hoping for around $400 or so.
Electrical Work concludes
After another 6 hours in the room, the electrical is finally finished. It took some tweaking to get the relays to work with the thermostat and humidistat, but all is working fine. A total of 14 openings (including switches, outlets, and junction boxes) we installed, plus a 240v feeder for the heater, and three circuits. I also started getting some drywall estimates. The first one was at $960... way over my expectations, but then again, my expectations weren't based on anything substantial. Looks like I'll be spending a grand on the drywall.
I've been spending a week going over color and stain schemes in my head, as well as pricing out the remaining construction/furnishings. Wow. Of course, it's thousands more than I expected in my na´ve mind, so I'm faced with cutting back the expenses, and replacing the more expensive materials with cheaper ones. A 10x10 cigar storage room isn't worth $10,000. Sure, I wanted a showroom, but it's time to put away the pie-in-the-sky ideals and plans, and revise the plan so that finishing the room is attainable within a six-month time-frame.
After a few estimates, I went with the first one, who seemed very professional and experienced. At $960, he came in the cheapest, but that's not why I ultimately chose him. I wanted the job done right. They're hanging the drywall today and tomorrw. It should be finished by tomorrow or the next day at the latest. I have floor samples to, and I'm leaning towards the Classic Cherry. I'm still unsure of the wall color, and the trim casing color for the recessed shelving.
The drywall guys finished today. It's amazing how putting up walls can make a framed structure into a room. They did an amazing job despite my amateur framing work. Now I'm even more pressed to pick colors, trim species, and stain. It finally looks like a room, and despite all the hardships, fumbles, and challenges, the physical room (minus the trim) is finished and behind me. It looks as good as it did on paper over three months ago.
Plan Cherry Panels for Front Outside Wall
Today I planned out cherry panelled Wainscotting for the outsite front wall. New England Classic has a precut fitted system that's prefabbed. Originally I was thinking of doing the whole wall, but the i-beam and vent ducts get in the way too much for such a small wall. So I'll just price out the bottom half. My two openings (the door and closet) are very close to each other so my question is what type of panels to I put within that 4 inches of space. I'm waiting for an answer from NEC today on that. I also am pricing out Mahogany fluted casing for the trim (since mahogony is the only other kind of wood I can have in that high-humidity environment. No one stocks this stuff and it's hard to find. I finally found someone in Little Rock, AK who has the raw materials and can custom make it for me. I would still have to make the pinthe blocks and rosettes myself though. Maybe I can ask my neighbor if he can do that.
I think I've decided on a wall color (hear the Angels rejoice). A tan faux texture (marbelized) that should look nice with wood, yet neutral enough to blend with the surrounding rooms.
Buy Primer and Paint
I bought the primer paint today, along with Black Gloss paint for the closet and ceiling paint. I'll worry about the faux paints when I get to that. I look forward to starting the painting this week, or at least priming the inside and outside of the room.
I have a lot of painting ahead of me, and because these are new green boards, I must prime in order for the paints to adhere properly. It only took me about 3 hours to prime the inside and outside of the room. After it was done, the room really started to take shape.
Enamel Undercoat for Faux Finish
Today, I started the undercoat (called, 'French Bread') for the faux finish. It's a bit on the pinkish side, but when it's done, it should have a nice tan look to it, without being too yellow. A few hours later, I was able to do the ceiling paint as well. I didn't use tape (since the walls were still a little tacky), but I used an edging tool. The tool didn't work well at all, so in a couple of weeks, I'll redo the ceiling edges with tape.
Sponge Painting for Faux Finish
I watched an instructional video that came with the sponge kit I bought. It seemed simple enough. I practiced some techniques on some practice boards that I bought. I'm glad I did. Initially I was going to go with a 'sponge-on' technique, but after seeing the results, I liked the 'Sponge Off' technique much better. I sponged away, for nearly 3 hours. I must say that I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. I'm very happy with the color, patterns, and overall results.
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Paul's Walkin Cigar Humidor