Tuesday, February 02, 2021

French renovations, Day 43: Shopping and a hidden chimney!

We braved the wilds of Leroy Merlin this morning to buy supplies for building the mezzanine. Too many people!

Buying lumber over here is very odd. There is a smaller range of sizes and dimensions and, except for a small selection in the inside of the store, everything is pressure-treated and is stored outdoors in the sun/rain! I wanted plain wood since we're building an interior structure and hope to paint or stain some of the parts. Does it exist? No!

Fortunately we have a big pile of lumber already in our apartment. We figured out that if we buy a table saw (which we were already going to buy at some point), we could cut a lot of what we needed ourselves and repurpose all the beautiful old timber.

I found a metric joist span table and calculated that we need beams measuring 63x175 mm (2.5 x 6.9") spaced 40 cm apart in order to span 4 meters. We still had to buy the joists that will span the mezzanine (solives), but all of the supporting pieces and the wood that the joist hangers and floor net attach to will be from our existing lumber.

Getting the long beams up the staircase presented a challenge. But by spiraling them up, holding them more vertically than horizontally, we were able to make them fit. (See the video!) For the front mezzanine, we will have 5.5 meter long beams--those will have to come in through the windows! But they will be web joists, so they will be relatively light. I've devised a pulley that will attach to one of our big load-bearing beams. I think we'll be able to do it. But that is for much later...

So we got home, unloaded the wood, parked the car, and ate lunch. Then I decided to see what was behind this alcove in the back room. Based on all the soot in the inside, we figured it was an old chimney. And we were right...but also surprised since it kept getting bigger and bigger as I took the cement blocks & concrete off.

(After I did all this demolition, Eric said, "Uh, I don't think you should have taken it all down." Oops. He thought I was just going to take off the bit at the top, down to where the floor net will go. I thought he knew that I intended to take it all the way down. Oh well, too late now!)

I am a fan of the jackhammer. I started out with just a hammer and chisel and was going nowhere very fast. The jackhammer takes just as much exertion, but it's at least 10x faster. I got almost all the way to the bottom then decided I needed a change of pace. So next, I took off the little wall hiding the sewer stack. We need to have access to it so we can hook up the kitchen and bathroom in the back room. Sadly the phone battery died just as I was starting, but I got the whole thing off.

So that was my day! Then I made dinner and we watched a movie together (Finding Ohana). It was silly and predictable, but sometimes it's just nice to watch something all as a family.


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