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I've been AWOL for too long...

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  • I've been AWOL for too long...

    Hi folks - Since I retired over 2 years back I seem to have been busier than I ever could have imagined despite having two accidents involving arm fractures over the past 9 months but this is not the reason I've been absent from this forum.

    In mid April of this year I took possession of a house I was buying with the intention of remodelling it and then selling it on early next year. The house which is two floors high, brick and block built, is reasonably new but a previous owner decided to extend its footprint to accomodate a longer living/dining room area and a large upstairs bedroom - one of three each with on suite bathrooms. He didn't make too professional of a job so I decided to remodel the downstairs floor, relocating the kitchen and dining areas. This involved a lot of knocking down of walls and building new ones plus rerouting plumbing and electrical lines, a far amount of tiling work and finally making an outdoor patio area with small garden When I set out on this project I contracted a fairly capable builder to work alongside me and under my supervision, my aim being that he would do most of the heavy 'grunt' work. On the day we were due to start working he never turned up and the following day disappeared off of the radar not answering his phone or text messages. This pee-ed me off more than a little and after muttering a string of choice swear words in both English and Spanish I decided to abandon the thoughts of looking for another guy and do all the work myself unless I really became unstuck.

    I've been working an average of 4 - 6 hours almost all weekdays over the past 3 months and apart from contracting a couple of metalworkers for a day to install an IPR beam and vertical columns to support an upstairs wall to allow me to knock out a big section of wall downstairs I'm almost at the end of the destruction and reconstruction work and I'll be moving on to tiling and then fitting out the kitchen with home built worktops and cabinets allowing me to swap breathing cement dust for sawdust!

    One last task I will farm out to those in the know is some plastering work on several of the walls. Try as I might I just can't get the hang of this work and haven't much inclination to keep trying to get it right.

    I calculate it will take me up to the end of the year to finish all work on the property before I can put it up for sale but I'm in no rush and will allow some other distractions to get in the way as I see fit.

    Some very positive outcomes to taking on this project, the size and scope of which is much greater than any work I've done before, is firstly, I've proven to myself that I can master almost all of the work involved in this project - except for that darn plastering. Secondly, after humping heavy concrete blocks around and hand mixing batches of mortar and cement I've managed to shed 20 lbs of weight and feel a heck of a lot fitter than I did at the onset. Lastly, and importantly, I've saved more than I've spent on materials to date in not paying out labour costs after doing almost everything myself!

    So there you have my excuse for being AWOL. I will get back into scrolling later on and I have an interesting automata project lined up that I am raring to have a go at making but regretfully - says me 'tongue in cheek' - I have another distraction which has just come up, which I'll post some details of in a new thread.

    In the words of big Arnold of Terminator fame 'I'll be back!'
    Jim in Mexico

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein

  • #2
    You forgot to remind them that you also paid a visit to me. Welcome back my friend.
    Creator of fine designer sawdust.


    • #3
      Wow, nice. Post some pics.

      I'm doing something similar with a house I bought, except with the intent to live in it. In my case, a lot of the work requires skills new to me, so I'm learning as I go. Only thing I've had help with was putting in an engineered beam needed to remove the wall between living room and kitchen. I probably could have done that myself, but since it was critical structure related, thought I had better have someone help that knew what they were doing. I'm doing all framing, electric, flooring, plumbing, sheetrocking/mudding, tiling, and will build the cabinets. I've done floor tiling, electric and cabinets before, but most everything else is built with help from youtube. I'm getting pretty good with plumbing codes.
      Last edited by hotshot; 08-10-2022, 07:41 AM.
      "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"


      • #4
        I was just thinking the other day that it had been a while since we heard from you. Not wanting to contemplate another injury, I figured you would have some good stories of adventure to regale us with and was not disappointed. Only thing missing is pictures!
        Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


        • #5
          Hi Randy - good to hear that someone else is as crazy as me and taking the meaning of Do It Yourself literally!!!

          I have one distinct difference and probable advantage over you in that here in Mexico building codes for interior work are pretty much non existent so I can do what I please inside the house without the need to have the work inspected. That is not to say that I take short cuts and produce sub standard work. In truth I'm probably a lot more critical of my work than the average local builder would be of his particularly as I can take my time and put in the effort to make a good job. I am however a little unconventional in how I get around problems which often causes folks who do this work for a living to smile.

          Like you YouTube is my go to reference for when I get stuck or want to look at alternative ways to do something. Also unlike many local builders who still tend to be 'hammer and chisel' guys at the outset of this project I invested in a couple of tools to assist me. Having to deal with demolishing concrete block walls, channeling out passageways to run electrical conduit and plumbing lines, and cutting blocks to size I purchased a Bosch Bulldog Extreme Max hammer drill along with a set of various SDS-plus bits plus a cordless Dewalt Angle Grinder which takes both 4 1/2" and 6" disks, both of which have been a godsend in this work.

          I'll post some before, in progress and after pictures later to give a taste of what I've let myself in for. At the moment my priority is getting myself organized for my upcoming bike trip which Norma still isn't fully sold on. Looking on the bright side if I finally get back home to find my entrance to our home barred I have at least got a second house to move in to!!

          Hi Bill - No more accidents yet! However, I am still suffering a little from the after effects of the last one when after my bike dropped on me I ended up with a damaged left ankle and hairline fracture to my upper arm shoulder joint. I subsequently found out a few weeks later that I knocked up my previously fractured wrist again. The medics prescribed rest and physiotherapy. I chose to mix mortar and hump blocks around! The jury is still out on how effective my decision was but I'm doing ok having now worked out how to work around these niggling issues i.e. carry a full bucket of mortar using my right hand and a half bucket using my left one!

          Last edited by jim_mex; 08-10-2022, 06:48 PM.
          Jim in Mexico

          Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
          - Albert Einstein


          • #6
            Have a fun safe trip Jim. I hope pictures to follow


            • #7
              Originally posted by jim_mex View Post
              ....... I purchased a Bosch Bulldog Extreme Max hammer drill along with a set of various SDS-plus bits .......
              Had to smile at that, as I bought that exact same hammer drill, for about the same reason


              "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"


              • #8
                Hi Jim.
                glad to hear back from you. I have been absent almost just as long, but that was just because my 9-5 morphed into a 12-hour a day job due to... Something with the economy I guess. So yes. Good luck with your house. How come I have the feeling that after all this work you'll end up living there because you remodeled it perfectly to what you dreamed a good house should be.... In the meantime. Hope you find some time to do some scrollsawing. Love to see your latest projects


                • #9
                  For you and hotshot , remember to hide notes, chicken bones or beer cans in the stud cavities for the next remodeler to find.

                  I am partial to the folks who hide plastic skeletons in dead spaces under stairs, etc.
                  When looking at the clock at work--the correct time is:
                  Too early to leave, too late to call in.


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