Impulse control

Wow. This weekend was a barn burner. Let’s review: (note – I’m writing this real time, and this will be posted Monday)

Saturday – I got the idea in my head on Friday that before I built my workbench, I had to at least make some progress on the shop walls. Specifically, the shop walls that I knew held my enemy behind them – carpenter ants. I encountered some on the left wall previously when I replaced the one section on the wall, and I knew I had to go back and finish that wall up and spray and kill as many as I could before I got started on my workbench. It just made sense to do it now, while I had more room to move stuff around.

In the morning I picked up three sheets of 7/16″ OSB from Lowe’s (about $25) and brought them home. I was going to have to take multiple breaks during the day, so as soon as I got home I started moving stuff around – the bandsaw and the jointer got shoved toward the back, as well as some scrap and stuff off the middle panel. It was about that time where I had to leave again. Back again, I started removing the large head nails that held the wall skin in place.

-=It’s here where I break to tell you how these walls were constructed. Back about four centuries ago (or so) when this thing was ‘built,’ the vertical studs were then covered in horizontal boards so that they could put up the thinnest thing possible – 1/4″ plywood. If they didn’t put the boards up, you could have punched through the walls I suppose. Doesn’t make much sense why they couldn’t have just put up thicker plywood. What was the advantage? =-

So…oh yeah…once I got the nails removed, I had to remove the plywood sheet and start pulling boards. Since the boards weren’t defined by the edges of each plywood sheet, I decided to cut the ones that ran under the adjacent sheet. I was doing one section at a time because I don’t have a lot of room to move things around. All boards removed, I cut the sheet to size (not an 8′ ceiling, unfortunately) and installed the OSB with Spax torx screws. I love these things. I found frass…a ton of it, which I was expecting.

One section down, I moved the drill press and all the other crap behind it and started on that section. Like before I pulled the plywood and boards, but since this was the corner I did my cutting on the plywood instead of the boards to facilitate removal. This is where it started getting sticky. The damage to the studs was terrifying. Bottom, top, in between. Water and carpenter ants are the culprits. I was expecting both, but it was still bad. This is the corner that has the most direct ground contact, so I knew it would be bad. But still…

Then the ants came.

Replacing the one section of wall in winter, the ants were slow and groggy and easy to kill. This time around, it was like a jailbreak. Huge black carpenter ants, and then I saw the winged males. Those were impressive…and nightmare inducing. I’ve seen smaller Cadillacs. They just kept coming and coming. I sprayed liberally with a home defense-type pest spray. I sprayed some more…and then again. I let sit while I had to run another errand. When I got back I sprayed a couple more times. Since the wood was obviously already moist, some additional moisture in the form on liquid death would probably be an improvement. I then took off the opposing section on that corner, the right part of the entry wall (looking at it from inside). More ants. More spray. Same procedure, remove plywood then the boards. Tons of frass. They’ve been doing this for ages.

With all the ants dead that I could see, I buttoned up the corner with the remaining two sheets of OSB. Both were narrower cuts than the first panel. Walls done for now, I cleaned up a touch (left the old crap outside) and had dinner. After dinner I had some extra motivation so I decided to tick off another project off the to-do list: move the wall rack. I had it in my plans to move it over to the other wall since the beginning, and being able to find the studs was why it hadn’t been attempted before. Studs marked and sturdier material up on the wall, now was as good a time as any since the shop was in complete disarray. Process was simple enough, no real explanation needed.

Now it was at this point I had a concern: if the ants liked the fir/SYP studs so much, what about the wood I was putting literally inches from where they had made a home? I worried about that a bit until I came inside and read up on what they liked – moisture. Since the boards I put up there are fairly low moisture compared to the damaged studs, I think I’ll be okay. I’ll still spray and put out diatomaceous earth every now and again. The wall rack up where I want it, on Sunday begins the cleanup and rearrangement. It’s going to be tricky to get things moved around to a more final location and find room for everything. But, better to do it now before I put a longer bench in.

Pics below with comments.


Everything moved out of the way


First section ready for replacement.


I’ve discovered Anne Hathaway’s Cottage!


First and second sections complete.


What a mess…

To be continued…

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