An Olympic Sprint

John is a former Olympian and currently coaches skeleton (the head first sliding sport). His coaching duties are escalating with the winter Olympics nearing, and he’ll be leaving us for a few weeks to work with his athletes. Since wall sheathing isn’t an easy two-person job, we decided to do as much as we could during John’s last few days here.

That’s really John

We are using OSB (oriented strand board) for the wall sheathing. OSB comes in 4’x8′ sheets like plywood. We could have used plywood like we did on the roof, but we chose OSB since it’s a little less expensive. The walls are more protected from the elements compared to the roof, so it seemed like a good choice.

The three of us spent two days putting OSB over the rest of the framing we had completed. It didn’t take us long to get into a rhythm. I cut the boards to order, and Sam and John nailed them down.

Installing a sheet of OSB is a two person job. The boards are heavier than plywood and need to be centered on the girts before nailing them in place. Look at that team work!

All in all, wall sheathing is a much more comfortable process than roof sheathing. The material is heavier but you get to stand on flat ground and use the scissor lift for areas higher up.

It still isn’t a cake walk. As a safety feature, the scissor lift refuses to go up if the ground isn’t level. We’re experienced now with placing shims under the tires to correct for uneven ground, but getting the scissor lift to work around our gravel ramp was another story. We tried something new (see picture below). It worked briefly until we tried driving. The tires started shooting out boards one by one, like a baseball pitching machine.

note- the gravel ramp to the doorway isn’t even that steep

We abandoned this idea and re-parked and re-shimmed the lift a dozen times until we eventually completed the framing and sheathing at that end of the building.

We came around the corner and worked on the West wall after that. We finished the whole side in about one day!

We always check the forecast before packing up, even when it’s sunny. You never know when it will rain this time of the year. We were packing up on Halloween evening when an unfortunate weather pattern was predicted. OSB expands like a sponge when it gets wet, so we had to protect our walls. Time to bring the plastic back out!

The wind picked up, and covering the west wall took longer than anticipated. Once again, Sam and I found ourselves putting plastic up in the dark. The building looked like a haunted house, festive for the occasion.

It started raining as we drove home, so we were happy we took the time to put up the horrible plastic. We were even happier to have made so much progress on the walls! Now John is leaving…

2 thoughts on “An Olympic Sprint

  1. Where in the hell do you two find the energy. When I’m doing something I’m for ever taking a break. Your effort shows the bldg is looking great


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