Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2013-2014 House-Build Team Completes House

  Congratulations and thank you for a job well done house build team. The Churchill Way house #2 is complete. Since our last post we have completed a lot of work. The student's school year ended in May. At that time we were putting the finishing touches on the exterior siding and digging utility trenches. The students had the rare hot sunny days to dig in the rocky ground. Tough work but they were most certainly up to the task after a year of construction in the southeast Alaska environment. The students really put in the elbow grease there at the end and gave a strong finish to their year with the house. We all were able to enjoy some sizzling barbecue at the shop thanks to Andy Bullick. He whipped up some mighty fine hamburgers and bratwurst. Sorry we didn't leave any left overs Andy. 
   A local work program allowed one student, Sam Bibb, to remain with us for the month of June to help out with the site work and some interior finish work. Construction debris, trash, and large rocks were removed from the site. Cut and fill work was completed, adjusting the topography for proper drainage. 6 foot cedar panel fences were erected on the property along the property line and around the respective yard of house #1. Approximately 6 tons of D-1 crushed stone were spread on the parking and walks areas of the site and 3 cubic yards of top soil were spread around both house sites. Juneau saw record rainfall amounts in June but the work continued on. There is a term in Juneau for the rain, liquid sunshine. Its a rainy place to work to say the least. The house-build team was made for it though, southeast Alaska residents are born with neoprene in their skin. Sam, Justin, and Jess installed cabinets, flooring and trim throughout the house as the rain continued outside. Sam has big plans for his short summer before he starts his senior year at JDHS in the fall. Thank you Sam for your hard work and also for being best DJ the house build project may ever see.
   Sam worked through June with us and now it is down to two people on the job. Justin Fantasia and Jess May. We're here to put the finishing touches on the house, installing door and bathroom hardware and also to build the bamboo plywood bookshelf and staircase. The bookshelf and staircase are an integrated piece of built-in furniture for the house, its an eye catcher when people see it. The master craftsman Justin Fantasia takes special care in the integrated staircase, it is built to exacting standards of quality. Stairs generally require a fair amount of head scratching to build them correctly but integrate a book shelf underneath the stairs to match the treads and risers and certain people may start to go bald. Mr. Fantasia is no stranger to challenging task that require lots of critical thought though. As they say in the South, it ain't his first rodeo.  The staircase is great center piece for the house, even the untrained eye can see the care and time that went into building it.
  As a final note I'd like to say good bye to the house build project and the hardy team of builders I was privileged to work with . I'm Jess May the Americorps service member that has been with the project since September 2013. Its hard to say what this adventure will mean to me as I gain perspective on it but now I am simply happy and proud to say I had the opportunity to work in beautiful,wild southeast Alaska. Tough work in the rain and snow does the soul a great service. Thank you to all the people in and around the orbit of the house build project that make it possible. We inhabited a small but busy world in Lemon Creek building the house and your help made it happen. A big thank you to Justin Fantasia and Andy Bullick for being the stalwarts of progress and leadership for the project and the student builders. Sam, Adriana, Mike, Kyle, Drecar, Calvin, Derik, and Thomas, I've enjoyed working with each of you, remember the hard work that you put into this house and take that along with you on your paths in life. Enough looking in the rearview for now, keep the eyes on the road, the next house is waiting to be built. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

House build students nail down the task of siding their house.

Blog for 3/31 – 4/5 & 4/7 – 4/11
By: Drecar Del Castillo
During this short week the class worked on siding. After the siding’s first coat of paint and finishing the final touches of pink foam, the class prepared for the installation of siding during testing week. For the few days we were there for house build, the class learned what siding is and its purpose, the tools we would be using to install and cut the siding, and how to safely handle the materials.
Now siding is the last piece of overlayment that goes on the outside of the house. Its purpose is to not only give an aesthetically pleasing look to the house, but to add another layer of protection from wind-driven rain. When installed, the siding is installed from the bottom up. The next piece of siding only covers 1-1/4” of the top of the piece underneath, leaving a 6” reveal. To make sure that the reveal is consistent throughout the runs of siding, we used a gauge tool specifically designed for installing siding.
The gauges can each be adjusted to set a different measurement on the reveal. We also used a nail gun to install the siding because if were to hand nail it, the siding would likely shatter. With a nail gun we can set the pressure at which the nail is driven into the siding so that the heads aren’t sunken in all the way. We then finish sinking the nails in with a hammer. To cut the pieces of siding we use a large shear. We could also use a pair of electric siding shears, but this process leaves a rough cut and produces a dust that can be hazardous when breathed in. So to help prevent us from breathing in the dust, we use N95 face masks.
So far we have completed half of the back of the house and side entrance wall.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Planning for the future and working through distractions

JDHS House Build Blog 3/3-3/14
By: Samuel Bibb

The week started with class advisor Jess May continuing to reinforce his Idea of teaching the students to plan out their lives before High school ends. Jess ran the kids through an experiment where all of the students made a poster laying out goals in the next 4-10 years that the students wanted to meet. The students threw out ideas all over the place such as being an electrician to traveling to all 7 continents. The class started this unit before winter break when Jess assigned the kids to write a paper explaining a perfect day sometime in their life where everything in that day was what they absolutely wanted.
On Tuesday the class changed scenery when it moved from the classroom to the job site. The main objective of the day was to clean up the site and the house before the inspector arrived. Once he arrived, he did his normal check up on the house, then he went into teaching mode, when students started asking questions about the house and other life questions.

With the region basketball tournament being in Juneau during the week multiple students missed class wednesday and friday due to activities related to the tournament. That left only five students left to work on those days. the number would have been four but a student that disappeared at the beginning of the school year showed up again to surprise the class. With the five people at the class on friday, the team used the time cutting and preparing siding for the next week.

Distractions show up all the time in life, in this case half of the JDHS house build team spent the week dreaming of where they were going to be the next week. Five members of the house build team will be traveling to central florida during spring break to work with Habitat for Humanity framing houses. With this image being cemented in some of the students and teachers minds, the overall effort from everybody began to decrease. The class made a smart decision when they decided to spend the whole week in doors. 

The week started in the classroom with Jess assigning the class yet another homework assignment that implemented what he has been preaching about planning for the future. The assignment was an extension of the S.M.A.R.T activity that the students completed the prior week. 

At the jobsite the house has reached a point at where the whole structure is completed, but all it needs now is the “pretty work.” The pretty work is the finish on the house, like the paint, the interior, and other things that make the house look better on the inside and outside. The first task on the pretty list was to paint the siding strips. First the class had to move all of the siding strips into the scene shop, then they could begin painting. The class spent the rest of the week working on that single task. 
Editors note: On Saturday the 15th the JDHS homebuilder will be traveling to Stuart, Florida, where they will be helping out Habitat For Humanity. The homebuilder will spend a week in Stuart framing houses during the day and enjoying the weather the rest of the time. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Students learn the ways of life.

JDHS house build 2/24-2/28
By: Samuel Bibb
The week of the 24th of February was a week of catching and finishing up for the JDHS house build team. The high-stressed school anxiety seemed like it was hitting everybody in the class. Midway through the week, some of the house build students received a rude awakening from the authority leaders in the class when a majority of the class were called out because of lack of consistent habits of work throughout the month
            With multiple big projects on the house being completed in prior weeks, jobs on the work site began to become scarcer for the team. The main objective for the house build team continued to be the completion of the exterior pink foam insulation, but others found it hard to find work. A majority of the class continued to work on that while other’s continued to follow the advice of Andy Bullick by cleaning up the site when done with their assigned job. This idea of stepping up and taking responsibility has been a big staple put on by the teachers in the class. For months now Justin, Jess and Bullick have been reminding the students about our futures, and how this class matters a lot about the future of your life.
            Another idea implemented by the teachers in the class has been the idea of a punch list. A punch list is a list the shows the tasks that should be completed in a certain amount of time. The students began to follow the lead throughout the week. With any schedule in life there are always obstacles that you must overcome so that you can achieve your goal. A few of the students accompanied by class advisor Jess May ran into a problem at the beginning of the week when a fews measurements on the backside of the house were off. The group of 2 student’s and one teacher were putting up furring strips that are intended to hold up the pink foam the outside of the house that helped with insulation. Every furring strip was supposed to line up with every single interior stud so the strip of furring plywood could be fastened to a common stud inside the wall. The problem was that somehow the strips were fastened to a stud that was not on layout which made the problem exponentially worse. This took hours to correct.

            On the final day of the week, Juneau continued its pattern of unbelievably sunny weather through the dark days of winter. That made all the students suddenly transform their attitudes from negative to positive which helped the overall vibe of the team. This increased the work on the job site. Another reason why all of the students changed their attitudes was because Jess brought all of them a delicious treat. Jess’s friend Ambrose Capps and Paul Lee sent him two king cakes straight from New Orleans, which made them even better. The two cakes were to small for Jess's stomach alone so he shared. All of these additional pros made the work environment picturesque.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Learning by paying attention to detail

JDHS house build 12/9-12/14
By: Samuel Bibb
Documentation by: Adriana Botelho

With the break fastly approaching, motivation begins to be hard to come by. Students begin to think about their plans during the break, which slows down the work progress in all classes including house build.
Monday the 9th marked the beginning of the last normal week before the break, the real last week is finals week which offers a messy and annoying schedule.
The week began as usual with the regular routine, which included: the safety circle, Job assignments, and the weekly project goals  
On Tuesday the class took a bit of a detour by transitioning into framing the stairs. The class started the process by discussing the process of building stairs. After that, the students learned about all the components in stairs which included the stringers, treads, risers, and nosing. Using that information the class calculated how many stairs they needed to build the staircase so that it would be applicable to the code. From there they were able to lay out the first stringer and cut it out.
The next day, The house build team returned to site to find a staircase awaiting them, which absolutely shocked them because they had only finished one single step throughout an entire class period. The rest of the class period, each student was given a measurement that represented the height from the 1st floor base to the 2nd floor base. with that height the students were to layout and cut one stringer for the hypothetical staircase.
After the mind boggling day on wednesday, the students were treated with a relatively easy task of moving windows into the house on friday. With friday being a short day the class only had time for one more task after moving the windows. That tasks being cleaning the site and making a dump run. With alot of progress being completed in a week span the student only have miserable 2 days to recover until their hit by finals week of 12/16-12/20.