Joist in Time!

Don’t worry – I haven’t come over all “Nu Yoik“!! Tuesday afternoon saw the arrival of a bundle of pressure-treated, stress-graded softwood from my local BuildBase. All these long lengths were conveniently unloaded directly off the lorry with one of those grab-things on the back –  a real godsend in saving both time and energy! This wood was purchased to allow me to fit a suspended, overhead, storage floor in my compact workshop – something for which I actually began planning for three-years ago! Most of the narrower stuff will be used to frame the inside of the roof, ready for insulation boards. It was cheaper for me to buy (and store!) this lot at the same time, as BuildBase offer free delivery on all orders of £200 or more (excluding VAT). Not pictured are the seven sheets of 2400 x 600 x 18mm MR chipboard flooring, which will be laid directly on top of the joists.

After placing the order seven-days in advanced, I was surprised to receive a phone call with only a few minutes, confirming my order and offering next-day delivery!! Are all builder’s merchants this efficient?! If not for other arrangements I’d already made, I’d have happily taken all this wood on board to make an early start on this project.

Those sheets of chipboard I mentioned have spent the last few days stacked on top of my workbench, while I worked on hanging the joists…

I was also impressed to see that the Folding Sawhorses I built last summer were more than capable of withstanding all the weight of this damp, treated timber:

Most of the lengths that arrived came in excess of what I had ordered; all dependant on what BuildBase were carrying in stock, at the time. For instance; with the 7x2in (175 x 47mm) joists, I ordered nine at 3.6m (12ft) long and one spare (for noggings, etc.), at 2.4m long (8ft – each joist needed to be around 3m long)… They supplied me with ten lengths at 4.2m! Yet, they haven’t even charged me an extra penny! So, after a lot of hand-sawing…

…I was left with a pile of reasonably-long offcuts of 7x2in softwood:

There’s far more than enough, here, for all the noggins and blocking that I was going to use on this job. At almost 900mm long, I’m sure I’ll be able to find a use for these in the future… Not forgetting that un-touched 4.2m length, either! However, if you have any immediate ideas or thoughts then, I welcome your opinions. For once though, it’s nice to be only partially responsible for ending up with far too much wood!! 😀

Whenever you’re working with treated timber, it is very important to re-treat any cut ends with an end-sealing product:

You see, the chemicals used in the pressurized tanalising process only penetrate the timber to a maximum depth of approximately 6mm (¼in) deep. Each time you make a cut, sand, rout or plane the surface, you are effectively ‘breaking‘ that seal. Any exposed timber should always be retreated by hand. As this brush-on solution isn’t nearly as effective as flooding the wood with chemicals inside a large vacuum, it’s best that you don’t break the seal on anything that’s going to have direct contact with or, is going in to, the ground. This stuff is harmful, though, meaning you should always take the necessary precautions – wear rubber gloves and try to use in a well ventilated area, so as not to breathe in the fumes. Similar risks are associated with the handling and working of treated timber, as the dust itself can cause all sorts of problems with your throat and nose.

In order to get an accurate length for each of the joists, I fixed two scrap lengths of 2x2in timber together where they butted between the two walls – this is almost identical to a technique which was recently demonstrated by The Wood Whisperer [sorry, no photos of my own]. Except, I’m working on a much larger scale. With floor joists, there’s a 6mm tolerance for the overall length of a joist, which can dropping the joists in to a hanger much easier, particularly where the walls in a building may not be straight, true, parallel or plumb! You don’t have to use up the whole 6mm allowance, of course. You may even find that cutting on the ‘wrong side‘ of a pencil line leaves you with all the clearance you need.

If ever you have to remove some old joists (and they’re not currently bearing load!!), one tip I like is to saw through them at an angle (assuming you’re not hoping to preserve the wood), so that each of the fixed ends can then easily be levered away from the wall plates.

As the timber didn’t arrive before 2pm, I wasn’t left with many daylight hours to work in, given that I had to strip down all the wires, cables and take down all the lights at the rear of the workshop before I could begin installing this floor. So, once I’d cut all the joists to length and re-treated the ends, I set about laying out the hangers for the joist spacings – and, in the next part, I’ll show you more on that!

I’ll end this post by saying that, at the end of ‘Day 1’, if you can call it that, I was left with the predicament of how to store all these 3m and 3.6m lengths… Well, the image above won’t please everyone – and, this is without either of my sawhorses or the nine <3ft lengths of 7x2in I’d almost forgotten about, when I came to take this photo!! Needless to say, I wasn’t doing anything out here overnight. I couldn’t even get in without risking a broken ankle.

Thanks for reading.

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