The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Plywood predicament

plywood ceiling detail
Holding up the plywood for the ceiling is a challenge to say the least.

I eventually adopted a technique of using the upper portion of my arm along with the top of my head to hold each piece in place.

I knew having a hard head would come in handy one of these days and that day was today.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Mark: I hope you guys are doing well. I've been following you and Anna over these last many cold weeks. My wife and I are getting closer and closer to joining you guys in Virginia and enjoying some of our own adventures.

I may be too late to be of any help but in the past when I've had to work with plywood or sheetrock overhead I've used a "deadman," which is nothing more than a 2x4 nailed to another in the shape of a capital T. The vertical 2x4 should be 1 1/2 inches shorter than the ceiling to floor height with the balance being filled by the horizontal 2x4. One person can work without help if he has a deadman to assist. It's a lot easier on the had too....I've used that route too on occasion when I was too lazy or in too big a hurry to knock together a deadman.

Hope I'm not too late to help.

I'll be up in Blackwater next week for a few days and won't get a chance to see you but hope to get back up in late March or early April and hope that I can get you enough notice so we can get together for lunch again.


Comment by Dennis Wed Feb 17 16:51:49 2010

I'm not sure what I'll do for my ceiling. I might see what it would cost to have somebody do it -- maybe the roofing people. If it costs too much, I'll see if I can rent or build a drywall lifter.

I just Googled "homemade drywall lifter" and saw some gismos that might work.

Comment by rehoot Wed Feb 17 17:33:53 2010
Screw four small eye-bolts or hooks into the plywood and hoist it up with some cords thrown over the joists. Tie the cords down en screw the plywood to the joists.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Feb 17 17:42:41 2010
Haha... how long do you have to play Atlas?
Comment by Eliza Wed Feb 17 17:51:37 2010

ok here's what you do, it's called a dumb buddy, take and measure the length you will need, take a 2x 4 that length, then add a piece across one end, m,aking a T
then you put your ceiling board in place using the dumb buddy as your helping hand you can also use a few shims if needed, this is what a lot of contractors use, there you be son mom

Comment by roseanell Wed Feb 17 18:03:19 2010

Eliza: Some panels went smoother than others and some required serious back strain due to the awkward angle.

Mom: I like the idea of a "dumb buddy" helper but Huckleberry already has that job under control. If we were doing a bigger building I might have tried one, but we had to do a considerable amount of adjusting and it really helped to have my fingers up there moving and pushing as needed. I was able to reach the lower panels from the floor and a step stool and we've only got one more high one to finish and the rest will be over the loft area.

Dennis: Good luck in Blackwater next week, hope you get enough good weather to get a few things done.

Roland: I like this idea the best. It appeals to my inner Rube Goldberg side and will keep that one in mind for future projects of this type. Eye bolts are so useful!

Rehoot: I hear you about hiring this type of work out....but it's so hard to find dependable workers these days. I hope you've got trustworthy help that will be semi sober and show up when they say they'll be there. I remember paying a guy in Las Cruces to build a cinder block wall and it seemed to take forever with several days in between each session.

Comment by mark Wed Feb 17 19:24:01 2010
I know how you feel...I remember when I hired a guy to help me install sheetrock...we hung over 50 12' sheets in a day...boy was the top of my head sore...
Comment by Moontree Ranch Wed Feb 17 19:31:09 2010
Eliza --- my thoughts exactly (about Atlas)! He had to hold that board up there a lot longer than he should have because once I gave it to him, I said --- "Now stay right there while I do a photo shoot!" :-)
Comment by anna Thu Feb 18 16:26:44 2010

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