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PAW Supply Closet
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:29 pm
Howdy! We live in a house that was built for factory workers in 1915. There are no closets. Well, okay - a previous owner put in ONE closet in the 1950s, about the time he added two bedrooms and attic access in the attic and bricked the house. He didn't do the best job with the attic.
Anyway, I decided to knock a hole in the wall of one of the attic bedrooms and add a closet strictly for PAW food and water supplies. Right now, they occupy the floor of a second bedroom. The closet is now done, and is seven by six feet. Please note that I have never done any kind of significant construction project before. No framing, hardly any drywalling (I suck at drywall), little electrical, etc. For those of you who are into construction, I'm putting up photos so you can laugh at my incompetance. Be aware that I don't actually know how to do any of this stuff.
Please note that since the spaces are tight, I used a wide angle lens that tends to curve the image at the edges. My work is bad, but not THAT bad.
Step 1: After removing moulding, knock a hole in the wall.
Step 2: Remove wall studs and do a basic doorway frame. This is where it stops being easy. Like I said, this house was built very out of square with very, very rough timbers. Worse, the guy who added the attic bedrooms did NOT do the best job. I probably did a worse job.
Step 3: Reroute the 80,000 different power cables just laying across the attic floor rafters, sink them underneath the surface of those rafters and pound metal plates over them. Then lay down the plywood floor and the border for the framing. During this process, one of the 1X6s the previous owner had left in the 1950's to walk on between rafters snapped as I stepped on it, causing me to fall through the cieling to our main level bedroom like some bad Chevy Chase movie. It hurt. I was able to more or less fix the ceiling.
Step 4: Spend approximately twenty hours correcting issues with the house so you can lay drywall flat, such as the fact that in 1915, the 2X4 timbers that make the cieling (and walls) were actually two by four, not 3.5X1.5 like they are today, which means a complete stud incompatibility issue with modern 2X4s. Wheee! Let's also not forget that not one of the studs or rafters are actually the same height, so none of them are flush with each other! Some rafters are horribly misshapen. That means I got to spend hours and hours cutting some rafters a little bit lower while building some rafters up! While we're at it, you can toss the "studs every sixteen inches" thing for the cieling right out the window, since the house was built for factory workers by drunk itinerants working for ten cents an hour a hundred years ago! Some rafters or studs may be 17 inches apart. Others maybe 27 inches! Yet others may be 30.25 inches apart! It's totally random! What fun!
Now that things are approximating one stud every sixteen inches, like in modern building code, things get easy again. Add some insulation. Here's where I learned not to attach any electrical connections until after drywall is up.
Put up drywall. If you're me, be sure to do an extra-incompetant job measuring, cutting, fitting, and finally joining the drywall with putty. Then paint and add trim.
Finish the door frame. I made this door frame exactly like all the others in the house. Add door and paint. Unfortunately, since the cielings are slightly low in these upstairs rooms, I had to cut about sixe inches off the door and frame. Thanks, wife and table saw!
Okay, now the closet is finished. Here are completed photos.
Exterior of the door. Previously, there was only a wall here. Discerning viewers may notice the door is not perfectly straight.
Pictures of the inside of the closet and fixtures. Discerning people might notice how badly the drywall bulges at the seams. Without the flash, it looks much, much worse.
My twenty dollar carpet scrap.
The border of the closet where the two carpets merge.
In a day or two, I'm going to fill this with all of my PAW food and water (I need more!). I think I'll also store my snake in there. Once I do that, I'll post photos.
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:47 pm
I can't knock you with anything negative! For working with what you had, you did a fantastic job. I'm very impressed!
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:13 pm
Not too shabby. Now that's some valuable experience! You earned yourself some serious home repair/remodeling cred, and the next project you take on will be better for the lessons learned on this one. You should give yourself some props for a damn fine job considering you have basically no experience at all. I'll bet wifey is already asking when you're going to build another closet.
How long did all this take?
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:24 pm
It looks like you did a great job. I live in an old fixer-upper kind of place and I know how tough it can be dealing with retarded decisions made decades ago. ("Who the fuck ever wanted to put up such blatantly ugly wallpaper in their house!?" was asked a lot in my case.)
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:57 pm
Looks real good to me, Nice job.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:22 am
WTF is with the black hole in the middle of your flash?
Fake edit: Feels nice to build something for yourself don't it?
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:59 am
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:07 am
The job that you did looks very good! You showed a good amount of skill. I cant wait for the 'stocked' photos.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:14 am
I can't wait to see the pictures of it stocked with supplies! Having starred in that same "Chevy Chase/Money Pit" movie with my hubby, I can sympathize! lol
It looks like you did a great job, and you added not only needed room, but value to your house!
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:05 am
Don't knock yourself. You did great! As for the pratfall, While in an attic building a box for an attic fan, I managed to saw through a hidden pvc water supply line, drenching the attic, the masterbedroom underneath, and myself. So it could have been worse.
For the drywall, the trick is patience. Do many thin layers of mud over a several day period. Once each layer is dry, scrape and sand it, then mud the next layer. It takes time, but it looks much better. Another trick is to use spray on texture material, which helps hide irregularities in the walls and tape.
Looks great, though!
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:26 am
Good one, Jamoni. Try to add a little value to your place and you do ten thousand dollars in water damage to your house!
(I don't know why I'm laughing with some of the bonehead stuff I've done).
JRod, the black hole in the middle of the flash is the shadow of the huge lens on the camera. Very annoying.
Ricky, because I suck, the job took two weeks of ten hour days.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:44 am
Man, that looks great! Good job.
I'm not sure I'd store a snake in a closet, though.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:07 am
Great job, Erik.
Glad to see you thought of things such as lighting, an outlet and insulation.
Because this is an upstairs room, and one that you will be checking infrequently, I hope you have some provision for the fact that a water container might leak. Maybe keeping all your bottled water inside a rubbermaid tote, for instance. You don't want your next home project to be fixing water damage in the downstairs ceiling!
Excellent job, looks downright "civilized". What method of organization will you be using? Shelving, totes, or just PHD (piled higher and deeper)? PHD is more space efficient but will be a nightmare when you need to access something on bottom or rotate old stock. Bears some thought.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:56 am
Looks well done to me Erik. Might not be quick at it but the quality is there and hey, you are working for yourself so who cares how long it takes.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:53 am
an exceptional job!
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:04 pm
Thanks for all the compliments! I appreciate them!
Okay, I have had requests to include photos of the stocked PAW closet, so here they are. Before I get started with photos, let me make you aware that I am not, by any means, done with my supplies. I have merely started.
Please add suggestions and make comments.
The PAW Closet version 1.0. To the left is water, to the right are various totes full of stuff. The two boxes on top of the blue totes are crates of MREs. I figure 24 MREs is a good place to be, considering all the other food I have. Doc Simon told me they last indefinately, though the taste doesn't stay good forever.
Now we can open up some of the containers.
One of the crates is (nearly) full of canned goods. Please note that these totes are HUGE, much larger than they look in the pictures. Note the can opener. I mostly get these cans at dent discount. Many of them will be good for a year or two after the expiration date. I usually won't buy canned food for PAW storage unless the last two numbers in the expiration year start with a "1," such as they years 2010, 2011, etc. Is it true condensed milk lasts nearly forever?
This tote is completely full of ramen. Not the most nutritionally complete, but it does have the lowest dollar per calorie ratio of any other food I can find. That whole crate of ramen was under twenty bucks.
This entire tote is full of pasta and rice - mostly rice. At Sam's Club, you can buy huge 25 pound bags of rice for about $7.40.
This tote contains heat and light. There are a few packs of emergency candles and LOTS of Sterno. I probably have around thirty cannisters of Sterno/Sterno substitute. If each cannister lasts five hours, that's 150 hours of cooking fuel. I'm thinking of ultimately doubling that number. Also, there's some great gadgets I got through my school book sales (I'm a teacher). For five bucks each, I got two sets of crank radios/crank flashlights. For another fifteen, I got a crank LED lantern, also in the container. I just realized right now that my entire stash contains only one old lighter.
I guess the next time I remember, I'll have to pick up a few packs of matches and new lighters.
The cube-shaped boxes contain gallons of water. I only have 22 gallons right now, plus about five gallons in single-serving containers. That is not good. For my wife and I, that's only about 13 days of water total. Not enough. For 69 cents a gallon, I really should get another fifty dollars worth at the least. Experts, I've also heard that water in those gallon containers will last indefinately. Is that true? I don't care about the taste, just the potability. I got those two bottom crates of two liters for free just the other day. A discount place I was shopping at was giving away two cases per customer. Maybe I'll send my wife to get a couple more today.
Well, there you go! Comments and suggestions accepted!
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:14 pm
This is literally the single best example of true preparedness I can recall seeing on this forum. I'm sure other people have similar preparations, but there's so few threads about them, and even fewer pics.
I know we all love ogling HK33K's guns and making dick jokes, but honestly, a good, practical stockpile like your closet is what we SHOULD be working towards.
Awesome work, nice pics. Gold stars all around.
Where's the snake?
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:21 pm
Beeing in the attic, how hot does it get inside the cabinet on a hot summer day?
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:22 pm
Good question. It hasn't been hot yet since it's been done, The upstairs has air conditioning, though not as good as the downstairs. I'm willing to bet no higher than 80 degress, thanks to the insulation. Maybe not much warming then the upper 70s.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:27 pm
My comments (free advice and worth every penny)...
Looks like you have good variety in the food groups. The totes look fine, but I have to ask if you can carry them when they're full. If you had to bug out, you'd want to load these up quickly in the car. Keeping the totes small makes sure your wife can lift and carry them if SHTF while you're away from home and she needs to grab & go. You might want to add some propane cylinders and a camping stove to the sterno. Have you tried cooking using sterno? I'd like to encourage you to cook a pot of pasta using just sterno as a test run. Please let us know how that goes. My experience with sterno is that it is great for warming, but poor at COOKING due to it's low combustion temp.
My chief concern for your set up is the water. The water will go the distance, have no doubt. But the CONTAINERS, especially the flimsy milk-jug variety, can develop pinholes over time, especially if they are subjected to warm temps. If you transfer that water into 2 liter soda bottles with 1 drop of bleach in each, they should be fine for basically all eternity. I'd still want them inside a rubbermaid tote as a safety precaution. BTW when you buy water, you're paying for the container and shipping the weight of the filled container. Tap water (unless yours is unfit for human consumption) is just as good, and a drop of bleach will keep it good for a long long time. I'd still swap it out every 6 months just for palatability reasons, since taste is a variable that changes over time.
I'm guessing you will want to put labels on each tote describing what is inside so you don't have to open each one to find the rice. If you put canned goods in a tote that have similar expiration dates, it will make rotating your stock easier. Just grab the tote with the oldest date, and either rotate it to your pantry or take it down to the donation bin.
Special note on the can opener. I have used these all my adult life and they are a pain - literally. The next time you have the price of a movie ticket to spare, do your future-self a favor, go get a good OXO brand can opener. I can tell you they make a huge difference in the ease of opening a can manually, especially if that will be one's primary method of food preparation for a matter of days or weeks. You will thank me later for this tidbit.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:32 pm
Neville wrote:My chief concern for your set up is the water. The water will go the distance, have no doubt. But the CONTAINERS, especially the flimsy milk-jug variety, can develop pinholes over time, especially if they are subjected to warm temps. If you transfer that water into 2 liter soda bottles with 1 drop of bleach in each, they should be fine for basically all eternity. I'd still want them inside a rubbermaid tote as a safety precaution.
I don't see the point of buying bottled water, then breaking the seal, which means you have to add bleach, which makes it taste worse than tap water. Why not just rotate your stock of bottled water occasionally? Most of us could stand to drink more water anyway.
BTW when you buy water, you're paying for the container and shipping the weight of the filled container. Tap water (unless yours is unfit for human consumption) is just as good, and a drop of bleach will keep it good for a long long time. I'd still swap it out every 6 months just for palatability reasons, since taste is a variable that changes over time.
Makes sense for large volume storage. I'd stick with bottles for smaller volumes, as in the above closet.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:42 pm
Jeriah wrote:I don't see the point of buying bottled water, then breaking the seal, which means you have to add bleach, which makes it taste worse than tap water. Why not just rotate your stock of bottled water occasionally? Most of us could stand to drink more water anyway.
Exactly, most folks are money ahead to just fill some (washed) empty 2 liter bottles, the bottles being free since you've already paid for them in the price of the soda. I add a small amt of bleach as a precaution and because my wife is germ-phobic. It does affect the taste a little but not that much, frankly I've lived in towns where the tap water had a more disagreeable taste than what I get from a drop or 2 of bleach in a 2 liter jug. BTW I don't believe the water companies "do" anything to the water other than put it in a container and ship it, i.e. I don't believe it is pasteurized or anything to kill germs. Water without organic content, not open to the air, or exposed to sunlight really doesn't support much in the way of microbial life.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:47 pm
Looks good to me too, Erik. Good Job.
I like that Blue with White trim color scheme, it's way more soothing on the eye than that garish red of the living room.
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:05 pm
There you go, hating on my living room AGAIN, CC!
Let the good folks here decide - do you like my living room colors or not? Tell me now!