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Post Info TOPIC: Our fore fathers worked with what they had


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Our fore fathers worked with what they had


Working on the farm house has me marveling at the basement. It is all stone and dust dry. Who ever laid it up was a true craftsman, the fit is amazing, the inside surfaces are darn near flat.  How do they get the window openings so square? They used local rock I presume because I have found piles around the property.

First thing I did before starting my rebuild was to jack the place up to check the beam used for the plate for rot. It was in great shape for being over 130 years old. I could see how the builder got the stone to run flat on top, quite a feat considering they used round rock. This is not flag stone, talking boulders.

I like rock! I have several piles all sorted by size. The darn things sell too. The monsters I give away, just pay for transportation, and site placement!

My youngest son has this idea to duplicate the craftsmanship from yesteryear and dig out the side of the house that now only has a crawl space. This was an addition added around the 1930's. He has done some drawings and is on the prowl for what we will need to hold it all up in the air while we dig it out.

He has been a busy fellow since we got the rebuild closed in. The drywall is coming Friday. It will be delivered to the second floor through the front window opening. He has the place ready for it.

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The old part of my house is about 100 years old....has the stone basement walls. At one time it has bee underpinned and a cement floor put in....There are sections that are stepped up more than others, not sure why, but the water system sits there, so it works out. It does have a slight musty smell in there, get the odd mouse, but it is basically very dry....Dryer than I thought it was going to be anyways.......

BTW, dont tell the wife about the mice...I havent told her that I have trapped a few....we would be moving....LOL....Women.

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my uncle james was a craftsman. he built everything by hand. i remember goin to work with him and my dad when i was a kid. they didnt even use any power tools.his saws and chisels were dang sharp too. i have an old two piece framin square that he owned. i think this square was one of his newer tools. alot of his tools were hand made by him in his little shop on the farm.that was a different world back then.he had a saw mill that ran off his old poppin johnny.it kinda looked like a big table saw.it ran off the same belt as the feed mill as best i can remember.its is amazin how them old boys got er done. i do remember them usin a plumb bob and a square alot.

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Four Fathers!??! jawdrop.gif......Sorry, that one was a stinker. disbelief I just can't help myself at times. ashamed

The original craftsmen were the real deal. Their work amazes me. So much of it stands a century or two later...proud as can be. They took the time to do it right and took pride in what they did. Good luck gettin' some of the crap that's built today to stand for 150 years.
I've been in countless structures just like your farmhouse, there's a lot of 'em still standin' around here. My Grandfather (who died when I was still swingin' nut to nut) was a true craftsmen. Much of his work still stands as true and square as the day he built 'em. Dad likes to tell of his Father digging a basement with a pick and shovel, building the entire house on it by himself and moving his family into it pretty much just in time for my Dad to be born. He did it all after work, on weekends and such, payin' as he went. I love that story, wish I had met the man.
By the way, I like rock too. I was on a collectin' spree for a few years...found and kept several of 'em that have fossils in 'em. When I got into the concrete biz my big thing was makin' concrete appear as much like natural stone as possible. My earlier interest in 'em made it easier for me I believe.

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My father in law was an old world, German born craftsman. Altho I didn't know it at the time, I grew up next door to a house he had built along with several others in my neighborhood. They were nothing super special - that is except for the fact that the tornado that went through, never hurt any of them but did blow a couple of other builders houses nearby down. If 4 nails worked for most folks, 8 were better and more, even better yet. Pneumatic nailers - they were for the wimps. Power saws, the 25 pound worm drive Skil-saws were the only ones worth taking to a job. Hand saws - he must have had a dozen. Lots of home made tools as well. He had to have carried a thousand pounds of tools and fasteners in his beat up Chebbie work truck's cabinets. Some of his tools - they were real clunks, but whatever he did, it was plumb, straight and level plus fit well. I tend to build the same way with fasteners and good materials, but with a heluva lot less skill levelno

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Like some of you, I was blessed to have been raised by hard working men, such as my Grandpas and Dad and they were also very talented when it came to fixing and building things in order to save money.  They all worked hard all of the life and I have even tried to pass those work ethics on to my Sons and Grandkids !

One story that I would like to share is of my Dad's Dad.  His name was, Oscar, and everyone called him O.B.  He was a very small man like my Dad was but tuffer than whet leather and didn't know the word "can't"!

Back during the Great Depression, Grandpa O.B. borrowed some money and went to an auction and bought 12 Spanish Mules (they were totally Green, and that doesn't mean their Color, ok?)  He had agreed to clear a Section of Land for a wealthy Oklahoma Rancher and turn it up with a middle buster for the Gentleman.

Well, after the job was finished, all 12 Mules were broke to Ride, broke to the 12-up hitch and broke to Plow.cowboy.gif  The Rancher paid him for the work and my Grandpa then took the 12 Mules to the Auction and sold them (now broke and trained) for more money than he made clearing the Section of Land !

"I always called him SIR"

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By SECTION,, You mean A 640 acre section?  doesn't that equal a square mile?  that is a bunch of ground to be clearing of [I assume] trees , stumps. brush, etc? all with wild mules?? That was a hell of a feat,, but that was the only way back in those days, Hard work and presserverance,   Try getting that done today,, it would take all kinds of modern equipment, and a bunch of hired hands 

 When I was born   in a Farm house in Texas, with the help of a horseback riding Dr.. my dad was a blackland dirt farmer, cotton mostly , But My dad sold the farm and we moved to New Mexico in 42 so my dad and uncle could start up a trucking company to haul fuel oil to Los Alamos NM for the Manhatten project,, [ building the Atomic bomb ] That was his way out of a hard life..
I remember hearing all the stories of hard times during the depression,, and people bitch about the conditions today,, if they only knew what hard time were,,



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Yes, it was 640 acres but mostly flat farming land, so I am told - - -lots of brush and a few rocks but probably no large trees except the Cottonwoods along the creeks if there were any there.

My Dad also went into the trucking business, hauling Produce to NM and Colorado for a spell and then got into the Oil Patch working in a Natural Gas pump station in Shamrock, Texas - - - (right in the middle of Route 66) - - - you should hear the stories he could tell about Levita Pass - - - - shocked.gif

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Lavita pass sounds  familar,, My dad talked about that too, must have been a dusey,,
I remember going with my dad in the truck to Los Alamos, at that time it was a closed location on a mountain top.. we had to stop  at this big security gate going into the place..with no other way to get there,, if you didn't have prior clearance,, you definately didn;t get any further than that gate,, the first time I went   He had to leave me at the gate while he went and unloaded. I was probably 5 0r 6 Y/O. and scared to death,,

They later sold the trucking co to someone,  which evolved into Navajo Freight lines,, which is still around I think,,
He then bought a Chevrolet and Oldsmobile Dealership,, and I was the car wash boy for years,, at probably 50 c a hr,,smile



-- Edited by Bad Rat on Thursday 24th of December 2009 02:12:13 PM

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