Letterpress & Publick House Update #1

Posted on August 20th, by Todd Simmons in Blog. No Comments

Last week, our favorite word was “sawzall” around the Wolverine Farm. After 16 months of internal and external review on our project at 316 Willow, we finally put sweat and muscle into the game. The partial demolition of the current building was fun and invigorating work–the roof was rotten and needed to go anyway, and we intend to build all our farm-style tables out of the salvaged 2×10 rafters. Here’s a rundown of our demo process last week:


#1Here is the space we bought–a 25′ x 50′ cinder block building with a slightly-pitched-mostly-flat roof. The space was divided up into one large workspace, two bathrooms, one furnace room, and a reception area. What are we taking out you may ask? Everything! All of the plumbing, electrical, internal walls, heating system, roof system, and stepped parapet roof. When we’re done the space will look like a concrete shoe box with the lid removed.


#2History speaks through marks left on the floor. These beautifully arched incomplete circles were left by office chairs on wheels.


#3Some of the internal walls are down, the ceiling has been removed, and the space is revealing itself. If you can’t tell, it’s not big. Almost every time that someone visits the space, they ask, what’s behind the back wall? They don’t realize that the back wall is the extent of the empire. As they say, small is beautiful.


#4As we finish up on the inside, a concrete cutter comes to cut off the stepped parapet roof. The framers need a common plane to work off of, so the concrete cutter goes all the way around the building, 150′ feet, in about two hours. It is surprisingly clean and quiet work.


#5The concrete block comes down easily and usually in large sheets that break apart when they hit the ground. The building is noticeably uglier but it’s headed in a good direction. Hundreds and hundreds of block need to be moved…


#6All hail Wolverine Farm volunteers! A big thanks to Bryan, Michael, Daniel, and Danny for providing the muscles and determination to haul blocks and stack 2x10s for hours and hours.


#7 #8Hey, look at that sky there, that sure is nice. After peeling off 1200 sq. feet of roofing membrane, we then peeled off 1200 sq. feet of heavily soaked insulation (the roof had been leaking for years), and then about 40 sheets of tar-infused plywood. Yummy! Next came knocking out the blocking, the cross-bracing, and then pulling out all the rafters. They are going to make really nice tables, you just wait.


9This is a door on a dump truck owned by our contractor, Empire Carpentry. We really like the way the dump truck looks in front of our building, and almost regret that we didn’t plan for a place to park our own dump truck. Up next, more concrete cutting, new plumbing, and excavation work! Stay tuned.

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