Michael Perata, San Jose, CA


Recent comments

Re: What's Better: Crawlspace or Slab-on-Grade?

Well, it kinda depends on where you are building.

In the San Jose, CA area we have areas of extreme expanding adobe clay soil and the cost to engineer/construct a post tension slab versus a pier and grade beam are about the same on a one-off house.

Other areas of town are on silty clays and not subject to extreme soil expansion and it is possible to build a slab on grade house.

Few small spec builders in the area use a slab on grade foundation as a sub-floor is seen as "quality" and a slab on grade is for "the big home builders".

Re: How to Fix a Sagging Beam

I ran into a similar problem where I had 3 2x12s spanning 19'6". It was designed to carry the load from the roof ridge and the previous owner added storage using the built up beam to tie one end of the storage joists to.

The beam had deflected about 1.125". I solved the issue by having a 1/4" x 10" x "the free span length" plate with a full seam welded 1/4" x 3" bearing plate to create an "L" beam.

I jacked up the beam so it had about a 1/2" crown and bolted the plate to the built up beam. I have not noticed any deflection in over 13 years since I made the modification.

Re: Bosch redefines sliding miter saw category with new "glider" system

I bought my first sliding compound miter saw in 1988. It was a Hitachi and had the two bars sliding in a bushed boss. I had to use it on a set of horses since the bars traveled back and beyond the saw's base. I actually bought three as the first two were stolen by my framers. (has anything changed?)

I no longer work in the field and when I set up shop in my garage I was limited to using a Delta compound miter saw.

I have been slowing upgrading from my Delta/Porter Cable equipment to Festool and recently acquired their sliding miter saw as it took up the same room as the Delta but gave me a significantly wider cut.

The Festool uses the same technique as the original Hitachi except the motor rides on rigid rails. I really like the saw.

The Bosch seems to be a usable set up inasmuch as it can it be put close to a wall like a typical compound miter saw. I wonder if the "Looks Cool" factor may be a detriment as it appears to be a tad over engineered, almost Rube Goldebergish.

Re: Play Fine Homebuilding's Game "The Inspector"

I lent my framing contractor my aluminum scaffold plank to assist in the siding of a spec home I was building.

I drove up to the site one afternoon to find an ambulance, two police cars and a emergency fire vehicle.

A partner of the framer walked out on the scaffold just like in the image and fell about 20 feet, landing on his chest with the plank then landing on him, severely brusing his heart muscle, breaking a scapula and two cervical vertibrae (no paralysis!).

Since he was a sub-contractor, he wasn't covered under my worker's comp. Since he was an owner, he chose not to cover his self with worker's comp.

Since the plank was OSHA approved and installed by the framer, he didn't have a legit liability claim against me.

That little fall cost the County of Santa Clara a bit over $200,000 and the injured guy ended up filing a BK.

Re: Where do you build cabinets?

In 2005-6 a Bay Area custom homebuilder would pay upwards of $70K a year, all-in, for a lead carpenter, who would also be capable of building a set of cabinets onsite.

At the same time, the labor rate in a quality cabinet shop in my market was less than $40K, all-in, and the shop would install what they built. Let the shop fix the "measure once, cut it wrong the first time" errors and also let them pay for a $1,000+ of Grandma's china when the cabinet falls off the wall.

Just in time buying wood a hundred board feet is not the same as buying a thousand board feet ahead of production. A homebuilder can never compete material cost wise with a well financed cabinet shop.

Do the math.

Re: How Would YOU Design a Home for Disaster Victims?

There are a lot of good solutions here and a lot of impractical solutions. It is not my intention to applaud or dengirate any particular solution, but rather point out the issues that cannot be overcome by Haiti.
There was a suggestion of not building on a fault line. This is an appropriate comment until you realize the entire island is a fault zone: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/01/26/science/26fault_graphic.html
There is the population and its inability to control land and therefore Haiti creates areas like Cité Solei:
...and then there is the corruption:

Some of our human conditions do not have solutions.

Re: SawStop Inventor Walks the Walk

unTreatedwood wrote:
" If it competed on a price basis with other saws without the technology pricewise, or close, I would put it on my short list if and when I needed/wanted to buy another one"

I was at my local woodcraft today and a new series Delta 52" 3Hp was $3,300 and a comparably equipped Sawstop was $3,600. Easy decision if in your price range.

I am not opposed to reasonable regulations regarding safety. Sawstop is currently not required equipment, but if were 45 years ago my gradfather would not have lost three fingers.

If helmets were required in the 1960s (as they are now in California) I may not have lost three high school friends to motorcycle accidents, and I since they were required when I raced motorcycles in the early 70's I walked away with only concussions on two occassions.

When I built houses, I would kick anyone off my job if they removed safety equipment (saw guards).

I can only say to those who challenge reasonable safety regualations: please keep your health insurance up to date. While I do support universal health care, I do not support your right to show up in an emergency room after sawing your hand off, or running your head into a tree, without insurance.

Re: How Do You Handle Customers Who Don't Pay?

In California (yes, California) the contractor would be committing a felony if the value of the addition was over $600. Once anything is permanently attached to real property, it is part of the real property, and cannot be removed by the contractor for non-payment. The only recourse a contractor has is to lien the job.

I never asked for a deposit up front when I got a job. The customer gains a bit more confidence in my status and it gives me an edge over the guy who showed up in his Levis and wanted 10% down before he started the job.

BTW, in California, a contractor can only require 10% of the job price or $1,000 whichever is LESS.