cedar shakes project after
Photo: Michael and Faith N
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Cedar Shakes Project: After

Who: Michael and Faith N
Where: Marlborough, Mass.

So after hammering an estimated 6,162 nails (all by hand), suffering cuts, scrapes, splinters, and a bout with tendinitis we completed turning our mansard roof back to red cedar shake-style. And it only took two years and three months of weekends, not working the New England winters of course! A few observations if we may:

It takes 26 pounds of nails for a mansard roof job—nails are sold in 25 pound boxes. Gravity exists. The more time it takes to cut a specific piece, the more likely it is to split when you try to put it up. You have to buy a full roll of felt paper when you only need eight feet to finish the job. If you read a tape measure upside down, 46 inches becomes 64 inches. It is possible to climb a ladder in the pouring rain to reattach a tarp. A 28-foot ladder under no circumstances can reach a 30 foot peak. Think twice if your wife or husband says, "You hold the nail and I'll hammer it in." Scaffolding is for wimps. Bucket lifts are for bigger wimps. Did we mention gravity exists? All objects fall equally, be it a pry-bar, hammer, nail, spacer, tape measure, level, or shake. (We never stood below the work area of course!)

Who did the work: I did all the work myself
Cost: $1,000 to $5,000
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