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D-Day

November 27, 2012 |

Missed a Momplex Post?

We are DIYing our moms a Duplex in Alaska! Check out our progress so far as we owner build a home, step by step. Read the Momplex blog here.

posted by Ana White

Sorry about the random Alaska picture.

I took this picture the other day in "broad" daylight on a drive.  This is what mid-day sun looks like in Interior Alaska in November.  The Ram keeps assuring me that in a month, we'll start gaining daylight.  I don't say it, but I think "that means we'll be losing daylight for another month ... that means in two months, we'll be back to this amount of daylight ... that means it's getting worse ... before it gets better ..."

Now I love Alaska, and every place you live, you take the good with the bad, right?  

Well, this is the bad.  Makes the good much better!

So with this weather we are dealing with two very big motivators.  It's freezing cold in the Momplex, and there's no light.  We need to get that ceiling insulated pronto, so we can put heat in the Momplex to make working conditions better.  And we need to finish up the electrical so we can stop babysitting a fussy generator (it's no fun to care for a generator that doesn't want to run in our cold temperatures - kinda like a baby that doesn't want to sleep when you got dishes to do and dinner to cook).  With electrical in, it won't be so dark inside the Momplex, and we'll be able to just plug tools in to use them!  It's going to be great!

First battle to fight?

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The ceiling. Trust me, you'd choose heat over electricity too. Heat comes first.

To get this ceiling insulated, all we have to do is hang the ceiling drywall, and then insulate the ceiling itself from the attic. We are so close ... I can almost feel my toes again!

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We set up in the great rooms. It was a huge chore to move those drywall sheets in - 5/8" thick x 12 feet long - up a story, through a split entry .... you get the idea. I helped the Ram on a few sheets, and then he as nicely as he could, let me know that it would be more helpful if I just held the door open. #eatyourwheaties

My brother loaned us his drywall jack so we won't have to hold the drywall up while it's put into positioned and screwed in place. Thank goodness!

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The drywall jack is amazingly easy to assemble and disassemble. It's pretty big, so for every room, you take it apart to get through doorways.

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Without this drywall jack, I can most certainly promise you I'd either be out for the next three months with back problems, or I'd be competing in dead-lifting competition.

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Like anything done overhead, on a ladder, in full down winter gear, you want to do as much prep work as possible on the ground first. It's a gravity thing - it's easier to draw on walls and floors than ceilings. So we measure the overall length of the first piece of drywall, and then also note the ceiling stud spacing so we can mark where screws go on the ground.

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We went with 12 foot sheets of drywall for the ceiling because as hard as this big boy is to manuever, and despite being a full 50% heavier than an 8 footer, this is all easier than mudding another butt joint.

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The sheet of drywall is marked for the cut length.

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Then we use a square to make sure we are cutting square.

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All you need is a utility knife.

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Just follow the square with the utility knife, breaking the paper on the drywall front. You want to cut the front first (pretty side) and back second.

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With the front cut, the drywall will just fold on the cut.

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Then go back on the back and cut the back paper.

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It's pretty easy to cut the drywall!

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Then we take a rasp

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And use it to smooth out the cut edge - just in case there is some spots where the drywall broke a little un-square. Bad drywall!

Then the drywall is moved carefully into the room.  Now this is easier said than done because let's not forget the drywall is cut to the room's width. 

The drywall is placed on the lift

The trick here is to angle one end down as you bring the sheet up.  Think of it like fitting a shelf inside a bookshelf ... sometimes, you gotta do some maneuvering to get things in place.

Then you can focus on getting one end in place first.

And then just keep turning the wheel on the drywall jack to move the second end up.

Perfect fit, time for screws!

We are just using standard drywall screws

And a special drywall bit that puts the screw in just the right depth.  Not deep enough and you have to go back and hand tighten screws to recess below drywall surface.  Too deep and you puncture the paper and loose your holding strength. 

And the drywall gets screwed up to the ceiling studs.  Now one screw over head is not that big of a deal ... but 2000 square feet of screws on a ladder over your head at 20 below?  No easy task.  

Thank goodness lines are marked to make finding studs easier.

Electrical boxes are also marked in ceiling.  See the X?

It's about to become an O.  With a little help from this tool.

It is set to just cut the drywall, and follow the electrical box as a guide.  No wires are harmed during this process.

Can't get any faster or better than that!

With the ceiling drywalled, the Momplex immediately started holding heat better.  But it's still not warm in there, we need insulation over that drywall!!!

Have you done drywall before?  What's your favorite part?  Least favorite part?  I'm thinking my favorite part is it's done!

My favorite part is when it's done too!

Mudding, taping, and sanding overhead is a KILLER. But it sure looks purdy, and it is such a big step towards the finish!!

posted by Janet Crit (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-11-27 17:02
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Ana White's picture

Mudding ...

Ugh ... it's coming isn't it!!!???!!! I am not looking forward to this step but you are right, once it's done, it's done!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:15
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Ever heard of Euless's picture

My first experience (and my

My first experience (and my hubby's!) with dry wall was last February when we completely gutted and re did our main bathroom. Thank heaven for a Dad that knows his way around construction and willing to teach us newbies!

I don't mind hanging drywall, even taping isn't bad. It's that horrid mudding and sanding! It takes SOOOOOOO long to get it to look great!

posted by Ever heard of Euless | on Tue, 2012-11-27 17:22
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Ana White's picture

We are pretty thankful for

We are pretty thankful for Grandpa Tim's help too - Dad's are great, aren't they? The hanging actually did go pretty fast - the poor Ram's back was aching pretty bad from all those screws. Hopeful the taping goes as smooth as yours ... not looking forward to the sanding though! Any tips?

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:20

sanding drywall mud

Get a heavy duty abrasive scrub pad. They are essentially coarse synthetic steel wool with a plastic handle attached to the back that you would use to clean a bathtub. Take this pad and a bucket of lukewarm water, get the pad wet and use it to rub down the joints. use only as much water as you need too much will do more harm than good. Drywall mud is water soluble and will sand easily with the addition of the water. You will need to wait for the water to dry before the next coat, if this takes more than an hour you have probably over done it on the water. This method will eliminate all sanding dust, I don't even need to wear a mask.

Drywall mud also must remain above freezing while it dries, I use a 70,000 BTU forced air (jet style) kerosene heater when I do TFT in the winter months.

posted by Matthew (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-12-03 15:51

Sanding

When we finished our basement, I thought that installing the drywall was the worst part... until we mudded. Then I thought that mudding was the worst part... until we had to sand. I still stand on the thought that sanding was the worst part (I'm sure we could have done things differently). I'm sure that it will be a little easier to clean the dust when the area isn't being lived in! The Momplex is looking great! Thank you for sharing your journey!

posted by Sherron (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-11-27 17:31
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Ana White's picture

Hi Sherron - we are very

Hi Sherron - we are very thankful to not be living in the same building as we work on it for sure! That must have been a big challenge to do a whole basement! We will probably do one unit at a time to just break things up, so we aren't mudding and taping for months. Here's hoping we make it through this task!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:28

wow, it's beginning to look a

wow, it's beginning to look a lot like christmas! or at least a place where people can break their butts working without freezing. thanks again for your clear step by step pix and explanations, always interesting to know how something works.

posted by jeannette (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-11-27 17:31
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brookifer86's picture

Looking good!

I've never hung drywall myself, but we are just now getting it up in our new house. It's very exciting to see the progress every day! The momplex is looking fabulous. You guys are so close now!

posted by brookifer86 | on Tue, 2012-11-27 17:38
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Ana White's picture

Hi Brooke! Thank you! Been

Hi Brooke! Thank you! Been following along on your house journey too! Are you mudding and taping too?

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:34
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Ana White's picture

Thanks Jeannette! Thanks for

Thanks Jeannette! Thanks for following along! Can't believe we've been at this for a year and a half, and we really appreciate the encouragement keeping us motivated!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:30
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bhoppy's picture

Knockdown

Will you guys use a texture like knockdown on the ceilings? I had that in my last house and I liked the way it looked. The house I grew up in had popcorn texture and my mom always despised it. I can't imagine trying to sand 2000sq feet of ceilings flat!

posted by bhoppy | on Tue, 2012-11-27 19:03
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Ana White's picture

We really like flat walls,

We really like flat walls, love the flat walls in our house. But it does take so much time ..... we'll see when we get closer! I don't mind knockdown walls either!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:26

My favorite part of

My favorite part of drywalling is when you're finished. I hate everything else up to that point.

posted by JulieW (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-11-27 19:35
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Ana White's picture

Oh man we can't wait for

Oh man we can't wait for that! It's going to be quite a chore getting this drywall done, but I'm pretty excited to be inside! Can't wait for that finished ceiling though!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-11-27 20:21
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You make our project look easy!

We are slowly changing paneling in our 1986 home to drywall. Sometimes I get down about how long it takes, but from now on I will just be grateful that I'm working in a heated house and not at 20 below! I have been following you from the beginning and I'm so happy to see you getting close to having heat :)

posted by alssetna | on Tue, 2012-11-27 21:22

We hired it out!

Drywall was the one area we were both convinced we were hiring it out - and we were so glad we did. Have you contemplated using the lighter weight drywall? Our drywall crew was so excited that we ordered the lighter weight drywall for not only the walls but the ceilings also. So much better on the body! And, yes, as soon as you get that ceiling insulation in, you will be amazed at how much warmer the house is. We sure were with ours!

posted by Chantelle - ThousandSquareFeet (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-11-27 22:43
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Pam the Goatherd's picture

My favorite part of

My favorite part of drywalling is being done also! Least favorite is sanding, with mudding being my next least favorite. I have a contractor friend who has determined that it's much more cost effective to subcontract the drywalling to someone who only does drywall because they can do it much faster than he and his crew can, which results in less hours billed, which equals a lower bid submitted to the homeowner. My hubby and I are seriously considering hiring someone else to do the drywalling when we build our house. Now that we are in our mid-50s we are thinking the money we save on not having to buy cases of ibuprofen will make it well worth it! ;-)

posted by Pam the Goatherd | on Tue, 2012-11-27 23:22

knockdown

I love flat walls, but when we were building our house the builder suggested that we do a knockdown on the ceiling to break up all the flatness. I am so glad we went that way, he was right.

posted by Heather De Leon (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 00:52

Drywall Sanding - water-based dust collector

To manage the dust when sanding drywall my dad had a contraption/tool - based on a 5-gallon bucket - that attached to his shop vac and ran the exhaust through tap water to trap the dust. Wasn't 100% perfect on the trapping, but it was much better than nothing or just a vac by itself. I don't know if that would work in -20' though!

posted by MicheleV (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 00:56

knockdown

I love flat walls and didn't want any texture in our new home, but the builder suggested that we put knockdown on the ceiling to help "break it up". I am so glad that I took his advice, it really gives it a nice feel.

posted by Heather De Leon (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 00:57

Drywall

Hi Ana - I just found your blog a few weeks ago. My daughter & her husband moved to Fairbanks in July. So they are experiencing their first winter. I think now it's all just very new. I suppose after a few winters the amount of darkness can be overwhelming. Anyway about drywall. My husband and I gutted and remodeled our home years ago. We didn't have a drywall lift (what a great tool!) To drywall our ceilings we would balance the sheet on two ladders, then send the smallest kid up the ladder to help steady the sheet while my husband screwed the sheet into place. Our kids have some great memories about drywalling.

posted by Cecilia D (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 05:34

I've helped my husband on

I've helped my husband on several of his drywall jobs for customers. I always like it when we use the lift instead of my head! My favorite is the zip gun, I nick-named ours "Zippy". It always makes us laugh. I don't do any mudding, that's all for my husband to do. It's an art and he's good at it. He always prides himself on a job well done if he doesn't have to sand much. He always says that if you have to sand a lot, then you did a bad job mudding. If he has lots of taping/mudding to do, then he uses a bazooka, it applies the tape along with a thin coat of mud to make it stick. Using a small scaffold on wheels makes the job go quicker because you don't have to get down to move the ladder, just walk your hands along the wall or ceiling and roll to the new position.

I love knock-down texture for the visual interest, it makes large expanses of boring flat walls or ceilings interesting again. It also hides minor imperfections in the drywall. No matter what texture you use on the ceiling, never use any paint with a gloss, it amplifies the imperfections and creates shadows and shiny spots-looks horrible. Always go with a flat on the ceiling, unless it's a bathroom. For a bathroom, you want a paint that is at least a semi-gloss so that it repels moisture.

posted by Christine180280 (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 11:14

drywall fun

My brother-in-law is a contractor and we've hired him to come and help with the framing and drywall of our completely gutted bathroom. We've already done the plumbing and electrical, but I've now been without a main bathroom and laundry for a month. Since he's so busy, I keep thinking I'm just going to do all the work myself (dang it!) but then I remember all the steps it takes to get it right and I think I might be able to wait a little longer to have a professional do it for me.

What a huge process, eh? I'm just thankful it's not all that cold down here in Utah and that my project is already insulated! I'm wearing sweaters just *thinking* of you!

posted by Heather W (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 11:28

Sanding is the worst

We did a total gut/re-do of our kitchen and sanding is by far, the worst. It goes EVERYWHERE!! I don't mind mudding and taping actually but sanding is for the birds.

posted by Carrie Witty (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 13:39

LOVE IT

I love your blog! It is so inspiring, and it has enabled me to give things to my Daughter for Christmas that I never imagined I'd be able to. " Thanks" is really not enough! I hope you continue doing what you are doing! In the mean time, I've nominated you for the "Very Inspiring Blogger Award". You can pop over to my page for details :)
http://akroezen.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/very-inspiring-blogger-award/
Congrats!

posted by Happy In TN (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 14:03

Favorite part?

Haha, I have no favorite parts about drywalling. I'm still not sure how anyone does it for a living. It's not all that bad, but after finishing my basement with drywall I have no desire to do it again anytime soon.

posted by adam markley (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 14:22

my favorite part...

I am willing to do a lot of different DIY projects and have drywalled a small area under our stairs. I would have to say that my favorite part of the sheetrock process is finding a qualified professional to do it for me. :) Your project looks fab!

posted by babysteps | on Wed, 2012-11-28 17:26

taping drywall

I actually love taping drywall. In my family, that's women's work. Sounds sexist, now that I say it - but I am best at it. Good thing, because I can only manage a 4x8 sheet of drywall, nothing bigger, so I have more joints.

Let's see, my tips.

Less is more. Pros can whip it out with 3 coats, but 4 or even 5 won't kill you. Don't over-smooth with the knife, it gets gritty, you can always touch it up. Don't sand every coat. You can take a stiff knife (not the super flexible ones) and scrape off the small chunks of mud. If something looks rough, on all but the final coat, you can take a damp kitchen sponge and smooth it out. I like the yellow sponge/green scrubby ones for this. Then put another coat on.

For the inside corners, I still use paper tape not fiberglass mesh. Cut off 6-8ft runs with scissors, and fold it properly on a table! Not while you're trying to put it in the corner. A little overlap with lengths of paper tape is not noticeable, but fiberglass tape gets too thick.

Only sand the final coat of mud, if you've done it conservatively.

The most perfect coat of drywall mud actually comes AFTER you put one coat of primer on it. Once that primer goes on, every little flaw stands out and you can spot-touch up every flaw. Then sand again, then another coat of primer.

I'm a perfectionist, apparently.

But once the drywall goes up, I think you can insulate the attic before you mud the drywall - which will allow you to do the mudding in relative warmth.

posted by LisaInChicago (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-28 19:40

It's warmer in the Freezer

I feel for you Ana and Ram. It is hard enough in warm climates. My grandkids have never experienced a temperature below freezing. They don't believe it when I tell them that some kids live in places where it is warmer in the refrigerator freezer then outside but their Moms say the same thing as any Mom: "Go Outside and Play!"

Jake

posted by Jake | on Thu, 2012-11-29 09:00

Hooray for drywall lifts,

Hooray for drywall lifts, right?! My favorite part of sheetrocking is hanging it - especially on interior walls when all the work of framing and planning starts to take tangible shape. I also love how a space shifts between large and small based on where in the construction process i am - feeling enormous in my mind's eye and when site work begins, smaller when framing, and so different when walls become solid. You're doing great!
P.S. Our pipes froze in VT today - so feeling your winter vibe :)

posted by Rannie (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-11-30 12:50

So inspiring

Just wanted to drop a note and tell you guys how much the momplex posts inspire me. I can't imagine drywalling in full down gear - the last time I worked on dry wall it was 80 degrees and we were in shorts and t-shirts and I thought it was horrible. You guys are awesome!

posted by Kara (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-12-03 06:32

Drywalling Favorites

My favorite part of drywalling is actually hanging the drywall. It gives the space shape and character and makes it look like a "real" space. I hate, hate, have taping/mudding and sanding. Though I didn't mind taping/mudding my garage walls because I didn't have to worry too much about how nice they looked (its just the garage) so it wasn't nearly as bad as doing the two bathroom walls which had to be pretty much perfect.

posted by Tim Willie (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-12-05 18:52
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tracysmith's picture

I think my favorite part is

I think my favorite part is it being done - just like everyone else - and the least fav part is working overhead. That sucks! My mom and I put up the drywall in the house we were building (before my husband got brain cancer and we lost the house) and it was awful, from start to finish. If I ever get the chance to build a home again, I'm hiring it out!!! :-)

http://www.simply-designed.us/blog

posted by tracysmith | on Sat, 2012-12-08 11:57
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tracysmith's picture

Oh, and did I mention that

Oh, and did I mention that house was 2600 sq. ft. on two stories? LOTS of drywall!!!

http://www.simply-designed.us/blog

posted by tracysmith | on Sat, 2012-12-08 11:58

Wet vs Dry Sanding

Matthew has it right up near the top. Wet sanding rocks compared to dry, dusty sandng. So much easier!

My favorite part of drywalling was learning the right way, the way the drwall contractors do it and I did plenty the hard way before a friend I was helping help me learn. Always having a sharp blade in the utility knife, and one that you're able to change quickly. Not piecemealing a wall, but being willing to sacrifice scraps in order to have more smooth sheets. Getting the screw depths correct - sweet tool, and almost as nice as the Hilti tool when it's working. Getting the right sized mud blade for the initial (small, 4-6") vs. final coat (8-12"). And definitely wet sanding - just a little, because when your steps are right along the way, there just isn't much to do at the end.

When I insulated and rerocked the bedroom walls in the old house we are currently living in, I also found a texturing (@ HD) that we applied with the primer. I'm recalling it being like sand that we mixed in the primer and just rolld on. Just enough texture to break-up long surfaces and hide the little imperfections, but not the heaviness of knockdown, and so much easier.

The worst part, going back to an office job.

posted by Dirk (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-12-10 00:14

pre-insulating

Any thought to stapling rolled fiberglass insulation to the bottom of the joists before the vapor barrier? It's a little late down, but just wondering. It wouldn't have made it fully conditioned, but might have let you take of one layer while working.

posted by Dagger108 (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-12-11 02:22

pre-insulating

Any thought to stapling rolled fiberglass insulation to the bottom of the joists before the vapor barrier? It's a little late down, but just wondering. It wouldn't have made it fully conditioned, but might have let you take of one layer while working.

posted by Dagger108 (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-12-11 02:22

How's the budget

I've been following along with your momplex as we're about to start our own ICF build in a few weeks. How is the budget at this point with the roof on and the house insulated?

posted by Jim Wood (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-12-12 11:34

Drywall "fun"

Long time lurker here, but my own experiences with drywall is that you are doing it right (renting a jack might have saved us a lot of arguments and "aren't you done screwing this sheet in yet?" questions).

Something that has saved us a headache is that on any outside corners, we bent a piece of .040 aluminum as a "bumper" and painted it to match. If you're concerned about the "step", a small bead of paintable caulk fixes that right up.

Sanding / Mudding - someone mentioned that you should use the sander with the wet-vac attachment, and I'll second that. If you can rent or borrow it, even better.

Painting - Save yourself a TON of trouble and get a sprayer. Just be sure to REALLY do a good job in taping and protecting windows, otherwise you'll be scraping paint for eons. I found that just the plain color wasn't enough for me, so I wanted to get all fancy and do a special rag finish. It turns out that finger painting with rubber gloves gave the same look with less hassle and more amusement factor.

My husband might be banning me from this site soon, I keep coming to him with additional "honey get from the store" items. Thank you for making power tools less frightening to the masses and setting the example that you can be the weekend warrior of home decorating.

posted by Bunny (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-12-18 06:58

Drywall

Hands down, the best part is when there is no more drywall to put up or mud. Can't stand that dust.

posted by Cubicle (not verified) | on Wed, 2013-01-16 11:46
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kobra55's picture

Some sort of slipping utensil

Some sort of slipping utensil can be a utensil which is often exposed by means of slipping the actual utensil edge available the top of the take care of. Cold Steel Knives of opening is the spot that the edge leaves available the top of the take care of point-first and then is secured in to spot an illustration of this this is actually the gravity utensil.

posted by kobra55 | on Tue, 2013-06-11 06:30

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