Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/26/17

11/28-30/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

It was snowing at Scenic and there was snow on the roadway all the rest of the way. I kept the truck in 4wd and I followed a snowplow for a couple miles on a couple of occasions. But I arrived with no problem at 12:40. The ground was mostly bare when I arrived, but about an inch of snow accumulated before nightfall.

After parking in the hairpin turn, I brought my gear up, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, had my lunch and then took a nap. When I got up, I removed the masking tape from the floor that was alongside the newly varnished baseboards between Grids E3 and B3. I really like the way the baseboards look. They make the place look finished.

Next, I brought the three varnished baseboard 2x4s in from the front porch. They were still slightly tacky from being out in the cold and I figured the varnish would cure completely inside the warm cabin.

On Wednesday morning, Dave called first thing and we had a delightful conversation. Then I went to work making the second filler plug for the Grid E1-E2 baseboard in the bedroom. This one was a little thicker and had a more complex shape than the one I made last week, but I was now better at making them, so the work went along pretty smoothly. I got the piece to fit nicely before I stopped for lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I went outside and split a couple big firewood rounds and stacked the wood. Then I fastened the filler plug to the wall log with drywall screws, which took a little doing but I got it done. Then I fitted and installed an 8-foot length of baseboard against the two filler plugs. That left about a 2-foot gap to the corner.

On Thursday, it snowed lightly all morning. After breakfast, I made and installed the baseboard to fill that 2-foot gap to the corner. I really felt stupid because of all the mistakes I made in the process. First, I measured the length wrong. The piece needed a miter cut for an inside corner to meet the baseboard on the adjoining wall. I measured for the miter correctly, but I forgot to add the half-inch to allow for the mating baseboard to be recessed into the log wall. I knew about the half-inch all along, but I just forgot it when I made the mark for the saw cut.

The piece needed a lot of special fabricating on the miter end and also on the back side. The miter joint will be up against the chinking which presents an irregular contour, so I cut an irregular contour in the end of the 2x4 to mate snugly against the mortar. The back side needed to have a couple deep grooves cut into it to accommodate chinking that sticks out a little too far in those places.

I was pleased and proud after fabricating the piece and getting it to fit, which it did nicely. But while I was admiring it, I noticed that the miter surface was off by that half-inch. Now what?

After considering my limited options, I bit the bullet and set about making a new piece that was a half-inch longer.

Since the 2x4 I was working with was already varnished, you couldn't use a regular pencil to make the marks. They were just too faint to see. So, I used a sharpie instead, which made a very bold visible line. But in a moment of carelessness, while I was handling the 2x4, I accidentally made a 2-inch sharpie mark right on the good side of the 2x4. I tried to remove the mark with a rag soaked with paint thinner, but it only changed the mark from solid black to a dark gray.

Next, I tried scraping the mark off with a sharp knife and that worked pretty well although it was a tedious job and took a long time. I was finally ready to measure and mark for the miter cut.

I thought I was being super careful as I made a sharpie dot on the edge of the 2x4 at the exactly correct length. Then from that dot, and using a combination square, I drew a 45 line on the narrow edge and a 90 line on the wider edge. Then I clamped the board to a sawhorse, got my saw, and was about ready to start the cut.

But then I remembered the old adage, that I had overlooked so many times, to measure twice and cut once. Since I had already measured twice, but was about to cut twice, I figured I had better measure again just to make sure. And, sure enough, I had measured and marked the board wrong again. When I had located that dot, my tape was upside down and I had made the mark an inch off. The mark needed to be at 25 7/8" and I made the mark at 24 7/8" because that was just to the right of the 25" mark on the tape. I hate to admit it, but old age may be playing a role here.

I was glad I hadn't started my cut, but I was perturbed that I now had those bold black sharpie marks right where they will show. But at least I knew how to remove them, so I spent the next several minutes laboriously scraping the marks off. They will still be somewhat visible, but they will just have to add to the charm of the place.

With new, correct lines drawn, I made the miter cut, and then using the discarded short piece I had made before as a pattern, I made the irregular cuts and grooves in the piece so that it would fit properly. After a couple tries and a little more adjustment, the piece fit perfectly in place and I secured it with one long finish nail. It looked very nice to me and I was glad it was done.

I cleaned up, had my lunch, and left for home at 12:50, feeling pretty good, as usual.

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