Construction Journal Entry Week of 3/9/14

3/12-14/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

On the way, I stopped to check in on Priscilla. Then I proceeded on and visited with Uncle Charles, and from there drove to Marilyn's where she fixed me a delicious lunch of lasagna. When I got to the rest stop, where I still had cell phone service, I stopped and called Curt Pritchard at CP Sheet Metals. I was surprised he was still working but I was happy he was. We had a nice chat and I found out that I can still buy replacement roofing panels that match the ones on the roof. That was a relief.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:00 and was greeted by Bert and Ernie. It was a gorgeous 50, bright, sunny, spring day. I gave the dogs their hugs and biscuits and then carried my gear up to the cabin. Then I hoisted the flag. The cabin was nice and warm from the sunshine so I went right up to the loft and had my nap.

When I got up, I built a fire in the wood stove and then went to work on the roof. I used the Bosch vibrating saw and tin snips to cut three of the damaged roof panels to their final configuration. I cut away all the bent parts and left only the more-or-less straight and undamaged parts.

On Thursday morning, I went back up on the scaffolds and trimmed off the fourth roof panel. Then I got a big 5 lb. hammer and a short 2x4 and used them to drive the four roofing panels down the roof to their original positions. The falling tree had pulled them up the roof a ways so I just put them back so that the ends of them hanging over the eave were more-or-less in line.

Looking at the alignment of the panels from the back porch it looked like the fifth panel had slid down about a half inch. That was bad news. I must have pulled it down with the fourth panel when I hammered on it. Later, when I was back up on the scaffold, I checked the top of the fifth panel and was happy to discover that it hadn't moved or slipped at all. It must have been a half inch out of alignment all along. That was good news.

After lunch and a nap I salvaged a bunch of roofing clips and the screws that held them from the damaged OSB that was piled at the end of the porch. I used those screws, plus a few more, to screw down the top ends of the four trimmed panels. They are in their final configuration now, and ready to be overlapped by the four new panels I will later install to cover the damage.

I decided it was a good time to patch the hole that the falling tree had punched in the underside of the opposite roof. To fix it, I simply screwed two short ceiling boards right over the hole. I caulked the boards so that bugs couldn't crawl in the cracks made by the bevels and called the patch good. It doesn't quite match the rest of the ceiling, but it is in such an out of the way place that nobody will notice it unless they know to look for it. And even if they do, it won't matter, at least not to me.

Next I went to work making a rafter from the one piece of TJI that I had. In order to miter the top end, I needed to know the angle of the roof, and to measure that angle, I decided to use a carpenter's square and a level up against the actual roof somewhere where I could reach it. Rather than go up into the loft where I could easily have reached the ceiling, I went up on the rocks at the end of the porch and was able to reach up to the fascia board.

With the strong back lighting up there, and my square being so rusty and corroded that I can barely make out the marks and numbers in direct light, I could see that it was going to be hard to make a reading of the angle. But just by holding the square up so that both ends just touched the underside of the fascia board it seemed that the bottom of the square was level. I checked it with my short beeping level and sure enough, that was exactly the angle of the roof. Serendipity.

With the angle measured, it was a simple process to mark and cut the miter joint at the end of the TJI to form the rafter. Next, I tightened a C-clamp to the web of the rafter at the bottom end so that I could tie a rope to the C-clamp and use it to haul the rafter up onto the scaffold.

That's just what I did, and when the rafter was lying on the scaffold deck, I moved the clamp from the end to more toward the middle and tied a rope to it. That was to prevent the rafter from accidentally getting away from me, slipping, and sliding down the inside of the roof.

I inserted the bottom end of the rafter flatways in the roof between the second and third rafters and between the ceiling boards and the OSB. There is plenty of room that way because there is 14 1/2 inches between rafters and the rafter is only 11 7/8 inches wide. With the bottom inserted like that, I pulled the top of the rafter up to the peak and then tried twisting the rafter into its normal vertical position. I had worried that this might be hard to do, but I found that it was no problem at all. Once in this position, however, the bottom was wedged tightly between the OSB above and the ceiling boards below and couldn't be slid sideways easily.

I couldn't push the bottom of the rafter over to snug it alongside the remaining broken rafter so I decided to get a big hammer and bash it over. I had to make a special trip down and back up the ladder in order to get the big 5 lb. hammer, my hearing protection ear muffs, and some joist hanger nails.

The hammer worked great to bash the rafter over against the inside of the second rafter where it will stay. I drove three big screws down through the top end of the bottom flange to fasten it to the ridge pole. I only brought four screws with me and I dropped one, so I will have to remember to drive that fourth screw in on my next trip up.

The steel strap over the peak of the roof was long enough to expose four holes for joist hanger nails beyond the C-channel. So I drove in those three joist hanger nails to fasten the peak of the rafter. I'm not sure what I need to do in addition to that. Maybe nothing, maybe something, but I'll figure that out later. For now, the first replacement rafter was snug in its final place and I felt extra good about the progress. Installing the rest of the rafters should be no problem.

I pulled the tarp over the work, tied it in place, and went in for the night. 4

On Friday morning, it was raining cats and dogs so I decided not to work on the roof repair at all. There was nothing much I could do anyway without new rafter material. Instead, I fixed an electrical problem, and then spent the rest of the morning giving the first floor of the cabin a good, and needed, vacuuming. I left for home at 12:40 pretty happy with my progress.

When I got home, I found that we had received permission from DNR to begin our logging operation.

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