Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/4/14

5/6/14 (Tuesday) I cut and glued back together, the sewer vent pipe that had been broken off when the tree hit the cabin in January. I did this in Seattle to save some work time at Camp Serendipity.

5/7-9/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

Before I left I got a call from Robert Ferrel. He wanted to know my schedule and to let me know that he might stop by toward the end of the week.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:20 after stopping in Monroe for a visit with Uncle Charles on the way. I parked down below and placed the electronic rodent repeller under the hood. Then I carried my gear, groceries, and the sewer vent pipe up to the cabin.

The temperature was a nice cool 54 so after hoisting the flag, I started a fire in the stove. Then I had my lunch and my usual nap. When I got up, I hauled the fourth roof panel up onto the roof and after much tribulation, got it snapped down in place.

The difficulty was getting the bottom of the panel to overlap the existing panel directly below. The raw edge first had to slide under the 2 or 3 feet of rake metal that was still attached. On my first two or three attempts at that, I found that the raw edge corner of the panel cut into the tar paper and wouldn't slide. I finally solved that by using a piece of steel strap under the corner of the panel and sliding both the panel and strap down the roof.

More difficult yet was the problem of getting the new panel up on top of the existing panel so that it could overlap. I could use the same steel strap to lift the upper panel so that it could slide over the lower one, but the raw edge of the new panel was hitting the raw edge of the panel underneath which held the panel back. The problem was that both raw edges were hidden inside the rake metal so that I couldn't see them or get at them.

I tried a lot of methods unsuccessfully until finally I did it with a combination of lifting the rake with a flat bar while at the same time depressing the lower panel with the strap and at the same time pulling as hard as I could sideways on the standing rib of the new panel and at the same time driving the lower raw edge the other way by reaching under the rake. I felt a great sense of relief when I felt that little unmistakable "click" that I knew meant that the two raw edges had passed correctly.

Once that happened, I squeezed the Vulkem in a bead across the top of the lower panel, in the joint between the overlapping standing ribs, and under the rake where the raw edges would overlap. Then it was delightfully easy to drive the panel down using a hammer and a piece of wood at the top of the panel until the top of the panel was somewhat lower than the lip of the C-chanel.

Once there, the panel could be pushed down nearly flat on the roof so that the standing rib could be forced under the lip of the C-chanel.

Before doing that, I tightened up the rope that went through the pulley and which pulled the panel up toward the ridge. Then I lifted the C-channel up and was able to squeeze the standing rib under the lip.

Back down at the bottom of the panel, I used the hammer and board to drive the panel up so that the top of the panel seated nicely all the way into the C-channel.

The next step was fun. I put on my hearing protector muffs, took my hammer and the board and tapped the standing rib down all the way for the entire length of the panel. There is a gratifying click when the standing rib fully engages the raw edge below and the panel is then held tightly down flat on the roof.

I was happy but exhausted when I removed the clamp and the rigging for holding the panel and took my tools back down off the roof.

On Thursday during breakfast, I read the detailed instructions I had gotten from Curt Pritchard fourteen years ago when he taught me how to install rake metal. The ends need to be fabricated in a certain way and there is an optimal sequence of steps in order to get the metal in place. I was super happy that I had saved those instructions and that I was able to lay my hands on them. It will make the job much easier.

Next, I decided to go into the woods and check on the giant sequoia trees, especially the one named Brian. I turned on the valve to send water up the hose running to Brian and headed into the woods. The trees that I checked seemed to be thriving, but Brian was a little dry, as usual. I decided that the rest of the trees didn't need watering just yet, but that Brian did. I decided to run the hose to Brian for one hour each day that I am up at Camp Serendipity. We'll see how that works out.

Next I decided to take Earl's suggestion and walk over and see the big fallen Ponderosa pine in the neighbor's yard. On the way I stopped at Bartholomew's log cabin restoration project and talked with the workmen there. Then I went across the road to see the big fallen tree.

I saw Mike Tutino in his yard down below so I hollered to him and we had a short shouting conversation through the trees. He told me that they were home at the time and heard the tree fall. At first it was just a loud crack that got their attention. Then it was quiet except for the howling wind as the huge tree was falling over. When it finally hit, Mike said that they could feel the ground shake and there was a deafening sound like an explosion.

He also told me that Larry had visited the day before, but since I didn't arrive until after noon, I had missed him. That was too bad. I would have like to have seen him.

I climbed up on the trunk of the tree and walked downhill toward the top of the tree. It had broken in many places and was lying in a crooked line. Mike had taken quite a bit of the top part of the tree where it had gone over his property and disposed of it. He told me that the entire tree had measured something like 240 feet long.

I turned around and walked the other direction toward the butt of the tree. It was huge. The log got pretty steep at the butt end and it was a little dangerous for me to walk on it. I probably didn't get any closer than 30 feet to the stump. I regretted not bringing my camera.

Back at the cabin, I rigged back up to climb the roof and I went up and screwed down the tops of all four panels I had installed. The screws went through two thicknesses of metal: the panel plus the lower flange of the C-channel. I used a hammer and small nail set to punch a hole for each screw, but there were three of them that I was unable to punch through that way. For those, I used a twist drill to make the pilot holes. Then I squirted a small dab of Vulkem in each hole and finally I drove in all the screws.

I was exhausted once again when I came down for lunch and a nap but I was happy to have passed another milestone in the roof repair job.

When I got up, I rigged up to climb and packed my tool bucket with the tools I would need to install the clips on the last panel and to try to straighten the bent end of the existing rake. Just as I was climbing the ladder, it started to rain.

I went back down to the porch to wait out the rain and Earl called. He said that he had been thinking about the DNR (or the Fish and Wildlife people) telling me that we could not harvest the butt log from the tree that had hit the cabin. He said that he had looked at the rules and it said that the prohibition against taking any wood that goes over a wet spot of ground applies only within the contiguous flood plain. Since I am on the other side of the road from the flood plain, Earl thinks that rule does not apply to me. I thanked him for that information and told him that I would discuss it with Robert. It would be a shame not to be able to take such a valuable log that is already down and just waiting to be hauled out.

The rain did not let up but got steadily heavier as the afternoon turned to evening. I did not go back up on the roof.

On Friday morning, I took my prepared bucket of tools up onto the roof and installed the clips on the last panel. I also straightened the end of the existing rake metal. I used a C-clamp to squeeze the flanges together and then I hammered lightly on the top edges to bend the metal to 90, or even a little less, so that when the clamp was removed, the metal was pretty much in the correct shape. I was glad it was that easy to do. I had my cell phone with me so I shot some scenes for the next video update.

Before I climbed back down, I made another measurement for the overall length of the rake metal and I noted the requirements for the overlap both with the rake below and the rake on the other side of the peak.

Next, I took my cell phone and went back over to the neighbor's big fallen tree and took some pictures and videos of the tree. I also threw a 100-ft tape over the trunk about 30 or 40 feet from the stump and got a measurement of the circumference. It was 16 feet. It was just too steep and brushy to get a measurement any closer to the stump. I left for home at 1:00 feeling pretty good about the progress. I didn't get a whole lot done, but at least it was something.

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