Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/25/14

5/28-30/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

After visiting with Uncle Charles for a while, I proceeded on over the mountains and arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:00. I unloaded a couple bags of yard waste before I parked the truck and hooked up the electronic rodent repeller under the hood.

The temperature was 50 so after hoisting the flag and opening the valve to water the giant sequoia named Brian, I started a fire in the stove to take the chill off. I was sitting in front of the stove watching the fire take hold when there was a knock on the door.

It was Earl and I was happy to see him. We had a nice chat by the fire and I took a couple pictures of him. Before he left, I gave him a short piece of PVC pipe that he needed for an experiment he was doing.

Next I started working on installing the sewer vent pipe. Even though the pipe assembly probably doesn't weigh much more than 25 lb, it is awkward to lift and hold in place. The problem is that about half of it has to stick straight up in the air and holding it in that position without being able to reach that vertical section was going to be a problem.

To solve it, I selected a long skinny scrap of one-inch pine board. I fastened it to the outside of the vertical section of pipe with two wraps of duct tape. The bottom of the board projected down below the pipe about 4 or 5 feet. The plan was to use that projection as a handle and lever that I could use to keep the pipe in a vertical position and to control its position and attitude.

Next, I went up on the scaffold to see what it was going to take to make the peak ready to receive the pipe. The top ceiling board was still in place but it was badly damaged and nearly torn loose. It was going to have to be removed and replaced. I had made a screen vent just above that board and the remnant of the board was still stapled to the screen.

I made a trip down off the scaffold and back up again bringing with me a flat bar which I used to remove the staples and release the board remnant from the screen. The other side of the screen was stapled tight to the ridgepole and I decided to leave it and re-use it the same way as before.

Then, among the debris from the roof, I found an old intact ceiling board that I decided to use for that top board. It was already stained and cut to length, so I just brought it up on the scaffold and nailed it in place under the screen. I didn't have a stapler with me so I'll have to staple the screen to the board later. But the ceiling was now ready for the installation of the sewer vent pipe.

While I was thinking about it, I went down to the crawl space and found the blocks I had used for the block and tackle on my crane during the log construction. One of my video followers had asked me how he could find a block and tackle because he was having a hard time finding them. Since I am done using mine, and since I got it from someone for next to nothing, I told him that I would give mine to him. I took the blocks down and loaded them in the bed of the truck so I wouldn't forget to take them home so I could ship them off.

While I was down at the truck, it looked to me that the ground was a little cleaner. It looked like someone had taken out some of the tree mess. I thought it might have been Robert, but there was no trace of any heavy equipment there and the obvious place he would have started seemed untouched. Instead, it seemed to me that someone had been in there harvesting some easy firewood. If that's the case, I guess it's OK because I need to get all that debris out of there anyway. But still, it doesn't sit well with me that someone would come onto my property without permission and take stuff. But I could be mistaken and the ground simply looks different now with the leaves coming out.

On Thursday, I started out by opening the valve to water Brian again and then I went to work rigging up the tackle to lift and hold the sewer pipe into place under the peak of the roof. I used a rope through a pulley to haul the pipe up to the scaffold level. The skinny board I had taped to the pipe was indispensible in order to get the pipe into the right orientation sticking straight up into the air.

I tied two ropes to the bottom of the skinny board, one that ran horizontally which I used to control the angle that the pipe made with the vertical, and another rope tied to the bottom of the skinny board that ran up and fastened to the ridgepole. That one was used to control the vertical position of the pipe.

In the process of adding that additional rigging, the rope holding the pulley began to fail. Before it failed altogether, I quickly put together some stopgap rigging. I got a clamp and a length of 1x2 and made a beam an inch or so under the pipe so that if it fell, it would only go down and be stopped by the beam. The 1x2 formed the beam. It was supported on one end by going through the clamp which was clamped to the outside fascia and rafter. The other end was supported by going through the outer Grid C1 anchor hook. As it happened, this did not turn out to be necessary because the original rigging held for the duration of the job.

The vertical load on the pipe was supported by the rope coming up from the end of the skinny board, and the pipe was held horizontally against the ridgepole by several turns of clothesline rope wrapped around the pipe and through the Grid C1 anchor hook.

That securely held the pipe in position and yet allowed me to engage and disengage the elbow joint with the existing vertical pipe next to the log wall. The pipe was now ready for gluing so after making another trip down and back up the scaffolding in order to get the cap off the PVC glue can, I gooped up the elbow joint and glued the pipes together. I was very happy to be able to pull that joint together and watch the glue ooze out. I took some pictures of the pipe and rigging.

Next, I got my cordless drill and a supply of screws and proceeded to screw the plumber's tape to the log wall and ridgepole in order to permanently fasten the pipe to the building. Then I took my drill with me and climbed up to the peak of the roof, hopefully for the last time, and fastened the vertical section of the pipe to the fascia board using two straps of plumber's tape.

I had to do that by supporting my feet on my double bosun's chair rig while lying on my stomach on the roof with my arms sticking out over the peak. I had to hold the drill backward operating the trigger with my thumb and screwing the screws in toward me. It was awkward trying to see what I was doing, holding everything in place, and keeping the drill aligned with the screws as I started them. But after a few minutes, I got the job done.

That was a relief. It meant that I was completely done on the roof and I could now take my ropes and rigging down. I hauled the double bosun's chair over the ridge and set it sliding down the long side of the roof. Then I climbed down myself very happy to be done on the roof.

Next I went into the woods to check on Brian to make sure it was getting water from the hose. I was disappointed to see that the end of the hose had been pulled down out of the reservoir around the little tree and that the water had not reached it. I supposed that an animal had walked down the trail and that was what had knocked it away. I put the hose back where it belonged and let the water run for another couple hours. I checked on a few more giant sequoias nearby and they all seemed healthy and in damp ground.

After lunch and a nap, I took down all the ropes I had used on the roof, coiled them up, and stored them back in the crawl space. Then I tied up Rosie, the rosebush, so that I could drive the truck up next to the front porch, and then I drove the truck up.

Then I carried all the roof debris that was stacked at the far end of the porch and loaded into the truck. It was pretty easy because I just threw it down off the porch right into the truck bed.

With the truck loaded, I backed it back down, parked it, and hooked the electronic rodent repeller back up. Then I carried the extra steel roof panel back and stored it in the woodshed, and finally, I untied Rosie.

On Friday morning it was 32 outside so I started a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off and I opened Brian's valve. After breakfast, I backed the truck over to an old pile of junk near the hairpin turn and loaded most of the junk (the things I didn't think I would ever need) into the truck to haul to the landfill.

Then I went into the woods again to make sure Brian was getting water. It was. After that, I took the varnish rack stanchions down from inside the cabin and set them back up on the porch. Now that the debris was gone, there was room out there again, and since the weather is warming up, I can do the staining and varnishing outside again. Having those things out of the cabin makes it a lot nicer inside.

Finally, I shot the final scenes for the roof repair progress video and took a picture of the completed sewer pipe. I left for home at 1:00 happy to have made some progress.

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