Construction Journal Entry Week of 2/28/16

3/1-3/16 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

After stopping at our tax accountant, I proceeded on to Monroe where I played a game of checkers with Uncle Charles. He made a mistake early on so I was able to beat him. It was snowing and accumulating on the road all the way from Scenic to Camp Serendipity. I took it easy and arrived at 1:05.

I moved my gear in, built a fire in the stove, had my lunch, and went to work without taking a nap. I was eager to see how the Bulldog was going to work for notching the logs. I started by sawing a kerf to the depth of the flat bottom of the notch and then used the Bulldog to form the notch on either side of the kerf. It worked great and I was delighted. It will be great fun to do all the notching.

On Wednesday it had snowed about 5 inches overnight. After breakfast I went back to work notching the plank and logs. In order not to have to bend over too much, I propped the plank and logs up on concrete blocks. I also used the blocks to move the planks and logs around.

Rather than lift the planks and logs off the ground, I kept them upright standing on one end. Then to move them over the porch deck, I would walk them or roll them still keeping them nearly upright. That way I didn’t have to lift them.

To get them on or off the concrete blocks, I would tip them over at about a 45° so the middle of the plank or log hit the top of the block, and then using the block as a teeter-totter fulcrum, I either lowered the wood down onto the blocks or lifted it up into a standing position. That made it easy to move them around and it saved my back.

After notching the end of one log, I tried the joint by setting the plank into the notch, all propped up by more concrete blocks. The fit was a little off, but with a little trimming I fixed it up.

I did the same thing for the other log and the other end of the first plank. I got that one to fit well too. Then I put both logs and the plank down on the deck in their intended final position. I was very happy to discover that they fit nearly perfectly, at the right height, nice and level, and not rocky at all. It felt good and solid to stand on the plank which was at the same level as the cabin floor. I was very happy with the fit.

Before I quit for the day, I split a bunch of firewood.

On Thursday morning the weather was beautiful and sunny after the light rain stopped and the fog lifted. It had snowed a couple more inches overnight. I took a trash bag down to the crawlspace and filled it with some old trash that was in a nice black container that I decided to use upstairs as an ash can. I had been using a 5-gallon drywall bucket but that looked tacky. This container will be an improvement in looks.

I took the trash bag and a broken shovel down to the truck and cleared the concrete steps as I went. When I returned, I traded out the ash can and took the ashes up to the old privy to dispose of them. While I was up there, I decided to check on the giant sequoia named Paul which is just further up the hill.

The poor little tree was smashed flat to the ground by a big pile of heavy wet snow that had come down from the big trees above. I went back, got a shovel, and carefully dug Paul out of the snow. It straightened up nicely and I think that I gave it an extra couple weeks of growing season by doing so. I think it is a little too early to dig out the trees deeper in the woods, but I might go back there and see next week.

Next I had some fun restoring an old home-made scale I had made. Then I got some rope, chains, and a come-along and set up rigging that I could use to lift and place the planks and logs into the stoop without me having to muscle them by brute force and awkwardness. Since it was easy to do, I hooked my home-made scale into the rigging so I could find out how much those parts weigh. When the rigging was set up, I weighed the first plank and found that it weighs 80 lb. That’s not too much, but it is more than I want to have to throw around.

After having a week’s worth of fun, I packed up and left for home at 12:45.

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