Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/30/17

5/2-4/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

The temperature was a beautiful 55 when I arrived at 12:20. I parked at the hairpin turn and the first thing I did was to load a 50 lb. block of salt onto a hand truck, both of which I had brought with me. I added my bag on top of the salt and pulled the hand truck and its load up to the cabin.

After dropping my bag off at the front staircase, I proceeded on and brought the salt block up to where the old one had been right near the giant sequoia named Paul. The deer will be happy. Then I returned the hand truck to the pickup, took a look at the rhubarb, which looks good, carried the rest of my gear up to the cabin, and moved in.

After hoisting the flag, starting a fire in the stove, and having my lunch, I took my usual nap. When I got up, I went to work on the porch railing project. After a few frustrating false starts, I built a drilling jig for making the mortise holes in the Grid F3 column. Then I got a good start on cutting the holes.

On Wednesday morning, after hoisting the flag and starting a fire in the stove, Dave called and we had a nice conversation.

After breakfast, I went out and finished cutting both mortise holes and I disassembled the drilling jig. Then I cut the pole in two so it could be mortised into the column from both sides. That gave me another three inches or so of length. The tip of the pole had been broken and the extra length made the end a little stronger for fastening to the projecting wall log.

Then before I stopped for lunch and a nap, I got started making the tenon on the shorter of the two poles.

When I got up, I decided to do some surveying. For many years, I have tried to figure out a good way to make an accurate topographic map of Camp Serendipity. I have considered many different approaches, but recently I have decided to use Leonard's old Sears transit level to make the measurements. I took it, along with some tools and supplies, down to the road and started on a plan that I had worked out in theory.

I had taken data from the map I got when we bought the property and the starting point was going to be the corner stake at the south corner of the parcel. Then from that point, I planned to use 164 feet of the pavement edge of the road, which was supposed to be straight, to establish the azimuth.

The first disappointment was that I couldn't find the corner stake. I suspect it is covered in duff and that if I knew where to dig I could uncover it. I made a feeble attempt and then gave up and decided to guess. An error of a few feet wouldn't make much difference for my purposes so I didn't spend any more time on it.

The second disappointment was the failure of my theoretical method of establishing the azimuth. In order not to have to set my transit level up on the roadway, I decided to set it up a few feet from the pavement in the ditch. And, to do the sighting, I planned to hang a white clothesline rope from a tree across from where I guessed the corner stake was supposed to be. So I did that.

I tied a bundle of short pieces of wood to the end of the rope to act as a plumb bob. But when I looked through the eyepiece of the transit level 168 feet away, I couldn't see the rope at all. I walked back to the rope and fastened a bright skunk cabbage leaf to the rope and tried again.

Still no success. Too many branches and shadows. But I could see the long length of the edge of the pavement and I decided that would serve just as well. So I used that to establish the azimuth and then laid out another line going into the driveway and marked two points on that. I'll use that to establish a base for my measurements later on. I'll do some more thinking and figuring when I get home.

Back up at the cabin, I split some more firewood. Then Bill called asking me for a contact number for Dr. Goldman. He is having a hernia problem, to add to his other troubles.

Next, I went back out on the porch and finished making the left-hand tenon. It fit nicely but the miter didn't quite match up. I did some work on the rail to straighten up the miter joint.

On Thursday morning, I finished scraping the rails, made the right-hand tenon, and fitted the end of the rail into the projecting wall log. I fastened it with two screws. I was very happy with the results and I took some pictures. I left for home at 1:05.

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