Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/18/17

6/20-22/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 11:35 and hoisted the flag as soon as I brought my gear up to the cabin. I found one mouse in the trap in the corner of the living room and another one in the trap under the kitchen sink. That one had made a considerable mess again so I spent quite a bit of time cleaning that up before I had my lunch.

After lunch, I took my usual nap and then went out on the front porch to work on the railings. I drilled the last seven holes in the underside of the lower projecting wall log at Grid E3. Then I measured for, and cut, the remaining seven balusters and stuck them into those holes.

Next, one at a time, I took each of those fourteen balusters out of its holes, wire brushed the rust off, cleaned it with paint thinner, and stuck it into the painting rack in the next available hole. I put the balusters into the rack in the sequence I had taken them out of the logs so I wouldn't lose track of which one went where. There are some differences in the lengths, and two of them have a slight bend in one end which was necessary in order to put them in place.

Finally, I took the rack with the fourteen balusters down to the sawhorse on the upper roadway and sprayed them with primer before I quit for the night.

On Wednesday, Dave called just as I finished breakfast. We had a delightful conversation mostly about his recent experience coming in 3rd place in the Western Hemispheres Star regatta. He actually tied for second, but they gave him third and gave first and second places to two previous world champions. Pretty good company. His partner, George Szabo, is ranked second in the world.

When I went out to work, I sprayed the fourteen balusters with the top coat of black enamel. Then I faced a decision: what to do next. I decided that I would either make the second railing on the front staircase or the railing along the Grid G edge of the porch. I was going to look for materials for the railings and make my decision based on what I could find.

The first, and oldest option, was to use the severely curved small log that had been lying on the staircase for a few years. I had intended to make the rail out of it, but the more I looked at it, the less I wanted to use it.

After looking around, and doing some measurements, I decided on a vine maple I had harvested and peeled a year or two ago thinking it might have worked for the other side. I brought it up on the staircase and had a look at how it might fit. It looked good so I decided to use it and to start on the installation.

First, I cut about 8 feet, or so, off the small end which made it a lot easier to handle. The sixteen feet remaining was awkward enough. I brought it up on the porch and set it across the two big sawhorses. Then I retired the big curved log that I had rejected and carried it down to the firewood pile.

Next, just so I didn't forget, I got the drill, three bits, a ratchet and socket, and a big lag screw and washer and used them to fasten the Grid F.5 rail to the Grid F.5,2 newel post. By the time I finished that, I figured that the fourteen balusters were dry enough, so I brought them up onto the porch and put them all back into their holes for the final time. I think they look really good.

Then I turned my attention to the vine maple pole on the sawhorses. The wood was bone dry which made it easier to rasp and scrape. From my previous experience with vine maples, the best tools for smoothing the surface are Rasputin and an old-fashioned scraper. I use the rasp, mostly cross-grain, on the knots and bumps and then finish smoothing the entire thing with the scraper. It is a lot of tedious shoulder and hand work, but it doesn't make much of a mess, or noise, and it comes out very nice and smooth. I got a start on the rasping and scraping before I quit for lunch and a nap. When I got up, I spent the rest of the afternoon rasping and scraping.

On Thursday morning after having my breakfast, I spent some time trying to find a mouse hole in the cabin, to no avail. I spent most of the remaining time rasping and scraping again. I left for home at 12:50 happy to be in the groove of getting some building done.

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