Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/5/18

8/8-10/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

My schedule was shifted a day because of the Night Out potluck on Tuesday. It was super-hot when I arrived at 12:54. Thankfully there were no mosquitos. I carried my gear up, hoisted the flag, went inside and had my lunch and a nap. The temperature inside the cabin was 80 when I got there but by the end of the day, it was 85. Too hot for me.

When I got up from my nap, I went back down to the truck, unloaded a bunch of yard waste, and brought up the rest of my gear. Then I went up on the bluff to check on the cedar trees. Paul was looking pretty dry so I enlarged the hole in the irrigation hose so that it would drip more. Cedar tree #11 looks like it won't make it. It has turned all yellow, heading for brown. That is the tree we dug out of our front yard and I don't think we got enough of the root. The rest of the cedars were doing fine and looking healthy. All of them were getting irrigated.

Next I opened the valve to water cedar #12 and Brian, and went into the woods and gave a bucket of water to Dan and Andrew.

Back in the cabin I put away the cot and tables I had gotten out for the overnight guest last week. As soon as it cooled off in the evening, I opened all the windows and had a fan in the living room window blowing cool air into the cabin. I left it running all night.

On Thursday morning, the temperature in the cabin was 65 which was great. By about 9:30 AM, the temperature outside reached 65 so I shut all the windows and turned off the fan to try to keep the cabin as cool as possible. It worked pretty well. The temperature outside reached 100 but inside it didn't get hotter than 80. The 20-degree difference made it feel almost chilly in the cabin after working on the porch in 100 heat.

I spent the day working on the porch rail. I started out by cleaning out all 38 holes in the deck that will hold the balusters. Then, with the rail in place in the mortise holes, I measured the required length for each of the 38 balusters. I found that they were all within an inch and a half of being the same length. I decided to deepen a few holes in the rail so that I could cut all the balusters to the same length: 39.5 inches. The minimum penetration would be 3/4" which I figured would be enough.

I placed a concrete block 39.5 inches from Dr. Dick's rebar cutter to use as a stop so I could quickly position the rebar for cutting, and then proceeded to cut all 38 balusters. I got three balusters from each 10-foot length of rebar with only a couple inches of scrap from each.

Just as I went in for my lunch and nap, Robert called and told me that next week he would give me a check for my share of the timber sales so far. When I got up from my nap, I went back out on the front porch and used the wire wheel on the bench grinder to remove all the rust spots from all the balusters. I also wire brushed a wrought iron bracket I got from Priscilla that I will use to hang a light fixture on the Grid C2 RPSL.

Then, in 100 heat, I primed and then painted 22 balusters and the bracket. It was 80 inside the cabin, but it felt cool when I went in for the night.

On Friday morning, I went into the woods and watered cedar #12 and Brian. Then I carried another bucket of water up to Andrew. I figured that since the weather had been so hot, I should give Andrew this extra water.

Back on the front porch, I carried the rack of painted balusters up to the porch and unloaded them onto a sawhorse. Then, with the rack empty, I loaded it back up with the balusters that didn't get painted, carried it back down to the roadway, and then sprayed on a coat of primer.

While they were drying, I stuck the dry balusters into the holes in the deck and began inserting them into the rail. That is tricky because when you stick one into a hole, another one pops out. I started at the Grid G1 end and after getting the first four or five inserted, I stuck the G1 tenon end of the rail into the mortise hole. I propped the other end of the rail up on a sawhorse with a concrete block and a stack of short boards on it so that the rail slanted up. As I inserted balusters, I would remove boards one at a time to lower the end of the rail. That helped keeping balusters from popping back out.

After struggling with the balusters for a while, the primer was dry enough so that I could paint the final coat on the last of the balusters. When they were almost dry, I brought them up and stuck them in the deck holes so that all the balusters were in the deck. Then I went back to the struggle to get them all inserted into the rail.

I found that I couldn't do it without holding down the middle of the rail once the first half of the balusters were seated. To do that, I ran a tire chain around a deck plank and cinched it around the rail. That held it fast. Then I could lift up on the free end of the rail, slightly bending it, which allowed me to continue seating balusters without popping out the ones already seated.

I had to deepen a few holes in the rail, but eventually, after a lot more struggle, I got all 38 balusters seated in the holes in the rail and deck. Then I removed the tire chain and the job was done. Hooray! I took a few pictures of the finished railing.

I left for home at 12:50 happy to have made significant progress on the railings.

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