Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/30/18

10/2-4/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at noon in a light rain. I brought my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, and had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I drilled all the weep holes in the bottoms of the baluster holes that I had already drilled in the lower back porch rail. I used a 1/4" spade bit that didn't quite go all the way through the log. So, I got out a home-made spade bit that was plenty long enough and used that to finish off the holes and to drive the sawdust out of the holes. I wanted to get all the holes drilled before I treated the logs so that the insecticide could get inside where it would be needed.

Next, I pulled the lower rail out of its mortise holes. That turned out to be more than I bargained for. When I had set the rail into those holes, it slipped in and out without a problem. Now, the log had been out in the rain and it was soaking wet. It was inside the drip line, but the wind had blown the water falling over the eaves so that it sprayed all over the log.

As a result, the tenons had swelled up and they were stuck very tight in the mortise holes. It took a big hammer and a lot of pounding to drive the log out. With the log finally out, I used a scraper to take more wood off the tenons, so they wouldn't be so tight next time.

Next, I got the sprayer and sprayed both lower rails with plain water. That makes the borate insecticide get deeper into the log when it is sprayed on.

After waiting a half-hour, or so, I mixed up a batch of Board Defense and sprayed both rails. Then I went in for the night.

On Wednesday at 6:00 AM, the temperature outside was 25 and the temperature inside was 58. The thermostats were all set at 55 so it was time for a fire in the stove. When I went out to hoist the flag and get the firewood, I found a mouse in one of the crawl space traps. I disposed of the mouse and reset the trap. I sure want to know how those guys get in. I took the firewood into the cabin and built a nice cozy fire that warmed the place up right away.

Since they were sort of in the way, I took the two rails I had sprayed off the sawhorses and stood them up against the log wall at the back of the porch. Then I went out to the front porch to begin fabricating the top back porch rail. I had already chosen the pole to use and it was on two sawhorses on the front porch deck. The pole still had all its bark on and it had a lot of short branches and knots that needed to be removed.

I placed a tarp on the porch and moved the sawhorses and pole on top of that. The tarp is to catch the chips. Then I started cutting off the knots, branches, and lumps. I used a bow saw for the bigger ones and I used Rasputin for the smaller ones and to smooth down the ones I had sawed.

Then I started drawknifing the pole to remove the bark. I got about half of it done before lunchtime. But before I went in, I decided to sharpen the drawknife on the bench grinder. Right away I realized that the grinding wheel I had ruined was still on the machine and was too small to be able to sharpen the drawknife.

I had another grinding wheel, so I got out the wrenches and replaced the wheel. That was trickier than I had expected too. I had to dismantle a cover over the wheel and the tool rest bracket in order to exchange wheels. Unfortunately, the tool rest bracket was fastened from underneath, so I had to take out the screws holding the grinder to the workbench, so I could get at the nut. I finally got the wheel replaced and went in for lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I went up to the bluff to check the cedars. The rain had let up, but everything was still very wet. All the trees looked healthy and thriving. I brought the bowsaw with me because I wanted to cut down some big vine maples that were shading Paul, the sequoia tree. When that was done, I decided to take the bowsaw up the skid trail and remove a couple logs that were blocking the trail.

After making only a couple strokes with the bowsaw, I realized that the logs were so big that it would be a long hard job to cut them that way. Since everything was so wet, I decided it was safe to use the chainsaw.

While I was up there, I went up to check the spring. I saw that water was flowing out the overflow pipe about the same as it was when I left it last week. I decided that since this was the seasonal minimum flow for the spring, I could just leave it this way and not worry about it. So, I went back to the cabin and exchanged the bowsaw for the chainsaw.

Back in the woods, I used the chainsaw to clear away the two logs and re-open the trail. That eliminated one of the two of the detours that had been a nuisance on that trail. The other one will have to wait until Robert brings his skidder up there toward the end of October.

When I got back, I decided to follow Robert's example and clean the chainsaw. I cleaned it up nicely but in the process, I discovered that one of the machine screws holding the big handle on was missing. I used my inventory of parts to locate a screw that was the same size but a half-inch longer. I hacksawed off the half-inch and smoothed the end with a grinder and then screwed it into the chainsaw.

On Thursday morning, I was lying awake at about 5 AM thinking about a lot of things. One of them was the problem of dealing with the water in the crawlspace and how to put a floor in down there. It was kind of depressing because that problem had been on my mind for at least 20 years and I didn't know what to do about it.

I was lying there mildly depressed and not feeling like getting up when all of a sudden, I had an inspiration for how to fix the crawlspace. I got out of bed feeling all energized and ready to get going. I decided that I would build a plywood floor in different sections at different levels depending on the level of the bedrock and the level of the concrete pads down there. There are a lot more details that have to be worked out, but the general strategy is to lay the plywood on pressure treated 2x4s which would be supported on rock or concrete piers either on edge or flatwise depending on the clearance to bedrock.

Right after breakfast I started on my plan. The first thing I needed was an accurate drawing showing the bedrock contour over the entire crawl space. I got a blank sheet of paper and traced the outline of the floorplan on it showing in particular the locations of the seven columns and their concrete pads.

Next I figured out a way to make the elevation measurements. I have a 16-foot 2x4 that is pretty straight. The plan is to clamp the 2x4 to perpendicular 1x2s, one on each end and have the 1x2s hold the 2x4 off the ground, level, and at a standard height. Then I could measure the depth of the bedrock from the 2x4 at any point along the 2x4 with a yardstick. Then by re-positioning the 2x4 I could cover the entire crawlspace floor.

Once I have all the measurements, I can decide on what levels will work where and design the sections of the floor. Since I can build sections independently, I can work out a strategy of the sequence in which to build them. Since there is so much stuff stored in the crawl space, the strategy will roughly be to build the sections first that are relatively empty of stuff. Then, when those sections are built, shelving and cabinets can be installed and then stuff from other areas of the crawl space can be moved over into the shelves and cabinets to get them out of the way of other sections which will then be built along with space to hold stuff from still other sections. That way I won't have to clean out the entire crawl space as I always thought I would have to. I think it will be a workable strategy.

After setting up the 16-foot 2x4 in one position and making a series of measurements from that position, I went back up on the front porch and finished drawknifing the back porch rail. I left for home at 12:45 feeling very good about having a workable plan for the crawlspace.

Go to Next Journal Entry
Previous Journal Entry

Index to all Journal Entries
Go To Home Page

©2018 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.