Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/25/19

8/27-29/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped and visited with Earl. I explained to him that due to some changes in my home life, my schedule was going to be shifted ahead three days for a while. I would be coming up to Camp Serendipity Friday through Sunday from now on.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:05. The temperature was already 80. I carried my gear up, hoisted the flag, had my lunch and my usual nap. Then I went into the woods to check to see if the ram pump was still working. It was. I brought the last of the Vigoro that I had on hand and fertilized Andrew and Paul. Then I walked over the ridge and checked on the springbox, the dam, and the pump. I was happy just to watch it run for a few minutes.

On the way back to the cabin, I picked up a couple of firewood rounds that were left in the woods and carried them down to the woodshed. Then I looked in the privy to see how much room there was for storage. I plan to store things from the crawlspace in there to get them out of the way so that professional insulators can work in there to insulate the floor. I have more-or-less decided to have them do it instead of doing it myself. There seemed to be plenty of room in the privy to store the six scaffold brackets that I had designed and built.

I got one bracket out of the crawlspace and brought it to the privy as a proof of concept. It fit nicely toward the back and it looked like there was plenty of room for all six. That was good news.

Next, I went down to the truck, got the Sawzall out and cut the last remnant of the trunk of the skinny tree that Robert had taken down for me and which I had used for the back-stairway rails and newel post. I was looking for two newel posts for the loft staircase and by a stroke of serendipity, the remnant was exactly twice as long as what I needed for one newel post. Now I had both of them.

I carried the tools and the two newel post blanks up to the front porch in two trips.

On Wednesday, I woke up worrying about the length of the stair tread blank I had made for the loft staircase. I had figured on a 7-inch diameter semicircle at each end centered at the edges of the 3-foot tread width. At the last minute, I threw in an extra inch on each side for good measure. That made the tread blank 52" long (36+8+8).

Lying there in bed it dawned on me that I probably wanted the log newel posts to be centered at the centers of the semi-circles for symmetry, but that means that the newel posts, which are about 4" and 5" in diameter respectively, would encroach on the 36" tread surface. That would be unacceptable. During breakfast I mulled over the prospect of having to make yet another tread blank.

After breakfast I made some careful measurements and then made a drawing of the end of the tread. I learned a long time ago, but I frequently forget it, that when I design something new, I need to make an accurate drawing before I start cutting any pieces. This was another example.

On the drawing, instead of making the circles concentric, I moved the newel post out toward the end of the tread in order to maintain the 3-foot separation between the newel posts. That left something like 2 5/8" between the outside of the newel posts and the outside of the tread. But on the drawing, it looked natural and pleasing and I was happy with the look. It looked sort of like a circle inside of a parabola or ellipse with the center of the circle on the focal point. Of course the semi-circle was neither a parabola nor an ellipse, but it was close enough. I think it will look nice.

With that concern behind me, I went out on the porch with my drawknife and debarked the two newel post blanks. Then I went in for lunch and a nap.

I was awakened by a knock on the door. It was Robert. He came in and we had a nice visit. He told me how he had finished up the job of removing that big tree I had videoed. And, he thanked me for making the video. I told him about my change of schedule, and he told me of his near-term plans.

After he left, I worked on smoothing the ends of the tread blank. I used Rasputin for most of it, but I also found that the orbital sander with 60-grit paper and running at high RPMs worked very well and left a very nice finish. Before I quit for the day, I carried one more bracket from the crawlspace and stored it in the privy.

On Thursday morning Dave called and we had a great conversation. I told him about my schedule change, and he told me about the preparations he needed to make to get his three boats out of the way of hurricane Dorian. He and his boats are inside the cone.

After we hung up, I went into the woods just to make sure the pump was still running. To my delight, it was. Then I carried all the rest of the brackets to the privy. Then I removed a few rolls of toilet paper that were stored in a mouse-proof tin filing box and which would no longer be needed in the old privy. I cleaned up the filing box and brought it up to the loft to await its next use.

I left for home at 12:45 feeling pretty good about progress and wondering how things were going to be different from now on being up there during the weekends rather than during the week.

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