Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/24/19

11/29-12/1/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Friday through Sunday.

On the way I stopped and had a delightful visit with Earl and Patty. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at about 1:10. The weather was clear but very cold. I brought my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, had my lunch and then my usual nap.

When I got up, I made the 4" plywood washer I needed for the bottom of the second newel post. Then I installed it at the bottom of the post with the big lag screw and tightened it up. That secured the post so that it felt very solid and was nice and plumb.

At 8:00 PM the temperature outside was 16°.

On Saturday morning, the temperature was down to 10°. Winter is on its way. I spent the morning modifying the first newel post so that it was closer to being plumb. When I went to disassemble it, I saw that it had been inserted in the mortise hole at the wrong angle by about 40°. Since the mortise hole is not plumb, and the tenon on the post is offset to accommodate it, being installed at the wrong angle made it worse.

With my hopes up, I re-installed the post but this time at the correct angle hoping that it would now be plumb. No such luck. It was a lot better, but it was still unacceptably out of plumb. My solution was to shave off wood on one side of the tenon toward the bottom and to shim the opposite side to make up for it. In a few hours I had straightened it up so it was as acceptable as logs can be.

When I finished cleaning up after the work, I had time to split and stack three big fir firewood rounds before lunch. After lunch and a nap, I went back to work on the loft rails. Since I had varnished the 2x6 tops, I was ready to install them.

I started on the railing above the dining room and chiseled out the recess in the log wall that would receive the end of the 2x6. I removed the temporary 2x4 that was on top of the balustrade and replaced it with the final varnished 2x6. I seated it in the recess, but I didn't fasten it down.

Before I quit for the day, I vacuumed the first floor and touched up some marred places in the living room wall with paint.

On Sunday morning the temperature was up to 20° and it was snowing very lightly. I slept in until 7:00 and it felt very good. After breakfast, I fastened the top of the first balustrade section to the log wall and I also fastened the top section of the balustrade over the staircase to the newel posts. The posts were slightly out of plumb and the plan had been to use the rail to draw them into plumb and keep them there. I used a come-along between the newel posts to draw them together while I fastened the top rails to the posts with screws. That held them in position nicely. I still need to do that to the second balustrade from the log wall, but it was time to go.

I had my lunch and left for home at 12:45 happy to be working on the railings. The snow didn't amount to much, but it did cover the ground.

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