Construction Journal Entry Week of 3/22/20

3/27-29/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Friday through Sunday.

Because of the coronavirus there was no traffic to speak of going over the mountains. I arrived at 11:10, carried my gear up over the snow on the upper roadway, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, and had my lunch. Then I called Earl and we had a nice chat. After we hung up, I had my nap.

When I got up, I re-thought the sawing jig I had set up and discovered that I had used the complement of the angle that I should have used. I corrected the jig and then got up the nerve to begin sawing. I deliberately sawed wide of the scribing marks. That way I was sure not to cut too deep and I will have to grind off some wood after I have finished sawing.

I sawed about halfway through the quarter-turn but before I quit for the day, I went out and took a look at Paul, the sequoia. It seemed to be doing alright. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking for a file box that Ellen was sure I had stored in the cabin. I couldn't find it nor could I remember the box at all.

On Saturday I finished sawing all the way through the quarter-turn. I took some pictures of the process. Then I started the hard work of shaping the wood to fit snugly against the newel post and the end of the rail. I tried a variety of tools including Rasputin, a smaller rasp, the Bosch vibrating saw, Gus' hunting knife, a chisel, and a couple of different scrapers. They each worked somewhat for different parts and at different times. Toward the end, the scrapers seemed to be the most effective.

After my lunch and a nap, I took the wheelbarrow down to the truck and pumped up its tire. It wasn't too bad pushing the wheelbarrow downhill over the snow and it wasn't too bad pulling it up behind me on the way back.

Next, I took the wheelbarrow up to the woodshed and used it to haul five big maple rounds back to the cabin. Then I split and stacked the wood.

Back in the cabin, I continued working the quarter-turn down getting it closer to fitting each time. My favorite tool ended up being a scraper. It seemed to work best on the end-grain of the hickory, which surprised me.

During the fitting attempts I discovered that I had not cut the end off the quarter-turn square. It was off by about 1/16" from being square. That was unacceptable. I worked on that also with a variety of tools, but the vibrating saw did most of the work. I got it nice and square and flat.

On Sunday morning I resumed scraping the quarter-turn and got it much closer to fitting. I took a picture of it as I held it up against the newel post. Before I had my lunch, I sanded the end of the rail and the knuckle-notch to prepare them for the next coat of varnish. 120-grit paper worked just fine even though the wood surfaces were sort of rough.

I had my lunch, varnished the parts, cleaned out my brush, and left for home at 1:00. Progress is slow but at least it's progress and I am having fun.

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