Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/19/20

4/20-24/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 5 days: Monday through Friday.

I started the day by taking my truck in to get it diagnosed and fixed. It turned out to be a bad wheel bearing and Maddy was able to replace both front wheel bearings by about 2:30. That left me enough time to go to Camp Serendipity that evening.

I arrived at 6:15 and parked in the hairpin turn. I carried the cooler and one bag up and then brought the wheelbarrow down and wheeled all the rest of my gear up in one more trip. It was too late to hoist the flag, so I just built a fire in the stove, had my dinner and called it a day.

On Tuesday, Dave called first thing in the morning and we had a great conversation. Then, after breakfast, I set up to scribe the lower 1/4-turn for the handrail. I wanted to install that next because that would make the entire rail rigid, being supported both at the top and at the bottom. Being rigid would make it easier to make the complex structure needed at the top.

scribing was easier this time because I had learned from the many mistakes and false starts I made on the guardrail 1/4-turn. I had it scribed before I stopped for lunch and a nap. When I got up, I went out and did my annual measurements and assessments of the sequoia trees.

In the process, I discovered that Andrew's dribble bucket had plugged up and the bucket was still nearly full of water. I unplugged it and got it going again.

Next, I began cutting the 1/4-turn. I started by cutting the square end and then I set up to begin cutting the cylindrical surface. I got half of the cylindrical cut made before I quit for the night.

On Wednesday, I started out by watering Andrew. The dribble bucket was empty, so I filled it back up.

Back in the cabin, I finished the cylindrical cut through the 1/4-turn and then started scraping and rasping the surface to get it to fit up against the newel post. After having lunch and a nap, it started to rain. I was glad I had gone into the woods in the morning before the rain started.

I continued to rasp and scrape the fitting and got it almost to fit. Then I installed the rail bolt between the 1/4-turn and the rail. I wanted to make sure that the rail bolt was going to miss the first baluster. I was happy that it did.

On Thursday morning, just out of curiosity, I counted how many balusters I have made for all the railings (including the six that I have left to make) and found out that the number is 404. That surprised me.

In working on the first rail bolt that I had installed, I found that the special wrench was not going to work because the handle ran into the baluster. To fix that, I took the wrench down to the vise and bent the neck of it sort of like a dentist's mirror. That allowed the handle to pass the baluster and the wrench worked fine after that.

Next, I installed the second rail bolt that screws into the newel post. I tightened up both rail bolts dry and saw that the parts fit very nicely. So, I backed both nuts off a ways, without taking them all the way off, and that allowed the gaps in the wood to open enough to smear glue all the way inside. After applying glue to both joints, I tightened both nuts all the way tight again for the final time. Then I had my lunch and a nap. I was very happy about the 1/4-turn.

When I got up, I went outside, watered Andrew, and hauled a bunch of firewood down from the bluff in the wheelbarrow. Then, before I quit for the day, I called Earl and visited with him for a while.

On Friday morning, I was happy with the rigid handrail, but I was disappointed that the staircase rattled. That was because the balusters were loose in the over-sized holes. I spent about an hour making little wood shims and driving them up into the rail alongside the balusters. That tightened them all up and there was no more rattling after that. I was happy with the results.

I went outside and watered Andrew and then got a good start on smoothing the joint between the rail and the 1/4-turn. I left for home at 1:30 very pleased with the week's progress.

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