Construction Journal Entry Week of 12/13/20

12/14-18/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

On the way I delivered Ellen's Christmas jam to several neighbors. There was about an inch of new snow on the roads but I had no trouble making the deliveries. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:08.The driveway had still not been plowed but I had no trouble driving in and parking. I brought my gear up to the cabin in two trips, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, and had my lunch. Then I practiced the piano, had my nap, and spent the rest of the day reading.

On Tuesday there was about four inches of new snow when I got up. I practiced on the piano, listened to the radio, and then Robert called. He gave me an update on his activities. He told me that we could expect a big snowfall before the end of the week.

After we hung up, I decided to turn the truck around and park it heading out at the foot of the concrete stairs to make it easier to get out if we got a lot of snow. Then I got the scoop shovel out and shoveled off the concrete stairs. After having my lunch and a nap I split a bunch of firewood. In the process, I discovered that my axe was missing. I had recently used it to split firewood but I couldn't find it in its normal place in the crawl space nor was it out by the woodpile so I was puzzled. After looking for the axe for a while, I gave up and dug out some more slabs from the rack behind the cabin.

On Wednesday at 3:00 o'clock in the morning I woke up and remembered where I had left my axe. I had used it to chop some bark away from the stump before I hung the no trespassing sign on the stump. I must have left it down there. As soon as I finished my breakfast, I took the scoop shovel down, shoveled the concrete steps on the way, and retrieved my axe from the stump. I took the DeWalt tool bag out of the truck and brought it back up to the cabin with me .

There, I used the Sawzall to buck another old tread blank and I used Gus's razor-sharp hatchet to split it into firewood. I spent the rest of the morning listening to the radio. After lunch and a nap, I spent the rest of the day writing.

On Thursday there was another 2 inches of snow, but the weather was sunny. It was beautiful. I turned my attention to the casing project for the front exterior door. I realized that the door frame was not plumb even though the rough opening was perfectly plumb. That was why the front door closed by itself. I couldn't imagine how I installed that door out of plumb so bad, so I consulted my journal to read about installing the door. That didn't help; there was no mention of installing it out of plumb. I either did a terrible job of installation, or I deliberately installed it that way to make it close by itself like a refrigerator door. In any case the door jam and the rough opening not being parallel was going to cause a big problem getting the casing to fit right. I wasn't sure exactly what to do about it.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to try to plumb the doorjambs. When I had originally hung the door, Bill had given me a clever tip on how to fasten the jambs without having the screwheads show. Part of it was to replace the screws in the hinges and the strike plate with longer screws that would reach all the way into the rough opening 2x10. Another part was to hide the screws behind the rubber weather strip which you could pull back enough to insert a screw.

So, to plumb the jamb I only needed to remove those screws temporarily and slide the bottom of the jamb over the threshold enough to straighten it up. But I realized that when I remove the screws, the shims that were between the jamb and the rough opening would fall out and I would have a hard time putting them back where they belonged. So, I decided to hold them in place with staples with one point of the staple going into the end of a shim and the other point of the staple going into the 2x10. I got a couple of wires from the crawl space that were left over from the insulation job. The wires were stiff and they were used to retain the insulation by stretching across from one joist to the another.

I used my multitool pliers to shape and cut the staples. Then I predrilled small holes in the shims and 2x10 and drove the staples in to hold the shims.

The next thing I did was to go outside and remove the two exterior casing legs. These had been glued in with liquid nails and nailed with finishing nails. It took a little effort to pry them loose and remove them. Since the top of the door was going to stay where it was, I didn't need to remove the exterior casing header. With the casing legs removed, there was now a big gap on each side of the door that would allow bugs to enter the cabin. So, I got a roll of wide masking tape and taped the gaps up so they would be bug tight. I wasn't sure exactly when I was going to get the door plumbed and finished.

Next, I practiced a little on the piano, listened to the radio, and then had my lunch and my nap. Since I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I tried to move the bottom of the door frame, I decided to wait before I tackled the job. So, I spent the rest of the day writing.

On Friday morning I was up early, had my breakfast, practiced the piano, and while I was listening to the radio I decided to work on the door frame. First, I removed the screws which I supposed were the only fasteners I needed to remove. Then I got a fairly big hammer and a block of wood and I tried to drive the bottom of the door jamb over the top of the threshold. I could tell immediately that something else was holding it because it wouldn't move.

It was pretty clear that the jamb was fastened to the threshold somehow. So, the next approach was to see if the threshold itself could be moved out 1/2 inch. Because of the unusually thick log walls, I had cut the metal threshold length wise, and inserted a wooden spacer between the two halves to form a wider threshold. Those three parts were screwed down to the subfloor. So, I proceeded to remove those screws and see if I could slide the threshold.

As soon as I hit the threshold with the big hammer and wood block, I could see that it would move easily. That made me happy. I separated the three parts of the threshold individually and cleaned out the accumulated dirt before I drove the threshold over to its final location. That was a wonderful accomplishment. The door frame was now plumb and parallel with the rough opening. Now it was just a matter of putting things back together.

I had a few small troubles as I went, but eventually I replaced all the screws, and I nailed back the exterior casing legs. Then I put away the tools and the job was done. I can now install the interior casing legs on a flat surface. With that success behind me, I had my lunch, packed up, and left for home at 12:30. I felt pretty good about what I had done for the week.

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