Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/1/06

1/3-5/06 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped and went out to lunch with Priscilla and Charles. I arrived at the property at 2:40. There was a foot of snow on the ground but Mike had plowed the driveway halfway to the trailer. I had asked him to do that just before the scouts go up there, but evidently he decided to do it early. Probably a good idea.

After moving in, I went to work and sanded the 5 feet of the Grid E loft wall so it would be ready for the second coat of varnish. Then I dismantled the scaffold in the loft since I was done varnishing the purlin and I wanted the loft clear for the scouts. I left the frames and planks in the loft because I will need the scaffolding to work high on the gable wall.

Before I went in for the night, I cleaned up all the chips (25 gallons of them) from the loft. The temperature had hovered around 32 degrees all day and it snowed or rained lightly off and on all day.

On Wednesday morning, there was an inch or two of new snow. I spent the entire day cleaning up the loft to make it clean and comfortable for the scout parents who will stay there. I have decided to do no more real work on the cabin, except for one more coat of varnish on the 5 feet of the wall, until after the scout visit in a couple weeks. I want to clean the place up and do some things to make it comfortable, clean, and safe for them.

Part of my reasoning is that I want to give my hands some extra time to heal. I am afraid I might have done some permanent damage as a result of repetitive stress. My left thumb definitely has something wrong with it. I stressed it a lot the way I was doing the chinking and I hoped that when I switched from chinking to planing and varnishing it would begin to heal. But I discovered that I was stressing it just as much by scraping and sanding by hand. Using my thumb and forefinger to grip a sheet of sandpaper really aggravates whatever is hurt in there. When I wake up in the morning, the thumb is stiff and I have to bend it with my other hand to get it to work. It pops a couple times with each bend and the bending and popping are pretty painful. By the end of the day, it works pretty well without pain, but there are always the two pops in the joint each time it flexes.

My plan is to give it two week's rest -- or at least do a different work pattern -- and then try to take it easy on my hands when I scrape and sand. And, when I get back to chinking, I will definitely use a hawk in my left hand instead of that little trowel I was using. Someone on the Log Home Builders Association of North America's forum mentioned using a hawk and I felt really stupid for not thinking of it myself. I have a perfectly good hawk in my toolbox too.

On Thursday morning I brushed on the second coat of varnish on the 5 feet of the Grid E loft wall logs. Then I set up some sawhorses and plywood on the porch to make a kitchen countertop for use by the scouts. There had been another inch or so of snow overnight so I measured the snow on the ground where the boys will camp. There was 13 inches on the ground.

I have been disappointed that I haven't seen any gray jays for quite a while now. I was hoping they would be around for the scouts. I still hope they will be. I think the boys would get a kick out of feeding them out of their hands.

I left early at 12:15 so I would have time to check out the sledding area at the state park. I also checked in with Parkside Grocery and got some information on the sledding and skiing facilities available nearby.

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