Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/5/15

4/7-9/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped and helped Priscilla turn on her TV. Then I proceeded on to visit with Uncle Charles. From there I went to Sultan where I bought a 50 lb block of salt to set out for the deer. And, as soon as I turned onto 207, I had to stop for 3 deer who took their time crossing the road in front of me. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:30.

Ernie showed up right away and got a couple biscuits before he followed me up to the cabin. Up there he got a tray of left-over gravy.

I took the wheelbarrow down to the truck and loaded the salt into it, along with a couple of screens that I had had repaired. I had the nylon screens, that the mice had chewed through, replaced with aluminum screens. I hope they don't chew through these.

The temperature was a little chilly so after I wheeled the salt block into the woods, I split a bunch of firewood and started a fire in the wood stove. Then I had my lunch and my customary nap.

When I got up, I installed the new screens and an electrical cover plate in the loft ceiling.

On Wednesday I started out by repairing my hearing protection muffs. I had dropped them off the high scaffold and one of the wires of the band had broken away from the plastic connector to the muff. I had glued the two together last week using silicone, because that is what I happened to have handy, but it did't hold.

I spent about an hour making a splint from galvanized sheet metal to hold the two parts together. It worked well enough to be able to use the muffs and get to work.

I spent the rest of the day ripping boards to fit into the two tapered spaces that were left as the last of the ceiling boards. One of the spaces tapered from full board width on one end to about 5 inches on the other end. The other space tapered from about 5 inches to nothing over about 15 feet.

I started by making measurements of the width of these two spaces at every rafter position. I did it simply by holding a shim across the space and making a pencil mark at the correct width. Then I transferred those measurements to 1x8 boards and connected them with pencil lines for ripping.

For the first space, I ripped the center out of a ceiling board by first ripping a 45 cut from the inner groove in the millwork slanting toward the groove edge of the board. Then I made another 45 cut toward the groove side of the board but following the line that I had drawn. That produced the required taper after putting the two boards together.

It also produced a lot of sawdust. I really don't like using power saws just for that reason. I have done all the cutting of the ceiling boards, except for the ripping, using a handsaw. I have even done some of the 90 ripping with a handsaw, but for the 45s I put up with the sawdust.

After each ripping operation, I brushed off my clothes, the work, the sawhorses, and the workbench, and then I swept off the porch. With the workspace nice and clean, I then set to work chamfering the sawn edge of the second piece of board. This chamfer, when mated with the piece with the millwork, forms a groove in the same position as the groove that was cut away by the first 45 cut.

I used an old fashioned block plane to cut the chamfer and it produces long, skinny, curly chips. I call these "curly fries" and I collect them and save them for tinder for starting a fire in the stove when the wood might need a little help catching fire. With the sawdust cleaned up and the curly fries harvested, I took the boards up and installed them in the ceiling.

To install the two parts, I first inserted the tongue of the board with the millwork into the groove on the top of the space. Once it was tapped into place, I nailed it to the rafters through the slanting surface of my 45 cut. Then, I pushed the groove of the second part over the tongue that was sticking up from the board below the space. With a few taps, the board nestled nicely in place and I face nailed it to each of the rafters.

The process for the other space was different because it was narrower and didn't have room for the millwork on the 1x8. So I made each board as one piece and ripped it from the groove edge at 90 to form the correct taper. That meant that the groove edge would mate with the tongue from below the space and the cut edge would rub up against the groove edge of the board above. That is not a good seal, but I did it anyway.

These boards also needed to be chamfered on the cut edge to form a groove with the chamfer on the groove edge of the mating board above it. So I went through the same sawdust cleanup and curly fry harvest for these boards too.

Of course I didn't get it exactly right. I got my left and right mixed up and ended up making the taper in the wrong direction for one of the boards. That meant than when it was installed, the varnished side was up against the rafters and the unvarnished side was showing. Rather than make another board, I decided to varnish the board after it was installed. After all, I had to varnish all those chamfers after the boards were installed so I would have my brush and varnish up there anyway.

I didn't finish installing all the boards before I quit for the day. I still had one last 10 footer to do.

On Thursday morning, I finished installing that last board and varnished the board and the grooves. I had time to start some preliminary caulking between the gable logs and the ceiling before I left for home at 12:30. It is a great feeling to have all the ceiling boards nailed in place after some four years of intermittent effort. It will be great to have the scaffolding taken down and put away and the place cleaned up again. Hopefully that will happen next week.

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