Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/6/21

6/7-11/21 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

I started out by getting a brake job on the truck so I was late leaving. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:40. It was a pleasant 60 degrees outside. After hoisting the flag, I had my lunch and a nap. The cabin was chilly, so I built a fire in the stove and then didn't do any work the rest of the day.

On Tuesday it was a chilly 38 degrees outside. I built a fire in the stove, practiced the piano, had my breakfast, and then went to work repairing the cracked window.

I started by assembling a kit of tools and material I would need and hauled them up to the scaffold on the inside. A big spall, about an inch in diameter, has been clearly visible next to the crack. After looking more carefully I could see the spall lying at the bottom of the window, so my plan was to try to glue the spall back where it came from. I had been mulling over the consequences of gluing the spall back before I glued the crack or after I glued the crack. I hadn't decided which.

But to my surprise, when I got on the scaffold and was able to examine the crack up close for the first time, I discovered that the spall had broken away from the inside of the pane and not the outside. So it had fallen between the two panes and there was no way I could get at it to glue it back where it belonged. So that question was determined.

I also discovered that the panes were pretty much in alignment and wouldn't have to be moved much to be brought into alignment. I needed to pull the smaller pane out, so I started out by attaching my suction cup to that part of the pane. Once it was attached, I could fairly easily manipulate the alignment by pulling the pane out more or less.

Next, I used a wad of cotton and alcohol to clean the glass around the crack from top to bottom. Then I got my bottle of Rhino ultra glue and a Q-tip and started applying glue to the crack. I was greatly disappointed that I didn't see any wicking of glue into the crack like I had expected. In the YouTube video it looked so easy: the glue got sucked into the crack immediately and spread to about 1/2 inch around the Q-tip and the workman simply followed that line of glue as it proceeded up the crack. The crack virtually disappeared as he went.

In my case there was no wicking visible at all. I concluded that I had chosen the wrong glue and the viscosity was too high. I had chosen this ultra glue because it was supposed to handle the biggest jobs and I thought my job was big. The real determinant should have been how tight the crack was and the tighter the crack the less viscous the glue should be. Since my crack was very tight, I should have used very thin glue. Rather than stop the project on that basis and get some thinner glue, I decided to proceed with what I had and take the consequences.

I applied a bead of glue above the entire crack and then took my tools and equipment back down and had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I took a razor scraper up onto the scaffold and scraped the glue off the surfaces of the glass. The alignment was not perfect so after scraping the glue off the higher surface, I scraped the recessed surface with the edge of the razor right up against the crack. The difference between the surfaces was about the thickness of a sheet of paper. Even though the crack was still visible, the glass felt much stronger, and it was evident that the glue had bound the panes together. I was happy with that result.

Next, I went outside and harvested a bunch of firewood. There was a bunch of limb wood that had been bucked by the loggers and piled in the brush next to the top landing of the concrete staircase. I parked the wheelbarrow at the top of the staircase and then threw chunks of firewood up to the wheelbarrow, some of which landed in the wheelbarrow.

I hauled two wheelbarrows full of firewood from there to the woodpile at the cabin before I quit. Even so, I overdid it because my shoulder was hurting as a result. I should be more careful.

Just as I was about to take my shower, John called, and we had a delightful long conversation.

On Wednesday I started by practicing the piano, and then proceeded to wash both sides of the top big window. I mixed up a batch of window washing soap in a 5-gallon bucket and used a rope to haul it up onto the scaffold deck. I had brought with me a brand-new squeegee and scrubber of the highest quality and I used them to wash the window properly. It worked great.

When I finished the outside, I moved my operation inside and washed the inside of the window. In the process I noticed that in two spots the soap solution had leaked through the crack and made two small streams that dribbled down on the inside of the pane between the two panes. That told me that everywhere except for those two tiny spots, the glue had sealed up the crack. There was nothing I could do about the dribble streaks but they weren't very noticeable and they will be even less so when they dry.

After lunch, Earl called, and we had a nice conversation. Then I had my nap and after that I did some reading. Then I went outside and set up an outrigger on the scaffold tower that would allow me to reach the small window to the east of the lower big window. After looking at the platform, I decided it was unacceptable. It wasn't level and it wasn't exactly safe.

Next, I decided that since this Rhino ultra glue was for heavy duty jobs, I would try it on the bed liner rail on the truck. I had previously glued the rail down with different glue, and in one trip over the mountains the glue had failed, and the rail was loose again. So, I re-glued it with Rhino glue, weighted it down with a board and three big rocks, and left it to cure.

On Thursday morning Robert called to check in and reported that he had injured his arm overworking it wrestling with some big tires. He is learning like I am, that when you get older you need to slow down.

After practicing the piano, I went outside and dismantled the outrigger I had built and rebuilt it using one different bracket and connecting it differently. This time it was level and safe. Then I climbed to the top tier of the tower and removed one stanchion. I reinstalled the shovel handle from that stanchion into one of the brackets of my outrigger and then made a nice safety rope attached to the shovel handle. I now had a comfortable and safe platform to use to wash that small window.

Then I used the same bucket of soap solution and the same tools and washed that small window inside and out. It made a huge difference, and I was happy with how the view looks through a clean window.

Next, I went down to the truck to check on my glue job and was happy to find that it seemed to be tight. We'll see if it holds together. Happy with that job, I decided to use the same glue to hold down the corners of two places where the flooring had come up as a result of getting overheated. One was very close to the stove hearth and the other was just inside the front door. After applying the glue, I held each flap down with a concrete block.

After lunch and a nap, I went back outside and reconfigured the second tier of the scaffold tower. I moved a plank from the first tier up to rungs higher up on the scaffold frames that gave me access to the sill of the big window. I also dismantled and removed the outrigger.

Then I brought the bucket of soapy water and tools outside, lifted them up to the relocated plank, and proceeded to wash the outside of the big lower window.

When I finished, I hung a cross brace to the left side of the first tier of the scaffold tower just to see how easy it will be to erect a tandem tower to the left of the existing tower. I was super happy to learn that the cross brace fit without any interference from the woodpile and other stuff that could have been in the way. It also showed me where the next frame needs to stand. I can see the section of the woodpile that needs to be removed in order to establish the footing for the frame. It looks like it won't be much trouble. In the process I got a bonus. When I had knocked the plugs out of the holes in the log wall in order to run the bolts through for the inside scaffold brackets and for the stabilizing bolts, I had only been able to find three of the four plugs. Now I found the 4th plug and was happy about that. Since the sun was now shining full on the window, I decided not to wash the inside but instead wait until the next day.

On Friday morning after practicing the piano, I washed the inside of the big lower window which completed exactly half of the window washing in the front of the building. The other half will require reconfiguring the scaffolding both inside and out. I was very pleased with the result.

Next, I went down to the truck to check on the latest glue job. The glue was holding tight but the left-hand rail had gotten displaced and now interfered with the closing of the tailgate. I used the small saw on my Leatherman to trim off 1/4 inch of the railing to provide clearance for the tailgate. It worked like a charm. I don't get to use that saw very often.

Then I went up to the privy to get a third scaffold bracket and just as I arrived at the privy, I noticed a deer standing there watching me. I said a few things to the deer but after a few seconds she turned and went away. It was good to see her. I retrieved the bracket and brought it down to the front porch where I will clean it off before I bring it inside. Then I went down to the crawl space and got one more allthread, two washers, and two nuts for hanging the bracket. I spun a nut all the way across the allthread just to make sure the threads were clear. It is now ready for installation.

I left for home at 12:40 happy with most of the results of the week's work. The disappointments were small and tolerable.

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