Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/8/09

11/9/09 Laid out the "Camp Serendipity" lettering on one side of the signboard and chiseled in five letters.

11/10-12/09 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

There was snow above 1800 feet on the way over the pass. The mountains were beautiful. I arrived at 12:10 and was promptly greeted by Bert and Ernie. I made a fire in the stove and then went down for lunch. After lunch, I chamfered the first tread with hammer and chisel to match the edges of all the other logs in the building. Then I took the scaffold tower down. The floor space is now opened up pretty much as it will be permanently. I noticed that there is a large area in the kitchen that I hadn't allocated. It will provide room for a sizable countertop and cabinet if that's what we choose to do.

Next I started on the second tread. I planed the top of the blank with the power planer. Then I set up the notch-sawing jig in the special sawhorse and used it to cut the notch kerfs in the tread. Then with hammer and chisel, I formed the rough notch in the tread.

On Wednesday I started a fire in the stove and was visited by Bert and Ernie. Then I rebuilt the tread-holding jig so it was the proper height for the second tread, and mounted the second tread over the stringer.

Next, I measured and marked the floor for the noses of all the treads. This was about the last of the preliminary steps before I can get into full mass production mode for all the remaining treads.

With the line drawn for the nose alignment, I proceeded to install the second tread. I needed to shim the tread about a quarter of an inch, which meant that I had cut the notch too deep. I couldn't figure out why my sawing jig could be off by that much, but there was no alternative but to shim the tread.

I didn't have the proper carriage bolts to fasten the tread because I didn't know how long they needed to be. So I used three lengths of allthread to install the tread and hold it until I get the bolts. This allowed me to measure to see how long the bolts need to be. All three need to be 12" bolts, so next week I'll buy enough for all the rest of the treads. In the process, I took a picture to show the drilling jig and the tread-holding jig.

With the tread temporarily bolted on, I cut the ends off using the Skilsaw and a handsaw. Then I chamfered the edges with a hammer and chisel, and I scraped the tread and part of the stringer to prepare them for varnish. I decided I will varnish the treads as I install them so that they don't get discolored or dirty before I finish.

The top of the tread had a big crack in it so that after cutting the notch, a corner of the tread was barely held on. I took the corner off, cleaned it up, glued it back on, and clamped it.

Earlier in the day, when I happened to be in the trailer for a drink of water, Earl called and told me that he was about to leave for his annual trip to Palm Springs. We had a nice chat and I wished him well. He told me that he was feeling good and that he had been riding his motorcycles a lot. In Palm Springs he will be riding a bicycle instead. He said the riding helps control the Parkinson's symptoms.

On Thursday morning I went up and started another fire in the stove and was greeted by Bert all by himself. I gave him some hugs and dog biscuits and then went to work. I removed the clamp from the glued piece of tread and cleaned up the glue joint. Then I chamfered and scraped the second tread so it was ready for varnish. I also scraped the top of the stringer between the treads and above the second tread. I found that it is a lot easier to scrape that area before the next tread is on.

With the first two treads ready for varnish, I went up to the woodshed and got a tread blank for the third tread. I dragged it down to the upper roadway and decided to use the crane to lift it up onto the porch. Since the crane was right there, it was a lot easier than carrying it up the steps. I set it down on top of the two tall sawhorses. I had used the smaller sawhorses before, but this way I won't have to lean over so much.

Then, using the power planer, I planed the top surface of the tread blank. It was a lot easier with the tread on those tall sawhorses. Smart move. Next, I modified the sawing jig so that the kerfs wouldn't be so deep. Hopefully, the rest of the treads won't have to be shimmed. Then I mounted the tread in the sawing jig and used the Skilsaw to cut seven or eight kerfs to start the notch. Those kerfs are not deep enough so I finish them off with a handsaw. I made one cut with a handsaw, but I thought it might be easier to use the big one-man crosscut saw. It worked a lot better, faster, and easier. I figured it might work even better if I sharpened it, so I got a file and sharpened up all the teeth. Then I cut the rest of the kerfs with that saw and it was a lot easier.

Then I used a big hammer and a chisel to cut or break away the chunks of wood between kerfs to form the rough notch. It was getting late and I wanted to allow enough time to varnish before I left, so I put all the tools away and then varnished the first two treads. I am really happy with the way they look. I washed out my brush, locked up, had lunch, and left for home at 1:30.

11/14/09 (Saturday) Chiseled out a couple more letters in the Camp Serendipity sign.

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