Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/29/09

12/1-3/09 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

The drive over was beautiful with brilliant new snow in the higher elevations. The road was clear all the way. I arrived at 12:50 and was soon joined by Bert and Ernie. The snow had melted down on the property so I was able to drive right up to the trailer.

After moving in and having lunch, I hung the completed "Camp Serendipity" sign that I had brought with me. I used Dr. Dick's rebar cutter/bender to fashion the hooked ends on the lengths of 3/8" rebar that I used to suspend the sign from the Grid F3 anchor hooks on the Grid F purlin. I used the porch crane, a snatch block, and a rebar S-hook to lift the sign. I had a ladder up against the purlin so the job was pretty easy except for leveling it.

It is not easy to bend the hooks in the rebar in exactly the right places so I didn't get them exactly the right lengths. That meant that the sign was not level. I did some work re-bending one of the hooks, but I ended up using rebar tie wire to skew the hangers to get the sign to hang straight. Now I think it looks great. I took a picture of it hanging there.

On Wednesday I sanded the top two treads so they were ready for the next coat of varnish and then went back to work on the fifth tread. I decided not to settle for leaving a flaw in the tread so I planed the surface down far enough to remove the flaw completely. I think I made the right decision. The extra work it takes to plane out all the flaws will not be noticed or remembered in the future. But if I left the flaws in, they would always be visible from then on and I would come to regret leaving them. I was very happy seeing that flawless tread once I was finished with it.

Then I proceeded on with the steps I had developed to make a tread. I planed the nose straight, cut the kerfs for the notch, chiseled out the rough notch, and planed the bottom side of the tread. By that time I was ready for lunch and a nap.

After lunch Bert and Ernie came for another visit, more hugs, and biscuits. Then I went back to making the tread. I determined the offset for the center line, marked the tread for length, cut off the ends, chamfered the bottom corners, rebuilt the placement jig, fitted the tread and reworked the notch until it fit right, and when it did, installed the drilling jig, drilled the holes, and bolted the tread in place.

This tread had the extra complication of fitting right up against the Grid B.5,2.5 column so I had to chisel some of the column away in order for the tread to fit. That slowed me down a little. The column and the marble hearth also interfered with the placement jigs, so I had to rebuild both of them a second time so they had a wider stance. But I got the tread installed and it looks beautiful.

On Thursday, I fetched and planed a blank for the sixth tread. Bert and Ernie showed up again while I was working on it. At 11:15 I stopped work on the tread, brought my tools inside, and varnished the top three treads and then closed the place up. I left for home at 2:00 feeling very good about how the stairs are turning out.

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