Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/24/11

4/25/11 (Monday) I got a call from Ron Scollard telling me that he wouldn't be able to get to the drywall job until June. That actually will work better for me because it gives me more time to get the soffit built, the cabinets all figured out, and time to get more of the ceiling done. I have been hearing something chewing on the outside of the cabin at times, and I want to get those ceilings sealed up outside to keep the rodents from getting in again.

4/26-28-11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I got a late start so I stopped for lunch at the Deli in Skykomish. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:30. Bert and Ernie greeted me and got their usual hugs and biscuits as soon as I parked. Along with my gear, I carried 5 10-foot lengths of #3 rebar I had brought with me up to the crawl space. Then, after starting a fire in the stove, turning up the water pressure and the thermostats, I went up to the loft and had a short nap. Life is good.

When I got up, I carried a couple buckets of water laced with Superthrive up to the sequoias and watered Bill and Andrew. I scooped some snow around the trees that didn't already have a bunch of snow around them, and I gave all 12 trees a small scoopful of Vigaro. Dan had told me that I only needed to fertilize them once a year, but I decided I would give Bill and Andrew a dose of Superthrive once a week to try to perk them up. That's the dosage recommended on the bottle.

Next, I propped up the log I had spudded last week onto a couple of short logs to get it up off the ground. Then I dismantled the scouts' fireplace and took the charred wood down to my wood pile.

Next I went to work building a rack for staining and varnishing ceiling boards. The rack was going to consist of two vertical boards, or stanchions, with rebar pins sticking straight out of them every 3 inches vertically. The boards would rest on these pins while they dried.

I got out the rebar cutter/bender that Dr. Dick had given me, and cut one of the 10-foot lengths of rebar into 8-inch pins. I wasn't exactly sure how this was going to work so I did a test with a short length of 2x4. I determined that by using a 7/16" bit and drilling the hole slanting up at about 15 degrees, the pin would be easy to slip in and out of the hole and it would stick out at close to 90 degrees. It looked like it was going to work well. I had also thought it through and figured that the pins should be spaced 3 inches apart.

I decided where the rack should go and I selected the two boards for the stanchions. For the taller one, I used an old 2x10 that I had used in the concrete stair form, and cut it to 10 feet long. I selected an old 2x4 for the other one. I could anchor the top of the tall one directly to the Grid F purlin. The other one would have to be anchored to the Grid F1 PSL with a spanning board. I figured the best way to anchor the bottoms would be to use hurricane ties. I had a box of them stored in the privy so I went up and got it.

During the work, I saw at least a half-dozen chipmunks running all over the place. They were too excited to stop and let me feed them peanuts. They might have been the new brood of young chipmunks and were exploring outside for the first time. They will probably calm down and get a little tamer as time goes on, at least for the survivors. A Steller's Jay got his nerve up enough to come pretty close once and take some peanuts.

On Wednesday morning, Bert and Ernie came over for hugs and biscuits pretty early. After breakfast I went to work and finished making the drying rack. I cut up three more 10-foot lengths of rebar to make about 42 more pins. I took a couple pictures of the finished rack.

After lunch and a nap, I spent the rest of the afternoon staining boards with TWP 501-C Cedartone stain, the same stain I had used on the cabin exterior. I stained 27 boards, which filled up the rack and amounts to a little over 11% of the stack of 235 boards. I was happy with how it worked. I took a couple pictures of me staining and one of the full rack of stained boards.

On Thursday morning I started installing the boards on the porch ceiling. I started at the Grid G1 corner which is only about 2 feet off the ground. It is pretty awkward working there and it took a little doing to figure out how to handle the boards. I used short boards resting on the TJI flanges between pairs of rafters and a big C-clamp between each of these short boards and the ceiling board to hold it up into place so I could align it and nail it. The boards weren't quite dry so that made it a little more awkward.

I got two 16-foot boards installed before it was time to quit for the week. During the work, Bert and Ernie came by for hugs, biscuits, and gravy. They were super happy about that. At one point, I was sitting on the ground under the corner of the roof and Bert came over and sat right next to me. We were literally cheek by jowl with his jowl pressing into my cheek. I'm usually not sitting when he leans into me, but this time I was. He is about the friendliest and most lovable dog I have ever known.

With the two boards installed, I was happy with the proof of concept for the job being accomplished. I put away the tools, packed up, and left for home at 1:20 feeling pretty good about the progress.

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