Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/26/14

1/27/14 Called Marty at the Department of Natural Resources at the suggestion of Robert Ferrel to get help in filling out the application for a permit to log at Camp Serendipity. We agreed that the three of us would meet the next day, 1/28/14, at Camp Serendipity to walk the property so I could learn the answers to the six pages of questions on the DNR form.

1/28-30/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday. On the way I stopped at Priscilla's to drop off some stuff. I then proceeded on to visit Uncle Charles in Monroe, and from there to Skykomish where I stopped briefly at Marilyn's to deliver a calendar.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at noon. Bert and Ernie were there to greet me so they got their usual hugs and biscuits. I hoisted the flag, started a fire in the wood stove, and had my lunch.

At 1:00 Marty from DNR and Robert Ferrel showed up. We had pre-arranged a meeting of the three of us to walk the property and to give me some help in filling out the DNR logging operation permit form.

We started by reviewing the maps I had of the area. Then we went through the form line by line and Marty told me what to answer for each question. Some to-dos also popped up for me such as call and get a tax number for the timber tax I will have to pay. I also need to prepare a map.

The three of us then went outside and walked the property discussing possible activities and restrictions. We were fortunate that there was still no snow on the ground so we were able to move around and see things quite well. The only problem was getting over the many blowdowns that had fallen across my trails.

Marty left at about 3:00 and Robert left at about 4:00. The plan is for me to complete the DNR form, print and update a map of the property with water, buildings, margins, and landings, sign the form, write a check for $100 to the DNR as an application fee, get it all to Robert so he could sign the form and then mail it to DNR. That should allow Robert to get started on the logging.

I tried to get my nap in after Robert left, but I was too keyed up with excitement to get any sleep. This whole thing had unfolded pretty fast. I was lucky to have gotten ahold of Robert so quickly after we decided to log the property, and I was lucky to have been able to schedule both Robert and Marty so soon after my first contact with Marty. And now, it was all done except for my follow-ups. Truly amazing. I guess it should be chalked up to serendipity.

On Wednesday morning I awoke to find 9 inches of new snow on the ground. I was so thankful that we had the walk-through the day before on bare ground. The alternate day for the walk-through would have been Friday if we had been unable to schedule for Tuesday like we did. If we had waited, I'm not sure we would have been able to do it at all until spring. I feel really lucky.

Marty called me early in the morning and informed me that I had the section number wrong on my legal description of the property: I had 10 and he said it should be 39. After we hung up, I got out my maps and documents to try to figure out how I had made that mistake. I discovered that the error had not been mine but that the section number, and hence the legal description is wrong on all the documents I have that relate to my purchase of the property. I'm now not sure whether or how I need to go about fixing the problem or what the consequences of fixing it or not might be.

Marty told me that he had discovered the error when he tried to pull up the map of my property. I need that map to complete the application and he had agreed to pull it up and mail it to me. On the phone he also gave me instructions for pulling it off the DNR website myself, so I might be able to get the map before the one he sent arrives in the mail.

Switching from the logging project to my highest priority, I went to work to begin repairing the roof. The first thing was to finish building the hanging scaffolding. The 4x4 supports and one deck plank were already in place from last week so I went to work stringing more planks between the 4x4s. After thinking about it, it occurred to me that it would be easier to shove the planks out the loft window and onto the scaffold frame. So that's what I did for the next three planks—two 2x10s and one 2x12. I shot video clips of various parts of the work which I intended to use to make a video narrative of the repair job. Pete Persing and a subscriber of my qdogsman YouTube channel had both requested that I keep them informed of my repair actions. So I plan to do it in a series of videos.

With the big planks in place, I filled in the rest of the scaffold platform with two 2x4s which I placed from the ladder rather than out the window.

Next I screwed the planks and 2x4s to the 4x4s to stabilize the platform and I placed shims under the raised corners of the planks which have warped into pretty severe twists. I couldn't walk around on the scaffold platform very well because the sheet metal roofing was bent down so far that it got in my way. So I took the tin snips up and cut the metal off to get it out of the way.

That is not an easy job because the metal is 20 gauge steel, has standing ribs, and was kinked irregularly by the tree. But with perseverance, a lot of squeezing of the tin snips, and a small amount of sheet metal skill, I cut off four panels without cutting myself. I followed the advice of Curt Pritchard, my sheet metal supplier, and did not wear gloves. He had convinced me that it is safer to respect the metal and not wear gloves than it is to work with gloves and expect them to protect you. I know that OSHA does not agree with him, but I do.

On Thursday morning I went back up on the scaffold and found that it had a slick coating of snow and ice. It seemed a little too dangerous for me to work on it. So I found a piece of half-inch OSB that I brought up and screwed down on top of the 2x4s on the deck. That gave me sure dry footing so I was able to work safely on that.

I discovered an unexpected problem. In the area of the damage, the roof had actually been raised about an inch and an eighth off the gable wall. I couldn't imagine what forced it up, but there it was. There was a yawning gap all along the top of the gable wall and the 2x6 that was spiked down into the logs to form the top of the pocket on either side of a 1x2 against which all the ceiling boards, both inside and outside, butted.

In the process of composing the previous paragraph, it dawned on me what had happened. There is nothing bearing on that 2x6. It is simply spiked down onto the wall to form the receiving pocket for the ceilings. So when the tree hit the roof and forced it down, the outside ceiling boards each became a lever with the outside edge of the gable wall acting as a fulcrum. The lever action simply lifted the 2x6. The roof had not been lifted at all. The 2x6 was just a couple inches away from the fulcrum and the lever arm was 6 feet long so there was a lot of leverage. The 2x6 was spiked down using two 40d spikes into each gable log, so it took quite a bit of force to pull those spikes up out of the logs over an inch. That leverage was obviously enough.

The final solution to the problem is now obvious. I won't be able to drive the 2x6 and those spikes back down so the solution is to shim between the ceiling boards and the 2x6 so that the boards are down snug against the gable logs. When I get to the inside ceiling, I will have to accommodate the problem in the same way.

Since rodents now had a big open doorway into the cabin, the first priority was to close it off. I decided to do that with a combination of hardware cloth and short pieces of 1x8 ceiling boards. I cut four strips of hardware cloth about 20 inches long and 5 inches wide. Then I creased the strips so that I could press them into the opening. Then I jammed a short piece of 1x8 in against the hardware cloth and all the way into the slot just like the final ceiling boards will do. Then I screwed the short board up against the rafter.

After installing the strips and the boards all the way up the damaged section, the rodent exposure was fixed and the path for warm air to escape from inside the cabin was pretty well sealed off.

By the time I finished, it was time to go home. I left at 1:00 feeling very good about my good fortune with the weather and the progress on the logging project. I didn't get rolling until about 1:20 because it took me 20 minutes to get the snow cleared off my truck so I could drive. I was glad I had left the truck in 4wd when I parked it. I was able to drive out through the snow with no problem.

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