Construction Journal Entry Week of 12/7/14

12/10-12/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

I got a late start because of a serious plumbing problem I had to deal with so I skipped my usual visit with Uncle Charles. I stopped at Marilyn's, though, to exchange boxes of photo albums with her. Most of my trip was in the dark and I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 6:10 in the evening.

The temperature was 30 and it was raining lightly. The driveway was covered with about an inch of compact snow and partly frozen slush. I used 4wd to drive in and park. I was super hungry but I started a fire in the wood stove before I made my dinner. After dinner I took my shower and was ready for my phone call with Ellen at the usual time. By the time I went to bed, the rain had increased to the cats and dogs level.

On Thursday, I started by varnishing the last of the boards I had installed in the ceiling. I had specially milled those boards to fit the final spaces and as a result they were not pre-varnished. Since I had the varnish and the brush out, I varnished all but one of the places that were on my touch-up list that required Varathane.

After lunch and a short nap, I finished the caulking between the ceiling and the Grid C3-D3 section of the gable wall. There were some fairly large gaps so before I caulked I filled the gaps with strips of Styrofoam. Then I cleaned the high gable wall logs since I probably wouldn't be able to reach them, hopefully, for a long time.

Another milestone was now reached: the entire ceiling for the Grid C1-E3 half of the ceiling was finished. I was glad to get this done because it had been delayed for nearly a year by the windstorm damage to the roof and its repair.

The next thing to do was to reconfigure the scaffolding and it was a little too late, and I was a little too tired to start that job, which requires careful attention, so I relaxed and worked on Dave's big jigsaw puzzle before I quit for the day.

On Friday morning, bright and early, I tackled the job of reconfiguring the scaffolding. What needed doing was to lower the deck of the 3-tier tower in the living room so that I could install the ceiling fan blades. That meant first dismantling the bridge between the living room tower and the tower in the loft.

Removing the decking was easy and straightforward but removing the four 10-foot 4x4s that supported it was a little trickier. I used a long 2x4 clamped across the span in order to slide each 4x4 across and onto the loft. Each and every move had to be thought through and carefully executed to make sure I didn't drop one of those big 4x4s down into the living room.

Once the bridge was dismantled, I climbed the 3-tier tower and lowered the deck. There was already one plank at the lower level so I used that to help lower a 2x4 from the higher level. Next, I lowered the riser from the higher level down to rest on those two boards. Then standing on those two boards, I lowered each of the planks from the higher level and built up the lower deck. It was fairly easy, but again, I had to pay attention to what I was doing so I didn't drop anything.

Next I had to build another bridge between the scaffolds to the new deck. I decided to use two of the long 4x4s and make a rather narrow bridge on one side of the chimney stack. I used the same 2x4 and the reverse method from the dismantling in order to place the two 4x4s. Then I decked it over with a piece of plywood and a piece of OSB. I also hung two Kleenex tissues on the chimney guy wire that crossed over above the deck to make sure I would always duck under the wire instead of running into it when I crossed the bridge.

I then reconfigured the loft tower a little by removing the two ladders that were holding up the Grid 1 end of the deck. That made a clear path that I could use to walk entirely around the loft tower so that I could approach the new bridge from the side opposite the loft stairs. Then I moved my jury-rigged step system, consisting of a chair, two stools and a concrete block, so that I could easily climb up and get on the bridge. I figure I'll be walking that route many times, not only to bring the fan blades up, but to make the trip up and down in order to turn the fan on and off in the process of balancing the blades.

Next I strung and snugged up a safety rope parallel to the bridge and running to the end of the 3-tier tower. I used a Martin's Differential Hitch around the Grid C2 RPSL and another one around the scaffold frame of the 3-tier tower.

Finally I removed the cross brace from one side of the top tier of the 3-tier tower to provide clearance for the ceiling fan blades. The safety rope was low enough so that it wouldn't interfere with the blades either. I am now ready to install and balance the fan blades, which will be the first job for next week. I left for home at 12:45, rejuvenated and happy to be in the swing of building again.

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