Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/25/15

1/27-29/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday

On the way, I did a few errands and then stopped at Priscilla's apartment to feed Puddy. Priscilla will be in rehab for a few more weeks. Then I proceeded on to visit with Uncle Charles. He was resting so I didn't get him up to play checkers. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:25.

There had been no new snow and the old snow was frozen stiffer than ever although the weather was warming up. After parking and turning on the water, I carried the riser up to the cabin. I had brought it home in order to fix it but I hadn't had any time to work on it so I brought it back still broken.

After raising the flag, I went back down to the truck and unloaded another garbage can full of fir cones I had raked up in Seattle. Then I stacked a couple more boards that the scouts had taken and were now loose. Finally, I carried my gear up to the cabin and had my lunch.

After lunch, I worked on fixing the broken leg of the riser. I glued on the broken piece and reinforced it by screwing two 1x4 boards to it on the inside. Then I split a bunch of firewood and made a fire in the stove.

On Wednesday I discovered that the other leg of the riser was also broken so I glued and screwed it back together too. Then I carried the riser up on top of the high scaffold. I will need it up there to work high up against the ridgepole.

I am a little more than three courses from finishing the ceiling up to the ridgepole so I will need to rip the last piece to fit. I made a mistake when I installed the ridgepole and installed the 1x8 with the tongue down instead of the groove down. That means that when they meet, the 1x8s will be tongue to tongue instead of tongue to groove. I don't want to be fitting that last piece high up next to the ridgepole because it is a little precarious reaching up there. Instead I will install a full course up there right away with the tongue down matching the board above the ridgepole.

Before installing that board, I need to make sure there is proper clearance under the ridgepole and chisel away any part of the log that is in the way. Also, the Visqueen that is stapled under the rafters needs to be tucked in between each rafter and the ridgepole. I used a broad putty knife and a hammer to do this. It works slick.

I worked along the entire length of the ridgepole and tucked the Visqueen in nicely all the way across. Then I tested the clearance all the way across with a short 1x8 and was happy to discover that it fit all the way along and I didn't have to do any chiseling. It was ready for a course of boards. I started with a relatively short one at the Grid C3 end since that is the hardest to reach.

The deck on the 3-tier tower is lower than the deck on the loft scaffold partly because the bridge between them slopes down a little and partly because the 4x4s supporting the bridge are set on top of the 3-tier deck. And, to make matters worse, the 3-tier deck is about 18 inches away from the Grid 3 gable wall. That means that in order to reach up to the end of the ridgepole, I have to stand on a fairly high riser and lean over quite a ways. I used Priscilla's old plastic step stool to reach it. That was high enough but it was pretty rickety. In addition, I had to work gingerly around the ceiling fan blades which were sticking out about two feet above the deck. I could turn the fan about 1/5 of a turn, so I could get the blades out of the way of where I wanted my leg to be, but I had to pay attention and move the blades each time I wanted to take a step or change my position.

I took my time and was extra careful and I eventually got that first board installed. It spanned far enough so that the next board could be installed from the bridge which is higher making it easier to reach.

By the time I got that first board installed, my legs were starting to get wobbly and I was very tired. It was time to quit and have some lunch and take a nap.

When I got up from my nap, it was 50 outside and the sun was shining brightly. I decided it was warm enough to be able to varnish boards. There probably won't be many warm days for the rest of the winter so I needed to take advantage of this.

All of the boards that I had varnished had been stacked on top of the unvarnished boards to make room on the porch for the scouts. So to start with I had to restack all the varnished boards so I could get at the new boards.

When that was done, I replaced all the rebar pins I had taken out of the varnishing rack. I had taken them all out for safety when the scouts were there. With the rack restored, I varnished 14 boards and hung them on the rack to dry. By that time the temperature had dropped to about 40 which I figured was too cold to continue varnishing. The can says the temperature is supposed to be above 60 so I was breaking the rules the way it was. Anyway I was glad to have a bigger supply of varnished boards.

On Thursday morning, I cut two 8-foot boards, carried them up to the loft, and nailed them in place up against the ridgepole. I used the repaired riser on the bridge in order to reach up. It got easier as I went because the scaffold deck is a little higher.

I measured and found that the space left will take two courses of boards plus about 2 or 3 inches. Since the boards are meeting tongue to tongue, that means that the milled edges also come together. So for the final board, I will rip off the tongues of the last two courses and rip the final board from an unmilled part of a 1x8 and then form the two chamfers with a block plane. That will be a lot simpler than cutting my own grooves with a chisel like I did out on the porch for one bay.

With the scariest and most dangerous part of the ceiling job now done, I feel good about having a good plan and enough boards to finish up this bay. I left for home at 12:30 feeling good about the project.

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