Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/19/15

4/21-23/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped and visited with Uncle Charles for a while. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:20. Before I got the water turned on, Ron Siderits, who was looking for mushrooms across the road, drove in and we started talking. About then Ernie came by for biscuits, but he stopped short as soon as he saw Ron.

Ron explained that he had scared Ernie as a pup and he has never liked Ron ever since. After mulling it over for a while, Ernie turned around and went back home. Poor guy.

About then, Lisa Podell stopped in to chat with Ron. Lisa and her husband Scott Everhart have the place just across the road. I hadn't seen either of them for many years so I asked about Scott's leukemia. I was happy to learn that it is in complete remission.

After they left, I brought my gear up to the cabin and had my lunch and a nap. I split some wood, started a fire, but got no more serious work done that day.

On Wednesday I decided to varnish the 1x12 cedar boards I had bought for the loft fascia. I wanted to get that done before I dismantled my varnishing/staining rack on the porch. I wasn't sure whether to stain the rough side dark or to varnish the planed side. Ellen said she preferred the varnish but she hadn't seen the boards and was going by imagination. After thinking about doing a test of both options, I decided against it and just to varnish the planed side.

But when I looked at the boards, the planed side was in unacceptable shape. At the lumber yard I thought I was going to use the rough side so I told them that the planed side didn't matter. Now I wasn't sure what to do.

Since the rough sides were in good shape, I decided to plane them with my Bosch hand planer. That would leave slight ridges, but it would be the same finish as on the stair treads so I thought that would work fine.

I got the planer out, planed a few passes on the first board and was overjoyed at how nice it came out. I planed all four 10-footers and was very happy with how they came out. Then I varnished them with oil based, clear gloss Varathane and was delighted with how beautiful they looked.

Since the varnishing rack was still set up on the porch it made the job easy. I left the boards in the rack to dry. Before I cleaned my brush, I scraped the blemish on the loft stair tread made by the falling riser and varnished it again. The previous attempt had not been satisfactory. This time I scraped the tread deeper and used the oil based varnish. After cleaning out my brush, I had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I applied a second coat of varnish to the boards and to the tread blemish.

Then I put away most of the tools and the ladders that were still lying around from the ceiling job and I swept up the chips made from chiseling and added them to my collection of tinder, which I call "curly fries". Then I vacuumed the loft which finally made it look normal again after all these years.

On Thursday morning I swept the chips off the first floor and then vacuumed the floor. Unfortunately toward the end of the job I began to suspect that my vacuum cleaner wasn't working right. It was leaving dirt on the floor. After checking it out, I discovered that one of the internal hoses was plugged up. That meant that I had wasted my time because I will have to do the job over next week. There wasn't time left to do it again before I left for home. I left at 1:15 thinking about whether to work on the cosmetic job of installing the loft fascia boards, or to get to work on the hard job of building the log staircases. I'll decide that later.

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