Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/26/15

4/28-30/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped to visit with Uncle Charles and then with Marilyn and George. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:40. After moving in and having my lunch and a nap, I started a fire in the wood stove and spent the rest of the day in a couple of phone conversations.

On Wednesday, I measured and planned for the installation of the loft fascia. The job of installing the loft fascia boards was sort of unplanned. Nothing depends on doing it so it wasn't on the schedule. But when I bought the fascia board to repair the roof, I bought enough of the same material to complete the loft fascia. Since those boards were just lying around, I decided to delay my scheduled projects and install the fascia.

I had varnished the boards the previous week and after inspecting them, I decided that they didn't need another coat. They were beautiful the way they were.

After deciding on which board was going to go where, I discovered that the one selected for the dining room was bowed out in the middle at the miter joint end. I clamped the board flat in order to saw the miter cut, and since the board was not long enough to reach the log wall, I just left the length be what it was and left the square-cut other end to mate with a short filler piece later.

Then I made a harness of light rope that suspended the board from the guard rail above so that the board hung right in front of the rim joist where it needed to go. The harness had adjustable knots (tautline hitches) so I could control the exact height of the board. I could move it from side to side simply by sliding the rope harness across the guardrail.

With the board positioned, I could easily locate the two places where I needed to chisel out recesses to accommodate the nuts which stuck out of the rim joist flange and which held the bolts securing the guard-rail posts above. Once those recesses were chiseled out, I discovered that the board didn't quite fit. The problem was that the loft support beam below it has a couple of knot lumps that needed to be chiseled away so the fascia would fit.

I tried to chisel the knots from the loft by kneeling over the edge, but I soon decided it would be easier to get a ladder and work from that. I thought I was done with ladders for a while, but I guess not.

While working on the loft beam, I could see that in most places you would be able to see above the log and behind the fascia board. There was no drywall there but instead you could see the bottom of the TJI rim joist flange. It looked nice enough to me to be acceptable as long as it had a coat of varnish. So I got the varnish and brush out and varnished the underside of the rim joist while I could still reach up there. That was just one of many unexpected little jobs that add to the time it takes to get anything done.

By the time I cleaned out my brush, it was time for lunch and a nap. Shortly after I got up, Earl stopped by for a visit. It was good to see him. They had just returned from Palm Springs and he told me some of his tribulations in making his solar pool heater. It looked to me like his Parkinson's was still pretty much under control. We had a pleasant conversation until he left at about 5:00.

When he left, I started preparing to install the fascia board that would mate with the dining room board right above the staircase. To start with, I removed the temporary handrail that was screwed to the loft support column, the end kitchen ceiling joist, and the guardrail post at the top of the stairs.

It didn't take long to notice a problem for the next board. The drywall on the kitchen ceiling and the plywood subfloor above stuck out beyond the joist a half-inch or so in some places. So I got out a utility knife and trimmed the drywall so that it was flush against the joist. It was a little special and tricky around the top log tread of the staircase behind the main loft beam but I decided to trim the drywall smooth and then paint it to match the ceiling.

With the drywall trimmed, I got out my trusty hand saw and trimmed the plywood flush with the joist. Finally, before I quit for the day, I vacuumed up all the sawdust and drywall dust. And, before I went to bed I decided to clamp the bowed end of the fascia board flat in the hopes that overnight the board might be a little flatter or at least a little more relaxed.

On Thursday morning, I got a fairly early start. I made careful measurements and then mitered the board for above the staircase. The measurements showed that each end needed to be about an eighth of an inch out of square over the 12 inches so that the board should be a parallelogram.

As happens all too often, I got left and right mixed up and slanted the cut on the non-mitered end the wrong way. I either added the eighth when I should have subtracted it, or I subtracted it on the wrong side of the board. In any case I made a trapezoid instead of a parallelogram.

With the board cut, I made a harness to suspend it similar to what I had done for the other board. Then I cut three recesses for the nuts that were in the way of this board. Since two of the recesses were near the end of the board and one of them was in a big knot, I used the Bosch vibrating saw to make the cuts. Then, since the nuts were about to be covered for good, I got a wrench and tightened them all up for the last time.

Next I used my handsaw and a chisel to cut a notch in the end of the short loft beam to receive the fascia board. On the other end, the fascia would interfere with the tread cut into the main loft beam. Since I didn't want to cut into the beam, I decided to trim the bottom edge of the fascia board so that it would clear the tread.

When the board was ready to install, I lined the two boards up and was super happy to see how they fit. The miter joint was perfect at the top and bottom, and the middle bowed out about an eighth of an inch because of the bow in the dining room board. So I decided to set up an elaborate clamping arrangement to take out the bow and hold the miter joint in the correct position while I nailed the boards together and to their respective TJI joists.

The clamping plan was to use a stiff vertical 2x4 that would squeeze a small 2x4 block against the middle of the outward bowing fascia board. The vertical 2x4 would be held fast at the bottom by a chain around the loft support column, and a bar clamp would pull the top of the 2x4 toward the 4x4 guard rail post above.

To be able to assemble this elaborate system with just my two hands, I started by dangling the vertical 2x4 from a cord from above. Then to keep the chain from marring the column, I tied a light rope around a few small boards that were stationed around the column and which would be what the chain would bear against. These small boards were held in place by using a stick to wind the rope tightly and snug around the boards. With the stick held in place with a rope, the boards stayed in place.

Then I drove three nails into three of the little boards for the chain loop to rest on when it was slack. Then I wrapped the chain around the column, rested it on the nails, and fastened it into a loop around the column and the dangling 2x4.

Finally, from up in the loft on my knees, I held the small 2x4 block in place with one hand while I used my other hand to draw the top of the dangling 2x4 toward the 4x4 post which then held the small block against the fascia board. Then I hooked the end of the bar clamp around the vertical 2x4 and the 4x4. I placed a small board behind the 4x4 post so the clamp didn't mar the post. Then I tightened the clamp so all the parts were snug and stayed in place.

I made the final adjustments of the miter joint alignment and then started twisting the handle of the bar clamp. I watched with delight as the eighth-of-an-inch bow nicely disappeared as the board flattened. With the joint now in perfect alignment, I proceeded to nail it in place. It was very gratifying to see how it looked, and even better that the joint stayed tight after the clamp was removed.

I took some pictures and was very happy that nearly half of the fascia installation was done. I left for home at 12:45.

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