Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/18/15

10/21-23/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

Before I left, I wasted some time in the garage making four parts for a quilt rack that I thought were missing. Then after stopping to pick up a prescription, I drove to the Kenmore Senior Center and delivered the quilt rack that Priscilla had donated to them. When I went to assemble the rack, I found the “lost” parts and used them instead of the ones I had made.

From there I proceeded on to visit with Uncle Charles. This time I was able to eke out a draw in our checker game.

After a beautiful drive over the pass, I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:30. After starting a small fire in the stove I had my lunch and a short nap. When I got up I took my tools outside and did some more work rasping the notches in the tread attempting to make it fit better. I made some progress but there was still a ways to go.

On Thursday, I spent the morning rasping the tread notches and the stringer in many repeated attempts to get the tread to seat exactly right. I tried a lot of tricks to try to figure out exactly where to rasp wood away. One was to place sheets of carbon paper in between the tread and the stringers and then rasp away the black smudge marks along with the wood under them. Another trick was to use a long, thin strip of thin gauge aluminum to probe the crack between the two members to see where it was binding.

All the tricks worked to some extent and after many tedious iterations, the tread finally settled into the correct position with the top level and at the right elevation and the nose of the tread in line with the two plumb bob strings.

It was lunch time when I finished, but before I went in for lunch and a nap, I turned on the valve to water Brian, the giant sequoia tree. When I got up from my nap, I went into the woods, checked on the trees, and checked the spring. I also cleaned out a lot of leaf debris while I was there. In spite of water running for Brian, there was still water running out the overflow pipe so I didn’t have to worry about the spring getting too low just yet. This should be very near to the lowest the spring flow will be this year.

Next I stained the underside of the tread including the notches and I stained the notches in the stringers. The stringers had been stained previously, but now that the notches had been cut I wanted to make sure they were stained too.

Then I flipped the tread up into its final position in the notches in the stringers and made sure it was aligned correctly. Holding it in place, I drilled the holes for the lag screws and then finally screwed the tread firmly down to the stringers. And finally, I stained the top surface of the tread and cleaned out my brush. I was very tired but happy when I went in for the night.

On Friday morning I vacuumed the cabin upstairs and down. It needed it. I also scrubbed the floors in a few areas that needed it. Then I took my inventory sheet outside and scouted for slabs. I had moved some of them since my earlier inventory and I marked the ones that I had used. Then I selected the one I wanted for the next tread and found it under the front porch. Fortunately it was easy to pull out. I got it onto a couple sawhorses ready to work on next week.

Before I quit for the week, I split and stacked some firewood. I left for home at 12:50 glad to be in steady state on staircase construction. My efficiency should improve with each tread and I expect my installation rate will pick up.

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