Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/26/19

5/25/19 (Saturday) Built a compression chamber for my hydraulic ram pump. I used a 2-foot length of 3" ABS pipe with a cap on one end and the other end reduced down to a 1/2" shark bite. Inside the pipe I stuffed two lengths of a pool noodle which had been split lengthwise so that they could be intertwined in order to fit inside the pipe. The pool noodle is made of closed-cell foam which will provide the compressibility without filling with water.

5/28-30/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped in and visited with Earl. We were soon joined by Dana and later on by Al. The three of us had a nice visit. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:00. The temperature was 78.

After moving my gear up to the cabin, hoisting the flag, having my lunch and my usual nap, I went into the woods to check on Andrew and the irrigation hose. I was surprised, but happy, to discover that the hose was delivering two drops of water per second. That seemed to be adequate so I stored the compression chamber I had built in the crawlspace thinking that it would not be needed. Two drops of water per second was plenty.

On Wednesday I started out by scraping the newel post. The drawknife had done a coarse job, but it had left some strips of cambium which had turned dark brown. The scraper took those right off.

When I finished that, I went back into the woods to check on Andrew's irrigation. This time there was no water coming out of the hose at all. So, I decided to install the compression chamber after all.

I went back to the cabin and got the chamber and a tube cutter and went up to the pump. It was a simple matter to cut the 1/2" pipe connected to the old, small, chamber. As soon as it was cut off, the pump stopped cycling and a 1/2" stream of water shot straight up. Then I simply placed the shark bite at the bottom of the new compression chamber right over the stream of water and forced it down over the 1/2" pipe stub. The shark bite locked into position right away, permanently securing the chamber to the pump. Then, by pushing the flapper down on the check valve, the pumping action was re-established. It sounded a lot better and the hose no longer convulsed with each stroke of the pump. I was sure this would fix the problem, but I went back to Andrew to make sure.

Sure enough. There was a good steady flow of water out of the end of the hose. I positioned it so that it was close to the tree but not so close as to drown it. I was happy that it now seemed as if the problem was resolved and I could deal with other things.

Since the weather was so warm, I decided to glue the end on the inside handrail on the back staircase. I had delayed this job because the glue does not set properly in cold weather. I unscrewed the anchor holding the vine-maple end piece to the foundation wall and then disengaged the piece by removing the dowel connecting it to the main rail. Then I applied glue, re-assembled the parts, and screwed the anchor back into the foundation wall. When the glue dries, I'll sand it a final time and then stain the entire rail.

Next, I installed the back door knobs. I had gotten a replacement knob set from the manufacturer as a result of my previous problems, but when I tried the knob that I thought I had ruined, I got it to work. Since it looked to be a more substantial model than the one I had just gotten in the mail, I decided to use it instead. I'll keep the new one as a spare.

After lunch and a nap, I went back into the woods to check on Andrew and to take a picture of the pump with its new compression chamber. Water was still flowing nicely from the hose.

Back at the cabin, I scraped half of the lower rail for the back-stair railing system, and after that I set up the mosquito net tent over my bed. Since the mosquitoes were starting to show up, I decided this was the time for the tent.

On Thursday morning, Dave called, and we had a nice long conversation. Afterwards I finished scraping the lower stair rail. Then, I couldn't resist checking Andrew again and was happy to find the water still flowing strong.

Finally, I used a power sander to sand both the newel post and the lower rail. I am now ready to begin fabricating and assembling the back outside stair rail system. This will contain four mortise/tenon joints, but since the newel post can be removed, I can leave the newel post until last while I assemble all the balusters and the two top mortise/tenon joints. Then the lower joints can be engaged at the same time the newel post is fitted into the CB66 and bolted in place.

I left for home at 1:30 happy with the week's progress. Before I left, I harvested a bunch of rhubarb and brought it home.

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