We had a week during which we had to wait for the cement to cure - which was fine because we had timbers to prep. We got these great timbers for the post and beam frame and they needed to be squared up and notched.
This was both satisfying and NOT.... because we hauled out the old saw bucks and spent several days team hauling one timber (log) at a time and putting them on the saw buck to cut and notch (peel), which felt VERY VERY FAMILIAR (Autumn), and thus not nearly as satisfying as I would have liked. BUT - it had to be done and still represents progress.
We spent a long time trying to figure out how to square up and trim these 8" x 8" timbers, and finally came upon a tool that was perfect for the job.
We call it the Crazy Saw - it's a skill saw with a chain saw blade, so we have the square capabilities of skill saw, but the depth of cut of a chain saw. It worked REALLY REALLY WELL. We were so pleased - getting the timbers prepped was actually far easier than we first had feared (and I can now speak in hindsight and tell you that they came out just how we needed them).
Scott did the cutting, and I ran the leaf blower to keep the saw dust from building up so he could see what he was doing and get a good straight line.
Then, once the cement was cured, and the timbers were ready....
We are using doubled up 8" x 8" timbers to create the 16" deep posts we need for the walls, anchored to the slab with double angle irons (with an asphalt/mold resistant flashing underneath), and then using pieces of plywood as straps that are glued and nailed to hold the timbers together. Three of them running up the post - on the sides that have cordwood. We didn't use them on the sides that will have windows or doors attached.
In the corners, we are using full round tree posts:
Getting that sucker standing was a serious production! I was driving the digger and pushing, pulling or lifting it with the bucket, while Scott steered or lifted it into place as he needed it. Once they get vertical, they pretty much stand on their own, and are fairly easy to work with as long as you pay attention to what you're doing. We weren't able to get those completely square and had to some shimming and eyeballing to get them straight up and down-ish.
I also got to haul the timbers around and place them at the slab where we needed them with the digger and it was SO MUCH FUN!!
(And saved a LOT of energy, because while the two of us CAN carry those timbers, it's a LOT of work, and we needed that energy to keep on going with the timber raising).
We now have all the verticals up and the ridge beams are up, both interior side and exterior side.
Next up is to do the two layers of cinder block around the perimeter, and then Scott will get working on the roof, while I start on the cordwood. It's not fully ideal since we'd rather have the roof done to shelter the cordwood, but we need to take advantage of the building weather while we have it, or we won't get enough cordwood done to be able to button up the house and heat the slab over the winter, which we are told we need to do. We'll keep it well tarped, etc, and get it under cover as soon as we're able.
Plus, we'd like to be able to work on the inside during the winter, when we can't be working on the cordwood. It won't be livable warm in there, but we think we can get it to at least a tolerable working temperature. Then when spring comes, we can finish the cordwood and be about ready to move in hopefully - we still don't know at what rate the cordwood will really go, but we're assuming SLOWLY.