Thursday, August 15, 2019

Onward and UPWARDS!

We are FINALLY making the kind of progress I've been dreaming of! We're actually building the timber frame now, and it's SO MUCH FUN.

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).

This week, Scott took the week off and has been working with a couple of Rusty's guys while Rusty is in Alaska working on a job, so the timber frame is going up pretty quickly.

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.


OMG - I never thought I'd be so damned excited about CEMENT!!!

(Like those conversations you have with your friends now, about who ever thought we'd be so excited about a new washing machine, or really cute DOOR HANDLES!!!)

But I AM - I am so exited about cement, I could pee my pants.  Mostly because I thought I'd be making this post TWO MONTHS AGO!! (1/3 my own lack of knowledge, 2/3 foundation guy)

I mean AUGUST!!!  8/2/19 - the second half of the slab was poured.


It's so beautiful!!!  And it means WE CAN MOVE FORWARD!  In a week....

We got to watch the second half being poured which was a lot of fun.  It's amazing to watch them work when they get going.  It's an impressive process, it really is.

At the end, we got to add the first little bit of flair to the house.

What he's putting in there is this:

The story here is this - a few years ago I was having a conversation with Scott and Rusty (savior of the Wirsbo and a VERY long running and dedicated outdoorsman)(this will be important later), in which we were discussing the orientation of the house we planned to build someday. I said that I wanted to make sure that it was oriented in such a way that in the evenings when we are relaxing on the deck, I didn't want to have the sun blinding me - which has happened in many of our other places.  They both puffed right up and said very authoritatively that "You want it THIS way, then." Which didn't seem right to me...we'd already owned the property several years at that point, I've seen sunsets before.  "Are you guys sure? I, mean, I've always thought..."

"NO!  This is it, we KNOW, you want it this way. Trust Us." And they were in total back-slapping agreement.

Later, when we were sitting around in the evening, oriented THIS WAY, I shaded my eyes from the blinding sun, and said, "Please explain to me again which way the house should face."

Rusty opened his mouth to explain....and froze. Speechless.  Scott jumped to his defense...and froze. Speechless.

They had been ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED of which direction was north, etc....and had been for years...and were DEAD WRONG.

And to be fair, they're not the only ones...there's something about the angle of the road and the shape of the land that gets people turned around. (Not me...but, you know...others)

So we decided to clear it up once and for all. There will always be a clear guide now.

ALSO??  WE HAVE RUNNING WATER!! A hydrant as been added to the well, and we can now use the water, which is amazing!  We took a hose shower! (We are getting a camping shower that will warm the water!)