Alright guys. I've been avoiding posting. So much has happened at Michelle's... (This entry was written while listening to NPR's "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me" and talking to my mother on the phone. Therefore, it might have a few mistakes/redundancies in it. I might go back and edit later. It just took way too long to write and I am glad that it is done.)
For kicks, here's what Michelle's looked like when you guys last heard from me:
Actually, it wasn't this built up. The stemwall was not complete at the time of my last post. Sunday, (the day that we were supposed to meet with a guy named Jeff to get some timberframing help but he didn't show,) we finished the stemwall.
Here's a now picture:
It has grown. Here's how:
These are the U-brackets that we attached to the concrete piers. We attached the whole in the bottom to the screw on the J-bolt that was sunk into the pier. The two holes on each side of the bracket would later be attached to a log.
The original plan was to lift the logs using a nifty tripod device.
The plan was to lift the log about halfway up using strength and a miniature tripod and then continue lifting the log into place on the pier with the big tripod.
This plan was unsuccessful. We did not have the manpower. So, we got machine-power.
Harol, the neighbor with the bobcat and cute dogs, came to help. Jessa's husband, Nathan, also came.
We used a safety chain on all our logs, which did not keep the raising process from being exceptionally nerve-wracking. Especially since Nathan had to crawl on top of the bobcat to move the chain around.
After we got the logs vertical, we used 2x4s for extra support.
Some of the logs had been notched out the previous week. The notches had to be lined up with the U-bracket so that the log would fit. There are also holes on the bottom of the logs that had to be lined up with the J-bolt.
Sometimes getting the logs to line up took a little "convincing."
Once the logs were in place, we screwed the two bottom screws in, then stood back and (judging primarily by sight) made sure the logs were straight. Then put our braces in and then a few more screws.
3 logs up. ^_^ The fourth log was difficult to get up. We didn't want to run over the stemwall and we couldn't really get to the pier from the outside because of fence nearby.
(I just like this picture.) We started at the pole from the outside, and once it was fairly vertical, it tipped. The chain held the log as it went from vertical to horizontal, knocking and breaking one of the braces on the first log. There were some screams and gasps, but everything was fine and the first log stayed standing.
We ended up putting up the fourth log from the inside.
The building, up. Hoorah!
The next day, we had to put up our sideboards. We hadn't picked up our scaffolding yet, so we winged it. Scarily. A shaky 10x2 is not a comfortable thing to stand on. Phil did, though, for the majority of the day. The 10x2 sideboards needed a place to rest, so Phil carved notches. He started just using a chisel, but soon picked up his chainsaw. I helped some, although found that I am slightly afraid of heights when on such rickity scaffolding.
It took us a full day to get these five 10x2s up, but the next day went by much faster. I believe in learning curves. (This is a favorite picture, if only because Phil and Jessa's butts are up in the air. Lovely.)
The supports have made for some awkward hammering so far, but we're leaving them up as long as we can.
The next step was putting up the floor joists for the loft. Although the loft covers two thirds of the building, we were only prepared to put up one section of joists. The second section will come when we put the curved cob wall in- the joists will be built into the cob.
The joists weren't a huge issue, as long as we measured our notches correctly. I did get to use a chainsaw for the first time in my life. Wonderful stuff.
Today, we were going to build stairs. Phil was looking at the plans and realized that, according the the plans, the stairs were only a few feet below the sideboards, meaning that people were going to have to duck quite a bit. This was not good. We decided to move the stairs a couple feet towards the curved wall, so there's less of a landing. When we move the stairs as far as we can and allow 6 feet under the sideboard to walk under, we still needed some steep stairs. 9 1/2 inch rise and 9 inch run.
Phil marked the stairs out, using a textbook from a construction short-term class. (I get a personal kick out of doing stuff that nobody on our team has done before, like stair building. That way, we're all on the same level. Learning together. Kinda.)
When Phil started cutting, the lumber REALLY started cracking. He decided that we need more lumber to act as a backing. We are going to pick that up tomorrow.
So, with no stairs to build, we were searching for something to do. The next step in our progress is going to be getting a roof up. Phil thought that maybe we could go ahead and trim the tops of the posts, since they were all a little long. Thus:
He put out a 10x2 to stand on, but it was a little too uncomfortable. We decided to wait until we got a temporary floor down on our joists (tomorrow, most likely) so we can use ladders and scaffolding and such. It would be safer and easier. And we got to leave the site early today because there was nothing else we could really do.
And, just because this picture did not fit into my narrative anywhere:
Adam and Nibbles, Harol's dog. Harol has another dog named Red who is super affectionate and rides around with Harol in his mule.