Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Melissa does a ton of marking up on the posts and beams,

and I start in on the tenon making with my fancy chisels (yes, that is a home made wooden mallet, thank you)

and there's still tons of peeling left to do. Here I've started in on the knee braces (the short triangle bits off the posts), here's one half peeled.

Working away, making stuff up

So, I'm pretty proud of this one: while I'm sawing away with the handsaw, I devised a better way to hold the log down in the home-made sawhorses. See how I'm standing on the plank in this picture?

The rope actually has the plank just an inch off the ground, and my weight is pulling down on the log, locking it in place as I cut. that's good simple stuff.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Taking the Science to the next level

So, we've moved to working on posts, and figuring out how best to line them up and make sure they're sort of straight. Working from our concrete footings, we've got to get the posts in line --some sort of line-- that will allow us to figure out which way they should face and how best to carve out the joint parts.

We've started on the north 'bent', and we're doing a number of things to find the best line. Here Melissa is looking down a string stretched between the first and last post (there's 5) and telling what needs to be moved where.

Here I'm trying to see the laser light from our laser level by creating shade with my hand. Usually we just wait until evening, but we wanted to figure something out in daylight.

It is fund to be working with wood instead of stone.
Work Glove Tester Update: Failure by 'Ironclad' brand.

Feb 12 to March 19. Pathetic.

More Mushrooms!

We discovered a few Black Morel mushrooms growing right next to the potato garden. They are amazingly hard to see. There's 3 in this picture.

Of course we brought them in and fried them up for appetizers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So much peeling...

One of the big timbers we're using on the north side of the house has all sorts of little tiny knots on it's surface... almost like pimples. Since this log is so long and heavy, it takes a long time to peel the skin off, and Melissa was getting frustrated with these extra bumps.

Since she rarely gets frustrated with a tedious task, I stepped in and went after it, working particularly hard on the little bumps.

Once I got the main layers off, Melissa was happy again, and was willing to pose for a picture with some of the shavings. We'll be creating a bunch more of that stuff!

Monday, March 17, 2008

First stick, ready to go up

We have a few posts peeled and cut so the bottom is flat, ready to start getting serious about line measurements and notches. This one is just set up in the middle of the house (note that it's already hot enough around here that we wanted to put up the sun-shade tarp for summer), not at the spot where it really goes, but even this skinny post is too heavy to be tossing around.

Anyway, it's a big deal that we're working in wood finally.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shower Drain Pipe

With some degree of trepidation, I glued together the shower drain system today. One concern is that there will be no way of getting at these pipes once the floor is in. That's not too different from a lot of basement bathroom situations, but I usually like to have the ability to revisit a plumbing system if I need to.
Anyway, it's done now. The vertical pipe will be cut close to the height of the floor, and the shower will have tile and all that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fire! A Cautionary Tale.

Last weekend we went to San Jose overnight, and some as we were leaving, we saw some neighbors, and told them to help themselves to the hot tub. I didn't think they did, but then I saw that the firebox had been cleaned out, and the water was warm when we got back.

I should have thought it through, and checked, but I didn't, and it turns out they had put still hot coals in the ash bucket... that I usually kept water in for this situation... but I had just emptied it, and hadn't put more water in.

AND, what's worse, is twice today I thought I smelled something strange, but then put it off as probably coming from the neighbors.

About 2pm, Melissa heard a crackling noise, and we went running over there just in time to catch it before it took off into the woods.

In the picture, I'm holding what's left of the 5 gallon ash bucket. I'll use a metal one from now on.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dusting up in a slow period

Well, we're still doing stuff everyday, but there's not that much progress to report. I've got some new plants in the ground, things are getting fixed (I'm sort of in a 'fix up and polish' mode with all my tools right now) and, on the side, I threw together this wooden dust pan, as our plastic one had cracked.

It's sort of a first attempt at seeing how hard it is to make boxes and the like. Anyway, it holds dust.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More new technology!

I've scrounged another item from our good neighbors down the road. The folks who have owned land up here since 1969 but don't live up here have a place that's half junk yard, half treasure trove and mostly a cautionary tale of living in the woods. A while back I had seen that they had this steel framed, spoke-wheeled cart under their cabin, and that it had sat there for a good long time.
After asking them on the phone, I walked over there with a bike pump, inflated the tires right up, and now I'm moving 24 foot logs without much difficulty. This thing was about the max that little cart could handle... I can't say how much it weighed for sure, but when it was laying on the ground, I had to really struggle to lift one end just a few inches off the ground.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

First tester Notch

So, I got the chisels out and worked on a sample piece to see how hard it would be to work on a 'knee brace' notch. Well, let me tell you, it's hard. Not the removing-the-wood part, but the figuring out how to do the angles part. My new chisels worked pretty well (that's another story) and I had fun working on this.

Really feels like authentic carpentry builder guy stuff.

Cabin shower pan getting in place

Actually, kind of happy about this progress.  It needed to be up so the drain trap will fit.