Monday, August 11, 2008

porch up

beams go up (with some fossil fuel help)

jade in dave's machine

beams and rafters

greg marks purlin locations

rafters set

drew attaches purlins

matt and moss install roofing


roof installed...

...just in time for rain

porch--60-feet long!

we got the porch up! just in time for rain. friday, our excavator came up with his machine and helped us lift the beams into place. it all went well until the last bits where a number of errors (mine) came to light. it's been funny with this building. the south-east corner has harbored nearly all the mistakes and is, of course, the most prominent corner. we were shy two braces, an entire mortise, one mortise was too shallow and a tenon had not been drilled for pegs. so, i hastily fabricated a couple braces--a bit too hastily--they were four inches too long and i had to eat crow and trim them down. thankfully they were too long and could be trimmed. the other mistakes were corrected with a few twists of an auger and a bit of sideways chiseling. timber framing, especially, teaches haste-makes-waste. and for some reason, the "pyramid post" as we've been calling it was two-inches low. chris and i debated what to do and after considering a few solutions jacked up the corner and inserted two inches of stone under the post base that fixed the problem. by day's end, the beams were up and the rafters too. we were able to lift up the rafters by hand. chris and i drove into walpole to pick up the roofing and a couple hammers (we had just one old crappy one) and roofing screws. thanks to jade, jeff, dave from tmg excavation, mac, bugbane and chris for showing up to help.

saturday, chris and i measured out the rafter locations and drew, jeff, jade and hummingbird showed up and helped with the purlin installation (purlins cross the rafters to support the roof) and a few other odds and ends. michel dished us a delicious "thai-ish" dinner and we all retired to the yurt afterwards to relax.

sunday, we had just the right sized crew. friday and saturday were heavy work days and i, at least, was tired and appreciative of the "local power" as we dubbed it. we finished the purlin installation. moss arrived with a chop saw that sped up that process and just about lunch time we started to install the clear roofing. the porch turned out to be out of square which made our pre-drilling of the roofing panels a mistake, but we managed to crab the panels a bit every sheet to compensate, and in places it was perfectly true. as chris said, "sometimes you just never know why." i underestimated the number of screws were were going to need and it looked as if we were going to have to stop, but greg and jade found a hardware store open and saved the day with a couple boxes of fasteners. we still have to go back and install more screws, but we got all the sheets up and they'll be fine until more screws can be installed. thanks to moss, greg, jade, hummingbird, drew and jeff, a fabulous crew for the day.

during the screw fetching, chris conferred with moss about the new bathhouse location and we decided to do a little pruning in advance of the expected fall construction to see what the rock ledge looked like behind all the vegetation (it looks beautiful). moss unpacked his chainsaw and got to work doing what he loves to do. we now have a nice bonfire started for the october gathering.

and just as the last panel was being screwed down, drops of rain started to fall and we were able to enjoy the meadow without getting wet. jade cooked us some yummy chili with salad. i think most of us were exhausted from the work, but personally, i like that feeling once in a while. i got up this morning and sat at our local cafe for FOUR hours sipping mint tea. it actually felt great.

the building is looking a lot more finished with the porch. i'm happy with the look and feel. overall, it still feels incomplete, and in fact it is. the dining hall, that will attach to the western end of the kitchen--when it is built--will balance the design.

Monday, August 04, 2008

timber frame carving complete, porch partially erected, plus the kitchen sink!

greg daisy

chris and bubane


porch posts on i-beams


last weekend we finished our timber frame carving for the kitchen. reaching this milestone has been a lot of work, and at times it seemed that little was happening, but one of the joys of timber framing is the speed with which the work goes up once it's finished. yesterday, the porch posts and braces went up in a couple hours. after the hours of measuring, re-measuring, chipping away, hand drilling, to see it all fit together and be mated for a lifetime, makes it worthwhile to me. it feels good.

thursday, a mighty crew reconnoitered to white river junction to load the big big stove into my pickup for transport to the land along with the three bay sink, pots and pans donated by rick cole. we set the stove more or less in place and it took command of the kitchen right away, and also expelled any doubts that the building might be anything other than a kitchen.

friday and saturday we continued to carve. i kept saying things like, "this is the last joint!" only to realize, no, there was one more. but, as of today, we are in fact finished with the timbers. this coming friday, because we want to get a move on with the interior, our excavator is coming up to the land to assist in lifting the heavy beams and rafters. so, if you can help friday morning, 7:30am, please come on up!

as you can see in the pictures, the porch is taking shape. i'm always amazed by how vertical elements change the feel of a place. i'd been concerned ever since we designed the kitchen that the porch would feel too small, and with just the concrete stubs to hold the porch posts, it did feel small to me. with the posts up, though, it feels grand and i'm happy the sight lines up the circle seem to work well. i had thought the roof might clip the view.

many thanks to daisy, especially, for persevering the entire last month to get the timbers cut. in addition to daisy, we had help last weekend from zenya, greg, bugbane, peat, chris and hummingbird. thank you to the entire gathering for carrying the beams up from the workshop to the kitchen. we could not have done it without you, literally.

next weekend will be dedicated to finishing the porch. this will include fastening the rafters to the support beams, attaching strapping on which the clear roof will sit and building narrow ledges over the tops of straw bales.