We’ve moved most of our stuff to storage, I’m working on getting my office setup and we’ve got a basic camp setup on the property. We’ll be improving it as we go and pictures will likely follow next week but I just wanted to let everyone know that we’re here and it’s going well.
I’ve spent the last two weekends working on my workshop. The focus has largely been the roof rafters, but I did put up some wall sheathing to help keep the structure stable.
After having worked on the rafters, I’m very glad that our house will not have standard rafters with a bird’s mouth. I spent several hours looking at how my workshop book described the rafters and how to build them, trying to figure out the dimensions they provided and how I was supposed to cut them. This wasn’t all on-site, some time was before I got there.
I drew pictures. I dredged up my geometry lessons. I recalled, sine, cosine, and tangent to calculate angles. I relied on Pythagoras. I added angles to 180.
It all just didn’t seem to come out right on paper. The most confident number I arrived at seemed to indicate that I’d only have about 1/4 inch of my rafter bearing on my wall, and the rest of the bird’s mouth would be hanging out in space.
I figured maybe I was missing something in 2d that would become apparent in 3d and just took my best shot at cutting the rafters.
I cut them. I stood them up with a spare 2×6 to simulate the ridge board. It wasn’t right. My calculations on paper were correct and the rafter was only bearing on my wall by about a 1/4 inch on each side.
I looked back over my notes and calculations and scratched my head.
Then, I called my Uncle who lives in the area and went over to their house to see if they could help me figure out what was going wrong and how to fix it.
He took my diagram/dimensions and re-drew the rafter in his CAD software (literally, his CAD software as he helped write it). We discovered that the dimension that the book provided for the distance from the ridge board to the top of the bird’s mouth, was really the distance to the bottom of the bird’s mouth.
Fortified with proper dimensions, I returned to my campsite (since it was dark) and went to sleep.
The next day, I used my new measurements to cut another pair of rafters. With high hopes, I fitted them together…
Huh? Too far apart? My first pair were to close together (bird’s mouths were too far down the rafter). This pair was too far apart (bird’s mouths were not far enough down the rafter). What’s going on here?! Then I realized, the distance I had from my Uncle for the top of the bird’s mouth was after I’d mitered the rafter to butt against the ridge board – but I just measured that distance before I did any mitering, so I need to add 2 3/4 inches (the length of the short leg of the triangle I needed to miter off). Argh.
On my third try, I got the rafters cut correctly.
This was the weekend of 7/7, 7/8 and I didn’t do much more on the workshop other than make cradles for my ridge board and start to get them set.
Last weekend (7/14, 7/15) I was able to work more effectively on the rafters since I had correct dimensions.
Look what we had delivered on Wednesday!
You don’t think this looks so great? Well, here’s the alternative…
I took some shots of our well when I was up there last weekend. It sure looks like a nice little package and I’m looking forward to running it.
It was a simple task.
Install a new mailbox at our property so that we could start receiving mail after we move up there.
I borrowed a post hole digger and a pick.
I measured the height of the other mailboxes there and decided that 39″ above ground and 18″ below ground would give me a nice base and put the mailbox at the proper height.
I measured and cut the treated 4×4.
I began to dig with the post hole digger.
The ground was hard so I broke it up a bit with the pick.
I continued to dig with the post hole digger and hit a few rocks.
I used the pick to get them out.
Post hole digger – more rocks.
I can’t work the pick in a hole that’s only 8 inches across as I go deeper.
I look over the meager tools at hand – mostly carpentry and a few electrical.
Hmm…a screwdriver…and a hammer…
In the end, I dug most of the whole with a screwdriver and my hands.
I scratched around with the screwdriver until I’d broken up the dirt, then pulled it out by the handful.
I scratched around rocks like an archaeologist trying to get enough free to pull them out.
I occasionally used some well-placed pick blows to break loose extremely recalcitrant stones.
It took me 90 minutes to dig an 18″ hole.
But, here’s the end result:
I wonder what it costs to rent an auger…
When we bought the property, there was already a well on it which saved us the cost and trouble of having one dug – especially because the well is 480 feet deep. About a week and a half ago, we had someone install a pump and pressure tank for the well. It’s a pretty neat system because there’s a controller at the tank that takes single phase power and converts it to three phase power. This three phase power is then run down the well to the pump motor. Since it’s three phase, you can use a smaller wire and it saves you some money in the installation.
Another cool thing is the pump itself. It’s a variable speed pump. When we need more water to keep the pressure up, the controller just speeds up the pump. It’s supposed to be a more economical implementation in terms of power used and easier on the pump. In addition to that, you need a much smaller tank too. Since the tank is only there to provide a little buffer for the motor, it’s only 11″ in diameter and 22″ tall. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the setup but it’s a nice little package.
We’re going to run wires up to the pump some time in the next month and build small structure around it for protection and to help keep it from freezing. The wires will let us plug in a generator down at the house site. I had planned to hook the generator up to the well at the well head and test it out, but none of the hardware stores in town carried the twist-lock plug I needed so I’ll have to do that next time I’m up.
I was up again over the weekend, continuing construction on my workshop. This installment was walls.