Wood and Stone

A site to track our progress as we build our FirstDay Cottage Canadian house kit. Come on in, get a cup of coffee, set a spell and follow along on our journey or join in if you like. Check back for the weekly update (usually by Wednesday when things are going right) to see what we are currently up to!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All decked out

Witha couple of nights work, we finished the other half of the deck without much issue. Unfortunately, it took about twice as long as I expected (of course) and it's one of those tasks that doesn't show much difference once a tarp is over it. Onward to the loft bents this coming weekend!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Not playing with a full deck

True to form, my prediction on finishing the deck for the loft was short. The beginning of the day was spent fiddling with measuring and cutting the boards to go between the temporary posts and after nailing them down, measuring and notching the next piece of flooring. This fiddley part takes lots of time to figure out, and once you know what you are doing it can be time consumimg. I used a folding ruler to transfer the dimensions of the temporary posts and a hand saw and chisel to cut them.

When we were decking in earnest things moved slowly, but by the end of the day we had about half the deck done. Wendy thinks its because we didn't have a third person (ala Jay) dedicated to laying decking while I fiddled and Wendy selected and put up boards. Indeed, it seemed to go faster that weekend on the first floor deck.

Decking the second floor loft
We'll have to finish up during the week since my parents, sister and brother-in-law are coming next weekend to help out and I would like to have them help raise the next level of bents.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

So hot, those little guys in the orange robes burst into flames

It was that hot, you know what I'm talking about.
~ Good Morning Vietnam (Robin Williams)

It was brutal - so hot that while standing under the loft (which had a tarp for a roof, but open on the sides) folding cardbord sleeves for posts, I had sweat pouring off me.

But we did work somehow. We plumbed the bents and secured them with strapping, so that we can start the deck tomorrow. At the pinnacle of the heat, we took a break to go for a swim at the park. Despite being some insane temperature on the beach, the water was quite chilly. I guess the week of fall we had last week cooled off the lake already. Anyway, the swim was bracing and cooled us down to thinking temperature again. Afer that we got back to it for a bit until calling it a day.

Wendy and Grandma Lana continued to paint the underside of the decking boards all last week, and Wendy finished up the last few boards today while I put in the temporary posts.

Tomorrow, we deck!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I ain't broke (but I'm badly bent).

This morning we got up, shook off the Sunday ache (the feeling of the prior day's hard work) and got to it. Only four bents to go! We recruited Grandpa Tom to help us with the bents today. The instructions suggest having four people to raise bents if possible, but we figured we could do it with three.

The morning was spent cutting the pieces for all of the bents. After some lunch we assembled the bents and put them into place one by one. It worked out well with three people, though four would certianly have made it simpler (from yesterday's experience). For the next round, we will have to make sure to have helpers on hand. We finished up and were on our way to pick up the kids by 6:30pm.

Seven bents all in a row
Next, we have to plumb and secure the bents with strapping, and finish the paint job so we can do the decking next weekend and get the next set of bents started! Things seem to really be moving now. And just for fun, here's the picture Quinn and Emmet will show their kids one day.

Old timey building picture

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Get bent!

Fall arrived in August today - it was in the low 50's for most of the morning and windy as heck. By the midafternoon it warmed up enough that we could remove out sweatshirts and fleeces while in the sun, on the deck.

We started fresh with assembling the first bent this morning. Shortly, it became evident that things were not fitting as we thought they should. A couple of the interior 2x6es were too long for the spots they should fit in (they sandwich the knee brace inside the post).

About this time, Mimi and Pop showed up. They had just gotten back from vacationing at the Jersey shore and decided to come up and help out for the day. We put Mimi to work painting the bottom side of the decking for the loft with flat white ceiling paint. We visited an 18 foot Original FirstDay where the owner had painted the bottom of the decking white before installing it. We thought it gave a really nice sense of space to have the ceiling between the beams reflecting light, and easier to do by far before the deck is laid.

Mimi painting the underside of the decking
Meanwhile, Wendy cut decking for Mimi and Pop and I looked into our latest Scooby Doo Mystery. Once we determine the correct length, we cut the pieces we had down to size and nailed together our first bent! We got Wendy and Mimi up on the deck to help raise it, and with them guiding the legs down and Pop and I lifting from the upper corners, it went up pretty easily. Getting the post legs into the nicely cut holes in the deck was another story, but we managed it just fine.

The unposed action shot
We cut pieces for two more bents and got them up and braced in place by the end of the day.

Since the kids were passed out at Grandma Lana's house after a big family celebration type party, we went to dinner with Mimi and Pop before calling it a night. Tomorrow we need to raise the remaining four bents and see if we can get them into shape to start the decking.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hit the Deck

We finished the end of the first deck this weekend, and I can't say as I miss working on it yet. The end of the deck gets difficult as you run out of beam to use the bowrench on, and so you have to make sure you have chose good straqight boards that magically fit right with the boards you have. Saturday we finished up to where the last two end boards fit, then Sunday morning we finished up the last boards.

Once the deck was finished, we started cutting the boards for the first bent. 15 individual pieces go into each bent and nine of them have 45 degree angles on one or both ends. It took us a while to cut them all, and by time we finished it was getting late, so we wrapped it up and we will fit the first bent together later in the week.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Deckathon 2007 in full swing!

I recall someone saying, "Decking is forever". I can appreciate that statement now. The days blur together and the decking continues plodding along its way.

Jason (the Hammer) going to town on the decking.
My friend, Jason ("The Hammer"), came up to help out for the weekend. We started at the second set of temporary posts on Saturday morning (Quinn and I had set them up on Thursday night in preparation). Once we finished fiddling around with trimming boards and getting them all secured around the posts, we were able to really start.

We decked right up to the next set of temporary posts before we had to stop for the night, thanks to Jason continuing on decking by himself while Wendy and I cleaned up. Jay was pretty well worn out, which was an interesting development, as Wendy and I were tired, but not too wiped. This must mean that we have increased our stamina in the time we have been working on the house. We got Jay some dinner, a shower and a bed to fall on at Grandma Lana's and went home ourselves.

Sean rests for a moment after stopping decking for the day.
On Sunday we met Jason and went back to work. We were glad to hear that he didn't feel as sore as he thought he might and in celebration, we put him right back on decking duty. We fiddled with the next set of spacer posts until afternoon, at which point Jay needed to get going home. Wendy and I continued on until mid-afternoon, when the entire deck was in full sun. At that point, we took a ride over to the state park to swim for an hour or so until the shade was back on the deck. We finished up for the day a little earlier than we expected, but it took us longer to get everything covered, since we had taken the covering tarps off of everything to air out and we had about 28 feet of deck to cover. Hopefully we will get up there to finish the deck during the week and be able to start building the loft bents next weekend.