Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don't It, v.2

This message is to my bro in the Way Far North... this North Country's callin' you back.

Think about it. You ain't gettin' any younger either.

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don't It?

Here's part of the reason that I'm not done with the house yet.

I don't get enough of these moments but I'm making up for that lost summer of '05 when I was away almost every day rebuilding camp in the Adirondacks with my brothers.

I took the kids up Tongue Mountain on Lake George and then to Ft. Ti and camp for two days over a spectacular Columbus day weekend.

What have I learned this month? I pledge that at age 50 I will stop building structures for the taxman to salivate about (like the hot dog on the stick) and focus on spending more time doing this and building furniture in the shop.

Friday, November 28, 2008

3x longer than your worst nightmare

Have not written in a while. Mainly because not much happened.

I worked on my posts all winter and that gave me pleasure. Most did not twist, but some did. Best to work when they are green right off the mill, but when you are doing it solo the old fashioned way, you don't have time on your side.

Mike showed up on the scene in April and helped me extend and convert the 4 bay pole structure down by the furnace into a finished two stall horse paddock and barn. Several thousand dollars later it was done and Laura brought her horses home.

Then school started again and that was all she wrote. The mega treehouse still is not done but it's still stable, up in the trees.

Mike worked through the beginning of October. He's setting a post with a buddy of his on the second story and that's about what it looks like now. Yesterday was Thanksgiving.

He got ready to set another post and cut a hole in the soffit and began another job. Six weeks later snow's about to fall but at least the chipmunks have a cozy place to move into. I ain't too worried about it. Laura's beginning "year eight" without a real home of her own but she's happy about the horse barn job. I gotta milk that for all it's worth.

Mike's a hard worker and will be here when he gets here. Won't be able to afford to send the kids to college now anyway, so if they don't get their own rooms until they are seniors in high school, no big deal...

What have I learned in the past year? I ain't getting any younger or faster.

The "it will take 3x longer than your worst nightmare" estimate still applies even when you bring on a guy who knows what he is doing, especially if you' re working with rough cut lumber and timber framing.

But then again, this ain't no McMansion. Just hope I have time to kick back and enjoy it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Horses and Time

I have not written in a while. Hasn't been because I'm not busy.

Started Laura's horse paddock on St. Patrick's Day. Mike H., who helped me build the original workshop, came on board in April. I did not intend to spend the $ on labor but I will never get all my projects done without some help. Time is more valuable than money.

What have I learned today? I should start a new web log on building a horse paddock-with all the mistakes I've made and stuff I've learned.

Also that retarded horses are more work.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

In the shop.

We are about halfway through the winter. I've moved several timbers inside to the woodworking shop and am fashioning them into posts, which I then number and return to the elements outside. Hopefully I'll be good to go when the warmer weather returns. I'm not about to kill myself now on snow and ice covered scaffolding and ladders. I have enough inside work to do.

I made a jig out of scrap to help lay out the cuts evenly and quickly. I also made a try square as a guide for the circular saw cuts and it too has served me well.

My primary tools for cutting the posts are the 6" Porter Cable SawBoss circular saw. I use this to score the lines before chiseling them out. It has a port for a dustbag and inside that is a necessity. My two Jet 3 Speed Air Filtration dust collectors, suspended from the ceiling, help too.
Next would be the Robert Sorby 1 1/2" heavy duty firmer chisel. I use this with the "Wood is Good" 3 1/2" diameter head, 30 oz mallet to rough out the waste for lap joints or mortises. After that, the Robert Sorby 2 3/8" Slick is one hefty tool to finish the cut. Slicks were used by shipwrights and timber framers in the days of olde. They are not cheap but I have never used a tool that is this solid and as fun to use. It's a real monster and you can work up a sweat using one. Finally, one of the most important tools I have is the Silky Master 330 Large Teeth saw, a Japanese saw that I use for finish cuts and ripsawing.
It is fast and accurate and utterly amazing.

The posts I'm working on are either 10 or 12 feet long hemlock, 6X8", cut this summer and therefore still pretty green in the center and heavy. I like the bitter smell of the hemlock as I work it, but it splinters easily so I have to wear gloves when I manhandle them. I'm chamfering the edges with a Porter-Cable 691 13/4 HP D-Handle Base Router that I can use with one hand while I hold a 4" dust collection hose with the other as I glide down the edges. I now have 5 or 6 routers and I don't know how I did without this one! As soon as I finish one post, I move it back outside. The longer they stay in the dry indoors, the more likely they are to twist before they are installed.

Observation: My new Powermatic table saw is also a $2500 workbench that can support these heavy timbers!