Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ridge Pole is Up!

We are right on schedule getting things done, it's been another great week. Thank God for the cooler weather this week. We were going to work no matter what, but rather than 100 degrees, it was only 93 with an occasional nice breeze. That definately makes a difference! We got all three RPSL's up this week. That was interesting because they stand upright. But we figured it out pretty quick. We also put up the Ridge Pole! It is a beautiful tree, and this is certainly a landmark in history for us, to be through putting up all the logs for our 1st ever log cabin. We have a few more little GSL logs to put up when we start putting in the floor, but that will come later. Even though it's our garage, it's a pretty stinkin' awesome log garage! There have been many requests of who is going to live in it once our house is built.

(Putting in the middle RPSL, a.k.a. Rachel's favorite log)

Lifting the huge ridge Pole up to the highest point on the house was extremely exciting and exhilarating. Stewart did an awesome job of shaping the tops of the RPSL's to fit the Ridge Pole. Thanks to a neat little contouring contraption. Really cool.....

(Stewart pounding rebar into the Ridge Pole)

(Another shot looking up at the Ridge Pole. It's up there!)

Once the Ridge Pole was in place, we spent the next couple of days sanding any rough spots on the logs, and pressure washing them. Pressure washing also took any gray weathered spots right off the logs.

(The walls getting pressure washed. Being wet really brings out the natural color of the wood.)

Today, our rafters, floor joists, and tongue & groove for the ceiling and floor were delivered! We are very excited! We are moving into the next phase of the building process. We went with 4x12 rough-cut pine beams for our rafters, and pine tongue & groove for the floor and ceiling. They look really good. We got 12 different stain samples to test out on the beams, and finally decided which one to use. I think it's going to look really good.
After we spot stained a beam with all the different stains, we got the guys to carry the beam over to the logs so we could look at it next to the wall. Those things are heavy! It took all 5 and they were moaning all the way there and back. But, we were able to decide better on which stain we will use, so thanks guys! I was thinking we should just get rid of the forklift and let the guys carry each beam up the wall for our rafters. They disagreed...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Walls are up!

Another awesome week, and again, pleasantly surprised by the folks who are showing up to help out. Thanks guys! We were able to get all the wall logs up this week, 8 levels total were needed. The top 2 levels took more prep work because they are the smaller logs, as well as the tops of trees, so they are more curvy and knotty. It is a puzzle figuring out where each log should go according to their shape and diameter at each end. It has to be level too. Stewart has done a fine job of putting the pieces together. Props to him! Although the prep work for the top two levels was longer, the actual size of those logs is much smaller, so our crew really got a rhythm going drilling holes, starting rebar, pounding it in with a demo-hammer, and finishing them off with a sledge hammer. Good job guys.

(Our crew for the week)

(From left: Stewart, Taylor, Derrick, Chris)

(The Look of intense concentration...)

Once the wall logs were up, we started on the girder log. Oh, the girder log... This is the log that is slid through the side of the wall and supports our floor. It ended up taking us about 8 hours to do the girder, which is crazy, but we certainly learned a few things in the process. We started out with Stewart doing all the prep work, shaving down knots that were in the way, cutting the log to exact length, cutting the butt end of the log so it has a fresh edge. Wow, it's a big one!

(Check out the size of that girder!) (Stew cutting out holes for the girder log)

Once the log was ready to go, we had to cut the holes in the walls on each side where it fits through. Tip: When putting up the walls, plan for the girder log as well. We planned for the windows, we didn't think about the girder. We dinged up a chainsaw blade hitting rebar in the logs. We also didn't cut the smaller hole quite big enough, but we had already started putting the girder thru the hole. It was a bear cutting that hole a little bigger, with the dull chainsaw blade. Tip: Go ahead a change the chainsaw blade out. It's worth it. Anyways, it's done. It fits perfectly, & looks awesome!

(The Girder doesn't look so big anymore. Check out that nice butt!)

Once the girder was in place, we began putting up our first RPSL (That's Ridge Pole Support Log). It's in place and we are ready to start grooving next week. It's really starting to look like a house.
A really cool one at that! Stay posted!

(Rachel's favorite log. Check out the grooves & grains on that thing!)

(Dirty crew shot at the end of a hard days work)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Going Up, Up, Up!

Wow! What an awesome week it has been! We are having so much fun. We were able to steadily work all week last week and were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came out to help. Thanks to all of you! We are right on our hoped for schedule and are hoping to have all the logs up by the end of this next week (as long as the weather permits). We had a torrential downpour yesterday for about 1 hour, then blue skies for the rest of the day, although now it's quite the muddy mess.

We started the week by finishing our temporary outdoor shower. It looks awesome! That cypress bark is the perfect touch. It feels like you are stepping into Hawaii.

Monday we put on the termite shield and then went to pick up our forklift. What a cool machine. It really works great for putting up the logs. We have to manuever the logs around the trees, then head to the wall to place them.
We had around 6 people just about every day to help, which was awesome. Tuesday we were able to lay the first 3 logs of the first level. The first level is the trickiest, #1 because it's a learning process, #2 because you have to set the log on the rebar for the first level, so drilling the holes in just the right spot, then setting the log on the rebar and getting it to slide down is a little tricky. But, we did it! Tip: After the second log, we finally figured out that cutting the rebar at an angle, one end of the wall being the highest, descending down to the other end of the wall the rebar being the lowest, was a major help.

(Our second log being placed)

Wednesday we got 6 and 1/2 logs up (the 1/2 being 1 log set, but not drilled and pinned)! Thursday we got about the same, and by Friday we had 5 levels up! It was such a fun week, friends, fun, food! We really had a blast.

Friday was a tough day. That was the day our demolition-hammer broke.... For all you greenies out there, that is a powerful electric hammer that pounds the rebar in. Since it broke, we had to pound the rebar into 4 logs with a sledge hammer! That was tough. I don't know if I have ever been so tired. We quit early that day and went and bought another demo-hammer.

(My handsome husband!)

(That's one awesome forklift operator)

(To the left: Our awesome crew for the week: Taylor, Keith from LHBA, Stewart, & John)

We got back at it on Sunday and had several friends come out to help. We have 1 more log to put up for level 6, and 2 more levels to put up for the wall! Thanks guys for helping us out!

(To the right: Our Sunday crew: Michael from LHBA, Pat, Jeff, Rachel, & Robin)

(Below is Jeff & Pat drilling and pounding, and Jeff standing on our Ridge Pole)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moving Right Along...

It's been a while since I last post, and we have been steadily working each week as we have the opportunity. The slab was poured for the foundation in the garage, it looks really good. We waterproofed the wall, put in a french drain, backfilled around the wall, and have been finishing the cataloging process. We first began cataloging the logs by taking their length, diameter at each end, and a description of each. For example: bowed & curvy, really straight, beautiful knots, etc. Once we finished cataloging the logs, then we began the treatment process. We decided to go with the homebrew version, because it is much less expensive than buying it already concocted. Apparently this is a U.S. Navy formulated wood treatment that is very effective. We have been in the process for the last week spraying all the logs with the treatment. We are half way through our second round of treatment for each log. We are going to do one more treatment once the logs are up. We are excited to say we are planning on beginning to put up the logs this next week. We will put up the termite shield, then go pick up the forklift we are going to use to lift the logs. If all goes according to plan, we will start lifting logs Tuesday!!! Anyone who wants to come hang out or help, come on!

You know, it's amazing how many people look at us like we are crazy, or that we have lost our minds. All they can think to say is, "you got a lot of work to do....." Really??
Yes, we have lots of work to do, lots of sweat & toil, but what an awesome accomplishment! We are going for our dreams, and plan to make our dreams happen. And Lord willing, we WILL enjoy the fruits of our labors for years & years & years to come! (And be debt free...)

Below, check out the french drain we put in. Also pictures of our logs as we catalog them, and of course Stewart making the first batch of our homebrew. Not really our homebrew, the logs homebrew... Ours will be later... :-D