Friday night, after we finished erecting our log house, we all went home and got cleaned up, then went back to James’ house for dinner and a tour. Naomi made focaccia bread, lasagna, caesar salad, and a couple apple rhubarb pies. It was the first home cooked meal I’d had in a while, and I ate more than I ever thought I could. I also surprised myself and drank 3 glasses of wine. It wasn’t very good, but it was free.
James’ house was amazing. We got the full tour, and it gave me a million ideas for a home I’d like to build. I asked James if he’d mind me bringing Holly to show her the house, so she can see what I like about it, and I can see what her reaction is to it. Hopefully she loves it, and then tells me to build her one.
After the tour, we all sat and listened while James said some nice words about us as a group, and then he said a little something about each person individually as he handed out the course completion certificates. Out of all 9 of us who were there, I was the only guy who didn’t get any sort of ovation. Everyone else got clapping, and nice comments (even the Croatian who made everyone’s life a little harder the whole month, and who wasn’t even there because he left earlier in the day). I got nothing, but that’s ok. I get to be James’ personal draftsman while I’m here, and that makes me proud, even if it doesn’t earn me any cheers from the others.
After dinner, we all gathered around the new pool table James bought for the student residence, and watched as he cleaned house. After winning a half dozen games in a row, he passed his cue to Alex, and then just disappeared. I attempted to play my first game of pool in years (we had a table for years when I was a kid, and I was actually fairly decent at pool once) against Ryan, and lost by scratching on the 8-ball. Shortly after that I took everyone out to smoke a joint and then we all headed home.
My plan for Saturday was to get to Nanaimo to meet Dave, then come hang out in Victoria with him for a few days. After a whole lot of confusion and a couple missed ferries by each of us, we finally got to Victoria late Saturday night. We went to see the latest person Dave’s sister is living with, that he wants to kill (seems like there’s always at least one), and pick up Honey. Then I got some Sarpino’s!!!Â I love their pizza, and I love the old Italian people who run that place.
So now the plan is to move Dave back to the mainland on Wednesday or Thursday. Until then, he and I both have a shit load of work to get done. I need to finish these first two sections of James’ book, and then the patent application drawings for the jig I’m helping them design, and Dave has a ton of aerial photographs he has to interpret before he goes out in the field next month.
It should be a good time, but all I’m really looking forward to right now, is getting to hang out with Holly all next week. Come on Saturday!
Friday morning we began putting together all the pieces we made for our log building. Everything except one piece (which had to be remade completely) was test fit, and ready to go. We used the crane to stack the first set of infill logs because, the logs are so heavy, lifting the top courses is pretty difficult. Then we placed the top plates (gable and sidewall) with almost no effort. The corner looked nice, and took us about 35 minutes to erect.
This is what a modular log building corner looks like. It’s interesting to me that it took us four weeks to build all the components for this building, and that the corners (which seem like such a small portion of the structure) took all four weeks to make. We started on week one, day one, and finished only the day before assembly. It’s only fourteen logs, but they are a ton of work to get perfect.
Before we could stack the next infill wall, James decided he better sharpen the tongs on the log carrier for the crane, before a log slipped out, and someone got hurt. We carried on as far as we could without the crane, then after two whole minutes of waiting, we decided we could muscle the logs up there if we set up some saw horses with planking, and had four guys per log when lifting.
We managed to get the next corner, the infill wall, and the following corner assembled before James got finished grinding the tongs. Luckily he finished just as we were starting to try and figure out how to lift the gable and sidewall plates by hand, so we didn’t have to. He lifted the plates, and once they were in place, we left for an hour lunch.
We got back from lunch, and James was busy with some engineer or something. Since none of us are ticketed crane operators, we decided again, after about two minutes, to carry on without it. We moved our saw horses, and started stacking logs again. We got all the rest of the building assembled before James returned, andÂ then we got him to lift the last top plates into place.
This back half-lap joint was the only joint to give us any issue as far as fitting went. It was just a matter of wiggling things around to get the right amount of play, where we needed it. Once we got it in the right position, it finally just slipped into place nicely.
The last piece was ready to go on shortly after 3:00. We had been moving so fast that we almost forgot the final piece to every frame we build – the fir branch. We always nail aÂ branch of fir to the end of the ridge beam, to thank nature for the wood we built it with. Vince went and found one quick (there is no shortage of them) and I hammered it on. James hoisted it up, and with a few whacks of the beatle from Zack, it dropped right onto the king post tenons.
Here’s the finished product, and all the builders involved. I dig this design, regardless of it’s size. Since it’s made the way it is, it can be literally spread apart in just about any direction and added to. I could literally build this place myself in two months – possibly even shorter if I have a jig like the one James is designing.
I’ve posted all kinds of photos on my Flickr feed (finally using it after having it for 6 months!), and I intend to post more later. I also took a few videos, but I’m not sure if I will get to posting them.
Today was pretty much a wasted day for me. I did very little work, and then sat around killing time for the rest of the day. I originally thought we’d have at least half the building up today, but by 5 o’clock we had only one corner section assembled and ready to go. Most of the day was spent waiting for the other groups to catch up, and finish their part of our corner section. Dave and I helped James move the last log building the previous years course had made, then I pretty much sat around until lunch.
The highlight of the day was Silvio getting told off by Dave, and then storming away (this is made all that much better by the fact that Silvio has to get a ride home from Dave every day, so he flips out and storms away saying “I’m fucking out of here!”, and then goes to the classroom and waits for 3 hours for Dave to take him home). I can’t imagine how fun that car ride across the island was.
The most productive part of my day was when I got to see my friend Peter. Unfortunately, when I got back from seeing him, I discovered that David was having a board meeting in his living room, so I was sort of unable to make dinner or shower. I talked to Holly for a bit, then Don showed up here asking me to fix his spread sheet for James. He had been working on it for hours he said and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. He had ONE cell that he somehow aligned the text to the vertical axis. It took me 3 clicks to fix it. He was both happy, and pissed at the same time.
Earlier in the day I had to explain what Ï€ was to Don. He was trying to figure out the area of the end of a log. He said, “How do you figure out the area for the end?”, I replied, “Ï€ rÂ²”. Don’s response was an incredibly confused “what the fuck did you just say?”. I repeated myself, and he said “what are you talking about, pie?”. I then went on to explain that Ï€ is the circumference of a circle divided by it’s diameter, and that as far as we know it Ï€ is infinite. At this point he was completely lost. After about 20 minutes of examples, he remembered it (I think), and carried on without me.
After Don left David’s, I used his intrusion as an excuse to go make dinner and in doing so I missed my chance to talk to Holly before bed. I passed out at my computer, woke up about 2 hours ago (1:30am) incredibly thirsty and spilled juice all over me and my room. Now we’re both all sticky, and I can’t sleep.
Hopefully the building goes up well, and by noon so we can fuck off over to Ike’s place to have a tour of it.
The top photo is a shot of all the logs it’s taken to build this house. The bottom one is the corners for the house. We make them all together first, then cut them into quadrants to make 4 separate corner sections. Mine and Dave’s is the one closest to the camera.
I met this pretty lady in the woods near James’ new property, early yesterday morning. She was really friendly, and let me give her face and butt some pets, but didn’t stick around long. Just long enough for me to get some pictures and think about how badly I miss all my cats. The worst part about seeing her was she reminds me of Chief, and every time I’ve been to my ex-girlfriend’s house since being asked to leave, she has been too scared to come see me. So then I’m forced to go pet her through the spacing in the floor joists (she hides in the basement ceiling), and can only just barely touch her fur.
I miss the softness of my kitties. I miss picking them up and kissing them on the head. I miss carrying them like they’re a baby and tormenting them. I miss flicking milk tabs for Captain, and Ensign dragging her feather. I want Fatty to tell me to feed her, and Chief to just talk about nothing for no reason. I want to wake up with all of them pestering me to get up and play already. I even miss Sophie and her peeing everywhere. I wish I could have them all…
Only nine days left before Holly gets here, and we get to hug each other to death. I can’t wait to fall asleep holding her, and wake up next to her. I also booked us a kayak tour that I’m pretty excited about. Come on week, go by faster!
When I got to school this morning I had to quickly do a drawing on Sketchup, for this guy James has laying out the foundation for the hammer bent frame. It was really frustrating at first, because the guy was having a real hard time understanding my drawing for some reason. Eventually we got on the same page and I managed to make his day easier by giving him a drawing to refer to, instead of just what James has in his head.
When I went to print the drawing for him I talked to Naomi for a moment, and she showed me the invitations she’d been working on all morning. They were for a party we’re all invited to on Friday after school. I want to go, but I might be going to Victoria that day to hang out with Dave. Either way I will have a good time.
After getting the drawing printed and given to the dude who needed it (Ian), I headed down to the shop to work on mine and Dave’s corner post. Yesterday, 3 groups were forced to find things to do while they waitied for us to catch up. This morning, while I was messing around with drawings that have fuck all to do with log buildings, Dave went ahead and scribed our post without me. He was supposed to find the widest gap and subtract 1″ from that, before making his scribe. He didn’t subtract anything, and it ended up making a really nice “roughÂ notch”. Since we hadn’t trimmed our post to length, we were able to do another small scribe and have a really nice finish notch (which I’m proud to say I scribed and cut).
This is Dave’s rough notch. It was almost good enough to be our final scribe, but there is that small gap at the top of the notch, so we decided to take it down another quarter inch, and see if that closed up the gap.
This is how my scribe and cutting turned out. There is a couple little gaps, but that’s okay, because with the logs being in compression constantly, they will have no choice but the settle and close the gaps.
This is the opposite side of the photo above. It turned out really nice I think.
This is the post mounted onto the first course of logs (Dave and I also made the log our post sits on), and looking fucking great! At this point we became so much further ahead than everyone else. We managed to be the first group done our post (and done it well I in my opinion!), so we moved on to cutting it to length, then adding a tenon at the top.
At this point I has to go work on another drawing for James, so I left Dave to do the layout, and he went ahead and cut the tenon to rough dimensions. I came back just in time to do all the chisel work (that’s really my favourite part of all this), which took me all of 15 minutes.
Here is the end product. The shoulder is a little messed up because Dave’s cuts just barely didn’t line up, but we will touch it up a bit today, and you’ll never even see it.
And here’s the end I cut. It was pretty easy to do, but had I been left without direction, I’d have never gotten it this nice, as easily as I did. In case you are wondering, the hole is for a wooden dowel that anchors the post to the corner. It’s sort of like a tenon, but it makes creating the corner post so much easier.
After school I went to see Jan. Jan is the guy building James’ infill wall jig. I had showed him sketchup last week, and he’s been wanting me to do a bunch of drawings for him since. I agreed Monday night, to go see him after school yesterday (mostly because I wanted to see his shop), and I ended up hanging out there for over 3 hours. We had a good time, got a ton of things figured out for the jig (which I now have to build in Sketchup), then we smoked some huge joints, and Jan went off on Bible talk. He did this the other night, and it caught me way off guard. I asked James about it, since they’re old friends, and he told me Jan gets worse the more he drinks, and lately it’s become really bad. I didn’t mind. He’s churchy, but not preachy. I can tolerate that – I think.
That’s Bob, his son Mike, and yours truly, standing with our top plates connected and looking good. I think I look very large in this photo, but I’m guessing it’s because I’m closer to the camera than the others.
I’m so fucking busy right now it’s insane. Here is a list of things that are responsible for me not updating in the last few days:
-Illustrating James’ book
-Learning to build log homes
-Teaching Sketchup to a couple guys from school
-Drawings for an engineer in order to secure permits to build a house that’s already being built (sort of)
-Drawings for a patent application for a jig James and another dude designed
-Teaching myself how to animate so I can better illustrate how things work on that jig
-Developing a course outline and lesson plan for when (if) I start teaching Sketchup, either in the fall or next year
-Trying to cope with the lack of money and marijuana in my life at the moment.
-Missing the pants off of Holly
Friday afternoon flew by. After lunch, Dave and I scribed our log (it’s the top one that doesn’t have a t-shirt on it), then scored and cut it. That took us until about 4:15, at which point we decided to become what Dave refers to as “Canine Fornicators”. We dicked around for the next half hour then tidied up a little early. James asked me to stay behind so he could show me what he needed me to draw as soon as possible so that he can get an engineer to approve it and file for permits. The reason he needs it so fast, is because he’s already got the forms in place and today the supports for the rebar grid went into place. I’m not certain, but I think you’re supposed to file for the permits first. Either way, as long as I get paid for my work, I guessÂ I don’t care.
I came home and intended on chatting with Holly, eating dinner, then watching CWH, then doing the drawing for James. I talked to Holly, almost fell asleep a few times, then I went to bed and was out cold practically right away.
Now I feel like doing the same thing since I seem to be having problems seeing straight.
Here is the drawing I did for James.
That’s mine and Dave’s gable plate up there, fitting nicely into the half lap joint on the sidewall plate Bob and his son Mike made. First thing we did this morning was test fit those so we can now taper the larger sidewall plate down to fit snugly with the rounded part of the gable. I was really pleased that it fit so well on the first attempt, without any adjustments at all.
After we scribed out what adjustments need to be made to the round bits, we helped Ryan try and make sense of the log Silvio (his partner) started yesterday. Just last night I was telling a beautiful lady about how much he gets on my nerves, and how he insists on doing everything the way he thinks it should be done, rather than how we were just taught to do it. Silvio left this morning after James taught his lesson, but not before stinking up the entire classroom with his nasty Croation morning crap. Him leaving will do wonders for our progress on the building – you’ll see what I mean in the pictures below. Hopefully he doesn’t come back next week at all.
Notice that the face is not flat at all. Everyone else’s is perfect because, we all did ours the way James showed us. Silvio insisted he could save time and effort by cutting a different way. This is the result.
Nothing on this joint is right. After I snapped these photos, Ryan took a chainsaw to this abomination and turned it into the two king posts we need to make yet. Then he placed it on top of one of the buildings down where we are working.
The last couple of days I’ve been getting robbed of my Holly time. Because of the time difference we usually only get to chat for about 20 minutes in the morning on msn, and maybe an hour in the evening on skype. The last few days though we have been getting even less than that. She’s been busy socializing and being a mom as well as a professional, and I’ve had my nights eaten up by trying to teach Don and Zack how to use Skethcup. It’s been going well, but hopefully last night was the last night of late evening skethcup class for a little bit. While I don’t mind teaching them I also have my own work to do. It’s not possible to do my stuff while helping them, so I have to wait until they leave. Not a huge problem, but I feel like I need to start getting more sleep – probably due to the fact that I’m working really hard all day, every day, in the sun, with little water, then biking to and from school ontop of that. I keep falling asleep at my computer and waking up in the middle of the night to close it. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I sit awkwardly in bed, and it’s starting to kill my back.
With no spare time to do my work, I’m forced to try and do it while James is speaking to the class in the morning. Right now my priorities are as follows: layout the triple hammer bent (frame, foundation, and fireplaces), finish my log course notes, finish James’ book, and then, finish modeling a jig James and a friend designed to make log building simple enough that one person could do it with little room for error.Â I spent the entire hour we were in class yesterday working on two drawings. The top one is cool. It’s the jig. I made that drawing in less than 5 minutes. It’s simple looking, but some of the things I did to make it, would have taken me hours to figure out a few months ago.
The other drawing is just a foundation and footing drawing for the triple bent. That building is kind of annoying from my point of view, but it will be a nice place when it’s finished. And I will hopefully get to be involved in erecting it, so that will make up for any annoyance I’ve encountered so far, I’m sure.