So here’s the just of what’s taken place recently…
The book is finally done! I finished it last week really, but was apprehensive to say anything about it for fear that this was yet another false finish line. For the record, the end was the most painful part, and I am greatly relieved it’s over. Because the book will be printing soon (apparently it takes a month or so to setup, then a month or so to print), and I will be credited for layout and illustrations, I needed to secure a domain I could list in case someone feels like recruiting me for more of this type of work in the future. Fortunately for me, my good friend Jon is fast acting and always willing to help me out. He secured cobraconcepts.ca for me, which will soon be directly linked to my CarbonMade.com portfolio you see in the screenshot above.
On top of finishing the book and setting up my portfolio, I’ve been attending multiple job interviews, doing orientation with ManPower and even working a few days at a shitty job. One would think I was a highly motivated go-getter, but that isn’t the case. In fact, Holly is the one to thank for all the opportunities that have come my way. She’s the one who found the jobs, wrote the cover letters and did her best to keep me positive through the whole process. Although I was incredibly stressed last week, I think things are about to change.
I start a new job on Monday, which in all honesty the only thing I’m looking forward to is the paycheque. I will still do my best, and I’m going to try to stay positive, but I really just want to be swinging a hammer all day. That being said, I need to make money so I’m taking what I can get.
If it wasn’t for Holly I’d only be starting my search this week, and still stressing about not knowing when my next paycheque will come. Now, thanks to her kindness and willingness to help others (especially me), I not only have my last cheque from James coming soon who knows when, I will also have regular weekly paycheques to look forward to.
Money? Lack of Sunday night phone calls?
My progress on the book continues to be slow going, but I’m nearly finished with the layout for the bulk of the book. I have about 12 more bents images to include, then it’s just the appendixes, glossary, table of contents and index (which sounds like a lot, but since it’s mostly text and few images, the process is fairly quick and painless). James has been making less and less changes, which is great for me. The other day however, he faxed me some drawings he forgot he needed. They were all super simple, taking me about an hour in total.
The most complex of the bunch was the logo above. No, it’s not a masonic symbol, nor does it have anything at all to do with masonry. I say that because it seems any time I wear my ISBA shirt I have to explain to some mason why their logo has nearly no relevance to their organization, and why someone who uses a square and scribe (the two main components of any masonic symbol) on a daily basis, should have the right to using similar symbols for their logos. This logo shows a round log with a perfect timber inside, a square and scribe, and the all important center line(s).
The other images I had to create are for the new “Perspective” sections in the book. They were mostly images of different post and beam and bents styles. The two above are German post and beam styles. The one on the left is called Geschossbau, and from what I can tell from this image is it’s basically the balloon framing equivalent for post and beam. The one on the right is called Stockwerksbau, and is more platform style. Most of this probably isn’t interesting at all to the average blog reader, but I dig it.
There was also a few images of different bent configurations. Surprisingly I was already familiar with each design, even before I took any timber framing course. It’s the one thing I found out on my own back when I did my first research into post and beam for a project I had to do at Niagara College. Speaking of which, I just recently discovered I still have that project… perhaps I’ll post it here sometime. It’s probably on par with the excitement level of the majority of my posts about building stuff.
As mentioned previously here is my finished version of my cross-sectional view of wood at a cellular level.
If you’re saying to yourself “Shit, I thought when he said ‘realistic looking’ it was going to be awesome, this sucks.”, you’re right. However, I made the decision to stop putting effort into this at all on about the 8th day of waiting for money owed to me for this project, and didn’t just fail at it.
In fact, I have basically the entire book finished with the exception of the revised table of contents (which I plan to have done over the next few days, I’m just waiting on a printed version to come home with Holly tomorrow), and a single glossary entry. At this point though, I’m not sharing until I get paid.
I submitted hours on the 17th of September and was assured a cheque would be in the mail that afternoon. I’ve spent the last two weeks stressing and staking out the mailman. I am beginning to hate both James and the mailman. I can’t understand how it’s taken this long to get paid. Clearly they didn’t mail it when they said they would, and probably only sent it when I called flipping out the other day. Now it’s two weeks later and I deserve another cheque.
I will not be sending a finished version until I get paid in full. Not that I don’t trust him, but I’m tired of doing tons of work, getting bitched at because it’s taking too long, doing things over and over because he can’t make up his mind, and then not getting paid for work I did and probably undercut him hours on anyway.
I still haven’t gotten Holly’s wood for her shelves (although I have gotten hold of the person I needed to) because I can’t afford it now. Once my cheque gets here, it’s going to be gone right away. Tomorrow I’ll stake out the mailman again. After it’s clear whether or not my cheque is coming, I’ll head to the bank. If I have the cheque I’ll have to cash it, and convince them to not hold it. If I don’t, I’ll have to ask them to give me (for a third time) all the info Naomi needs to directly deposit into my account and try that again (fuck). Then I’ll call her, request they cancel the cheque in the mail, and make one large deposit into my account covering all my hours over the last four and a half weeks.
I try to budget and I get nowhere. I work hard and currently make the highest hourly wage I ever have, but I’m constantly fucked. Why should I work so hard for someone who makes my life so difficult?
Shawn had a great idea the other day for how I can get back at him. Instead of quickly sending him an email with a link to a .pdf of the finished book, I’m burning him a CD and mailing it a week or two after I tell him I sent it.
I believe I’ll enjoy every phone call or email I get asking why it isn’t there yet.
This is what I’m currently working on. It’s the first of several images James neglected to mention appear in the second appendix of the book. I just got them last Friday and started this that afternoon. I’ve put quite a few hours into it already, and I’m probably only about half done (if I’m lucky). It’s pretty difficult to wrap my head around how to make this look realistic, and not like it’s modeled in 3d on a computer.
The finished version won’t have all the dark colours (those are just because I was playing), and will hopefully look perfect when it’s scaled down to fit the text. It’s supposed to look like the image below, and give people an idea of what wood looks like on a cellular level.
I should be done it later tonight, but right now I’m being lazy and watching Enterprise. I was supposed to be getting wood, but it looks like I’ll have to do that another night. I’ve tried calling the person I’m supposed to meet about 30 times today, and now I’m giving up.
Once I finish all these images, there is just a few corrections to make to one drawing, then some minor layout adjustments, followed by some photo spreads and finally a revised cover. Ir’s getting closer and closer, but when I break it all down like that it sounds like a lot to do.
I’ve been calling around looking for lumber to build Holly’s shelves with, but most places here sell green hardwood. If I bought that, I’d be lucky if I could use the wood before next year. I called McQueen Custom Cuts in Welland a couple of times last week, but no one was getting back to me. I actually know the owner from Niagara College. He was one of my instructors when I took the Construction Techniques course in 2007. That course was where my interest in timber framing began. Our textbook had a brief paragraph on Post and Beam and about 3 images of typical joints used in timber framing, as well as some images showing the larger spans building with big wood allows. At the end of the year, our big presentation had to be on some building method we hadn’t done in the course but that we felt had certain advantages over typical stick (stud) framing. I chose to do my presentation on a combination of two alternative building methods: post and beam, and straw bale infill.
I spent a lot of time researching the timber frame part, since I had already done a lot of reading about straw bale. I managed to throw together a decent powerpoint presentation which my instructors were mildly impressed with, and James McQueen (my instructor) brought in pictures of his own timber framed home the next day. He showed us some photos of the raising and then the finished product which he offered to give a tour of to any of us who would like it. I think only me and possibly two other guys took him up on the offer, but I’m glad I did. After seeing his house I decided to pursue a career in timber framing.
Wednesday night, Holly had her family over for cake. Her brother needed a copy of something I had, so I spent ten or fifteen minutes flipping through spools of DVDs. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find a cd of photos from the college course they gave us on the last day (which I don’t think I’ve ever looked at before). Yesterday I got a phone call back from Mr. McQueen who said he remembered me when he heard my voice on his machine. He said it was weird that he got the message when he did, because he had just returned to the shop after doing one of his first classes of the year where they showed the cd I had just found the night before. He hadn’t thought much about me until he saw the top image an hour earlier, then came home to find me on his answering machine looking for wood. Weird.
I was supposed to go see him Monday evening, but I just remembered Holly is gone to So You Think You Can Dance that night, so I don’t think I’ll be able to leave (unless I can convince the boys to come to an after hours sawmill while I talk about things that won’t interest them in the slightest). He said he’s probably got what I need, which is a relief. Now I’m just worried about the price. I’m planning to bring my laptop so I can show him the renderings and the shop drawings. Holly’s dad has agreed to let me use his tools, so it shouldn’t take long once I have the materials. Unfortunately it won’t be ready in time for her birthday tomorrow.
Here is the kitchen me and my group made in the Habitat for Humanity house we made at Niagara College. The house was a duplex with very little room for anything. The kitchen was designed to have room for a table, but there really isn’t space for one. My group did everything in this room: framing, insulation/vapor barrier, electrical outlets, drywall, trim, cabinets. It wasn’t the best, but I doubt anything built by volunteers is.
This is half the finished product (it’s a duplex, so picture the same thing mirrored on the left), minus a lawn or driveway. I have been past the place once since completing it, and it definitely looks much better with landscaping. It’s also the newest house on the street, which in that part of town probably makes it one of the nicest. However, I remember how stupid most of the other kids in my class were, and I’m pretty sure this house will have major issues in the future if it hasn’t already.
Today I finished correcting all the text in the Post and Beam book (remember, we’re back to 3) and making it all uniform size. I finished two full days ahead of schedule, which might be the first time I’ve ever been in that position on this project. I sent James a draft to look over this afternoon, and checked to see how he was coming along with the edits to the manuscript. Since flip-flopping back to the original 3 book idea, the main thing that needs to be changed is the introduction. Other than that, the text stays fairly close to the same (or at least that’s what I’ve been told…).
I then moved on to laying out the first part of the appendix. I spent most of the evening fixing models of tools and remaking a calculator that got eaten by cyberspace singularities last week. I was going to stop there, but I kept going until I had the first page of the appendix roughed out (above). Then I emailed it to James and called him to get his opinion on the layout.
He had a brief moment of terror when he turned his computer on and saw that his email inbox had 4o11 new messages from someone named Facebook. A minute or two, and a bunch of confusion later he figured out he was signed into his teenage son’s account and he managed to calm down a bit. A minute or two after that he figured out how to sign in, and we were in business. He said the layout looked great, and to carry on with what I was doing. I told him I was packing it in for the night, but that I would be back at it first thing tomorrow.
An hour after that I finally walked away from the computer (no, not this one) having completed the rest of the text layout for the entire first section of the appendix. Tomorrow I have to model a new electric hoist, and block and tackle (fuck you cyberspace!) before I can finish the next part of the appendix. Hopefully they are both easier the second time, because I just realized I also have to redo these. Fuck.
We went to see Jon on the weekend, hoping he’d be able to rescue some of my lost data on my laptop, and so Holly could go to her favourite Mexican restaurant. We were there until almost 3am and had no luck at all trying to find any of my files, or repairing the file system. So now I have officially lost about 30-45 hours of work for James, about 30 gigs of photos/videos of Holly and I, about 400 hours of personal work, 2 complete sets of questions for Dallas and Roan, and who knows what else (I’m sure plenty more, but I can’t be certain because I don’t even remember all of what was there.
Even though it wasn’t good news to find out, I’m still glad I know that it’s gone. I have had a rough couple weeks now, and I need to sort my life out. When I thought there was still hope to save some of that data I was avoiding redoing the work and carrying on with other important things. Now that I know better what I have to do (work-wise) in order to get back on track I can start moving on.
As for my financial stress, it hasn’t been even remotely alleviated. Last week I applied for social assistance, got home, got a phone call from James assuring me he was depositing money in my account, called and cancelled my welfare claim, and rejoiced slightly. That was last Friday. As of this moment there is still $5.07 in my bank account. I’m doing my best not to stress, but I’m about ready to give up. I can’t seem to get ahead of the game at all, no matter how hard I work.
So, as it stands now, I’m currently continuing to work on the book (possibly for free it seems) and actively seeking a job in Timber Framing. I most likely won’t be attending Disney with Holly and the boys in November (mainly because of money, but also because I spoke with some Ontario TFG members who said they’d have a booth setup at the Royal Winter Fair, which takes place the week we’re supposed to be at Disney.
James has told me to go easy on the number of hours I devote to the book (or should I say BOOKS, as he’s once again changed his mind and decided to go back to the original plan of 3 separate books – makes perfect sense considering how close we are to finishing the project as one book), so I’m taking that as more incentive to seek out the job I really want when I’m not working on the book(s) (which could be pretty often if that fucking money doesn’t show up soon).
I’m trying my best to stay positive through all this, but with a lack of money comes a lack of pot, and therefore a lack of patient, calm cobras. Thanks to everyone who has helped me out over the last week, and an extra big thanks to Holly for not only helping and providing for me, but also enduring my insanity (something no one but me should ever have to cope with).
It’s been a while since I posted anything regarding the progress of the book (not to mention a while since I posted much of anything – I’m a slacker), which I’m still working on daily. Just yesterday I received my latest revised edition of the manuscript in the mail, and now it’s a matter of editing pretty much the entire book (images and text). I’ve already finished editing the first half of the book – the Timber Post and Beam section – but didn’t bother with any of the images. I’ll finish the second half of the text – the Timber Bents section – by Monday hopefully, then I’ll start redoing basically every image from scratch.
I’m hoping it won’t take too long because, although I love that I have a job, I want this job to be over. I have been working on my lesson plan and handouts for the course James is interested in having me teach at the ISBA, and it makes me want to be out there teaching, and learning more. I think I might post a tutorial on here when I finish it, in case any of my cobra colleagues have constructive cobra criticism for me.
Along with my revised manuscript, I also received a new version of the appendix and glossary via fax. When I scanned through the appendix I noticed James had included some tools he neglected to mention to me when he originally assigned me the appendix drawings. I immediately started working on them because I love modeling, even though I’m sure he’d rather I focus on correcting the text and images already in the book. Above are a few of the smaller things I needed to model (I left out the really small ones, as well as the really big ones). Later I’ll post some pictures of a neat model I made of a sight-level, but at the moment it’s rendering.
There are still a few models I need to make (an electric hoist, and some clamps) but they are ones I might leave for now. I might also just get some models out of the 3d warehouse and modify them accordingly, but that all depends on how much time I have I guess. I prefer to model everything myself, but occasionally I can’t be bothered to spare the brain-power or the time.
I haven’t been updating much recently mainly because it’s too goddamn hot upstairs to sit with the laptop on me, and also because I’m mega-lazy. I suppose I could start writing blog entries from my desktop machine, but that means sitting in a leather chair which makes me almost as hot as the laptop. Plus, I enjoy writing while relaxing and not while I’m sitting at the desk I work all day from. I have made several attempts at updating but I seem to either lose interest or start to get tired and just pack it in. Then I forget what I was going to say and another update free day goes by.
This morning I’ve moved my laptop into the basement where it’s nice and cool, and there’s a t.v. to keep me background entertained. So here goes another attempt!
I have finally finished the drawings for James’ residence (I think, but I’m sure that will all change soon once he has a really close look at it), and he’s sent them off to his engineer. Above is the new floor plan, complete with the enormous deck James forgot to mention until the day he expected the drawings to be on his desk. It was quite a lot of work, and nothing was easy. I also had to use 3 different programs to create it because his engineer refuses to look at any image that isn’t in .pdf format, and because Sketchup has some annoying idiosyncrasies when dimensioning in 2D which force me to touch up every thing in Photoshop or GIMP afterward.
Regardless of how annoying the work was, this house is going to be pretty amazing. I still think it looks like the Flux Capacitor, and I’m considering asking James to put blue strip lighting along all the roof ridges.
In total there was about 15 images which make up the blueprints for his house. I figure the above one is the least technical looking (therefore probably the most interesting to people who don’t care about building). If you’re interested in seeing a slighlty larger version just click the image.
The other day I got excited when I saw an envelope sticking out of the mailbox on my way back from walking over to get a coffee. I have been expecting a package for a few days from my friend Ryan. I had lent him my PS3 headset while our PS3 was broken, then after repeatedly forgetting to grab it from him while in Toronto, he offered to mail it to me at Holly’s. I was really looking forward to killing some zombies with Jeff and not having to hold the phone at the same time, but I was mistaken – it was an envelope from the Timber Framer’s Guild. Equally exciting, but for different reasons.
I had spoken with the guild administrator a short time ago and then forgot I was now going to be receiving regular guild publications. When I saw what it was, I was thrilled to have a reason to sit outside and read in the sun. I opened it up and was pleased to see the two latest issues of Timber Framing and Scantlings, as well as this nice little note from someone important at the guild.
I look forward to reading all the stuff I’ve missed, and I hope once I have money I can check out some of the guild conferences. Or maybe James will spring for me to attend and promote the book and school!