Monday, December 30, 2013

First 48

Have the first 48 logs pealed, racked and ready to go...

Now it is on to the second pile. Minus 10 today so I will probably spend a lot of time in by the fire today, "thinking" about the new cabin plan.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Log "family" grows

Going from a pile of giant pickup sticks to a nice neat rack of logs can be a bit of a job, but made easier if  looked at as a labor of love. In the process you get to see each log up close and personal. As you saw off each branch node and then pry off the bark what was before just a log in a pile sort of becomes "family" if you know what I mean.

And so it goes. With 30 some logs now in the "family" and 10 to go the first pile is almost done. A second pile of another 40 logs can be seen at the top of the picture.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Looks like serious fun

Well I have thrown caution to the wind again and secured logs for the building of another cabin.

Not much to look at now but when I get them racked up and pealed these two piles of pine logs should make a fine cabin and provide me with many hours of serious fun this winter!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shooting range right on target

Got the post holes dug yesterday for the shooting range table just before the frost set in. This set up allowed me to place the target rewind wheel so that when shooting you can bring the target back to you without leaving your shooting spot. Very nice.

I also hinged the table surface so that it can be dropped down when not in use.  By pulling a pin in the front post from under the center support arm the table swings down. This will prevent snow and ice from sitting and freezing to the top surface.

Ready, aim, fire!     Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 15, 2013

The bullet stops here

Now that the steel house roof is done I can get to work on some of the "fun projects" that had to be put off.

A new shooting range back stop. Made from used railroad ties. This is a nice improvement over the log wall backstop that I had before.

The design is simple but very strong with deeply cut notches forming the joints between the three ties that make up each side.

The steel bullet trap on the left will be used for paper target shooting. I plan to design and built a target pulley and cable system here so that paper targets can be reeled back and forth.  The right side will be for self-setting steel targets and glass bottles! Will be putting some leftover roof steel below and use the plastic barrel to collect the broken pieces. Just a few more ties needed to bring the back stop to full height.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

V for victory!

Well just beat the weather on my roof project and should not have to mess with the roof ever again! Looks good and now should be able to get on with some "fun" projects.

Although steel and trim for this project (not counting the front section of the roof in the middle picture above done last year) ran around $3000 considering the cost for 20 squares of shingles, a dumpster and the labor involved in removing the old shingles I think this was a pretty good deal.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Caution slippery when wet!

One thing is for sure, when it is raining or even there is dew on the grass you can put any thoughts about working on a steel roof out of your mind. They are really, really slippery!

Because of the difference in pitch angles of the two roof sections this time I thought it best to use a transition piece between them.

This was a good idea and made a good aesthetic break and seam between them. Replacing the board and bat siding on the knee wall was the worst part of this job. The steel roofing is very slippery and made it a challenge to say the least.

Just one more "bad boy" section to go and then this little project will be done.  Hopefully I will be able to flash around the solar hot water pipes with some split boots and not have to disconnect them. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Deck project done

With the railings on the Hodan Shades of Silver deck is ready for use. Good project for a good cause.

Finished the small garage roof as well. Now it is on to the other half of the main house and that should wrap up projects around the house for this year.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Covered Bridge approach work

Drove by the South Wayne Community bridge project this week and happy to report that they are moving long on finishing up the approaches to the bridge we built in summer of 2011. Two years in the making but looks like they are doing an excellent job. This bridge will connect the local school (in the background) to the community park for a nice walking trail and access to the park. Should be a good tourist attraction also.

Made some progress on the steel roofing project this past week while waiting for the Hodan deck railing to arrive. It took some time and work to get it all stripped and leveled up. I was surprised to see just how much sag there was in this old roof and shimming I had to do to get it flat.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

With a little help from my friends...

Like the song goes, "With a little help from my friends", I am closing in on the final steps to finish the Hodan deck project. Four weeks since the 6x6 posts went in. Today went very well and the deck material has been applied.

Post sleeves on and the deck is clear ready for the railings and a new learning experience.

This turned out to be one massive structure but will hold up under any "party load" the clients want put on it.

Will be a nice addition to the Hodan Center when the railings are put on sometime in the next week or two.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Deck continues piece by piece

Returning from vacation to find the rock had been carried in to cover the area below the deck was nice to see. This would help speed things along as we proceeded to the next step in the process.

Double 2x12 beams held in place with post connector brackets. Surprising stable and a lot less work then notching the posts.

Next the 2x10 floor joists placed 16" on center. These were toe nailed to the beams. The tricky part would be the small wedge shaped deck piece that would connect the main 20 by 24 deck to the sidewalk. For this we used a 6x6 beam and had to be careful with the post height to insure that the finished deck surface would be level with the sidewalk.

You can see the dreaded gap! After several calculations, checks and re-checks...

 Mission accomplished! Next, composite decking.  Ordered and should arrive Friday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hodan Deck

The new project is a 20' by 24' deck project for the Hodan Center in Mineral Point, WI. Made good progress last week, have a look.

Nasty 20 degree slope on the back side of the deck made difficult work for the Bobcat and the guy drilling the holes for us.

Thought that drilling 18" diameter holes would help. Didn't work. More than half of the 24 holes were "a bit off" and required serious hand digging.

The area was all rock fill and hard packed clay! No picnic and tricky footing.

With the posts finally set it was time to trim them off to the required height so the final deck surface will be level to the sidewalk for wheelchair access.

We laid on a layer of fabric at this time that will be covered with rock to prevent future weed growth. This is being done now before the beams and joists that would certainly get in the way of the rock people.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Gearing up again

With the reassembly of the recycled barn cabin now almost complete I will begin gearing up for another cabin build this winter!
First load of logs loaded and ready to go.

Six logs racked for storage on 6x6 runners.

Below are some pictures of the reassembled Lamont barn cabin. Tom did a great job and he will have a nice place to enjoy a hot cup of coffee this winter when he is out working on his hobby farm.

And to think this came from an old barn that was being demolished!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My gorilla moment

The speaker was talking about magic and how people see things (you can look this up on You Tube to see the video). The audience of 50 people are to count how many times in 1 minute they bounce pass several balls between them.

The passing begins. At the end of 1 minute the speaker calls on the audience to tell him how many passes they counted. Number range all over the place from 35 to 50. Then the speaker asks, "How many of you saw the gorilla?." What? No hands go up. The group is puzzled and he says watch the playback of the video on the big screen. Sure enough, about 30 seconds into the passing a guy in a gorilla suit walks across the stage right through the group as the balls bounce! No one saw the gorilla.

Well the job at hand was to put some steel siding on my garage. No gorilla moment here.
This should be easy because I learned my lesson about the unequal roof pitch last year doing the other end. I mean who builds a garage using 12 foot rafters on one side and 13 foot rafters on the other side? Have to give them credit for making good use of used material I guess. Anyway I was ready this year. Measuring 128.5 at the peak and 112 on the short side (I wrote the numbers down on a scrap so as not to forget them) I cut my first sheet and put it up. Nice fit.

Now for the second piece. I knew the peak distance would be the same and the short side would be a bit longer. Yep, 115. So I took out my scrap and wrote this number down and than circled the two numbers I would be using this time. Pretty clear to me. No gorilla moment for me.
I dutifully follow the old adage, "measure twice, cut once" and cut the piece.

Dang! Sure enough I had measured out 112" not the 115 that was in the circle. How could I not see the (gorilla) 115 in the circle? (The extra lines show my struggle as I tried to correct my "gorilla moment"!)
Or maybe it was sun stroke?

But I got'er  now and can proceed... as soon as it stops raining. Dang those pesky gorillas.

Monday, June 3, 2013

DC to DC converter

One last touch and that is the addition of a new DC to DC converter. This unit will tap the full 96 volt battery pack and convert that voltage down to 13.4 volts to charge the 12 volt battery that is still required to run the original 12 volt circuits in the van. In my first Omni conversion since I did little or no night driving and the other 12 volt loads were small I just ran a "total loss" system. When I noticed the battery needed charging I hooked up my 12 volt charger to it. This was required about once every two weeks. The 2001 Caravan is a different story. It has power brakes and the 9.5 amp vacuum pump is a bit more of a load. I found the battery needed charging almost every other day. So after learning my $100 lesson from buying a cheep converter I now have that problem resolved for a mere $350.

Another problem that needed to be solved was a way to monitor the temperature of the motor. Since the original sensor wires for this on the motor had been pinched off inside the motor housing I went with an indoor/outdoor thermometer. Must stay below 120 degrees or damage could result to the field windings.

With the readout mounted on the dash and the outdoor sensor tapped to the motor housing I will get the information I need to see if the motor is over heating. Not likely but good insurance. 

Have about test 30 miles on the vehicle to date and seems to be doing well. Looks like top speed will be about 45 mph. Although I have not tested this out yet I believe the range will be about 15 miles. This is a tricky one because I don't want to find out the range the hard way and get stranded! I am "opportunity" charging the pack after almost every trip to keep the 8 year old batteries happy. Note: For every 8 minutes of run time it takes 120 minutes of re-charging time. That is about one trip to town and back. Will continue to collect data and  post more feedback as I get more experience with it this summer.