Saturday, January 10, 2009

Progress report- Timbering

Computer issues aside, and time consuming obligations overlooked, I have still been able to make a bit of progress on my own projects, which for the time being remain harvesting timber and revising plans to fit available timber and the requirements of carrying almost two feet of soil on the roof...

One of the benefits of having other obligations is that I can do a little of the hard work at a time, meaning that I can work until I am tired and then go work on my other obligations. For those who have not employed a chainsaw for anything more than the occasional removal of a limb or small shrub from the yard, using one continuously especially a larger one meant for ranch use, is very tiring. Your arms burn from simply holding the saw, and then you often also have to attach logging chains, hold the saw over your head (which is in every warning in every manual.. do not do this) all of which add to the exhaustion you feel after as little as an hour of such work.

So whenever time and the weather allows, I go up into the hills and harvest the trees which I marked on a couple of previous visits. Most of these are cedars, as my revised plan (going away from the PSP system somewhat..) calls for many many more posts, which means cedar which are great for compression, and which do not rot (especially when protected as I will be doing), though I will also be harvesting some other deadfalls, and standing dead timber where appropriate. I am gathering in some pine (easier to work and great for interior surfaces) and where I find them I take hardwoods, like Oak, Hickory, and in a sad but fortunate case or two Black Walnut.

These hardwoods when they are sufficiently large, are going to be my roof girders and beams, since their tensile strength is far greater than cedar meaning that a 12 inch diameter Oak, will be able to support far more than a 12 inch (or even 15 inch) cedar. This is important not merely for safety, which is very important to me of course, but also so that I can save effort. If I can build the roof support with 12 inch diameter wood, rather than 15 inch diameter timbers, then I have five inches of soil I need not remove from the floor in order to have the same head clearance. For someone as tall as I am, this is very important, though honestly it is equally important to anyone building their own home.

And I have to admit that there is still an element of love of what is involved, in that I would rather use a smaller timber where I can to save the large ones for where they are absolutely necessary. Remember I am (so far) refraining from taking live trees, so as to keep my impact on the local environment as minimal as possible.

Regardless, the short point is that I am still harvesting timbers, and still getting ready for construction which will be an ongoing process so bear with me. I have however found on ebay a draw knife which appears to be FAR better than anything else I have seen, and still I picked it up for less than one normally finds a new one. This is a tool I expect to donate to my "heir" (not likely I will have kids near as I can tell at my age) and hope that he/she will keep and use to donate yet again.. it is a tool for a century at least.

So for those who have so kindly asked about the progress, I thank you and welcome such questions. I am still making progress, and I am still doing my level best to keep to the budget to show that we can all not only survive the coming painful depression but do so on our own terms, living lives of pleasure, peace, and comfort, though obviously not one of uniformity or conformity.

No comments: