Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A set back and discovery

Now that I have a significant number of timbers on the site, I have begun cataloging them noting length, type of wood, and diameter at each end. This has allowed me to begin the process of creating something I suppose could be called a "build by numbers" plan. Essentially this is a plan which will very clearly say that log number X goes in position here, connected to logs Y and Z.

I was pleased to discover that I am only missing two timbers of the roof structure, which has all along been my greatest concern as it will be supporting 18-24 inches of soil. What I did not expect to discover is that I am sorely lacking in the post department. Most of the posts I have gathered will actually work quite well as beams in the roof structure, but are undersized to support the 12+ inch timbers which constitute the roof system.

So I went out this morning to try to locate timbers with diameters near 12 inch, in lengths as follows:
4- 16 foot
6 each of 10 1/2'
12 1/2'
and 14 1/2'

I was fortunate that a couple of timbers I had already dropped but not hauled out of the cedar grove fit into that group. I was able to harvest two more of that group fairly easily and then marked a few more yet. If the weather holds, I will have a better idea tomorrow what I can collect quickly and easily.

I also need some smaller diameter timbers, on the order of 25 of ranging from 11' to 15' long. These will be slightly easier to find, and are sometimes found on the same trees from which I am taking the larger diameter timbers. Still, needless to say I was surprised and a bit disappointed to discover that I am almost 50 timbers short of being done with collection. This means that I am just over half-way done, unless I adopt the practice of tying smaller timbers together with either bolts or plumbers tape (not tape at all, google it..) and use two or three timbers in place of a single post. I am not very keen on that idea given some of the potential stresses, so I am going to try to harvest all that I can first.

But all was not gloom and doom.. while walking about the fringes of the cedar grove where it becomes a mixed hardwood/pine forest, I did discover a monster cedar which I dearly want.. It is two feet in diameter at the base!! I could get two of my thick posts out of this monster, and maybe even one of the smaller diameter posts as well.

Then as I was coming down from the cedar grove - this is always an adventure as the road resembles the down side of a roller coaster- I noticed at the turn back into the pastures there was standing a large hardwood snag. This one too was a monster measuring in at 18 inches at its base! So I moved the tractor out of harms way and proceeded to take the chainsaw to it. I am not sure what kind of tree that this is, but I can tell you that it is hard as nails and would not budge until there was only a quarter inch of wood left holding it vertical. I have never had a free standing tree hold on to well. Out of this one tree I was able to get a 16' piece with a diameter ranging from 18" to over 12", plus two other timbers around 7 or 8 inches by 12 feet or so. I do not have a place in mind specifically for these last two but they are beautiful marked by the worm trails on the surface (right beneath the bark) and I could not pass up taking them.

And I have no worries about curing this last snag, it is so dry and has been so long dead that the bark is falling off of it. About 10 minutes work should clear it of bark and it is read to be used.

I am sore and physically tired again today, as I usually am after doing any logging, but all in all a good day. Tomorrow I return to it, provided the weather holds, and continue to make progress. If the weather does turn on me, I will return to the research I am doing again on solar, wind, and picohydro to see if there is any way at all I can generate sufficient power to stay off the grid, or perhaps to earn a slight income from generating power for the grid.


Bill Thurman said...

hi Tall Texan!

that's great that you will live in your own log house in the hills and use solar, wind and hydro
to power it. all the best to you.

Storm said...

Thanks Bill! I am really looking forward to getting the site dug out so I can start the actual build.