Saturday, September 26, 2009

On Our Own

We’ve been back in Torrey a little over two weeks now. We wanted to complete some of the timber frame work - as much as was possible for two novices working on their own. We discovered that’s what we truly are. In all of this time we’ve only completed three trusses. That means we’ve used a grand total of 18 pieces of timber. That’s including the six we used when Adam and Jake were here.

Just when we thought we were doing great, we’d make a mistake...cut a line we should have erased, made a one and one half inch tenon that should have been a two-incher. Yikes! Luckily we will be able to salvage the timbers with those mistakes. There truly is an art to all of this, and we are rank beginners.

Scott has said from the start, “A big project is like eating a whale. It’s done one bite at a time.” Today he said, “I didn’t know this was going to be a blue whale!” I guess he was hoping for a minke.

Now I’ve got to go back to work, but in October Scott plans to be here two more times on his own. He hopes to work on posts, girts and braces. I’ll return one more time before Halloween...the end of this year’s building season. The week I’m here, we’ll put the lath on the exterior of the garage. (When we plaster the garage, that will be practice for our house.) That week we’ll also ready the yurt for winter (basically put the scaffolding back in place to help support a snow load).

When we get back to Logan, we’ll begin making lists for the next building season. A BIG plus for us...Shanna and Doug (Scott’s sister and her husband) are going to be here next summer to lend much-need helping hands. Hooray!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Are We Making Any Progress?

For the last four days, we have been working on timbers all by ourselves. The cutting is slow, very slow. One truss has six parts. After 4 1/2 man-days, we’ve only completed one part, the bottom chord. At this rate, it’s had to imagine that we’ll ever be finished.

I decided to go back to our original timetable and see if we are making any progress at all. This review buoyed my spirits because I discovered that we really are on schedule.

1) The road is in.
2) The foundation was completed yesterday.
3) Fencing and waterlines have been relocated.
4) The garage is done except for the outside facade.
5) We’ve begun the timberframe.

And despite today’s slow going, we’re certain to get faster and, eventually, done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why the Fuss Over a Garage?

Because Scott and I actually live in Logan, we needed to find a way to frugally live in Torrey during construction season. The best solution for us was to build our yurt, then erect the garage so we’d have a place to work out of the weather and so we’d have easy access to a bathroom.

Once the bathroom was in working order, it was good-bye to the Texaco station and hello to the next phase of house construction - the timber frame. To that end, Bruce Chappel (Thousand Lakes Timber Company) delivered the timbers for our entire house except for the porch. The very next weekend, Adam Riley and Jake Amadon (Teton Timber Framing Company) arrived on the scene to give us an intensive, one-on-one, three-day, crash course in the timber frame process.

If you remember an earlier posting, Scott and I had participated in a timberframe workshop through the Traditional Building Skills Institute at Snow College. But this time we were the only students and we were building our very own home.

As you can see in the following slide show, timber framing is an art form requiring precision, patience and good partners. We had all three! And the garage will be perfect for continued work in all kinds of weather!