2016 July 24: Schedule for the rest of 2016

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I got a little raise at work. Yay! Now, hopefully, our account will still be hundreds in the black instead of just tens a week before payday. It’s sort of self imposed: we committed to saving a small house payment-like amount when we started the build. We are counting on this amount to supplement our savings that we used to initially start things off. But I also have some student loan payments and we have the land loan every month, along with our utilities, groceries, gas, and the normal bills everyone has.

I’ve been worried about finances on the build for a few months now- the city charges $5,000 to hook up water, power, and sewer, and this amount will just about clean out our savings for the next few months, and make it difficult to get concrete poured (I’m thinking thousands for the concrete). But we can’t get a building permit until we have utilities, so it was becoming a roadblock to progress. With my little raise at work, we now have some breathing room on our build, although we won’t be able to do the concrete right away.

I’m still cleaning up tree debris from cutting twelve trees a few weeks ago- not ready to move logs, but hope to do so later this week. And the debris piles are getting huge. Even with saving the bigger branches, things are still piling up. I’m probably going to end up with ten or more debris piles. There is currently an annual “burn ban” for the summer in the county we live in, so no burning until October. And I think I’ll be required to have running water on hand while burning brush.

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I also need to borate the trees I have. Borating the trees stops mold and bugs (mostly termites) from setting up shop in your house. Borating only really needs to be done once if your logs are already stacked and dried in (protected from rain). My logs are laying around exposed to the elements, so I’m going to have to treat them twice- once now, and once again when they are under roof. Once they are under roof, further borating is not necessary. The boric acid discourages insects, while the glycol causes the tree to suck up the solution much farther than just water would do. For LHBA members (password and membership required), I like the thread “NOTICE – Borate Mixture- Notice” under the “log home construction” folder. Three ingredients- borax, boric acid, and some kind of glycol. There are some surface mold spots on the logs I’ve peeled (thank you,  ‘The South’, and your overly humid weather). I bought a metal bushel, but I still have to buy the borax and the glycol (both available at Walmart). I also have a sprayer (thank you, Harbor Freight, for having extremely cheap tools). Just need a few hours to boil up some brew…

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All of the above has caused me to think about a (very aggressive) build schedule for the rest of the year:

  • July
    • continue to cut trees, clean up brush.
    • Hope to end the month with 18 existing + 15 new = 33 trees on racks, and half of them peeled.
    • borate the trees I’ve peeled.
  • August
    • cut and haul more trees- hopefully, by end of August, get 20 more trees for a total of 53 trees- enough to start the build. I think I only need 48 for the walls, but I want some breathing room. I also still need a bunch for the roof purlins, lifting logs, cap logs, ridge poles, etc, but I can at least get the build going once I have the minimum.
  • September
    • Peel all trees, and borate the remainder once peeled.
  • October
    • pay for water hook up
    • submit plans and get building permit
    • dig and pour foundation
  • November
    • lay first logs for walls. This also means I’ll make this blog public- that is the goal- make it public after the first few courses of logs are laid.
    • burn brush piles and maybe stumps
  • December
    • Lay last log for walls
  • January 2017 (or whenever I have funds)
    • Get the freakin’ roof on!

At some point, I need to get more tools and materials. Items I’m still missing:

  • plywood for foundation forms ($200)
  • concrete ($2400)
  • rebar (about $1200)
  • 2 3-ton chain hoists ($160)
  • rebar cutter ($150) or chop saw blades ($50?)
  • styrofoam for roof (I don’t know- probably $200-500)
  • roof panels (probably metal roof – $3000)
  • T&G roof decking ($2000)
  • plywood roof underlayment (I don’t know)

It’s obviously very ambitious for one person, not to mention one person that has never done this before. I’m sure there will be delays due to finances or hassles with the city, equipment breakdowns, etc. But if the schedule needs to be adjusted by two or three months, that’s ok- I need to wait for a tax return for a boost to my finances anyway.  It still appears that I can “git-r-dun” within my goal of 2-3 years.

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2016 July 18: Slowly getting back to work

yes- 54 feet of usable tree (has to be at least 8 inches diameter at 44 feet for me to consider using it. This one is 8 inches at 54 feet).
I got the stitches out on Monday. Went in to my doctor- vertically- and had them take the stitches out. My knitting scissors were too big to do it myself. Had to endure my doctor trying to strong-arm me into getting a tetanus shot. Originally, I wrote a big, long post on why I don’t think it’s necessary, and then decided not to post it.  Instead, let me just summarize: If you believe in tetanus shots and vaccines, good for you. If you don’t: also, good for you. Here are a bunch of studies on Tetanus that may open your eyes a little.

Meanwhile, that afternoon, I’m back at the property, and I’m able to (barely) use my chainsaw to buck the trees (cut off the branches of the ones that are on the ground). It hurts my finger after a while, and I don’t have a good grip. But I’m thinking of using the branches for rail supports for the wrap around porch. With Southern Yellow Pine, there are a lot of branches if the trees don’t grow close together. Saving the branches solves two problems:

  • I get free wood for ballusters and rail caps.
  • Once I get done pulling out the big ones, the brush pile is just scraps and is much easier to clean up.

I worked on it for about an hour and a half, until I tore the wound on the finger a little and it started to bleed again, so I had to quit.

Tuesday, I had to fix the bathtub faucet- replaced the handles. We are trying to do as little as possible to this house until we move out. Then, Wednesday, I was driving up over the mountain, and the temperature gauge on my car started rising. I quickly pulled over because on Saturday, it did the same thing, and I couldn’t find any leaks, so I thought it was just an air bubble. I ripped the hood open so I could find the leak quickly- and saw a hairline fracture on the radiator. Darn. Well, at least it wasn’t the motor. I hypermiled it home so I didn’t burn up the motor and fixed it.

This car is a little Honda I bought from my wife’s ex for $400, who said it couldn’t be fixed. He was partially right- the engine had been burned out of oil, and threw a rod through the bottom of the block. It was fixable- for $300 for a crankshaft, $300 to weld the block, $300 for a rebuild kit…so I found a replacement motor (from a 2001) in Chattanooga for $400 and dropped it in. A 1999 Honda Civic with VTEC for $800 isn’t bad, I’d say. I picked up a radiator at the parts store for $75 and dropped it in back at my house. It went in quick- about an hour. Then I went back over the mountain to work some more on clearing the branches. I’m working slow, but I’m working.