Tuesday, April 8, 2014


As promised, today was beautiful if a bit breezy and we managed to get a TON of work done.  Needless to say, I hurt in places I didn't know I had places, but it was worth it.

We began the day by splicing together the 30' 2"x8" beams that hold the sides together, using a generous 4' splice piece for the center seam and another 2' one for the tad we're adding at the bow.

The use of these wide jaw vice clamps makes this a lot easier.  Our splices were screwed with stainless steel screws from both sides and liberally smeared with polyurethane glue (Gorilla glue in this case).  I would probably have preferred using something like titebond III, but newly minted treated lumber has a LOT of moisture in it, and water soluble glues won't hold properly until they've had several months to dry.

The finished beam is huge.

Two of them are huge-er
It was, of course, at this point that I realized that a) I'm working alone today and b) I have a splint on my right hand and, of course, c)  THESE THINGS ARE FREAKING HEAVY. Rather than drag them down to the road where we were assembling, I got clever and clamped one end to a truck dolly.  That way I had to lift only the front and the tail obediently followed along after me.  You may be properly in awe :).
Gonzo, I know, but it worked.

Leveling this thing was a bloody pain.  The place we're building slopes in about six different directions, and since there's no real level visual point of reference, everything looks wrong at all times, even if its square and level.  I kept checking myself because it never looked right.  It is, though.....mercifully.

Once I finally got the murderously heavy beams....long enough to be floppy if they turn sideways.....hefted up and into place and relatively level, adding the stringers went pretty quickly.  We did do a couple of things that really helped:  One was using patio foundation blocks on the top of our piers to hold the wood steady and help us keep square.
heavy as all getout, but it did help keep things aligned

I also used a couple of joist hangers, just clamped in place, as extra hands while glueing and drilling the stringers in place.  Once I got the rhythm of it, I would measure for the next stringer, clamp the hangers in place, predrill the beam, and then just glue and drop the stringer in and screw it in place.  Worked rather well.

Here's the frame in process.  You can see my block and brick piers.  Yes, I know they're leaning.  So was I by this time.
See what I mean?  NOTHING looks straight, but trust me, it is.
By the end of the day (and my energy) I had the full frame put together and ready for the pipe and cross bracing and the barrels......tomorrow.  Right now, I'm going to do rash and unpleasant things to a pizza, take a hot bath, and fall over.

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