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Old 02-15-2009, 12:06 AM   #211
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Interesting question.
Actually, whether or not your wood will stay straight or not depends on two things.
If you are cutting a log which has grown on a slope, the bottom of the tree - which you do not necessarily have- usually has some sort of curve in it already. The loggers will usually just cut this off and it is left in the woods.
So how do you know if you have one of these trees.
Just look at the growth rings at the bottom end of the log, and if they are nicely concentric, then the log probably grew on flat ground. If the center of the rings goes way off to one side, which is very common here, then one of two things is likely to happen.
Depending on how you set the log up on your mill, you may cut a slab off which will literally jump off the log as you complete the cut. Ok, right away you know that log has plenty of tension in it.
You flip it 90 degrees and take the next slab off. This one might stay put. The third slab will probably jump again, and the fourth will stay put.
At this point you must decide what you are going to cut from the log.
Usually, when I get such a compression log, I cut small stuff from it. 1 x 4's for instance. If you cut them the right way, they will stay quite straight, the wrong way and they will curve like nobody's business.
So let's assume you have all this wood, but of course it is green.
Perhaps at least as important as the cutting is the drying.
It is a simple process, if a little labor intensive.
All you do is to sticker the wood in piles. Usually about 4 or 5 boards wide will be OK. Lay the first stickers down, about 2' spacing, then lay the first row of boards, leaving an inch or so in between. More stickers, more boards etc.
The pile is covered with something waterproof. The material of choice is corrugated metal. I don't have any, so tarps it is.
You need to put some weight on top of the pile to help keep everything flat.
Check periodically to see how the wood is doing, i.e. is it staying flat.
Depending on your end use, the thickness of the wood and the time of year, pretty soon you will have good boards.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to save certain boards. You end up with boat keels or skis! Still and all it makes good firewood.

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Old 02-15-2009, 12:11 AM   #212
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Forgot about the mountain range. These guys are south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. To be perfectly honest I don't even know if they have a name. I'll have to see if I can find out. The entire island is covered in mountains.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:14 AM   #213
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Apparently they are called the Vancouver Island Ranges. Formerly known as the Vancouver Island Mountains. They run the full length of Vancouver Island.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:00 AM   #214
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We have been having some of the worst weather lately, but today was a real treat. The outside temperature only managed to get up to about 4 1/2C, not exactly tropical, but the winter solar performance of the house really shines on days like this. Pardon the pun.
While there is a wood stove functioning as we speak, it can only get the house up to about 12C. Mainly because I always seem to be otherwise occupied when it needs to be loaded up again, and I am using junk wood as opposed to decent firewood.
So I was more than pleasantly surprised when I saw this today. It was almost 5 p.m., only 1/2 hour before sunset. So I probably missed the peak temperature.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:03 AM   #215
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Here you can see how bright the house gets even with the low winter sun.
The high row of 13 windows really makes a difference.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:05 AM   #216
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The next two shots are taken from the narrow deck right outside the door from the master bedroom. No wide angle lens, so I have to do it twice.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:08 AM   #217
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I was going to try to show you a shot of the solarium all cleaned out. It didn't all get done. This was shot from the bedroom while I was about halfway through today. I got lots more done, but OMG it's dusty in there!
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:10 AM   #218
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That sun felt sooooo good today, so here's a pic of it coming through the top windows. Late in the day as you can see by the sun right on the ceiling.
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:23 PM   #219
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I'm glad to see that your getting things done. I have been stopped "Cold" All puns intended. I like to follow your progress. Dorf Dude
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:07 PM   #220
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Sounds like this cold is giving you a bad time Shu, have you tried the remedy of drinking a glass of hot red wine and going to bed. Tastes awful, but it may work.
Yes, I've had some pretty productive days lately here. A few days of nice weather has boosted the spirits. Still pretty cold though.
Another trip to town today for backer board and thinset for the solarium floor.
I did get the solarium cleaned right out, the first time the floor has seen daylight for about 4 years!
I used to have a 27' long workbench which started inside the back door and stopped about 6' short of the french doors. That way, I could bring the rough lumber in the back door, put it on the workbench, run it through the planer or tablesaw and out the front door if necessary. Any pieces that needed to be dried completely, or were just left over from something just got chucked in the sol. The pile finally got to be 8' high and by that time I had no idea what was at the bottom.
I ended up unearthing some lovely long clear red cedar boards all nicely planed. Some clear yellow cedar, not as long, but perfect wood.
I already have much of the yellow earmarked for some laminated stair posts which I will be doing. The stairs which go up inside that tower are curved, and the bottom set will have the posts which will themselves be curved.
Actually, the top posts will be curved too, they will just face the opposite way. You'll see how that goes when I get there.
Here's a couple of posts before the hand work gets started. They are just laminated at this point.
Now they will get the edges rounded off, pre-drilled to be bolted on to the stair framing, and either varnished or varathaned. Not quite sure which yet.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:46 PM   #221
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Wow, I am blown away. This is just a remarkable project, and I hope someday in my life to have something half as majestic.

Curious, I don't remember reading it, what did you do about the foundation?
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:01 AM   #222
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"Sounds like this cold is giving you a bad time Shu, have you tried the remedy of drinking a glass of hot red wine and going to bed. Tastes awful, but it may work."

Actually the "Cold" I was talking about here was the weather. The house is about -5C inside right now. I stopped by yesterday just to take a look around and it was nastey cold inside. No way to work in there. I need Spring to get here. At least above freezing so I can get the main water turned on and get a heater hooked up to the pellet stove. Greetings from Frozen Germany, Dorf Dude...
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:19 AM   #223
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Hi Mort:
The house sits on a rock spit.
What I had to do for the foundation was first remove all the overburden. This was comprised of a small amount of dirt, certainly can't call it soil here, mixed with a few hundred thousand rocks. It actually took me nearly two years to remove everything so I had someplace decent to start. Not full time of course. Along with the dirt and rocks was an absolute mess of vines, scrubby growth, and seven 100 foot tall douglas firs.
Before I had all this finished, the house plans were more or less cast in stone as it were.
If you are at all familiar with any of the Gulf islands, you will know that it is next to impossible to find a flat and level place to build.
In some places, I had no choice but to drill holes in the rock, use hydraulic cement to set steel pins, then pour small footings. These would then carry a post.
There is a good section around the front curve of the house in which the slope was more manageable. Here, I was able to use a long stepped strip footing, curved of course, which ran the full length of the front of the house.
Don't remember exactly, but I would guess I have not less than 100 pins in that section.
The plan was that it shouldn't move in a breeze. So far so good.
I see in your avatar a concrete truck.
How I wish such a beast existed here!
So it is either bring over boatloads of pre-mixed concrete in bags, which is outrageously expensive, or bring cement and mix your own.
So being a true cheapsk...no, make that being a person of economy, I used the cement, and got the sand and gravel from the beach. Decidedly a labor intensive way to go, but it worked.
There is a friend of mine at the other end of the island who brought over - are you ready for this - 42,000 lbs of pre-mix in bags!!!
The reason I don't have any photos of the early stuff is because I had no digital camera. No internet here until just over a year ago, hence no computer either.
As for majestic, I thank you, but it is really nothing more than an old guy playing with wood!
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:52 AM   #224
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Thanks for your reply. Since I started in the construction industry, I've wondered how houses like yours are built, without the aforementioned wide roads for lumber trucks and mixers to come down. Turns out its just old fashioned ingenuity and hard work. Unfortunately, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days.

Well, since I found this thread, I will be keeping up on it. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:18 PM   #225
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There's likely a good reason for things not being done the way they used to be Mort.
The drain on peoples' time these days for one.
And we all seem to want instant gratification, no matter what it is.
Not to mention that houses these days are not so much actually built as they are assembled.
But for those who are fortunate enough to be brought up with parents or grandparents who instill in us certain values, we know this sort of thing can still be done.

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