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Old 01-03-2009, 03:03 PM   #16
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Gulf Island Building.


Last model pic from the north.
The plywood base does not accurately represent the ground here, which slopes very substantially. When you see the actual photos of the house as built, the changes will be obvious. The basic plan was followed, with alterations made as we went along to fit either the terrain or the budget! Ever notice how that always seems to get in the way?
This side of the house faces the bay shown at the top of the thread. The ground falls away a lot, and there is a series of decks which step down on the bank there, as you will see later.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:16 PM   #17
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Gulf Island Building.


Pokerdonkey:
I wish you well with your project. Are you far off the coast, or reasonably close? We aren't too far from Vancouver Island, about 4 miles by boat. From there it is a 1/2 hour drive, mostly on a fast highway, to get to our main building material suppliers.
The actual transport of materials is about the biggest headache here. It may sound crazy, but you literally spend as much time moving materials as you do building. You cannot just call up your local friendly trucker and have him drop the load off later this afternoon.
We have some pretty big tides here, so it is necessary to work with both the tides and the weather condition.
We found out early on that it was a good idea to have something to move bulk materials in. So I picked up an old Reinell powerboat, 24 footer, and gutted it.
It has paid for itself several times over. It can be towed with anything. It will carry around 5,000 pounds of freight.
One thing I should mention quickly while I am thinking about it, only use galvanized nails - or stainless if you are terminally wealthy - for everything. Even inside. An ordinary steel nail will rust surprisingly quickly.
And where you are, the rusting takes place at least twice as fast!
If you have any oddball questions about this insane offshore building, please ask. I likely have run into the same problems you will, and may have an answer.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:42 PM   #18
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Gulf Island Building.


Bondo:
You must have been reading my mail.
In order to get logs out of the ocean here, it was necessary to devise a way to do it. So I built a log lift from some recycled steel tubing. It is 8' long, and the same width as the short railway I built. It has a 1 ton chain hoist at each end, which carries a homemade grapple. On a high tide, a log is floated into the log chute, the chain fall with grapple attached is dropped over the log, and the hoist raised - hopefully with the log in its' grasp.
This is the log lift.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:44 PM   #19
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Gulf Island Building.


And here is the log chute into which the logs are floated.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:51 PM   #20
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At the other end of the railway is the sawmill. One of the very first mills made by Norwood, before they changed their name. It has done yeoman service. When I bought it, the previous owner had all but destroyed it. So $2,500 worth of parts later it was almost good as new. I guess I have cut maybe a quarter million board feet on it.
When I was out shopping for a mill, one of the main criteria was how much did the heaviest single piece of the mill weigh. I had to be able to pick it up and carry it from the boat to where it would be used. I wanted a Woodmizer, but that weight figure was over 300 lbs. The norwood I think was around 100 lbs. for the heaviest part. Everything else broke down nicely. There are now two other Norwood mills on the island as a result of me having this one here, new ones, of course.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:54 PM   #21
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Gulf Island Building.


Not to be outdone, my wife ventured into the world of DIY construction.
This is her version of "Toad Hall" in the bottom of an old hollow arbutus tree.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:08 PM   #22
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Gulf Island Building.


Remember when I said there are no services here? I meant it. This island brings a whole new meaning to the term DIY.
The one thing that the original developer did put in back in the '60's, was a series of water wells. Some are OK, others not so much.
There is a well about 200 yards away from us which we did use for several years.
Many years ago, I understand in 1975, there was a huge storm here. Just behind the well was a massive Western Red Cedar tree. It got blown over in the storm and broke the well casing some 20' down. Ever since then, the well has been silting in. As a result of this the well depth has declined from just over 120' to about 90'. Plus, there is an ever present very fine pink colored silt in the water. We noticed that our water filters were not lasting at all.
All this prompted me to build twin water tanks to collect rainwater. Best thing I ever did!
The tanks look just like a small building, which in reality it is. 10' by 20' with a dividing wall in the centre. The walls are built up of 2 x 4's, cut on the mill. We have very heavy duty potable liners in each side.
The two tank idea was just in case something happened to one side, either contamination or a leak. That way, there was still a reasonable chance of having a good water supply. Each side holds 3,000 imperial gallons, or about 3,600 US gallons.
I am in the process of installing a separate 1,500 gallon tank for the exclusive use of a fire pump.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:16 PM   #23
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Gulf Island Building.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cocobolo View Post
Pokerdonkey:
I wish you well with your project. Are you far off the coast, or reasonably close? We aren't too far from Vancouver Island, about 4 miles by boat. From there it is a 1/2 hour drive, mostly on a fast highway, to get to our main building material suppliers.
The actual transport of materials is about the biggest headache here. It may sound crazy, but you literally spend as much time moving materials as you do building. You cannot just call up your local friendly trucker and have him drop the load off later this afternoon.
We have some pretty big tides here, so it is necessary to work with both the tides and the weather condition.
We found out early on that it was a good idea to have something to move bulk materials in. So I picked up an old Reinell powerboat, 24 footer, and gutted it.
It has paid for itself several times over. It can be towed with anything. It will carry around 5,000 pounds of freight.
One thing I should mention quickly while I am thinking about it, only use galvanized nails - or stainless if you are terminally wealthy - for everything. Even inside. An ordinary steel nail will rust surprisingly quickly.
And where you are, the rusting takes place at least twice as fast!
If you have any oddball questions about this insane offshore building, please ask. I likely have run into the same problems you will, and may have an answer.
Your place looks absolutely gorgeous.

We're relatively close in; actually, we're on an interior barrier island off the coast of the FL peninsula between it and the gulf of Mexico. From our location to the public launch it's less than 15 minutes, even factoring for the no-wake zones for the manatees. I actually have a power pole on the site running from the mainland (I think it's an old Army Corps pole from years ago) and it is hot, but the rest of the island doesn't have power. Lucky me.

The build site itself is located off a bay that is only navigable by shallow draft vessels- airboat or skiff only at low tide with a bit more room at high tide.

I'm going to be filling in some of the front portion of the lot to make a beachhead; we needed a towable, waterborne "dumptruck" type vehicle to haul stones and fill but with a skimpy enough draft to traverse shallows- here are some concept drawings (in no way accurate)




An older post I made about it on another forum

Quote:
Basically, you load up the payload deck with the materials (stone, sand, soil, loose reclamation vegetation, etc).
If you want to dump the payload into the water (as would be needed for shoreline and aquatic renourishing), you simply open the valves on the ballast tubes. The frontal weight of the water and the miracle of gravity causes the deck to pivot forward, thus dumping the payload wherever you aim it. When you want to return the deck to it's upright position, you simply pump the water out of the ballast tubes and viola- they're now acting as buoyant floats!
Of course, if you were hauling building materials, supplies, etc, you wouldn't want to dump those into the water. In that case, the platform would simply act as a tow skiff capable of traversing the shallows. Its main purpose, though, is to be a shallow water cargo dumper. It would be way easy to motorize too, although I'm not going to motorize mine when I build it. Version 1.0 is going to be a tow vessel only. I'm just going to rig it with some kind of a rudder for steering, some trim plates to reduce water speed and an anchor.
(For you engineer types out there- the above pics are simply concept renderings. Obviously, things like the interplay between the rigid aluminum frame and the front float are going to be fully integrated for increased structural integrity, the draft depth of the floats isn't to scale in the pics above, etc)
I've done some math and the design has changed a bit, but the basic concept is the same. I anticipate welding will start this summer.

I love love love the structural model you made... It's totally inspired me to make a scale model of our own place according to the plans. Great idea. As the hammers start flying on ours, I'll definitely have some questions for ya. Us island builder types aren't exactly a dime a dozen and the unique problems we face aren't understood by most...

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Old 01-03-2009, 04:17 PM   #24
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Gulf Island Building.


When we originally came here in '96, the land was totally undeveloped.
There were several large Douglas firs, all just over 200 years old. They were about 32" in diameter at chest height. I thought this would be a great source of lumber, since we were going to have to clear some of the lot for building.
Unfortunately, almost all the firs on the island, particularly the big ones, are suffering from root rot. And these were no exception.
Not being able to use them for structural purposes, I chainsawed off a big chunk from one of them, and my wife and I collaborated on this sign in front of our house. She is the artist, I just do the wood carving.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:39 PM   #25
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Gulf Island Building.


Pokerdonkey:
I don't know if this might assist in any way, but up here they have massive great self-dumping log barges. I believe they are flat bottomed, and tip over to one side to discharge the load. What you are making looks like a much more complicated version.
We were over in Ladysmith harbor several years ago, and one of the barges was trying to dump the load, but got stuck half way through the process. The logs just didn't want to fall into the water. It took them a couple of days with several tug boats pulling in opposite directions to get the logs off. It may be easier to make a smaller version of this sort of thing. I imagine if you were to go on the web you could get information about this.
And I'm not certain about this, but I seem to recall another type of self dumping barge which opened up in the middle on two pivots. I believe this type was used for rocks and the like, much as you will do.
When the tunnel was built here under the Annacis slough about 50 years ago, they used this sort of barge to cover the underwater sections of roadway. If you don't put lots of weight on the tunnel sections, they actually want to float!
The old tugboat used for the job was named the "Fearless". Built in 1898 in New Westminster. It very nearly got burned up in the great fire which destroyed a huge part of the waterfront then.
How do I know all this? I bought the tug from the fellow who dumped all the rock on the tunnel. It had no engine by then, and I converted it to a liveaboard.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:49 PM   #26
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Gulf Island Building.


Speaking of the model, that is a great way to see what works and what doesn't. I think I used about 1/2" to the foot. Big enough to see what things look like, not too big that it gets unwieldly. Actually, I am very surprised it has survived this long. When I first made it, we took it outside and set it on the ground, facing the way it would be when built. I took several pictures - the old film type - as the sun went round during the day. This way, I could check in advance whether or not I had the roof overhangs correctly calculated.
As it turned out, the passive solar ideas work beautifully. The sun pours in during the wintertime, well, when there is any sun that is, and is kept out in the summer when it is much higher.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:47 AM   #27
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When we first came here, I had to throw up our small cabin (18' x 24') as quickly as possible. Before we could do that we had to do some land clearing, as this was virgin forest. Worst of all there was a terrific amount of tough vines everywhere. Strong enough to trip you over if you got your foot under one.
We got the roof on the cabin in a month.
In the picture you can see the greenhouse which was added a short time later, and the generator shed on the right.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:49 AM   #28
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Another shot of the cabin taken from the back steps at the new house.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:52 AM   #29
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Off the back of the studio I made a solar heated shower for summertime use.
The black plastic tank holds about 30 gallons of water, which is circulated through the solar heater on the studio roof by a 12 volt bilge pump. Don't laugh - it works!
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:55 AM   #30
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A better picture of the studio. Now you can also see how the house is attached. The front entrance to the house actually sits between the studio and the house proper.
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