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Old 01-04-2009, 12:58 AM   #31
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Gulf Island Building.


In the summertime we are inundated with rufous hummingbirds. So we hang a few feeders here and there. Always have one by the shower. The humming birds have their babies here before heading off for the meadowlands in later summer.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:58 PM   #32
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Gulf Island Building.


OK, back to the real business of DIY.
After a lot of back breaking clearing, we picked a small spot toward the rear of the property to site the cabin on. This was to be our "temporary" home for a couple of years while I built the house.
I bet you've heard that before.
Going on our 12th year of living here, guess where we are still living. Right.
Well, at least it is comfy, and nice and warm in the winter. But it's none too big.
This is a shot from the back side.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:05 PM   #33
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Gulf Island Building.


As you can clearly see in the above shot, there isn't much siding on the back wall. The siding on the lower right was put on in mid summer this year, after many years of procrastination. The original tarpaper has all but disappeared. It has new 15 lb. roofing felt on now. The siding still is not done though.
Around to the left of that shot I built a water tank, barrel style. The wood was cut with a chainsaw, and was just stuff off the beach. This was before I got the sawmill. The inside liner was just some 6 mil poly. Another "temporary" thing which was supposed to last us for a couple of years. Just this past summer, I cut the top half of the tank off. We were going to still use the rest for water storage for the garden in the summertime. Remarkably, it still holds water!
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:17 PM   #34
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Gulf Island Building.


Being, as we are, on a remote and very small island, it is necessary that we have the facility to generate our own power.
We decided right from the start that we would use solar power, and possibly a wind generator. With a gas powered generator for backup.
Over a period of time, we bought solar panels in pairs, and installed them as we could afford to buy them.
Originally, I built a tower which got the panels quite high up in the air. Four of the panels were mounted on a revolving pole. I welded up a device to which I was able to bolt the panels. I was able not only to rotate the pole to follow the sun, but also to tilt the panels up and down. This was necessary, so that in windy conditions we could turn the panels flat to avoid being buffeted hard by the wind.
Our neighbors' property is blessed with several 100 foot tall Douglas fir trees.
As he is to the south of us, this interferes with our solar input during the winter months. Hence the necessity of getting the panels as high as possible in the air.
Currently, they are mounted on the roof of the new house, and are tiltable for the seasons.
We did try a 500 watt wind generator for awhile, but we found out that there was not enough wind getting at the unit to produce any significant power.
This was simply because we would have needed a tower 130 feet tall to do the job. Financially, it was out of the question.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:24 PM   #35
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Gulf Island Building.


Knowing that we would need access to the solar panels on a regular basis, the house was built with a tower to provide a walk on roof access. We have a height restriction here on houses, and as a result of this, the tower was built a foot shorter than I would have liked. You have to duck as you come out of the door to the roof, otherwise you will crack your noggin.
The door is made from 2" thick cedar.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:26 PM   #36
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Gulf Island Building.


This is what the cabin looks like from the roof of the house. This side of the cabin faces the ocean to the west.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:40 PM   #37
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Gulf Island Building.


The shakes covering the cabin were all handsplit from cedar we found locally.
I soon discovered that you need old growth cedar to be able to split it nicely. If you want to make sawn shingles, as opposed to split shakes, then it doesn't matter which cedar you use.
I did make a gadget for the sawmill with which to saw shingles. However, by the time I had got that welded together, we had decided to use cedar siding to finish the rest of the cabin. So I still have not used the shingle cutter.
That skylight you see at the lower left is on the wife's studio. It is covered with Lexan sheeting.
At $120 a sheet it was cost prohibitive. However, I got a call from a friend down in Bellingham, Washington one day, and he told me that one of their local building material clearance type stores had about 20 sheets of this stuff left for only $10 a sheet! Incredible! I gave him our visa number and asked him to buy all they had ASAP.
He went in to the store pleading poverty and got the lot for $6 each!! You just never know what might pop up!
Over the years I have used most of it, still have a couple of sheets left I think. Later I will show you the inside of a barrel vault ceiling in the front entrance. The window in the end had been glazed with Lexan for the inside layer.
The curved top by the cabin is also done with Lexan. Looks like it needs a good cleaning there. This I have since done. Honest!
On the right side of the cabin you can see some of the greenhouse roof. And just beyond that is a kiwi fruit arbour.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:43 PM   #38
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Gulf Island Building.


Back on the ground again, here is the shower from the other side. The wife likes to have all sorts of geegaws everywhere, so things like concrete seagulls and yellow rubber duckies would be her idea.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:49 PM   #39
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Gulf Island Building.


From time to time, I have been called upon to give a little help here and there building other places on the island.
I got a visit from a family one afternoon asking if I could design and build a house for them here. Sure, I'd be happy to.
Oh, by the way, we are leaving for home tomorrow morning, so could you just drop everything and come up to our property now to check out what we would like? Certainly, I only had a few dozen things I was trying to get done today anyway, what's one more?
Oh, yes, could we pick up the plans in the morning before we go?
Of course. The difficult we do immediately, the impossible just takes a few minutes longer.
The upshot of the story is shown here.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:53 PM   #40
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Gulf Island Building.


The house was set on a long, narrow bench at the top of a cliff. I am part way down the cliff in order to take the picture. The bench actually looked reasonably flat at first glance. Fortunately, I took a laser level with me when first checking the house location, and the bench actually had a 4' slope to the north.
The story of this one is way too long to bore you with here, but it was an interesting exercise in overcoming problems.
They are very happy campers now!
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:13 PM   #41
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Gulf Island Building.


Another project I was involved in - still am actually - was for an older couple who had a pan abode type house at the other end of the island.
It seems that when Al would get over here for his frequent visits, he would open up a bag of M & M's onto the kitchen table. Unfailingly, they would roll off and travel right across the kitchen floor. Now he may not have known much about building, but he certainly did know that the M & M's should have stayed on the table. Evidently, there was some sort of problem.
Upon receiving his call for help, I did a cursory inspection of the house foundations. Problem solved instantly. There were none!
Over the course of the next year or so, I was able to get under the house and piece by piece get some proper reinforced concrete footings in place.
It was discovered that the fireplace was built on a massive rock. Probably a part of the actual bedrock on the island. It was the only part of the house which had not moved.
A good thing too, as it gave me a place to line up the balance of the house with. The northeast corner had settled 8", the southeast corner 11". The other two corners lesser amounts.
I gathered up several large wood blocks and started the long process of leveling the house.
There were signs that the roof peak had opened up slightly, so it was important that the leveling process would take place in a specific order.
Using a dozen hydraulic jacks everything was finally brought into line for the day of the big test!
Al had arrived with a bag of M & M's!

Ceremoniously, he deposited the candies on the kitchen table with great flair!
We all watched with bated breath to see what would happen.
Wonder of wonders, they stayed put. Al was ecstatic.
One thing led to another, and we found all sorts of rot.
The last thing to get replaced was the deck facing out over the channel.
The old one was so rotten that Al had actually put his foot right through the deck. It had to go.
This shot is of the lower part of the stairs from the deck.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:18 PM   #42
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Gulf Island Building.


The posts were made from both red and yellow cedar. I laminated the posts up and added the rounded edges using a power plane and sander. This was followed by 7 coats of spar varnish.
The installation was delayed for awhile because Al wanted stainless steel cables installed using special fittings on the ends. They were made in Australia, and we had to wait two months while they were ordered and shipped up to Canada.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #43
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Gulf Island Building.


On the west side of the island, all the lots have quite a slope to them. Here again I am down on a small bank below the deck looking up. The deck is just over 40' long and 12' wide.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:26 PM   #44
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One of the other minor problems with Al's cabin was the skylight the original owner had put in.
He had left a triangular opening in the roof, and had just laid a piece of plexiglass over the opening, securing it with some sort of caulking and a few screws. No flashing. The skylight was flat with no slope at all.
Apparently, the skylight had leaked right from the very first rainfall, and had never stopped.
Al thought it might be an excellent idea if it got fixed.
I designed and built a raised triangular double sided skylight, shown here.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:27 PM   #45
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Gulf Island Building.


Same guy from the inside. It is about 8' long.
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