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Posted by John in Newport News, VA on 10/22/2007 7:11:25 PM

Just got back home from New York a couple of days ago.  What a trip!

It felt like a well coriographed dance!  When we got there, our Logger/Septic guy had finished installing the septic system and had run the drain pipe over to our cottage.  While he started collecting the logs that would serve as payment, I started the process of connecting the septic to our cottage and replacing our Envirolet Composting Toilet with a real no kidding flusher!

Only one problem.  When I orignally built the bathroom in our cottage several years ago, I must have been sleeping because I never ran a water supply line for the toilet.  Wasn't a problem while we were using the waterless Envirolet, but now that we have the urge to flush, we needed water.  It took a few hours, but eventually I had a new water line run to the area of the toilet and we were in business.

Took about two days to hook up the toilet, run the gray water drains and hook up the sewer stack for the cottage.  I finished just in time for the Sawmill Guy to arrive!  My Logger had cut the red oak trees that were on our home-site and dutifully stacked them along side the driveway in the perfect position for the sawmill.  Doug, the Sawmill Guy, got set up and started cutting the first log just in time for the heavens to open up and drench us all.  Called it quits for the first day after the first log, but promised to be back the next day, assuming the weather was better.  The next day, Friday, was a beaut and we were off to the races!  As Doug cut the planks, I moved them and stacked them on the storage platform I built to allow them to air dry. 

I started stacking them in piles based on their length, width, etc.  This quickly proved to be a problem and Doug was kind enough to suggest a much more efficient stacking method called "box stacking."  Basically, you take whatever width or length of boards you have and alternate them from each end toward the middle and form as complete a level as you can.  Then you set a row of "stickers" on top of the level and start the next level, alternating starting ends.  This creates a "box" of boards with good air flow between the levels and you don't have to worry about longer boards being stacked on top of shorter boards, because everything works out in the end!

Our orignial plan was to cut red oak for the hardwood floors, stair treads, and the fireplace mantel.  Also, we were going to cut the main support beams needed for the house.  Then I found out just how many, and how large these beams needed to be.  We would have needed two beams 8"x12"x18 feet long, and several other lengths of 8"x12" beams.  While I may have been able to find enough timber to cut the beams, I didn't have the equipment to effectively handle those large of beams.  So, I decided to forego the beams and concentrate on the oak flooring and stair treads.

As it was, we were barely able to handle that in the time we had up in New York.  In fact, Doug was still cutting when we left.  Our logger, Beau was great at providing us with the additional large diameter logs we needed to make the required stair treads (the treads were 13" wide and 1 1/2" thick, and nearly four feet long).  Since we weren't using the log hearts (they tend to split or crack), that meant that we needed logs about 18" in diameter to give us enough room to get treads from around the heart.  We needed a total of 32 treads, and getting four out of an eight foot log meant we needed eight logs, 18" in diameter, to get the necessary treads.

In addition to that, I wanted to get a large mantel piece.  We were able to get a mantel 5"x16"x10 feet long out of a large butt log from a chestnut oak.

All said, we ended up with about 1500 sf of flooring, 32 stair treads and one mantel, all cut and ready to dry for less than $500.00.

As we left to head back to Virginia, our logging was complete, our septic was installed and functioning, our oaks had been cut into planks, and were stacked and covered, ready for the Winter.

We met with our engineer and got a lot of work done on our house plans, although they still aren't done.  I expect it will take a little more hounding, but we'll eventually get there.  Now I'm back home in Virginia, missing our place in New York, and continuing the process of filling in the pieces in my plan! 



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