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Posted by Craig in Clio, CA on 5/3/2008

10/28/07- The backhoe has proven to be a wise purchase.  We have pulled the stumps, moved the road, leveled the building site and roughed in the terraces.  Additionally we have used it to pull logs and brush up the hill while thinning and moving the bunked logs into position for the sawmill.  Yet to come is the septic system install.


4/12/08- Cheri and I dug trenches for the footings.  We were having the dickens of a time re-laying out where the footings should go.  We had several constraints to contend with; the location of the well, site slope drop offs, view orientation and solar orientation.  In order to simplify this I bought enough PVC electric conduits to make three rectangles.  These formed the garage outline, and as an octagon is two rectangles intersecting each other in the middle and their corners connected the connections worked out to be 20 feet each.  The octagon is 12x20x12x20x12x20x12x20 for the eight sides. Confusing but geometrically it all works out.  The point was that we could easily move each rectangle to get a rough but close estimate of where the footings should go.  Once placed we used marking spray paint to mark lines on each side of the pipe as guides to the backhoe.  Our laser level paid for itself today.  Our backhoe driver (me) showed his lack of experience but eventually got the job done.  It was a good night for the hot tub.


4/18/08- Our ICF block had been delivered to Longfellow lumber in Deliker.  Stan was great in letting us do that and renting out his lift truck and driver to unload the two semis’ (47 pallets) of block.  He also transferred the pallets to the job site along with our rebar and footing form materials.  Everything is now in place including the first layer of road base on the drive.  This first layer of three-inch minus for the new section and ¾ inch minus for the rest cost ~$3,000.  We only hope there will be some left showing after all the trucks finish running over it.  If nothing else, it defines and stabilizes the drive and keeps the dust down.


4/21/08- Temporary power pole did not pass initial inspection.  Therefore, I pounded the grounding rod to within 2 inches of the finish grade and installed a 20amp GFCI breaker and outlet.


4/25/08- Sub-con update.  I’ve gotten quotes for concrete 45k, plumbing 10k, roof trusses 6k, and waiting for windows and electric (the most difficult so far).  I will get a second quote on the concrete, as all I really need is the flatwork, as we cannot fit the 45k into our budget.  As I get these bids, I am finding more details in our plan that need to be explained or explored.  I will need to find a welder who can make some custom parts and weld the rebar to the top of the garage door I-beam. 


4/28/08- The Rural Electric Coop team arrived and ran the power to the site.


4/29/08- Dave returned to mill the lasts of our logs today.  I had cut a large cedar whose function was to become three posts that would support the second floor.  However when we made the first cuts it became apparent that they were not structurally sound.  The core of the tree was filled with ants and was probably hit by lightening sometime in its life.  We cut this tree into 1-x boards to be used in closets and hopefully a sauna some day.  Fortunately I had one Doug fir in the stack and its logs were sufficient to provide us three 12x12x10 foot posts.  Just barely.  Two of them will have rounded corners, which should provide a little extra character and show their local heritage.  The total for all the lumber ~7,000 board feet was just under $3,000.  I am not sure it was a savings but the satisfaction of using our own trees in our house is priceless.


Our first perspective plumber showed up to view the site, lie in the location of his rough-ins and provide us his estimate.  This did not include the in floor hydronic or solar panels.  I was also reminded of the trade off we made when we decided to change the roof line on the southern roof in order to provide symmetry.  We lost the 45-degree angle needed to flush mount the solar hot water panels.  After reviewing the plans and roof elevations, we should be able to use raised brackets to get the panels to the proper solar elevation while not obstructing the view from the tower.


5/3/08- Our neighbor and friend of 20 years Ivan Gossage and I begin the exact layout and construction of the batter boards in preparation for pouring the foundation.  Another friend, John Preshutti dropped by to pick up saw up some firewood and stuck around to help.  Our complex eight-sided house with attached garage was a challenge but I think we got the garage squared and stringed to the batter boards.  Our corner-to-corner measurements on the 20x28 garage were under a ¼ inch off.  Good enough for the footings.


Next, will be to string off the house portion and mark where the trenches need to be widened to get to the full 30-inch footings.  Speaking of footings, we came up with what we hope will be an easier method to form them.  We will suspend 2x6 boards from concrete stakes with their bottoms at the level of the top of the footing.  A screed board will be constructed with a 2x2 on top of a 2x6 so we can quickly level the pour.  Additionally, we will mark the tops of the 2x6’s to indicate where the vertical rebar needs to be placed and put 2x4 bridges on them to suspend the horizontal rebar.  The suspension tie wire on these will be cut once the footings have been poured and set up so we can smooth out any high spots while the cement is still green.  We will test this method by first pouring the garage and utility building footings.  If successful, we will use it on the rest of the house footings.


KX Faswall block from Shelterworks. The block is made of recycled wood pallets that are shredded then mineralized and formed into 12x24x8 inch hollow blocks. These are dry stacked then filled with rebar and concrete.
Batter boards going in.

Posted by cheri in graeagle, CA on 10/24/2008

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Nice thing about the back hoe, we finally have a snow removal machine that's worthy of our Sierra winters!

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