Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Staining and other shenanigans

Woot! My first blog post!

A lot has happened in the last week...quite a bit of which I missed, as I was paddling a canoe from Dartmouth to the ocean on Ledyard's annual Trip to the Sea. The ocean was amazing, but I'm glad to be back..

Greg and Malia had a lot of two-person days this last week, but they did manage to make a lot of progress. We have four windows now!

On Sunday, some volunteers accompanied them to the island, and everyone worked on cleaning logs in preparation for staining. Chris and Norah came out, and Chris showed everyone up with a chainsaw, perfecting our window-holes. Frances Davenport also came out and sanded logs for us. Thanks everyone! We'll be looking for lots of volunteers until graduation, as we've got a lot to do, so if this sounds fun, come join us.

On Monday, my first day back to the island, we stained the cabin! Milo Johnson, Kyle, and Benjy came out and helped the crew. It was uber-hot, and we all worked shirtless, and got stain EVERYWHERE. When we went swimming after work, the water ran off the stain in Greg's hair, and several showers later, I still have stain streaks on my stomach.

The cabin looks awesome with its new color. Malia took a picture with her phone, and you can kind of see the changed color - it's better in person though.

Today we weighed down the Dartmouth safety boat getting the hardwood flooring out (thanks Jeff!), so look for updates about a pretty new floor.

I'm also learning a lot about some of our frequent volunteers (one of whom also happens to live at our house. So, a list:

Things Kyle Is Good At Besides Staining:
-Singing along to the country radio
-Jumping off of very, very, very high trees into the river
-Causing the S&S boat to break down and drift into a sand bar for the second time in two days
-Jumping in the Connecticut to babysit a runaway skiff with lots of lumber on it

The next two weeks are going to be very busy, but we should have a mostly done cabin soon. More pictures to come.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In case you missed it...

You can watch our TV spot here.

Woohoo! We're famous!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We're on TV!

Sorry this is such short notice, but hopefully some of you subscribe to this blog and check it regularly enough that this will be helpful. CBS has decided to air our segment TOMORROW, May 29, on their Sunday morning news show.

The show itself goes from 9 to 10:30 AM, but we'll be in the last part of the show, sometime between 10 and 10:30. We'll be showing their correspondent Mo Rocca all of the steps involved with building a full-scribe log cabin, from peeling and drawshaving to scribing and chainsawing. Don't miss it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Let there be Light!

Little steps have led to big things out on the island the last couple weeks. Every project is brand new to us all... how to close up the gable ends, what grade of shingles to buy, how to cut a window, and how to attach said window...
But decision by decision we've either looked it up, made a well educated guess, or just took a shot in the dark with hope. And somehow it's pulling together!

The filming with Mo Rocca and CBS went very well... take a look at the below link for great photos and more info.

We thought they would air the episode this morning but it sounds like they decided to save it for later this summer... it's that good. Check back in here cause we'll post the air date when we know it! Don't miss it... believe me, you'll want to see Kodiak's chainsaw biceps on the big screen, hear Max's secrets exposed in his private interview, and laugh at Kevin's witty one-liners.

What went on behind the scenes? Chelsea worked. and worked. and worked... surprised? nope.
Jackie the dog (our resident Island Beast) burst into scenes like a demon and they then had to retake the shot.
And we all ate delicious lunches of falafel provided by the camera crew. Free food!... hey, I think I could get used to this Hollywood lifestyle....

Mo Rocca and his new chainsaw skills may become CBS's big deal but for all of us, the big moment of that day was cutting a new window.

Take a look back at previous posts. All that time and effort and sweat and labor into laying log by log  those beautiful walls. And what do we have to do to get a window?! ... Stick a chainsaw in and carve away!

We all held our breath and screamed together 'stop!' when the blade neared a marked boundary.
A few cuts, a couple thumps of the sledge hammer and poof! ... we have a window!!

Well, kind of. We then had a hole in the wall. The steps following proved to be more time consuming than we first thought. We had to trim the window to the exact size, cut the angle iron (which we of course cut wrong and had to recut with a frustratingly slow hacksaw), cut vertical grooves into the sides of the window for the angle iron which is attached to a 2x4. Then haul the window up there and pray that it fits.

But we've been lucky I think! (knock on wood... of which we have a lot) We now have two beautiful windows installed!

The gap you see above the window is room for settling which the cabin will continue to do. Without that space, we'd come out one day to a shattered window! That's also why we are using the angle iron in a groove to keep the windows in instead of nailing it straight to logs that are going to be moving. We'll be covering the settling space with a nice finishing board soon.

Soon we'll have six windows in! Two on either side, one on the front and one on the back.

Titcomb cabin is no longer a little black box where we needed headlamps to see anything! We have light!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Titcomb 2.0 continues

I got into Hanover yesterday evening for a short visit and caught up on the work the crew finished this fall and early this spring.

Some things haven't changed. Greg remains a compassionate and dedicated crew boss who encourages his crewlings with a gentle guiding hand.

When someone begins to lose steam (as is bound to happen amongst any group of people who works hard as these guys do), he has Jackie to take exhausted workers, lift them to their feet, and give everyone the energy to pick back up and move on.

Late last fall and in the early few weeks of spring the crew got the gable ends of the cabin covered up. Although most of the process won't be visible once it's all done there are lots and lots of steps that go into this. First, the empty spaces between the vertical logs are "framed" with 2x4s. Then the frames are filled with insulation and roughly covered with plywood. Here's a picture post-insulation and pre-plywood:

The finishing process is greatly complicated by the unfortunate shape of our logs. Our finishing material is straight and symmetrical with right corners. Our logs are lumpy, asymmetrical and otherwise log shaped. On the inside we're using shiplap, and each piece has to be custom cut to fit the shape of the gaps. Max seems to have both invented and perfected a technique to get this done in the same day. On the outside we're covering the gables with tar paper (to keep moisture out) and then shingles. Most of the shingles can be used as-is, but we're having to custom cut some of them to get them to fit nicely around the purlins and odd knots in the vertical posts.
Here you can see most of what's going on: the plywood on the left, and the shingles over tar paper on the right.

On the to-do list for the near future:

- finish the shingles on the front and back
- cover the inside gable ends and the exposed parts of the loft
- a real door! windows!
- a nice looking floor for the front porch and the inside
- furniture! a railing on the porch!
- installing the woodstove and accompanying brickwork

Stay tuned for more photos, updates, and perhaps some exciting media coverage.