Friday, December 10, 2010

February 2008

I was greeted with lots of snow when I arrived in Monroe in February of 2008. I plowed the driveway again with my John Deere taking care to leave a nice clear wide pathway up to the house.
It was time to begin construction of the roof. I bought several rough cut 2X8s from my neighbor Peter Cormier, some measuring 14 feet to accommodate a long overhang. I used 2X6 rafters for the short south facing side of the roof and the 2X8s for the long spans. In each of the rafters I made dove-tail cuts so that the frame of the walls would meet the rafters with a flush surface for strong support. I made all my cuts with the Stihl chainsaw. I would usually gather and mark several pieces of lumber together to make many cuts at once while the saw was running. I got pretty good at making clean square cuts with the chainsaw by using the bar as a strait-edge.
In order to build supportive overhangs on the sloped sides of the roof, I built the corner sections together each as one piece that when dropped into place locked together with the overhanging 2X8 rafters along the northern edge. I reinforced them with 2X4 frames all the way around.
Meanwhile the snow fell gently around me as I worked. Sometimes the snow fell hard enough to bury my tools as soon as I put them down! I finished framing the roof at the point where I wanted to have a large 3'X3' skylight that opened and closed. This came courtesy of the Truro dump. I was still unsure how I would install it so that it didn't leak.
Another thing I did was install a proper metalbestos chimney. It mounted to the rafters with steel brackets that swiveled so that it could adjust to any roof pitch. Metalbestos is insulated pipe that feels only warm to the touch when exhausting smoke from the stove. This way it can exit the roof without being a fire hazard.

Now I could lay the OSB sheathing on top of the rafters. I was getting close to having a roof but I was running out of time with only one day left of my trip. I was only able to cover roughly three quarters of the rafters with sheathing and waterproof felt paper before my time was up. The snow fell so continuously at this stage that I kept loosing track of where I had stapled or nailed because of the ever present layer of snow that I could not wipe away fast enough. I wanted so badly to finish. I worked up until the last moment on my last day. A big section on the northeast corner where I planned to put the skylight and an opening over the dormer were still left unfinished. This left the house still open to the elements and that's how it would have to stay for now.

Though I was sleeping on a mildewed couch huddled next to a wood stove with no electricity or running water and shitting in an outhouse at 10 degrees F, the greatest struggle has always been with my impatience. I would eat soup from the can because I could not waste the precious little time I had to prepare meals or wash dishes. There is so much to do! At times I feel overwhelmed at the extraordinary amount of work there is to accomplish in such limited amounts of time. If I had the capacity to completely realize just how much work was involved before I started, I may never have begun. I guess in some cases it's good to be short sighted.

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