May, 2005

May is just about over, and boy are we glad that it is. We have spent most of the month at the ranch. Being there reassures us that our judgment was sound to buy the ranch and build a house there. Beauty everywhere you turn, silence, isolation - all good things in our book. However, the month was also brutal because of the sheer amount of work we faced. We worked like slaves for about 15 days to put the roof on. Here are some more pics of the roofing saga.

One of the challenges of nailing T&G (tongue and groove for the uninitiated) is getting the boards tight. The boards are often slightly warped, adding to the challenge. This is a little tool I whipped up in the garage, which has been nicknamed the "whammer-jammer" bar. It provides abundant leverage to push the new board tight to the already nailed-down deck. A commercial version is called the "bowrench", but conveniently is sold by mail-order only, and I needed it now. So, an hour in the garage, some scraps of steel tubing, and you've got working replica.
The forklift tines we showed last time weren't up to the task of getting enough wood to the roof at one time. Here's the improved version, capable of holding about 20 boards at a pop, which is about 1/2 of a bay on the roof.

Once you get enough of the deck on, you can bring the tools onto the deck, which is critical to efficiently cutting the myriad boards of unique size required to fill the triangles at the start and end of each bay. One such triangle is visible just past Elaine.

Here you can see Elaine cleaning the boards. Supposedly "appearance grade", the wood need cleaning, either with soap and water or a sander, before being nailed down.  This was an incredible pain in the butt, but no doubt better than cleaning overhead after the wood was installed.

Because of the ever-lingering fear of rain, we nailed down plastic as we went along. There was also a failed attempt to staple roofing paper, which just ripped in the wind.


By the 9th we had finished the main house. All the tools are gathered by the final triangle, which is where we had been parking the Gehl to bring up the wood and would soon be used to lower the tools to the ground.  After nailing the triangle closed, we covered the rest of the deck with plastic.

A close look (better in the above pic) shows a rope holding the ladder. We had a moment of panic early on when we were both on the roof and a gust of wind nearly blew the ladder down. After that, we tied a rope to the ladder and nailed a cleat over the rope.

May - part II