Sunday, January 18, 2015

Copper Trilobite and Horseshoe Crab Escutcheon Plate

Who knew?  An Escutcheon Plate is a "a protective or ornamental plate or flange (as around a keyhole)" according to Webster.  Prior to leaving for a trip to New Mexico I rushed to install my dead bolts and I cut the holes in the wrong location... doh!!  Escutcheon plate it is.    

Here was the damage.  I had to glue the plug back in and re drill the hole...

Here is the solution, a trilobite!  I cut these our with a jeweler's saw and engraved them yesterday.

And one more.  I made 3 because only one door had a mis-cut hole, so I made interior plates for both doors, but only one exterior plate, the horseshoe crab.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lower Skokomish River Valley

 We got out to the skok for a partially sunny winter day last weekend.  When we first got down to the river there was a thick fog and the river was raging after flood condition rains a few days prior.

Joelle found a massive artist conch mushroom and we hiked it out for a beautiful, natural canvas.  More to come soon..

The gradient of color at this eddy was my favorite section of the hike..

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wiring, Insulation, and Vapor Barrier

I spent the holidays warm and dry inside the Leafspring.  I decided not to engage in the holiday extravelganza and instead was awarded the time to finish interior details that were long overdue.  It was chilly and wet for the last few weeks so I cleaned everything out of the trailer and drilled holes and ran wire.  I figured out all the electrical details, and was finally ready to insulate.

John Reese was one of the few to visit during the holidays.  Here is Christmas morning and John trying to avoid me insulating...

And with Joelle's return from LA, we were able to put up our vapor barrier.  The vapor barrier was a gift from my friend Joseph Becker.  He had it left over from a job and I only needed a small portion of the roll.

Recently, we found cork insulation at the restore for $5 a batt.  We bought 4 batts that were all about 2' x 4' and 2" thick.  Our plan was leave them exposed in the wall because the material is so cool.  Since it was in 2" thick sheets, I got 1 and 1/2" rigid foam insulation to place behind the cork insulation so the wall is the same thickness as the studs.  We left them exposed above the bench back as a head rest.  We did the ceremonial head butt and put them in place.  Below you can see the top of the bench back, and the transition to the exposed cork wall.

Here is another vantage of the exposed cork wall and new bench back.  Joelle and the moose are life models to show size.

Here are before and after shots of the bench area under the loft... 

The front/kitchen area with moisture barrier up...

Now the walls are up the place feels a lot smaller.  I kind of miss the exposed studs, but I also don't mind working in a t shirt while it is cold outside. There are only a few more pieces of siding to be installed on the back and a loft door to build, but the weather has transitioned me towards the interior.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Piano Pedal Light Switch and Custom Light Boxes

While working for Zyl Vardos, a fellow employee gifted me this old piano pedal.  She had used the rest of the piano internal parts in various building projects and she liked my idea of making a light switch with the pedal, so she gave it to me.  

I found a push button switch at Ace hardware for 8.99, so I made a little box out of hickory to hold the switch.

The switch turns on two LED light boxes that I made out of cedar and locust.  Here are pics with and without the flash... 

The LED lights were too bright so i made a diffuser with a ring of black walnut and white paper.  There are copper pipes holding the diffuser as stand-offs.

View from under the loft... 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Dynamics of Progression...

Exterior nears completion with 3 of 4 sides finished!  We have been working steadily on siding, fascias, and...

Door trim!

Progress is slow now that I am installing solar panels full time, but I had some time yesterday due to a back injury and I ripped open my thumb with a jig saw... Progress does not always seem to go in the desired direction... 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Copper Vent Cover Plates

For Joelle's birthday present we spent a day in the workshop with Bill Dawson making copper vent cover plates.  We designed two covers a few weeks ago and talked with Bill about the project.  

First we sheered two discs of 1 mm thick copper.

Here is a picture of the sheers.

Next we copied our designs from the sketch book using tracing paper, then glued them on to the copper discs using rubber cement.  Then we used center punches to lay out all of the drilling.

With a jewelers saw and a bench pin we cut out the negative space of the designs.  

Once the negative space was removed we used chasing punches to imprint designs.

Bill demo-ed different punches and their different uses.  When you make custom punches, you have a lot of options...

Here is Joelle's two headed snake, so far...

Complete and installed universe vent cover on western red cedar.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Still Siding...

The rain screen siding is almost complete, here are the process pics...

Midway through the process, the fall showers brought a big shitake harvest!  Joelle's sister Heidi and her boyfriend Issac inoculated these alder logs with shitake plugs 2 years ago and they are producing their first fruits!  

Now the house is surrounded with shitake logs...

My friend Bill Dawson has been work trading with me on building projects and he came over last weekend to button up the roofing on the hips.  We are almost ready for fascias. 

The front of the house is complete and now I just have to finish siding the loft.  I may get to it today, but part of my day will be hanging fascias and gutters on a new roof over Bill's back porch.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Slug Love

I woke up early for work this morning and when I walked outside there were 2 leopard slugs making love.  They were hanging, suspended from a table, slowly lowering from a string of goo.  They have spectacular sexual organs that glow like bioluminescence in the early morning light.  As they wrap together they dance like flamenco dresses in slow motion.  The I got a bowl of cereal and sat with Py to watch the show...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rain Screen Siding

I have been installing the rain screen bevel siding for the last few days in a last ditch effort to get the exterior finished before the rains begin. Here are some process pics of the installation for other people who are interested in the rain screen exterior siding.  After each piece of bevel siding is put on the house I brush on clear Penofin finish and make sure not to put any Penofin anywhere there is silicon caulk. Once the caulk dries I will go back and coat the wood that was not finished.   

I decided to weave the boards on the end corners for aesthetic value and to stagger the seam to help repel water.  It took longer to do it this way instead of putting on corner trim and butting the siding to the trim.  I noticed that this was how Wharton Esherick's home/studio was built and I was inspired to go the extra mile and weave the corner boards when I saw the result of the detail on Wharton's house.   

The other detail that took some thought and detail finish work was the stops for the windows.  I made them out of Black Locust boards that are ripped to 3/8" thickness.  I installed them so they stuck out far enough for the siding to butt against.  It worked well and the locust adds a nice look that ties together the door jambs and the window stops.  I would like to attribute this building detail to Joseph Becker who gave me the idea.  I am most pleased with the in-set windows because they add further protection from rain, which is always my biggest concern.  

Last night, I finally got the gumption to cut the final hole in the house, so I cut out and framed in the back loft door that needed to be completed before I could finish siding the back end of the house.  I don't have any pics of this yet, but as soon as I finish siding, and building the last small door I will put up photos.  We had heavy rains this morning, so I will work on interior stuff today and hopefully I can finish siding before Tuesday when I start a new job...  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Squirrel

Joelle went for a walk and found this little fella on the path all cold and curled up.  We've been keeping him warm...

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Mexico

We visited Joelle's sister and her boyfriend, Heidi and Isaac, for a week after our time in Arizona.  They are woofing on an organic farm in Llano, New Mexico, about 30 miles South of Taos.  The farm is called Box Car Farm because it hosts a little home built out of an old Santa Fe train car.  The family who owns the farm lived in the box car for the first few years they farmed the property and now Avram's mom, Pat, lives there.

Box Car Farm grows over 20 varieties of Garlic and lots of veggies.  We worked on the farm for a few days and helped trim and clean lots of garlic so Avram can practice his art form of garlic braiding.  Here is an intern Keyin, building a garlic wall... 

We spent an evening in the Rio Grande Hot Springs and ran into some big horn sheep on our hike down the gorge. 

It is the monsoon season in New Mexico right now so there are big thunder showers.  It has been a particularly wet year and these rains bring mushrooms. We spent lots of afternoons mushroom hunting!  Heidi and Isaac are fun-guys at heart and love to forage their supper.  Isaac is pictured below with our mushroom booty.  

King Boletes or Porcini mushrooms are highly desirable and we found a few big specimens pictured below.

Heidi is cooking up some Ferry Ring mushrooms which grow all over the fields and pastures.

There were seemingly endless numbers of Juniper trees.  They are small trees that have wild windblown hairdos and vibrant grain.  The grain color is reddish, organish, pinkish, and each piece has different hues. I carved this cooking spoon from a piece of split firewood.  Heidi was also fermenting a traditional soda made from Juniper berries called Smerka.    

We milked goats in the morning and filled our coffee brews with fresh milk.  Below is Joelle and I milking Cherry.  Heidi made fresh chevre cheese some mornings with a portion of the milking.  This creamy delight compliments any meal and pushed our farm cuisine to the level of decadence.  

Crossing streams...

The sunsets were not half bad either...