Block Arrival and Timber Beginnings

The blocks have landed. These things are massive. All in all I have 32 – 5′ blocks, 12 – 6′ blocks, and 4 – 3′ blocks. It took 3 trips with a tractor trailer to ship them all. Before the blocks arrived a crane was on site ready to move them off the trailer.

On the second round of unloading the blocks, the crane started leaking fluid badly and the operation had to be halted for the day. The next day, the third round came and a tractor was used to unload the rest of the blocks. The tractor won’t be able to place the blocks in the hole, but the crane will once it’s fixed.

Something noted on the blocks is that some of them are not exactly 2′ thick. Some are an inch over or under. However, all of them are precise in their length, so we shouldn’t have any problems when we go to lay them… shouldn’t. The corner blocks have the V attachment notches coming from different directions to allow the blocks to sit flush and insure they don’t move once in place. They’re really setup to do quite a nice job.

I also made a few additions to the home site. I added a 4″ sch. 40 line to go underneath the wall for the future septic tank line and a 2″ line coming from the top side so I have a place to feed the main water line once I’m ready for it.

While waiting for the blocks to arrive in the past couple weeks, I’ve begun to work some of the timbers. This, my friends, is one of the most enjoyable activities I have ever done. It’s woodworking on steroids. The first 2 timbers I worked on were the sill plate for the long side of the house and the gable side. The gable side sill only has 2 tenons on each end that connect into the mortise of the long sill.

I was sure to use oak for the sill members as they can withstand moisture a little better than poplar. The other timber, the sill plate for the long side was a behemoth of a timber, an 8″ x 8″ x 20′ long piece of red oak. This timber also required many many mortises: 2 mortises for the tenon posted above, 3 mortises for the posts, and 9 mortises for the floor joists. It took me 6 hours to complete.

The floor joists taper down to 4″ x 4″ from a 4″ x 6″ dimension where it meets the sill plate. I needed 9 of them total.

As you can see, the majority of my time will be spent on these timbers. Faith and I are still debating on how we should finish them. Right now an option we’re seriously considering is Shou Sugi Ban, which is a form of finishing that burns the wood giving it a very dark stain look once brushed and sealed. Hopefully we’ll come to a resolution soon. The clock is ticking.

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