Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dear Diary, Meet Stradivarius

I Just realized looking back through some of these old posts that this was the closest thing I have to a journal (sad) so I had better try to get back to it a little more in order to have at least a sparse documentation of our life.

Here is what the cabin looks like now:

I found a farmer in Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette (about 10 miles away) that had a nice stand of white pines up on the mountain.  I purchased 45 of them.  They grow stronger and straighter up on the mountain because of the adverse winds and cooler conditions.  I recently heard that some researchers suspect this was the secret to the Stradivarius violin.  They found that during that time period Europe was going through a mini ice age which made the trees grow slower, which means they annual growth rings are closer together creating a harder, denser than average wood.

Here is what the logs looked like after felling the trees, removing the bark and then hand planing the cambium layer off.

The start of the dry fit of the logs

Then I rented a crane, dismantled the cabin and labelled the logs, and drove the 15 km up the road to where I had made the foundation the year before.  The crane was there a day and a half as we placed the logs 1 by 1.

A couple weeks later I was able to get  up there and frame in the roof and dormer with the help of my friend the carpenter.

For weeks I worked on the upstairs with no floor to stand on.  It was scary carrying materials and working while having to always make sure you were stepping on the part of the plank that wouldn't give way between the floor joists.  I never got comfortable with it but did it anyway.  I love the views of the lake out the windows. They are electric greens and blues.

The windows and doors were made by my friend Fritz.  He is a german master craftsman and has taught me things about wood I had no idea man had discovered.  They have tilt and turn german hardware and are made of Mohagany.  Low E argon insulated glass, 3 coates of stain before any hardware or glass is installed and all for the price of the cheap white pvc window.  He bought an old mine 2 villages up the highway and has set it up with many German, Italian and Japanese industrial machines for planing, joining, sawing etc.  He even has a machine that takes all his sawdust and compresses it into wood bricks for his stove.  He also makes his own biodiesel.  He tells me that when I am ready, he will supervise me and allow me to make our kitchen on his machines.  His company is called "Boiserie Traditionel"

Next I had the sawmill across the road saw some nice thick pine beams so we could build a nice rustic staircase.  The floor is concrete.  After this photo was taken I had some professionals come in and diamond grind the concrete to a shiny polished smooth surface.  It looks very earthy but clean.  You can see little pebbles in it almost like there was an inch of epoxy on top.

Below is the side that faces the lake.  We put a nice porch on it to watch the thunderstorms.  In this photo we can see the roof jacks and safety boards are still on the roof.  I had just finished installing the roof.  The roofing material looks exactly like a cedar shingle but it is made of 100% recycled polyolefin plastic.  It will last well over a century with no maintenance required.  It is good to keep this material out of the landfill too.

Below is a shot of the porch.  Eventually when everything else gets done I plan to find a way to screen it in for mosquito season.

Here I've added all of the insulation, vapour barrier and tongue and grove panelling to the ceiling upstairs, drywalled in the interior walls, and I guess I'd better explain the fish since you've no doubt been straing at it.  Because this side of the house has a long shed dormer that runs the length of the building, the purlin on this side of the house isn't symmetrical with the purlin on the back side of the house.  So we put in 2 fake purlins.  So from the outside it looks symmetrical but since it is fake, we didn't run it right through the house.  Instead there was just 6 feet of log sticking out into the room on either end of the cabin.  So I had a buddy who does chainsaw carvings come in and do a pike in this room nd a trout in the other room.  I like it.  Jenn thinks its a little wonky.  The way I see it, if she wins and we cut it down I can NEVER have my way.  If I win and we keep it up, she can still get her way one day down the road.

I found an old beech tree that had been cut and sitting for a couple of years.  I brought it to the mill and had some posts sawn.  Brought it to see Fritz with the design I wanted and he set me free on his machines to make the kitchen.  This is the rough frame of the island.

My poor family has shared me with the cabin for so long that we decided to change it from a work site to something somewhat livable.  Now we all go and enjoy the cabin together.  We've even rented it a bunch of times by word of mouth.  However, I am finding that with everything in there, and the will to enjoy it, my progress on the finishing has slowed to a trickle.

We named the company that will rent and maintain the cabin Chalet Life.  the website is Chaletlife.com.

We named the building "Nauvoo Haus".  It is a little German twist to a building that was commissioned to be built in Nauvoo in the mid 19th century as a hotel / guesthouse for any travellers who were coming to discover the Mormon settlement in Illinois.  It was to be dedicated to be a "delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveller that he may contemplate the glory of Zion" (Doctrine and Covenants 124: 60)

Here are the verses in section 124 that deal with Nauvoo House.  I liked learning about it and thought there were many parallels with what I wanted this place to be.

 22 Let my servant George, and my servant Lyman, and my servant John Snider, and others, build a ahouse unto my name, such a one as my servant Joseph shall show unto them, upon the place which he shall show unto them also.
 23 And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary atraveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord; and the bcornerstone I have appointed for Zion.
 24 This house shall be a healthful habitation if it be built unto my name, and if the governor which shall be appointed unto it shall not suffer any pollution to come upon it. It shall be holy, or the Lord your God will not adwell therein.
 56 And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding ahousewhich I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.
60 And let the name of that house be called aNauvoo House; and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this, the cornerstone thereof;

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