Rough Cuts

Here’s a few photos of some exterior carpentry I’ve been doing over the past few months:

This flimsy frame construction hay shed, although clad in thin plywood prior to this photo, was in danger of collapsing.

So I decided to replace the frame walls with sturdy posts.

Here the post ends are cleaned of any remaining bark, preparatory to coating them with roofing tar as a preservative, and to protect the wood from being burned by the concrete

Roofing tar is really messy, sticky stuff.  Wear old clothing you won’t mind ruining

Posts are in place, concrete is setting…

End walls are gone..

A few scraps of 2 x 4 screwed to the rafters prevents the roof from sliding down when the front and rear frame walls are removed

All frame walls removed.  All that’s left is to affix hurricane ties to the rafters and beams.  This has been done, but I haven’t taken a photo yet, because I became too busy on the next project —

… a post and beam woodshed

Here are the posts in place:

I placed the posts for both the hay shed and the woodshed without using any mechanical assistance, or help from another human.

The technique is simple, and relies on simple leverage, gravity, and slippery tar.

  1. Place a sturdy length of dunnage, (a 4 X 4 square post), in the target hole, to stop the end of the post from sliding past the hole.
  2. Roll the post in position
  3. Lift the non-tarry end of the post — it will slide against the dunnage
  4. Keep lifting, and walk the post upright
  5. At a certain point, the post will slide right into the hole

Now brace the post upright, and start mixing concrete…

Placing the beams alone required a bit of ingenuity, and a piece of scrap 2 X 4 affixed to the top of a post.

  1. Lift one end of the beam, and set it on the notch you’ve previously cut with the chainsaw.
  2. Hold it temporarily in place with a length of dunnage you’ve leaned against the post. (You can see the dunnage in the background)
  3. Screw a piece of scrap 2 X 4 as a stop to prevent the end of the beam from slipping and falling out of the notch.  The beam is very heavy, so you don’t want the thing to come crashing down on your foot, or your dog!
  4. Now the one end is secure, lift the other end in place, and secure it temporarily with another scrap
  5. After checking to make sure the beam is reasonably level, drill holes for the large bolts, and fix the post ends to the beam.

One of the old posts was a bit too short, and had already been notched by someone.  Unfortunately the notch was too wide, so I placed a block of wood as a fill-in.

Beams, rafters and strapping in place.  Most of the structure was built from old material lying about the property.  The only new material required was some hardware, (screws, nails and tie-downs), and 1 X 4 strapping for the metal roof (also recycled!)

Two of the posts were much too short to notch, so I fabricated extensions from the cut-off end of one of the posts that had needed trimming.  I cut the angle to prevent any blown-in precipitation from settling in the cut, and possibly rotting the wood prematurely.


Next up:  A set of wide, comfortable stairs leading to the deck, and to the house entrance..

Here’s the end of the deck where the new stairs will come down, (or go up..)

Under the deck, I placed some 6 X 6 posts that had been salvaged from some ancient project.  Note the use of temporary hangers to hold the beam in place.

I used bolts to fasten heavy cleats to take the stair treads

The steps are constructed from the same rough-cut lumber I used for fabricating the beams on both sheds.  I also used the same lumber source to create the cleats, and the fasteners to hold the treads in place.

The fasteners are all screwed from underneath, so there are fewer places where moisture can enter to compromise the joints.

The rise is @ 6 and 3/4 inches, the treads are @ 20 inches wide, and the steps are @ 5 ft in width.

The steps are not quite finished; needing handrails, and perhaps a center support underneath — although they are very sturdy as is.

The last ‘step’ is temporary, and will likely be replaced by a deck of some kind.

Work on the stairs was halted due to increasingly bad weather, and they remain unfinished because I had to quickly complete another project:

A wheelchair ramp —

This ramp has a 1 in 24 slope.  It starts at nearly 4 feet above ground level, so the total length is more than 90 feet.

The ridiculously long ramp required two switch-backs.

Since the ramp design needed three support beams, the first section’s framework consists of nine rough-cut 2 X 8 beams, overlapped and bolted together as necessary.  The second section used 6, bolted in pairs.  The final section, which terminates on the ground, required three short, tapered lengths bolted to three long beams.

The higher, first section required special support at a point about 1/3 along.

A small landing was created, using 3 planks cut to fit the opening of the existing stairs, and a support framework, made from ripped and cut rough lumber was bolted in place.

The ramp is very sturdy, although has not been completely finished due to the really awful wet weather we’ve been experiencing here.

I plan to paint the plywood surface with an environmentally-friendly preservative, and add a few more finishing touches, including some additional bracing for the side rails.

A set of steps, and a gate, is planned for the convenience of those who don’t require the ramp, and who don’t want to take the long, winding route…

More pictures to come…

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