Lake Erie Auto Barn- Days 4-5

It has been a frenetic few days completing both the upper beam yesterday and cutting, assembling and raising all the roof trusses by this afternoon.  The crew is relentlessly enthused and never stop–like Energizer Bunnies–and for the first time in years I actually look forward to stopping at (or before) the end of the day.  Today was tough on all of us with hot and humid weather after drizzling the entire night baking us in bright sun the entire afternoon.  We were determined to finish setting the rafters however–so as punctual as they are–we all worked just a bit late to get them up and stopped at 4:00….

I had slept poorly last night after failing to protect myself from table saw and router dust while prepping the upper beam–so I staggered out late after three hours’ sleep to set up the rafter templates and blocking systems.  As experienced as they are–the way we do things usually defies most conventions–so there was a significant explanation time going over the roof system MO….but by late morning everything was cut and ready to go and they even repaired the too high gable upper beam blocking the Lake Erie view….which will also function as a integral structural component of the cantilevered 6×12 deck.  We are blessed with a thoughtful and attentive to detail client with whom I spent a half hour last night rigging up a makeshift chair to determine that the upper beam was indeed precisely located at exactly the wrong height…… the decision to lower it was blatantly obvious.  I am grateful for not only his insight and perspicacity but also the kind and gentle ways he brings these matters to my attention–and handles well those times when I disagree with him.  This is the stuff of which healthy relationships and great projects are made…they are never a one man show and would be severely limited as such.

I was also blessed yesterday with the well being activated–so now we have (still sandy) water along a 200′ hose from the barn to the camper–affording a solar heated hot shower after an exhausting marathon day….life is indeed good and even better feeling clean.


Lake Erie Auto Barn- Day 3

We arrived with the Volvo and the camper towing the tool trailer with Evan’s motorcycle inside–to the awaiting tractor trailer from Bethel Mills and a decrepit forklift that barely did the job and would have utterly failed without the services of an on site tractor to pull it out of the sand every fifteen minutes or so….

After the offload and siting the camper on a steep bluff overlooking the lake 200′ below, we hit the ground running the following morning when our client sourced Amish crew showed up promptly at 7:00 am (driven by a hired driver since none of them own or drive cars) with a huge tool trailer–mercifully filled with power tools….8-) We went over the plans for this good size but not overly complicated building and without further ado they set out to work….and it was all I could do to keep up/ahead of them with layout and prepping for each next stage. Rarely have I seen such an amazing work ethic and competence–with good humor and kindness to boot. The last three days are a bit of a blur….it has been hard to sleep, I have gotten quite sunburned, and managed to hit my head at least a half dozen times on the makeshift scaffolding using boards as opposed to the manufactured ramps…plenty safe for the guys on the platforms but less so for us at eye level….:-\ …. I feel as if I am working on a barn raising in the movie “Witness”–with some of the finest carpenters and men I have ever met.

The building is pretty good size at 30×48 and when we checked the diagonals for square we were 3/16″ off and by three o’clock today we had three quarters of the sheathing on the floor system….The crew work like good natured machines and no one ever stands to catch their breath or wondering what to do other than myself but as they kindly pointed out–they are half my age–as if I needed any reminders! This has been most encouraging–to show up after a day long trip in a totally strange place to meet an unknown crew for the first time and hit the ground running and get more done in three days than I would have anticipated in a full week….this is going to be a great build. Every day we have lunch overlooking the lake–and thank God for the beauty of this place and the good work before us.