Raisin’ The Rafters!

Up went the 3rd RPSL. The one that will be in the center of our house, that helps hold up our ridge log…the peak of our roof.

It was ANYTHING but easy. It started out with drilling a hole in the bottom of the log, just like we did in the other vertical logs. The concrete pyramid that we poured Friday had rebar sticking out of it, just like the other concrete pyramids.

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We put the strap around the log, and up it went, into the house. So far, so good…

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That’s when the easiness abruptly ended and the stress came to the surface.

Some have asked if the last vertical log should have gone up before the horizontal Ridge pole. Thats a very logical question! Heres the answer: The Ridge pole needed to go up before the last vertical pole, because the Ridge log is needed to hold up the top end of the vertical RPSL log. The RPSL couldn’t stand there independently without falling over, if not held in place at both top and bottom. Makes sense, eh?

Buuuuut, with the Ridge log in place, how do you insert the RPSL on top of the concrete pyramid, down upon the rebar, and then slide it under the firmly rooted Ridge? Hmmm…. It was quite the enigma, and the perfect time for God to show off His timing, yet again.

Steve and I were stumped (no pun intended). He said that we maybe needed to call Jacob (our miracle neighbor) and see if he could help. But, we waited. Maybe we could figure it out ourselves. He stared at it. (And stared at it.) I’m sure there were little wheels turning in every which direction in his head. But, not one of those wheels was producing a solid answer.

Then it happened! Jacob walked up! (Seriously!!) How convenient, right???

Jacob analyzed the situation, and the two men started bouncing ideas off each other. Before long, I was placed behind the wheel of my “other love” (T-Rex), and I had a VERY hard job at hand. It’s one thing to operate a telehandler, with it’s several handles and controls, and remember which direction to push and pull them, how carefully to do it so as to not move it to abruptly, causing potential disaster. But, NOW I had to operate it BLIND!

Keep in mind, the RPSL log is INSIDE the very, very tall walls of the house. I am outside working over a VERY loud motor. I can’t see the hand signals that I’ve become used to…like a finger pointing to the sky to go “up”, a finger pointing to me for “back in”, or away for “out”, etc.

Instead, I can barely hear “OU!” Does that mean “OUT” (moving boom away from me, reaching it out), or “DOWN”, moving the huge boom and log down towards the ground? Hmmmm. YIKES!!!!!

I can’t see the log, or even the Ridge pole. I can’t see anything. So, I placed Reiley on the ground, under the log wall, and told her to give me hand signals based on Steve’s shouts. Here was my view from the wheel.

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In the picture above, can you see through the wall? See what I mean? Can you see Reiley squatting under the wall, waiting to give me commands? I was STRESSED OUT! This next picture was my other view.

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Not much better, huh? Where’s the log? Where’s the Ridge pole? That top log you see is the top log of our wall. Where is Steve? Where’s the pyramid? I’m literally bind, can’t hear, and am operating an enormously powerful machine, lowering, moving, raising, and tiling a log that weighs 3000 pounds or more, suspended by a strap, hovering over my husband and neighbor.  If I knock the machine or log into the Ridge pole, will I knock it down? Will I accidentally shake the RPSL out of its strap? The pressure was on…and just kept going.

Here are the pics Reiley took for me from under the wall while I moved the log. The guys were trying to slip the log onto the rebar on the pyramid, move the top towards the Ridge, and yell the instructions for each to Reiley. It was entirely up to me to move the log the “hair” this way or that way, or the inches or feet this way or that.

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They had no problem getting the log onto the rebar. But found it impossible to get it under the Ridge. Centering it underneath was just not happening…easily.

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They finally decided it was time to trim off an inch at the top. Up went the ladder. Time for a precarious balancing act on a shaky telehandler with a chainsaw. But the inch came off!

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Next came nailing in the rebar. But, is life ever that simple? No.

It entered the vertical log in the wrong place. Time to cut the rebar. Time to start again. Can you see him way up there, nailing in the rebar? All done!

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While we were in the midst of it all, Dixie and Sue came to visit. Can you see Dixie laying down under the wall, and Sue standing (in black pants to the left, behind the 1st pyramid), trying to peak through the logs? It was great timing, actually. Dixie helped pass along Steve’s telehandler commands to me.

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As Steve was finishing up, his sister and her family came out to see us, too. That was good timing, as well. At that point in time, Jacob was pulling a rope around the RPSL, with Steve ready to hammer the rebar into it. They wanted me to make sure the log was centered and straight up and down. I needed Stan (my brother-in-law) to field one angle while I took the other. Done!

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Next up….another set of rafters! Reiley and I jumped on board T-Rex, and up we went, pulling it up with us! As soon as we started going up, Reiley got a bit nervous. I thought it was hilarious.

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Up, up we went! Just like the uphill climb of a roller coaster, the 4 x 10 dragging beneath us and in front of us. In this picture, the rafter is just about to go over the Ridge.

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With the rafter extending over the Ridge about 5 feet, it was now my job to lean over the side, 40 feet up, and remove the hooks of the strap. I have to take the strap with me to the other side of the roof, and hook one end on the end of the rafter, and one to the fork of the telehandler, so that T-Rex can pull the complete rafter into place.

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In the picture above, the rafter we just lifted up onto the Ridge is the one on the left. Notice that the rest of it is dangling down to the ground. This is where I go to the other side of the house, go up to the Ridge in T-Rex, put the strap onto the tip of the rafter that is sitting up there, and Steve will back up T-Rex and pull in the boom, pulling the rafter to us. Then, it will be in place!

That was our method for several of them. But then we got to the middle of the house where the trees gathered. We couldn’t fit T-Rex in there. Plan B.

We slid them onto the end of the house and then pushed them towards the middle. Here are pics of the process;

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Only 4 more to go!

Here are pics of Tool Girl eager to help Daddy, if tools are involved.  They’re putting together 2 ends of 2 4×10’s…drilling a hole through both, sliding an althread through both, connecting them, bolting both ends, and prepping the joined rafter to be placed onto the Ridge at that joint they just made:

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As I sit here writing this blog post on my cell phone, while sitting on the ground inside the house, Steve and I heard a loud vehicle coming near. Loud voices came from it, and the brakes squeaked. It was the school bus loaded with kids slowing down for the kids to see the log home! It cracks us up.

A couple days ago, a car came down the road and slowed down as it came closer. The windows were down. We heard, “Cool!! That is so cool!!”

We had two visitors today. And several friends on Sunday. Thank you Comeaux family and Trowbridges for coming out to visit.  Here was my view of them all as I was sitting on T-Rex, fully extended in the air…just relaxing…not working.

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Can you see them way up on T-Rex?  In the picture above…Steve takes me WAY ABOVE those tree tops for me to sit and enjoy the view up in the sky.  It’s my favorite spot.

We reached the end to another day.  Can’t wait for the sun to come up again…

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To go to the next post, click here: “The Bad ‘s’ Word”.

If you’re new to this blog and don’t know what it’s about, click here: “What is Cottonwood Creek”. If you want to just start reading our story from the beginning, click here: Welcome to Cottonwood Creek. If you want to read about our log home build from the beginning, click here: What do Vegas and logs have in common?

4 thoughts on “Raisin’ The Rafters!

  1. Yes, never thought I was a heavy equipment kind of person (!) Bit of a change from my former life as a college prof, but that’s part of the fun. For all their force and noise, those big machines do need a delicate touch to operate safely, so it’s a natural job for a woman, I think.

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  2. I am really enjoying your blog and this is one post that I can identify with 100%! I operate the crane while my husband positions the logs and pounds the rebar. We use walkie-talkies when we can’t see each other, but sometimes he has no hands free to operate the thing, or he pushes the button– sort of– and I only hear half a syllable. What was that again? Scary…

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