Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   boxes for the floaters
Friday, July 8 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I woke up early (around 6:30 am) and immediately did a few tasks. I transplanted some weeds (and even weed-trees) removed from planters in Hurley into the eroding slope north of the cabin to further accelerate the revegetation of that area. I also did a little work in the upstairs bathroom; Gretchen had pointed out that I'd installed one of the bi-fold closet doors upside down, and that needed to be fixed. Also, she wanted octopus pull handles on both of them, so I installed those as well.

Today I would be working from the cabin, so it was essential that the internet be better than it often is. After some fiddling around with the parabolic dish antenna, I managed to get download speeds of 17 mb/s and upload speeds of 1 mb/2, which is significantly better than the DSL we got by on in Hurley from 2004 to 2020. I never even told my remote-workplace colleagues that I was working from the cabin, and they were none the wiser. The work itself, though, was the usual kind of shit I get stuck doing: solving complicated problems where the testing cadence takes hours per test.
My mind was not on this stuff at all; what I'd been thinking about all week and what I was eager to start working on was the final step of building out the structure for the fully-floating section of dock. I'd already decided that this would involve a complex set of cuts so that additional pieces of framing running perpendicular to existing framing would lie in the same plane through the use of halving joints. (These wouldn't actually be true cross halving joints, since the void in one piece would be two inches deep and the void in the perpendicular one would be three and a half inches deep.)
I took several breaks in my workday to prepare for the work I would be doing this evening on the dock. This started with me driving a load of things for the dock down to the public dock (this included three ten foot two by sixes, two "zero gravity" chairs, and an all-steel table Gretchen wants to live on the floating dock once it is finished.
At noon, I walked down to our dock (where Gretchen and the dogs had already been for some hours) and used the canoe to retrieve the things I'd placed at the public dock. I also gathered some large stones from the lake bottom to further improve the dock abutment.

At the end of the workday, I immediately walked down to the lake and began implementing all the structural improvements I'd been planning in my head. I brought a large C-clamp so I could solidly position the two sistered two-by-sixes that I needed to install to catch a line of mounting tabs on the inside edge of the floaters that didn't quite coincide with an existing joist. When I had such a sistered piece in place, I could mark exactly where the holes for the floater-mounting lag bolts would go so they could be pre-drilled. Once this sistered piece was bolted into place, there would be no way to drill such holes without a waterproof drill. I also marked the places where I needed to cut voids for the cross-halving joint of the +two-by-six that would be running perpendicular to the joists along the inside perpendicular edge of the floater. For that I needed two-inch-deep voids in both the new joist sister and the one bisecting the floaters.
After much careful positioning, marking, and then cutting, I'd managed to create two sisters (each with two two-inch-deep cross-halving slots) and four perpendicular "joists" running the 46 or so inches along the inside length of each floater. (Each of these had an interior 3.5-inch-deep slot and a 3.5-inch-by-1.5-inch corner notch for the cross-halving joints.) Once the holes were drilled for the floater-mounting lag bolts, I banged all these pieces into place, and the various notches fixed them pretty firmly where they needed to be without any attaching hardware. But of course I'd be using lag bolts to secure the ends of the new cross-joist pieces, and there would be plenty of lag bolts coming up from below to attach the floaters.
The only real problem I encountered along the way was that the sisters didn't want to occupy precisely the same plane as the joists they were being sistered to. This was because the floaters (which, remember, were already floating) were pushing up past the joists that were slightly missing them just from the power of their buoyancy. I wasn't strong enough to force the sisters down against the floater, but I was able to solve the problem by using the big C-clamp as a vise which, as I tightened it, forced the sister down against the floater while lifting the dock's entire framework slightly. Once the sister was in the correct plane, I could then secure it with a series of hex bolts into the joist being sistered.
By then darkness was creeping in, so I held off on installing the many bolts that still needed installation. But getting the final carpentry done was a huge step. The result was little box-like frames atop (and along the permiter of) each floater to carry all of the floaters' buoyancy up into the dock's structure.

Back at the cabin, Gretchen had made a big meal of ravioli, which I scarfed up with my usual speed. I didn't eat quite as much as Gretchen or I expected, probably because I'd eaten about half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Colin-Kaepernick-themed non-dairy icecream "Change the Whirled." Gretchen was reading the label on it later this evening and saw that the pint contained an astounding 1200 calories.

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