After two days filled with bunches of tiny tasks, the shop takes shape. There’s still too much slop to swap to be a ship shape shop (ok, I’ll stop), but I did make some progress. The toolbench now has a top, a line of tools (mini-lathe, drill press, belt/disk sander, grinder, and clamp rack), and a number of yet -to-be-organized piles of accessories and related tools.
Yesterday, I started attaching the feet to each of the 5 posts for the lumber loft. My clever plan was to clamp the posts vertically between a pair of 2×4s held by a pair of jaw-horses. after carefully balancing 4 posts on end between the 2×4s, I clamped the jaw horses and got ready to start adding the feet. The post at one end of the line was a little too close to the stirrup on the jaw horse, (start the suspenseful music) so I unclamped the jaw horse to adjust the spacing of the 4 posts. 8’ 4×4s do not like being balanced on end; perhaps it reminds them of the good old days when they were a happily growing tree. One of the posts decided to return to the horizontal, and the line of posts did its imitation of a slow motion line of very tall, very skinny, very heavy dominoes. That might have been interesting to watch if my arm hadn’t been in the middle of the stack. Anyway, at that point the term one-at-a-time popped into my head. (A number of less pleasant terms popped out of my mouth, but we won’t go there.)
One at a time, I clamped up the posts making sure it was plumb, I glued and clamped the halves of the foot together around the base of the post and drove a 6” long 1/4” lag bolt through the post into the foot. (Tip: I pondered how to be sure the lag bolt would drive into the foot, then with a forehead slap, I marked the thickness of the foot (a 2×6) onto the base of the post and drilled from below the line at an angle that would come out the other side of the post above the line. Driving the lag bolt in the opposite direction ensured a hit.) While the glue was drying on the center post foot, I drilled a 7/8” hole through the sides of the mortise, reassembled the truss and center stile, marked the hole on the tenon, disassembled the truss and drilled the tenon slightly off the center so when I drove the dowel through the joint it would pull it tight. In a perfect world that would have worked. In my world, the tenon hole was too far off center, the opposite sides of the mortise hole didn’t line up perfectly, and when I drove the dowel through, it blew out the back side. A little sawing, chopping, cussing, rasping, and gluing and it is as good as… No, it’s still a mess, but it will hold.
I e-mailed John to see when he could come back to help assemble the loft, and went off to buy the pegboard and shelving lumber (and a few more pounds of drywall screws). When I got back to the shop, I added a temporary foot to the center post/truss/stile assembly so it would stand free. With all 5 posts standing around looking confused and disorganized, I couldn’t help myself. I positioned the posts where I thought I wanted them and bridged the end pairs of posts with their stiles, and dropped a short 2×4 scrap in the slots where the rails will go. I screwed on 4’x4’ sheets of pegboard on each end pair to stabilize the ends and keep them from racking.
At this point I first realized how big 8’x4’x8’ really is, and how much that center post with truss and stile looks like a gibbet. I also realized how much I wanted to get up on the ladder, knock out the alignment 2×4 scraps, and fit the rails to the post/stile assemblies. After all what’s the worst that could happen?
When I ask that question, I often find that I really don’t like the answer. Remembering yesterday’s domino experience, and how I spent the evening picking splinters out of my forearm, I decided to put away tools, sweep up the shop and wait for more hands before trying to line up and pound into place the 3 simultaneous joints on the 8’ 2×4s 8’ above the concrete shop floor.
I guess I’ll need to spend my shop time next week building the shelves and cabinets to hang above the toolbench and under the lumber loft. I also better hide the ladders from myself.
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