Porch Building...Finally!

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Blog entry by JohnnyMike posted 03-12-2013 03:03 AM 2294 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The front of our house is built four feet off the ground (the back is about 7 1/2 feet up.) For the first four months we simply had a ramp made out of one of the rounds from a tree I had previously slabbed. The ramp was a pain, but it was just a ton of work to get all the lumber I needed to build the porch. I had to hike about an hour up the mountain behind my house to get to some Pine trees that grow on the ridge in order to slab them. Carrying the Stihl 066, mill, gas, oil, etc up the mountain was a ton of fun, let me tell you. Carrying all the lumber back down was a barrel of monkeys, too!

Anyway, I had a lot of trouble slabbing this time, just due broken chains, weird knots in the wood, sweat flies (here’s a video that shows these suckers! )

The majority of the floor was done out of cedar, and just a little was done from a wood called “Ton.” Sorry I have no idea what the English name is. The frame and joists were done of mostly Pine, but some Ton, as well.

This is the first time I’ve ever framed anything completely by myself. I’m alright when I have a boss telling to “Go do this” or “Go do that,” but I realize now that I have SSSOOOOO much left to learn. There was just tons of mistakes on this project. Working with wet, crooked lumber didn’t help either. I don’t know when I will be able to slab siding for my house, but hopefully within the next couple months. Ok, here are some pictures.

The work-horse…the saw, not me.

You real carpenters will laugh at this, I know. Nothing is really finished out…just rough. But it does well for our bush house.

These are the shoes I have to wear to hike the mountains here in Hewa. There is some super rough and steep terrain here.

And just in case anyone is interested, here is a short video showing where we get our water in Hewa…

-- John Michael George,

7 comments so far

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2249 days

#1 posted 03-12-2013 03:36 AM

After seeing this, fighting the traffic to go to Home Depot looks like a breeze. It is a bit scarey to see a chain saw that size in the hands of someone wearing flip flops. I respect your building capabilities where your at and wish you the best of luck. It looks like your off to a good start.

View JohnnyMike's profile


34 posts in 2146 days

#2 posted 03-12-2013 03:40 AM

Ha! Yeah, I don’t wear the flip flops when operating. I had actually just gotten back from hiking lumber down the mountain and had taken my boots off. My feet were worn out big time. You have no idea how much I long for a Home Depot!

-- John Michael George,

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3085 days

#3 posted 03-12-2013 02:00 PM

Those leather/fabric calks (pronounced corks) shoes did not make sense at first until I remembered the
climate, Leather White and/or Buffalo boots would not last too long in that climate. That place may be a
little rough looking, but at least it is a house and a great place to take your boots off to let them dry out
at the end of day while you relax with good screens to keep out all those friendly insects. I realize there
are lots of improvements people will think should be made on that water supply, but at least you and your
friends do not have to hike up that hill and haul the water down to get a drink or get clean at the end of
a long hot day. I notice you have solar panels on the roof, and propane for cooking/refrigeration? How
far is this bush house from the nearest trail? Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View JohnnyMike's profile


34 posts in 2146 days

#4 posted 03-12-2013 02:58 PM

Yeah, we have about 1,300 watts of solar panels and run 8, L-16 batteries. Our stove is run on LP gas, but our fridge freezer is a chest style that runs off of 12 or 24 volt (though we run a 24 volt system.)

Our water is run through a solar hot water heater that you can see on the roof as well. The spring we get our water from is about 100 ft above our house and about 200 meters away (at least I think I can’t remember how much pipe I had to run.) Because the head pressure we don’t have to run a pump and that has helped our powers system to perform pretty well so far. We’ve been really pleased…relatively, anyway.

Our house is about a 2-day hike away from the nearest village that has an airstrip. I’ve made the hike before, but it’s just too difficult for my family to make (wife and 3 young daughters.) So, we typically fly into that village that has the airstrip on a Cessna 206 and then catch our mission’s chopper, a Lone Ranger, the rest of the way to our village.

-- John Michael George,

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2007 days

#5 posted 03-12-2013 04:44 PM

Wow. Thank you (and your family) for the work you do. God BLESS you!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2864 days

#6 posted 03-12-2013 04:58 PM

Pretty impressive amount of adapting you have done there. Keep up the good work.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile (online now)

Kaleb the Swede

1834 posts in 1969 days

#7 posted 03-12-2013 10:00 PM

You sir are doing ever so much more important work than just woodworking. I am deeply humbled at what you are doing and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. “Ye that have done the least of these my brothers you have done it unto me.” Thank you for this work ever so much

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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