Barn Looking Good

The barn framing is getting close to being finished!  I’ve got all of the roof and wall sheathing on, and nailed according to spec.  I need to install some Simpson anchors under the upstairs roof, a bit of blocking downstairs, and then I should be ready for a framing inspection!   I’m excited!   🙂


This weekend I used up my second fifty pound box of 5,000 eight-penny nails.  I’ve also used about three-fourths of a box of sixteen-penny nails, a third of a box of ten-penny, and a few small boxes of galvanized nails in various sizes.  Not to mention about 8 pounds of those little framing connector nails.


FedEx Delivers Volts

My electrical panel arrived today!  After much tribulation, I’m going with this one as discussed previously.  I’m not ready to start on the electrical work yet but I found it for a really good price so I went ahead and ordered one.

Electrical Panel

Significantly Less Snow

The snow melted!  There’s still a little bit in the neighbor’s front yard which is on the cold North side of his house, but around my project it is all gone.

The weather this weekend was beautiful; I worked in a T-shirt both days.  I got the tedious blocking on the second floor roof taken care of, finished installing the supports for the upper fly rafters on the West side, and put the sheathing on the North upper roof.  If things go really really well next weekend then I may be able to schedule a framing inspection as early as Monday!

I’ve been doing a lot of work at night.  Jobsite lights are my friend.  🙂

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Let It Snow

It snowed last night on my jobsite. I didn’t do any work today because it was too cold, and also because I have a cold. Which is a bummer. Highs in the mid thirties this weekend, whereas last weekend they were in the fifties. It will be in the fifties again next weekend so hopefully I will be able to get some work done then.



Since I last posted here, I have gotten most of the upper roof framing done. There is still some blocking to finish and I have to work out how to erect the fly rafters before I can put the sheathing on. It’s definitely getting close to finally being time for my framing inspection. It’s frustrating how slowly things are moving now that I can only work on the project during weekends.


I think I’ve finally worked out my electrical service with PG&E, and also the county building department. I’ll be putting in a 200 amp Siemens panel with service disconnects at 50 amps for the barn and 150 amps for the house I’m going to build later. I’m not ready to start with the electrical work yet, but I ordered the panel from a seller on eBay because it was a really good price. I always kind of wonder whether stuff like that is stolen when you get it on eBay, but the listing looked legit and the seller has a good rating so I went for it.

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The Gable Is Up

I got the east gable erected on Sunday, but sadly there aren’t any pictures.  I didn’t get it braced until about ten minutes after sunset, and afterward I was cleaning up my tools using the bed light in my pickup truck.  By the time I finished it was completely dark and I couldn’t take a picture.  I miss my helper.  🙂

I also finished the roof sheathing, which I do have a picture of.



I had a bit of an adventure in automobile maintenance after I finished cleaning up.  After leaving the pickup truck lights on for a while, the battery was dead and I had to jump start it.  I’m not having very good luck with batteries this weekend.  It should have been okay, but I’m only driving the truck on weekends right now so it probably wasn’t completely charged to begin with.  It’s the same battery that was in the truck when I bought it used so it has to be at least 6 years old by now, and possibly more.  I think it may be time to replace it.

What’s That Sound?

I have been running the work lights in the barn using the little third-world solar power system that I built a number of years ago. I think I described it in a previous post; I’ve got a little 11 watt panel and a big hundred-amp-hour AGM battery, and it works very well. My thinking there is that since I’m not at the site during the week, the thing has five whole days to recharge the battery with no load.

That is, as long as there is no load.

When I arrived to start working this morning, there was a distinct whining noise coming from the shed that the solar stuff is in. It appears that I left the inverter turned on when I left last weekend, and it has been drawing a slight trickle of current ever since then. Over an entire day that must exceed the amount of power generated by the little panel while the sun is up. The whining noise is the under voltage alarm on the inverter announcing to the world that the battery voltage is insufficient.

It’s probably still going right now, as I am writing this. I took the key for the condo that I’m moving out of off of my key ring this week. I don’t really need it every day anymore because I’m now staying in my house. The problem is that the same key opens the little solar shed, a fact which I didn’t even think about. So I couldn’t get in today to turn the inverter off. In all likelihood it is this very moment announcing its alarm condition for all the critters and the trees to hear. Perhaps it will give pause to the one of the local deer, which will stop to listen for a moment to the strange noise coming from the human building. I am confident that the grave urgency of INSUFFICIENT BATTERY VOLTS will be completely lost on the animal as it bounds blissfully off into the night in search of some tasty shrubs to munch on.

South Roof Sheathed

I finished the south roof framing this weekend on Saturday, and on Sunday got all of the structural sheathing on!  The overhangs aren’t covered yet, but all of the plywood on that side that contributes to the strength of the barn is installed.


I was able to finally remove the angle braces that have been on the beams since July, preventing the building from falling over sideways.  It’s nice to have them out of the way so that I won’t be hitting them anymore with ladders.  Or my head.  I’m happy to report that the barn did not fall over, and I can move on to the upper roof.

My friend Corinne came up and gave me a hand cutting and installing the sheathing.  We also measured the upper walls for squareness, and they were within one-eighth of an inch!  I’m really happy with that.

Rin With Skilsaw Rin On Roof

Saturday evening I did a bit of night carpentry while I was trying to get the framing finished up.  My mini solar system has really been the little panel that could, but it sure will be nice once I finally get PG&E power up there.

Night Framing


It Gets Dark Early

I had quite an adventure this past weekend working on the south side barn roof.  I spent a lot of time on Saturday checking to make sure everything is adequately square and level, and on Sunday I put up most of the rafters.


The time change is really noticeable when you are working outside!  After the sun sets I still want to keep working for a couple of hours.  I tried plugging some work lights into the generator, which works okay but the lights flicker when there’s a heavy load like a power tool.  So I can’t see and cut at the same time, which isn’t terribly useful.

Luckily I have a Plan B!  The little solar system that I built several years ago has a 150 watt inverter, which is enough to power some work lights while I use the generator to run the tools.  Voila!  Carpentry after dark!

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It Really Looks Like A Building

My friend Brendan came out to the site for a 4-day weekend and helped me finish up all the wall framing and sheathing.  The project is coming along really well, it’s starting to look more and more like a building and not just a pile of lumber.  🙂

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The leaves are coming down in earnest now.  There was some decent wind over the weekend which help to clean out the trees and everything is looking very much like fall.  The low angle sun also helps to belie the season.

I only got half of the south roof ledger installed.  That particular piece of lumber has been waiting to be used since the project began, and by now it’s quite well seasoned.  Driving nails into it was nearly impossible, I wound up standing on top of my A-frame ladder and smacking them with a 5 pound drilling hammer.  That was really a chore.


I’m optimistic that I can get the south shed roof framed this coming weekend, I think it should go reasonably quickly if I don’t run into any stumbling blocks.

Being more of a morning person than I am, Brendan helped kick my ass out of bed every day he was here so that we could get an early start.  Here he is slacking off on the job.  🙂


Get back to work you lazy bum!

The careful planning observer might look at the project progress since May and conclude that it’s unlikely I will be finished before it starts to be the wet and soggy season in the California gold country.  Obviously I would prefer otherwise, but I’m not terribly worried about the building.  The 2nd floor might squeak if it gets a lot of rain, but so long as things have a chance to dry out it will be okay.