Paradise ponders, rectangular redwood edition... Well, now that I've finished snowplowing for the day, I managed to get some time in on the steps project. I made 3 more passes through the planer on each of the 8 4x4s that I started with. That's 24 passes today (half filling my dust collection barrel!), and now the redwood 4x4s are distinctly rectangular in cross-section – but the corner radius milling has been completely removed.
The first photo shows the 8 former 4x4s; the next two show the micrometer measurement of the thickness and width, respectively. So ... the 4x4s are now dimensional lumber, 2.8225" x 3.3530". :) The thicknesses are all the same to within my ability to measure, though that will change as the pieces dry out. The widths vary considerably, though: from 3.2733" to 3.4504". Note that all of them are under the 3.5" that they're supposed to be. I'm not sure if that's the mill cheating us a teensy bit, or (more likely, I think) shrinkage from the wood drying out.
One of the challenges of building out of solid wood is dealing with shrinkage. This project is much less critical than, say, a tabletop. I will be using dowels to keep the centerline of the pieces stable, and then good glue joints to attempt to keep edges from shifting. I'm using good quality glue that resists shear forces, but even so, if the differential shrinkage between two adjacent pieces is too high, they will slip and form a little ridge. The only way I know of to guarantee that that won't happen is to glue up all the pieces and then dry them in a kiln for at least a few days. The few days I've got, but the kiln I do not. :) I'll be letting them dry in my heated barn for 4 or 5 days before I sand them down. Hopefully the majority of any differential shrinkage will have occurred by then..
Monday, March 6, 2017
Around 8 pm, our power and cable Internet connections simultaneously died. Our backup generators kicked in within a few seconds – and ran constantly for the next five and a half hours. The outage that got us also took out the entire southern section of Cache Valley, 1,000 or so homes and businesses. That was just one of over 50 outages suffered along the Wasatch Mountains front at roughly the same time. The snowy and icy road conditions meant quite a few accidents, and some of those were collisions with poles. The wind meant quite a few downed trees, and some of those took out power, telephone, and cable lines. I'm not sure which failure mode we experienced, but the repair time was long because the power company's crews were stretched to the limit. Our general experience is that we're back up within an hour or two; this was much longer than that. After the power was off for an hour or so, I poked my head out our front door and back door, to look around at the valley. Other than at our house, there wasn't a light in sight – total darkness prevailed. Apparently we have the only backup generator within a couple of miles. After last night's experience, at least one of my neighbors is suddenly very interested. :) We were very grateful ourselves, as we didn't have to worry about getting cold, losing the food in our freezer, or even being slightly inconvenienced. Everything just worked. If my memory serves me right, this is the fifth outage we've had (and by far the longest one) since installing the generators. The decision to spend the money on them is feeling pretty good right about now...