Welcome to the blog, dear reader. This journal is my honest recounting of the design and construction of Reverend Walker’s Home. It is late May. Day by day we ease further into the dense atmosphere of the West Alabama summer. The thickness of the air is visible at certain times of day, beautiful and inescapable. This is the time when a big hat is a necessity rather than an accessory. This being the case, my crew has been pushing to raise the great pavilion roof that is the key feature of the Reverend’s home. The roof will provide a solar reprieve through the coming months. It should then please you, dear reader, to learn that a milestone has been made in this endeavor.
Trusses are up! Thanks to Shane of Stillwater Machine, and our professors Steve and Andrew, we were able to get the six trusses lifted, secured, and braced in a morning. What follows is a summary of the steps my crew took to get to this point, starting from what I described in my last entry.
Soon after getting the columns up, the trusses were delivered, and we quickly realized there were a few discrepancies from our specified drawings. The mistakes were fixable so we brought out the angle grinders and got to work trimming steel. Once the revisions were done, the trusses were ready for the boom-truck to lift them into place.
To be perfectly truthful, the process was less smooth than this slideshow implies. There were many obstacles to overcome. But trust when I say, dear reader, that when ill-fated circumstances arrive, my crew does not despair. Due to my fine leadership skills, they rise to the occasion and do what has to be done with their heads held high. With my steady paw on the wheel there is no chance this ship runs aground. I will continue to document the progress of this home in future journals, but for now I see Reggie sitting, and therefore I must also sit. Look forward to accounts of mock-ups, roofing, and window making.
The steel for the spreader angles and plates has been delivered and the team has been working on fabricating those pieces. The plates and angles will run along the walls, floors, and ceilings edges in order to evenly spread the load throughout the wall/floor/ceiling when the threaded rods are tightened down. Each plate and angle has to be cleaned, holes torched, and then coated with a sealant to prevent weathering. Once the steel is finished, the team can begin processing the wood for the walls and ceilings using those plates and angles as templates.
As the pod begins to become a reality, the issue of properly staging the construction process to be as efficient as possible is becoming an important topic. To that end, the team decided to fabricate the trusses before beginning to build the pods so that the roof can be immediately installed once the walls and ceiling are in place to prevent the wood from being exposed to the environment for any length of time. It is to this end that Jim Turnipseed and Turnipseed International have been extremely helpful in this process. Not only was all of the steel for the project donated but the team was also able to use Turnipseed International’s welding shop to fabricate the trusses and other steel elements of the project. It was a welcome break from the wood processing to learn about steel and how to weld.
The whole process only took about 5 days. The team spent the first two days cutting down all the members of the trusses, the purlins, the runners, and the plates. The next day, with the help of the men working at the shop, they laid out the truss design on the warehouse floor and welded together a jig. This allowed the team to easily slide the members of the truss in place then weld together each joint. 2 days later, 11 trusses were completed and transported back to Newbern!
Stay tuned for updates as the team returns to Newbern and puts this steel to good use!