Tuesday, August 29, 2006

raising the rafters


We finally got an important phase of the house construction completed yesterday. With the help of my stepson Ryan and friends Tom and Chris, and a crane operator who lives less than five miles away, we got the roof framework up. In the above photo, the crane is lifting the center roof beam.

The complete span of the roof beam was in three pieces, so the two side pieces had to be matched up to the main center piece. For the most part, it went pretty smoothly.

When one side beam was lowered, it was longer at the top than at the bottom so it would not drop into place. 26 feet up in the air, standing one rung above the "Do not stand above this point" rung, wielding a running chainsaw, our friend Tom took care of the problem. He's a braver person that me.

Once the main beam was in place, the crane started lifting the rafters. The rafters were pre-notched and shaped, so they just had to be fitted together like puzzle pieces.

The rafters were lifted in pairs; once the first one was in place, a corresponding rafter, with a steel plate already attached, was lifted into place and the two were connected. We were running low on the large bolts required, so I had to make a run to the nearest lumberyard for more.

Once the pattern became established, the rafters went up quickly. I was amazed at how this team of individuals, none of whom was more than a casual acquaintance before, was able to work togehter with such efficiency.

All done. I can't help but admire this beautiful roofline, and think of the wonderful times to be had under the shelter it supports. There is still a lot of work to be done, I think the process will be infinite, but today's work was the major step forward.

My part in the day's work was largely supportive, making sure the children (6 of them) were safe and getting along out of the way, and recording the event with my digital camera. At one time we had two girls swimming, two boys stalking around with BB guns, and two boys playing video games. I was constantly back and forth, checking on things, but it all worked out okay. In the end I grilled bratwurst for everyone and we had a few beers and sighs of relief.

17 comments:

madcapmum said...

I've been thinking about your house lately, and wondering what the "done-ness" was. Hallelujah! The end is near! The end is near!

Prairie Chick said...

Congrats on your roof. I am sure you are full of pride and should be, the future will have many great stories and fond memories of this time in your life.

lené said...

That's amazing, Deb. Congratulations! I'm sure having the roof framed out feels significant, partly because the progress is such a visual one at this stage. It looks like it is going to be a beautiful home. :)

Tracy said...

Looks great! Now that it's "real," I'll bet you're getting very excited.

barefoot gardener said...

Fabulous! How exciting to be able to see "house" finally, huh?

the dharma bum said...

congratulations! very exciting. looks great!

Sylvia said...

What a difference a roof makes! Congratulations!

Deb said...

Well, I don't know how to make an individual response to everyone this time, so thanks! It does feel a lot more concrete, a lot more closer to the end, now that we have the rafters up. The rest will come.

Endment said...

How very exciting - we have been doing some work on our house and it is a delight to see each phase come to completion ---

Laura said...

Ooooh, yippeee!

Sandy said...

What a neat idea to keep a record of your house going up.
Looks good, and in such a nice place.

Floridacracker said...

No response needed. Just wanted to join in with the WOOHOOO'S!
From one steep pitch roof to another ... congrats to the whole team!

Pam in Tucson said...

I'm reporting in late - but with hearty congratulations. Fantastic teamwork. What a beautiful home you're creating!

Deb said...

endment- every single thing you can see towards completion is a reward, I've foune!

Laura and Sandy and Pam- Thanks!

FC- The steep pitch roof may be more utilitarian here than it is there; here we have heavy snow loads to think about, but with this roof it will all slide off. As long as I don't have to be up there nailing boards at the peak!

Dan Trabue said...

All the best adjectives and congratulatory remarks are taken.

Looks fine. Hooray.

Jim said...

Looking good Deb!

That roof apprears to have a 12/12 pitch which is the same as ours.

Great for the snow load here, and and shingles last longer on a steep roof as well.

How exciting is that to get the rafters up?

Are you guys planning on closing it in before winter?

Deb said...

Jim- it never occurred to me that someone would be thinking about snow loads in Southern California! But after seeing your pictures this winter, I believe it. Steep pitched roofs are a good thing here.

It's the plan to have it closed in and insulated, wood stove installed, and us moving our living quarters there, by late November. We'll see. And notice how I didn't say "finished"; a house you build yourself is never finished, right?