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.