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Eagle House: "We Got a Crane!"

Well, we got all of the posts up, and the tie beams, and the plate beams, and then we looked at the whole project and said, 'Wow, those king posts are REALLY tall! I don't think we are going to be able to raise them piece by piece, and get that done safely, with our small crew.'

So, we just went for it, and found a local crane operator and brought them out to raise all of the king posts, the king purlin plates and the 34 rafters.

Getting the crane through the creek (it's 20 feet long and 35 tons in weight, so it couldn't go across the bridge, unfortunately) meant that we needed to get some gravel put in so the drop into the creek wasn't so steep. Then we needed to get the crane operating spot all leveled off with stone and gravel as well, so the crane was mostly level as it worked on moving the beams.

We put all the posts and purlins together, so they were ready to go. We made sure that all the different mortises were set, too.

I bought wheels for the scaffolding, too, so we could move that around as we needed to, while we were getting the rafters put up.

The floor was all set as well, so we were pretty ready to start raising.

But there is always a ton of stuff to do, no matter how prepared we feel we are!

We were rushing around to get all the rafters up to the site, as we needed them up there before the crane got up there, because at that point, we wouldn't have been able to get them in place and still get the truck and trailer turned around and out of the way. So, we all got up really early and loaded 34 rafters onto the trailer, then unloaded them as fast as we could. It was a cold morning, and the frost was heavy, but we did the best we could!

It turns out that the crane had a flat tire, so they were about an hour late, which was good. We kept super busy with all the last minute details, and eventually, the crane arrived, got in postition and started to lift.

The first king post 'bent' went up really smoothly, and it was awesome! The braces holding up the king post looked great, in a unique diamond shape, and the blue sky made for an incredible contrast.

We put up the second bent, and then inserted the third purlin plate inbetween the two, and it was a little sketchy up there.... Not going to lie! But eventually, we got it all pegged and wedged, and before I knew it, the rafters were going up too.

Actually, as I was involved with the raising of the frame, I got a little freaked out, because the distance between the plate at the bottom and the king purlin plate seemed REALLY, REALLY far, and the rafters, lying on the ground, seemed VERY short, and I was scared that they weren't going to fit. I was totally sweating it. I mean, I was dreading the first rafter getting lifted up, and I just tried to concentrate on getting the frame up, and not visibly freaking out.

But inside, I was like, 'Ack! They look like they are WAY too short, and I'm going to have to cut 34 new rafters!'

Then the first rafter went in, and it fit pretty much perfectly, and I relaxed. I mean, I really relaxed! It was a great moment for me!

Honestly, I trusted my math, and we had cut both rafters at first and fit them together, and then measured the king post heights based directly on it, last fall, so I knew I hadn't made a mistake, but man, when I looked at the distances by eye, it was scary because they looked like they weren't long enough!

At some point, Trista brought up some home made pizza she had cooked up for lunch, and Wolfgang climbed the scaffolding and brought me a couple of slices, so that hit the spot! We also ate a bunch of donuts and drank some fresh apple cider, too. It was really, really great, but it was all about getting the job done before that sun went down over the ridge at 4:10 pm! It got really cold after that, but I didn't even feel it, because it looked so good!

We're deep in the process of putting the roof on, and getting the walls framed in around the timberframe, as well as putting up sheathing and getting the front porch ramp deck up too. So, it's still a big project, but the main frame is pretty much done.

And THAT is a great feeling!

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