Beam Me Up!


Raising a Heck of a Beam

Today we placed a big beam across the pillars between the south shed and the north shed in the south field shelters. This beam will form the header for the next roof along the west side of the atrium.

These sheds are on the foundation that is destined to be a greenhouse someday. When our butcher announced he wanted to stop doing meat processing our plans changed, fast, and our effort has gone into building the butcher shop. Life is like that. While I would love to have the greenhouse it is important to be flexible and prioritize. So for now this foundation supports several roofs for open winter animal shelters.

The beam was originally a 40′ long log. I used our chainsaw to cut the log down to 38′ 9″ to fit and notched the ends to slip over the pillars where they can sit flat on the tops. When Holly saw it she was dubious. She didn’t think I had cut the log short enough. I assured her that it had no more than half an inch of leaway. She mulled my wording over and remained dubious.

With Will and Holly each watching an end of the log I slowly lifted it into place using the tractor forks. Unfortunately the center of mass was off to the north so I had to lift it with a single fork and canted at an odd angle. That was less than ideal, a balancing act with about 1,000 lbs of log in the air as I inched it into place through the 3-D maze of obstacles. I had calculated everything to fit but did have a moment of doubt. I rechecked.

Satisfied, I got back on the tractor and continued. I had cut a small hole in the south shed’s lower roof face plate and the log just slipped through. Using a pry-bar we slid the log southward on the forks butting it up against the south shed header beam on top of the south pillar. We did need to temporarily raise one joist of the north roof to let the log butt pass by on its way to the top of the north pillar.

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With a little further inching of the tractor the log snapped into place. As I had told Holly, it was no more than a half inch off. In fact, it was an exact fit. It touched both the south shed header beam and the north shed header beam. Perfect!

Next we’ll drive big lag screws into the ends through the perpendicular beams. Coupled with the spikes of rebar in the central pillars that header beam isn’t going anywhere. We’ll put joists from the new beam down to the west wall of the foundation and add battens plus roofing. Then we’ll have another big open sleeping space for the animals this winter. Life gets better and better on Sugar Mountain.

Outdoors: 38°F/27°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/62°F

Daily Spark: Rock climbers cling to reality by their finger nails.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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2 Responses to Beam Me Up!

  1. Holly says:

    I saw the thing fit into place and I gotta say, I’m still dubious! You do the impossible, my dear.

    Love,
    Holly

  2. You guys sound like you’re “beaming” with enthusiam over this new project! :)

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