Sunday, January 29, 2006

Winterizing Water Lines

Of course, we turn off the water, drain the pipes and put anti-freeze into the drain traps for the winter.

The water supply system is designed to drain as the water supply lines are sloped to a low point where turn on-off valves are placed. The sink and tub faucets are opened to allow air into the pipes to replace the water running out.

The electric power to the deep submergeable pump and the 40 gallon electric hot water heater are turned off. Both the pressure tank and hot water heater are drained into a precast circular catch basin. This empties the two tanks of water.

The tank and bowl of the toilet are drained. One cup of anti-freeze is placed into the tank and two cups of anti-freeze are placed into the toilet bowl - drain. One cup of anti-freeze is also poured into the bath tub drain, the vanity sink drain and the kitchen sink drain.

The RV Marine Anti-freeze (Isobar) is used as it protects the drains to minus 50 degrees, F. The anti-freeze mixes with the water in the traps of drains and keeps the water from freezing.

The design of our system allows quick and easy drainage and the turn on process is also simple to use. The shut off process takes approximately one-half to one hour.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blog Mayhem

StatCounter (the hit counter on my website) has been down for two days. Because the counter that shows how many people have visited my Blog isn't showing up, its doing weird things to the format of the entire Blog on some browsers. Apparantly, there are quite a few websites & blogs affected by this.

My apologies to anyone that has tried to access my Blog and has ended up frustrated.....because I certainly am :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Source of Illumination

The electrical service comes in from the power company's main line running adjacent to the county road. The 200 foot power line was placed over head to a single power pole and then under ground to the crawl space of the log cabin.

The 200 amp service panel was placed within an interior partition of the bedroom. From the service panel the wiring was fed vertically from the crawl space into the interior partitions and thru pre-drilled vertical holes in the exterior logs to switches, outlets and the main ceiling.

The wiring of the interior lights was placed below the loft and are hidden by a grooved flat board nailed to the bottom of the wood deck of the loft floor.

GFCI outlets were placed in the vanity space and around the kitchen area.

These outlets are per the electrical code and were used where it is possible to over-load the capacity of the wiring. The outlet automatically shuts off the power. After the shut off the outlet can be manually reset to work again.

In the kitchen area the GFCI outlets were wired in line with only one outlet that had a manual reset. Several outlets down line from the manual reset outlet lost power. We tested the outlets; but no power. We thought the wiring had gone bad, until the up line reset outlet was pushed. Wow - the outlets worked again.

The electric stove, the submergeable water pump, the hot water heater and the base board heaters were wired with a 220 volt service.

An electric heater was installed in the crawl space near the pressure tank and the hot water heater to provide heat to the crawl space during the colder weather.

A trouble light and outlet was placed in the crawl space near the presure tank and hot water heater. The light came to our aid providing illumination when I replaced the burned out electric electrodes in the hot water heater.

An exterior waterproof outlet was placed on the porch for electrical accessories. It came in handy for an electric cord hook- up to a head bolt heater in our car during a cold weather spell.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Interior and Exterior Finishes

The cabin was now ready for the finishes. Our first task was to lightly sand the burrs and rough spots on the logs. We used a palm sander for this task. There was one interior loft log that had many burrs and rough surfaces. A larger belt power sander was used on this log.

The sanding process went on for hours. Finally, the surfaces were smooth enough to apply a couple coats of polyurethane. The contractor applied the same finish to the pine board ceiling.

The loft rails were shaped differently than the main wall and loft logs. Each of the verticals and horizontals were hand crafted and shaped so each had to be hand sanded before the finish coat was applied.

The 2 ' 8" wide stairs were crafted with half logs as treads fastened into the sides of 2-1/2" by 11" deep wood strings. The stairs turn 90 degrees near the bottom of the stair run into a platform about 16 high. One rise of the longer stair run was purposely positioned at 1-1/2" higher than the normal 7-1/2" riser. The string was cut for this 1-1/2" to compensate for the wall log settlement that was anticipated. The stairs loft edge and railings form an interesting architectural composition and invite comments from visitors.

The urethane finish was applied before the kitchen floor and wall cabinets were erected. This pre-finishing behind the cabinets prevented the mold from harboring behind the cabinets.

Sometime after the sanding of the logs and before the entire finish was applied, the temperature rose to a very, very high degree for the area, and the humidity also rose to high levels. Mold appeared at the interior corners and other interior surfaces of the logs. Much effort was used to remove the mold. References were checked, and commerical products were applied to no avail. The contractor and log supplier were contacted. The solution to the mold problem had escaped everyone.

A water-Hilex bleach solution was applied to the logs along with scraping and sanding. Nothing seemed to work. More scraping and sanding. More water-Hilex bleach solution was used. The water Hilex solution appeared to work best but the results were not satisfactory.

Finally, the log supplier applied an anti-mold chemical to the logs with mold and placed caulking in and around the interior open joints where the logs cross at the corners. The caulking made the corners tight against the rain and weathering. The mold problem appeared to be solved and the interior finishing continued.

The interior partitions received two coats of finish. The loft floor, log stairs and log rails have three coats of finish to protect the wood decking from foot traffic.

A green tile was laid in the bathroom and under the wood burning stove in the great room. We chose a green, red, blue and orange plaid carpet for the main floor great room, kitchen and dining area. A deep red carpet was laid in the bedroom on the main floor.
The tile below the wood stove is a 6" by 6" tile the same as the bathroom. It is built up into a raised platform to elevate the stove about 4" above the main floor.In addition to the elevated platform, the tiles were laid at floor level making the tiled area 12 square feet meeting the requirements.

The exterior face of the logs and other siding was finished with HighSierra Log Stain by Sashco. The contractor sprayed the stain on the logs. The stain helps preserve and protect the logs from the sun and weathering.
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