Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Adventurous George (5)


Since George had been sent home from the hospital, under the care of his client laden worker, he had not been prone to planning anything much. He did things pretty much on a whim, letting the force be with him as it were, and it seemed to work for him. Since it was only late June and there would be plenty of time to contemplate winter, he decided to give building a nifty cabin a try. What could he lose? So he planned, while picking berries to dry as it was the height of the season and he thought berries would come in handy no matter what. He spread them out on several sheets of plywood which Mottles guarded to keep the birds and little critters away, most of the time.

To build a cabin with no saw, he would keep all the dimensions to multiples of four feet, that way he could avoid a lot of plywood cutting. On a flat area behind the tuft of pines where all the lumber was, George used the 2 x 8's which were 16 feet long to build a pad, 16' x16'. The hatchet worked real slick for pounding nails, and he had his floor covered with 3/4” plywood in one day. Without cutting, the plywood didn't quite come all the way to the front edge, but who cared? That was side was going to be his little deck so he nailed a 2x4 across the end to cover the joists. The next day the back wall was framed in using 2x6 studs, between fishing and berry picking. His Bic lighter had come to the end of it's life and he had to keep his fire smouldering all the time now, so he spent a day uncrating his Acme Wood Stove and bolting it together tightening the stove bolts with his handy pliers. He didn't bother with the stove pipe outside here, but it would be of good use in a cabin. He used some 2x4's and a sheet of plywood to build a roof over it for when it rained. The stove worked real well for cooking on, he didn't have to hang his pot on a tripod, but it was a little harder to find dry wood that would fit in the stove. That would be a challenge for a winter adventure.

The back wall was 16' long, the length of his floor, but the side walls he made 12' so he'd have a 4' deck on the front. He found that by marking both sides of a 2 x 6 real deep with his hatchet he could break off a piece with a good whack leaving a fairly good end. He nailed 3/8” plywood on the three walls to keep them square. He hadn't had to cut any plywood yet, he was keeping things simple and these walls would have no windows. The front wall took a lot longer to build. He wanted a door and a window so he framed in the door exactly four feet from one end. He found a slider window which would fit a 2' x 4' opening and framed that in four feet from the other end. He'd spent some time marking an eight foot 2 x 4 at one foot intervals and it came in real handy for measuring stuff. Cutting out the door and window from the plywood wasn't too hard once he'd figured out a method. He marked both sides with a sharp stone, and then using a good size rock and his hatchet he banged through about halfway on each side, one hatchet width at a time. With a little perseverance it left a fairly good cut. He nailed in the slider and leaned the cut out door against some 2 x 4 moulding and wow, Mottles seemed impressed. He'd have to figure out how to make some hinges for a little heavier door, but the roof would come first.

This building seemed to come second nature to George. He couldn't remember what, but he knew he had built something like this in his forgotten past. Everything just seemed common sense but the fog of the past would not reveal where the knack came from. So he carpentered on, lost as if in a little fantasy, building a cabin in the woods. He built roof trusses so his roof would overhang his four foot deck and covered them with 3/4” plywood, strong enough for ten feet of snow. That night they moved in, from under their tarp, Mottles and George, most of the floor devoted to drying berries to keep the thieves away. Shakes would be the next job, to keep their cottage dry. Tomorrow would be a day for fishing and setting more rabbit snares made from cable strapping which had held the piles of lumber together. Mottles was getting a mite lazy as he humoured George for his hunting skills. He did like catching mice though.

(To be continued)
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