Oh boy, there's been some exciting progress! Framing of the house is nearing completion. The interior of the house is just about done, and all that's left is the log framing holding up the front and back patio roofs. Log framing is more tedious than regular wall framing because nothing is dimensional, and every joint requires tedious re-cutting and planing to make solid connections. We were hung up for a while waiting on two big beams which were being milled.
Those two beams, which span the full lengths of our front and back patios, were milled from one doug fir tree cut from the back of our property a few months ago. Because of their length, the only guy who could mill it into the 8X10 dimension we needed was the lumberjack who cut it for us. Most industrial mills are 24' long, and can't be easily adjusted. He used a portable mill, and had to turn it around twice for each log to accommodate the length. It was done as a favor, really. and was worth the wait. The beams are gorgeous and, to use our new vocab word, skookum.
Skookum comes from the Chinook Jargon used by the native tribes from our area. It has many meanings, but in regards to a log it means "big and strong". That they are. Over the last couple of years I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the practices of the cultures native to our area, particularly in their building and harvesting practices. I figure if we're trying to learn how to develop a copacetic relationship with our surroundings, where better to look than the people who were doing it for centuries before our ancestors interrupted them? I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the guy we hired to help us frame our house is a member of the local Suquamish tribe. Not only that, but his father happens to be a master carver and craftsman, keeping alive the traditions of basket making, cedar clothing and canoe building. The traditions and skills fascinate me, and I'm looking forward to learning more about them.
Speaking of wood, I should mention that we've sourced a lot of our materials for finishing the house in the last week. The local sawmill, Smyths, called me last week to tell me that they had a huge order of 1X4 cedar strips which they could no longer use. Apparently some large restaurant or hotel or something had ordered the lumber but ended up not being able to use it. The called us because we had mentioned to them that we'll be needing siding material and, frankly, I think they like us. At least they get a kick out of us. They sold it to us at a super discounted rate and we'll be using it to side most of the outside of the house as well as the interior ceiling.
For flooring, craigslist came through big time. Christy found several thousand sticks of 1X2 fir, which had been used by a mill as furring strips, layered between slabs of wood as they went through the kiln.
These great people, Jim and Sabrina, had nearly 400,000 sticks of 1x2x4 fir on their property when they bought it and have been selling the sticks to people for fences, gardening, flooring, you name it. I drove out to Leavenworth, Wa ( nearly 3 hours from Kingston) to get it and it was SO worth the trip. The nice couple sent us pictures of some finished floors using this material and they are exactly what we were hoping for. I don't think our floors will have this level of gloss, but you get the idea. I love the patchwork look with the varying level of dark and light. I hope our floors will keep some rustic-ness that the high gloss glosses over.
And, they sold us the wood for super super cheap. It will be a labor of love, but so is everything in the house, so why deviate now? We are going to use the wood for the floor in the bedroom loft and also for the kitchen ceiling, nook ceiling, and entrance way ceiling. I came away with nearly 2,500 sticks of this 1x2. Basically more than enough to cover the floor and ceiling and maybe have some left over to do a sauna in the back forty! I drove away with a trailer full!