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Monday, August 29, 2005

Harlan guest post: The Tale Of The Shed Repair

Big Shag update #7 August 26, 27, 28, 29, 2005




First… a digression. Nasrudin, the Sufi sage, tells this tale:
"One day I was walking along a deserted road. Night was falling and I spied a troop of horsemen coming toward me. My imagination began to work, and I feared that they might rob me, or impress me into the army. So strong did this fear become that I chose to race my horse in the opposite direction, but soon, it was apparent that they would overtake me. With that I leaped over a nearby wall and found myself in a graveyard. The other travelers, innocent of the motives I had perceived, became curious at my actions and pursued me. 
When they came upon me lying motionless, hiding behind a gravestone, one said, "Can we help you? And, why are you here in this position?" 
Realizing my mistake I said, "It is more complicated than you assume. You see, I am here because of you; and you, you are here because of me."
We had been warned years ago, Uncle Sid had said sister up that beam.  It was obvious to all by now, that the cave-in of the shed had started. So, what to do. 

The process started innocently enough, a discussion about fixing a a fallen corner of the shed. Way back in June, it was proposed to some guests at the cabin who were looking for a project, but they declined, smart lads that they are. Robyn and the Carlson crew did the initial exploratory surgery, quickly discovering the need for a specialist. A phone call describing the extent of the damage, and a discussion to forego the expensive option of hiring a professional was debated. After consulting with other experts, it was decided that Mike and I would spend an afternoon fixing the shed.

I spent a week surveying and realized that the one corner was not enough to save the shed. Confirming the earlier diagnosis, when Rachel and master carpenter Kettu arrived Friday afternoon we started the demolition, like surgeons excising a tumor removing the damaged wood.

Saturday morning found this result:


This is the southeast corner at the limit of the removal – the corner post, the beam, and the back cross support all removed.


This is the southwest corner, with the beam removed and the top sections of the supports excised as well.


A rear view, above, and a top view, below of the limit of the initial teardown.


At this point we felt good about the state of the work, as it seemed still doable. By mid day substantial progress had been made toward putting it back together.



What you see above are all of the back sections of the beams sistered, with double new beams on each of the outermost corners. Soon, the plywood decking went on:



But... Then the trouble started. We had envisioned feathering the new roofing under the old. As we peeled back the tar paper more problems were discovered. Notice the large wooden patch in the image directly above –this wood was completely rotten. Notice in the picture above, sections of the original plank decking that were missing. Not rotted, just never put in place – short width planks on both sides that had major holes. We retired for the night – despairing a bit.

The next day we decided the only reasonable thing was to bite the bullet, rip out the newly discovered problems and take off all of the roofing surface. It was the only way to confirm the stability of the upper part. Demolition of the rotted middle section and the top decking exposed.



We replaced the holes, and trimmed the overhanging rotted drip edge. The end of day 2 on project shed.

This is what the reconstructed SE corner looked like with new overhang installed.


Project rolled roofing material was then under way.



Monday night at about 6 PM – the masters of construction rest – the project complete. 


The masters of destruction created quite a mess made in the process, and that mess is still in place. I'll try to get back up to do some cleaning, but the packing and sorting and delivery to the dump of that material will have to wait for some future visitors.

The shed repair is complete, and I believe made solid for at least twenty/forty more years.

A new complete rolled roof, with about 5/8ths new plywood decking, plus proper drip edges. The odd fold over on the strange soffit at the front of the roof was preserved. It was idiosyncratic, and had no basis in historical shed reconstruction, but because it seemed to work, and was a telling architectural detail, we worked to preserve it.

Also added were two vents to the back corners for air exchange, thinking that perhaps that might keeps things dry in there. Not a lot of pictures of the kids in this message, although they did take most of the photos.
"It is more complicated than you assume.
You see, I am here because of you; and you, you are here because of me."

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