|Wed, Dec 5|
Getting pretty high up in the dome structure. About fourteen feet off the ground. Working on ladders with little support by myself.
Sat, Dec 8
Quite a sight greeted me when I arrived at the site. The platform was covered with ice. The weather was quite warm so the ice was melting pretty fast and it was virtually raining inside. I set about trying to put my plan into effect. Of course, I had to begin by clearing ice away from those areas where I needed to work. But eventually I was hooked up and ready to go. I cranked the handle a few times and the base plates actually moved a little. A good sign. When I moved as far as I could, which was about half of what I needed I tried to secure the plates as much as I could so they wouldn't move to their original position when I released the pressure. Then I tried to reposition the machine to pull the other ends of the plates into position. But when I pulled again the original work I had done tore loose and the plates went back from whence they had come. Despair was setting in. I didn't have much time to work anyway and it was looking like I would not have any success. Still I tried pulling various corners in various ways and pretty soon some things began to work. Some places I could pull in a plate and I would have room on the outside to nail a block to keep it in place. Eventually the base started to look pretty good. About then my time ran out so I had to leave hoping that what I had done would do the trick. I would find out on Monday.
Mon, Dec 10
Before I left I took a walk through the back of the lot and through Ralph's lot. When I reached the lower road I noticed that someone had marked the corner of Ralph's lot. I looked up through the woods and noticed a flag about a hundred feet up the hill. I went there and discovered the fourth corner of my lot. I don't know who did the marking or why but at least I now know for sure where all four corners of the lot are.
Tue, Dec 11
I pushed and pulled and struggled and managed to fasten two of the loose ends. These were ends that were too long for their spaces and I was able to get them in by pushing ladders up under some of the sections as hard as I could and wedging them there. This in effect stretched the dome out a little and I was then able to eventually get the pieces in after moving the ladders around a bit to find the most strategic spot to use them. The last two ends I decided to save for another day. These were pieces that were too short for their space and some pulling would be required to get them in place. There was no way I could get enough leverage or weight to pull the pieces into place. I decided to follow Stan's advice and buy a little power puller that he had seen in the Dart Drug.
Since I still had a good bit of time I thought I would go ahead and try to attach the last five pieces that would be the final pentagon at the top of the structure. I began by carrying one up and attaching it in a vertical position by one bolt. I hoped then to be able to swing it out to the desired horizontal position and then attach the other bolt. It didn't work. When I tried to swing it the end of the piece would not clear the hub of the connector. With the blue struts there had been no problem. With the yellow struts I had difficulty swinging the pieces out so I climbed down, used a ladder to come up under the free end of the piece and force it up into position. So I decided to try that with the green pieces. That didn't work either. I tried to build a tall platform directly under the spot where the end of the piece should be so I could use it to support the piece as I tried to hold it in the horizontal position. It almost worked but I just couldn't get the platform high enough to support the piece in the proper position so the holes just wouldn't line up enough for me to get the bolt through.
So I tried to tie the piece to the flange and come up with the ladder under the free end to the proper height, rest the ladder on the platform and then climb back up and hopefully shove the bolts home. As I shoved the free end up I could sense the end I had tied coming loose. I ducked out of the way but I didn't take my foot with me. I thought that falling piece of 2x6x7 foot lumber had crushed my foot. As it turned out it was only bruised but it sure hurt like hell. Funny thing, it bruised the bottom of my foot more than the top where the impact took place.
I decided to give up on the green pieces until I could get a better [incomplete]. I dragged myself around then with some of the plates that I had picked up to see about fastening some of them to the base plates. I got some of them situated pretty well. Then I did a little nailing but all in all the starch was pretty well knocked out of me so I soon quit and went home.
Wed, Dec 12
The puller worked like a charm and I soon had one piece in place. The other was a little more difficult but soon it submitted to the puller and I had all the loose ends attached.
I also had an idea for attaching the green pieces which was so simple that I knew it would work. I would hang the pieces vertically as I had done before but I would use a 16 penny nail to hold it in place while I tried to swing it up in place. That thin nail in a hole meant for a 5/8 inch bolt would allow much more room for the piece to slide in so I should be able to swing the piece into place and then place the other bolt. Then I could remove the nail and replace it with a bolt. Of course it worked and I soon had all five pieces in place. During all this the only real difficulty was that the wind was blowing much harder than the weatherman had predicted. With my usual terror of heights the thought of being blown off the ladder kept me petrified and hanging on for dear life during the whole process.
Once the pieces were attached the only thing left was to come up under them and put the last hub connector into place. Again I had the usual problem. No real way to support the ladder. And the wind seemed to be getting harder. I gave it a try. With the ladder resting very precariously I climbed up and struggled with the hub for a few seconds. The ladder shifted, my life flashed before me, the pile of lumber that I had erected the day before came down with a might crash. But somehow the ladder with me on it stayed up. I tried to support the ladder more firmly using another ladder for support and climbed up again. After a few minutes of struggle with no real success I noticed a car driving up. It stopped and the driver got up as I climbed down to greet him. He asked if everything was all right. It seems he was a neighbor from down around the corner and he had been alarmed by the crash of the falling lumber. I assured him that everything was all right. We had a very pleasant conversation, his name was Don Thomas. After he left I decided I had had enough of working on the ladders for the day and I decided to spend the little time I had left putting in some of the T-blocking and studs. I had just got started when Don came back with a pot of hot water and some instant coffee and tea bags. I thanked him for the kind gesture. Then I went back to work and was able to finish the blocking on one triangle. Then I had to quit. I drank some of the tea which hit the spot and then returned the makings to Don's home and came home.
Fri, Dec 14
The dome framework was completed. I was elated. I can't remember ever feeling so good. A major hurdle had been cleared. Of course, I wasn't sure yet how easy it would be to complete the T-blocking and studs, especially toward the top, and I knew the roof would be a very difficult hurdle to overcome yet. But at least I now knew that the dome would work. The rest might be difficult but I knew it could be done.
After celebrating for a while I commenced to work on the stud work. By the end of the day I had finished several triangles.
Mon, Dec 17
Tue, Dec 18
Before I left I nailed together all the T-blocking I would need for the second row. There were 13 altogether. So far the most triangles I had been able to assemble in one day had been 9 so it appeared that I would have at least 2 days work to finish the second row.
Wed, Dec 19
After lunch I was able to do a bit more work but the wind continued to be strong. In addition, I think I was a bit gun-shy from the fall so after a couple of hours I packed it in and came home. I had partially completed about five of the 13 triangles.
Thu, Dec 20
Sat, Dec 22
Thu, Dec 27
That process took up the whole morning. By the time I had finished a few corners the wind had abated. So I had a little lunch and took to the ladders. I was able to complete some more on the triangles.
Fri, Dec 28
Sat, Dec 29
We went to work on the green T-blocks. They were at the highest point of the structure and were the biggest pieces I had left so I wanted to be sure and get to them while I had some help. They were very difficult to get in. The structure tends to lean in on itself so the higher you get the more compressed the structure is. So those green T-blocks were tight as the devil. It took two of us most of the morning to get them in. Once that was finished the other work went very smoothly. But there just wasn't enough time left to finish that part of the job.
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