Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Generator and Final Inspections Completed!

Our log house is officially complete! The building inspector made his inspection on Wednesday and only had a couple of minor items he asked to be changed- final occupancy permits are to be issued to us right away! On Tuesday, the propane company had been to the house to install the regulator for the propane service to power our cook top and generator.

While waiting for the inspector to come to the house, Dave T. (electrician) completed the hookup for the back up generator and ran it through a test. Everything went as planned. The unit senses the loss of main power to the house and after about a 10 second wait, the propane fired generator starts up and then switches to power the house circuits. While the unit is providing power to the house, we're automatically disconnected from the main power feed. This is a safety issue so that none of the power from the generator is showing up on the main power lines where someone might be working. Once power restores, after a short waiting time, the generator shuts off and switches back to the utility power.

The unit will also test itself weekly but running for a few minutes without actually switching the circuit to power the house, this way you'll know if something should go wrong. We figured having a back up was a good idea given we're the last house on about a mile long electrical extension that in the event of a widespread outage, might be a low priority for restoring.

Steel Gate for Decking

We're going to use two steel gates on our decks to be sure the dogs aren't able to get off the deck and out of the fenced area. Here's a picture of one of the gates, temporarily mounted at the front entrance, need to redo the hinges but wanted to have it in place in case the dogs visit with us on our next trip to WV. The gate is 2" steel tubing for the outside and the pickets are 3/4" twisted wrought iron. The gates still need to be sanded and painted with a final coat of paint but it's functional.

The two gates were fabricated by a local Romney, WV company called HMI that is only a couple of miles away. The gates custom made to fit the openings and were ready earlier than promised, they put a coat of paint on them that you can tell was done by welders (LOL) but will be easy enough to put a final finish coat on ourselves once we decide on color, black or green?

Fencing Started

Took most of the fencing material I milled in Leesburg last week to the property and got a good start on the fencing. We're doing a 4 board, paddock style fence with a wire mesh applied to the poles first. The mesh is 2"x4" square so makes a great barrier to keep the dogs inside.

First picture is an area where the mesh can be seen under the deck, I'm using 3 of the deck support posts for the fence as well so the fence can connect to the house. The next picture is the same area from the opposite side after the first sections of fence were completed.

I hired a local WV company, Bland Fencing, to set the poles as I was concerned how hard this was going to be given the shale rock in the yard. They did a great job and told me that they had quite a bit of effort for every pole and had to move a couple to get around really hard spots. This means some of the fencing sections will vary from 6' to over 8'. I left the fence boards at log length when I milled them last week rather than cutting them all to one size so I have a good selection of lengths to work from, none shorter than 8'.

The other pictures show the fences and gates, I completed a bit over half of the run and used all of the lumber I brought with me. Will load the rest on the trailer next week to finish the job. Tried to show a few views of the fencing to give an idea of the terrain and how the poles and fencing are set to follow the hillside.

We also have 3 six foot wide gates that had to be built. Wanted them to all be wide enough to be able to drive my small tractor in to the yard from any entry point. The gates are made in two sections, each about 3' wide. Each of the gates was built in place on 2x4's attached to the fence posts and then cut free and trimmed to size after the hinges are added. I only had 3 sets of hinges so will have to finish the gates as well next week, hopefully more will come in at Home Depot this week. In the last picture, you can see that the hinges are only on one side of the gate but it's secured in place with screws.

So far, pleased with how it's turning out, as it sets now, with the mesh and the gates in place, we should be okay for the dogs to join us at the house and have a place to play outside.

Wood for Fencing

Milled a number of oak logs last week that our neighbor, Kathy, let us have after she had some trees taken down in her backyard. Here are some pictures of the milling in progress.

First picture shows one of the logs ready to be lifted on to the mill, second shows the log after 4 cuts have been made to square it up. At this point, the nearly square cant was cut to 4" wide sections and then I took 1" pieces off to make the 1x4's.

Third shot shows the 1x4's after being cut from the log for gates. I had already completed all of the 1x6's for the fencing itself.

The last picture shows the stack of wood ready for use. I put some 1" thick pieces of wood between each layer to allow the lumber to dry a bit- it's very wet after being cut and if not separated, mold can quickly start to grow in only a day or two.

I plan to take all the gate material and about half of the fencing to begin the fence. I installed the mesh on the posts last week so all is ready to start putting up the rails. More pictures of the fence work in another post.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shop Staining Started

Started staining the boards for the shop siding this week. Plan is to stain the main boards for each wall, then install them before moving on to the next side. This keeps me from having to keep so much of the wood standing in the shop after it's stained and will hopefully minimize the amount of handling. I'm starting with the front of the shop and built some stands inside to sit the wood on while I'm applying the stain with a sprayer. I can do 3 boards at a time and have 4 stations set up to hold the boards but will drop to 3 stations as I get to the longer boards. The first side material are only 10' long.

The first picture shows 3 of the boards ready for spraying, the next is the boards after the first coat. Only took about 30 minutes to stain 40 boards with a single coat of stain and about 20 minutes to clean the sprayer! If only I was using a latex stain, it would be a lot easier to clean up. Stain needs to dry 24 hours between coats. Will probably have a bit of touch up to do once all the boards are up but wanted to limit the ladder time.

The last picture shows one of the boards after a second coat has been applied standing against the front of the shop. I hope to start putting on the siding next week but still thinking through how I'm going to reach the other sides since they are 1 1/2 to 2 stories, may go with just a ladder but also looking at trying to rent some kind of a lift as well. If I do end up with some type of lift, that might change the stain plans considerable as I would want to have all the wood ready to go before I start paying for the equipment.

More pictures next week.

Mudroom Cabinet Installed

The mudroom cabinet/sink unit was delivered and installed this week, came out great. Another nice piece of work from Gary Metcalf who did our kitchen cabinets as well. Here are a couple of pictures showing the sink and top. The other pictures shows the front of the cabinet, the door on the right pulls out and contains two large covered baskets that we plan to use to store our dog food. Check out the bookmarked figure/grain on the front of the 3 doors, very unique.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

House Interior

Here are a few pictures of the house interior after most of the cleaning was completed. First shots are from the great room, then to the kitchen, master bedroom, and up to the loft and guest room. Some minor touches to complete but we're nearly there!

Temporary Power Pole Gone

For those who've followed this blog from early on, you'll remember one of the first build posts was when the temporary electric power was installed, this was a big step. Last week, the temporary power was removed so we're down to a single electric bill. The power to the house and garage now runs from the last electric pole in the cul-de-sac under ground to the house. A couple of pictures of the pole coming out.

Fence Gate

Started some work this week on some gates to shut off portions of the decking to keep the dogs confined. I'm not happy with how they've come out so far. We're using a piece of the railing but having a hard time getting the gates to stay straight- for the railings, they're anchored to posts at both ends so no issue but with one end loose for the gate, it wants to bend a bit. Will try a few ideas later or may decide to go a different route. Plan is to have one of these by the back door as well as at the entrance to the decking on the front of the house.

We also had a local fence company, Bland Fencing, come in and set the posts for our fence. Thought about setting these ourselves but decided to hire a pro given the shale and slopes involved. The posts are set and will post a picture or two next week. We'll be doing a four board, paddock style fence. I have a number of logs from a neighbors downed oak that I'll be milling in to 1x6's to use for the fence rails. There will be a 4' high wire mesh on the posts as well to keep the dogs in and hopefully some critters out.

Log Splitter & Wood Stove Prep

In preparation for installing a wood stove later this year, we picked up a log splitter this week and tested it a bit. Have some wood ready now for our outside camp type fires now that the weather is starting to turn a bit cooler. Here's a picture of the splitter and first test pile. It worked well and with all the downed tress we have on the property, we should be able to make good use of them as a supplemental heating source.

We're still investigating wood stoves, the location in the basement will be a bit of a challenge since it will have such a long chimney and draft to overcome to get a fire started. Will probably go with a bit larger stove than originally planned, we're told that starting a hot, large fire will get the draft going and then we can bank it back down as originally planned. There are many stove brands out there and a lot to figure out, right now, we're looking at an Osburne unit, from Canada that looks like it would do the job and comes highly recommended by a local seller. The dealer told us he knows of a few of these stoves installed in a similar situation as ours in the basement and they have worked well. We don't have to decide on this for a while so will continue to check out some other models too.

Hot Tub Pad

Things have slowed a bit over the the last two weeks, no big deal but the work is not as visible. More cleaning and touch up. Plan is to finish up most of the remaining work this week and hopefully, we'll have our final inspections completed soon so we can move some furniture inside. Here's a picture of the hot tub pad and the conduit ready for the electric run, tub will be delivered later this month.