Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tabled Decisions

I didn't know where to place this, so I am putting it up here, but I will link to this blog from the Doud Dairy Farm blog, as it seems it also applies to that work as well.

Warning: This is a long post, and it will have more to come, so just be prepared to stick with it, or leave before it is done.

The making of a table for Arleta to work on has taken on a life of its own, to some degree.  I started with the idea that a trestle table would be about the best, as it would have space under the table so she could sit in either a chair or her wheelchair and work on it.  I wanted to make it adjustable so she could work on it either sitting or standing, but it looks like it would be better to just build two different tables.


Still have to figure out a chair pattern for her that will match the height of her wheelchair, and have a foot rest as she will be working at the table some amount of time, and her feet will not reach the ground if it is the same height as the wheelchair.


I am not much of a drawer, but I know that it needs to be at least 48” wide by 72” long on the top, so the legs must be half the width, and the stretcher must be at least ¾ the length.


I am going to cut the legs out of ¾” plywood, which I am going to double giving me a 1.5 thick leg.  I am going to attach that to the table top with a hinge so that it will fold down against the tabletop when the table is not in use.  The stretcher will be used to hold the legs in position when the table is in use.  I will be using ⅝” birch plywood for the top, with a frame of 2x2 to give it extra strength and allow for the legs to hinge on the frame rather than the tabletop itself.  I am also going to add a small drawer on the front to allow for tool storage while it is being used.  Because it is a folding table, I will make the drawer usable on the either the sitting or standing table, but also in a tool cabinet I am going to build to match the tables, so that she can easily switch out the drawer and have a different set of tools depending on which projects she is working on.


I may increase the weight of the frame as these are work tables and may need additional heft to stand up to hammering and other hard use.  I may also consider using dimensional lumber for the tops, and other parts to increase the heft of the table.


Ideally I would use a table saw and cut the edges of the dimensional lumber so that it was square.  I would then using strap and pipe clamps peg and glue up the top so that it was one continuous top made of several different pieces.  Once that was set, I would use a countersink drill bit to drill the frame through the top, and screw and glue the tabletop into the frame built of dimensional lumber.  I would then use plugs cut flush to cover the countersunk screws.  I could add edge trim to the tabletop to give it a finished look and present rounded edge.  Or if I had a router I could just create a finished edge on the edge trim.


I would still add the drawer detail.  I would also change the legs to dimensional lumber and with the router create a edge detail on them.  I would make a mortice on the stretcher and using a pin and strap I would have a through tenon that would take the pin and the strap would just be there to ensure that the pin stayed in place until removed.  I would still hinge the legs to the top frame allowing the table to be folded up when not in use.  The drawer could still be swapped out from the tool cabinet so it would be easier for her to switch projects and keep her tools organized.


On further thought, I would most likely just put the tool cabinet on wheels so that she could have it wheeled over to her projects and eliminate the drawer on the table as that would take out a lot of extra details, keeping the table simple and more durable.


If I start with all rough cut lumber and plane it and edge it, I can make a fairly hefty table that should still be pretty to look at.  If I make the top of some really hard wood like maple or oak, and make the legs, stretcher and frame out of pine or hemlock, it will save on cost, while still providing a good sturdy table.


I may use the same design for our kitchen and dining room tables, with more or less detail and heft as I think is needed.


If I had a mill, I would mill the wood, but that is more than I can foresee as being reasonable.  There are plenty of local mills that could provide me with the needed lumber, although I may not be able to get the exact species of tree stock I want, there is most likely something local that would be just as good.


I have a few additional ideas I am thinking through, like pins for the legs, so they could be removed, and this way a sitting table could be used with longer legs to make a standing table, and so on and so forth.


The next thing to think about is chairs.  I am thinking I might want to do green wood chairs, but I am still thinking that through.  I know I want some arm chairs for the dining room, and some benches too.  I also want some stools for the standing height tables so if they are used in the kitchen a stool could be used as well as for standing.  I am thinking a few armless chairs too would be good, especially if they stack, so they could be used if needed, but stacked in the store room if not needed.


This leads me around to the new house design.  I am definitely thinking a combination of timber frame with wattle and daub between, but I have to consider that this does not allow for the insulation layer, or in wall plumbing and wiring.  So although I really like the “tudor” look, I am thinking that I will still go with the cob double wall design.  However I am going to increase the space a little, enough that we will have a spare room and a bigger separate lauder and pantry.


I am still going to create a through the wall fireplace, with iron doors that will be on iron hinges that can be switched from inside in the summer, and outside in the winter.  This will allow the fireplace to be used as an indoor fireplace for heat in the winter, but also as an outdoor stove and oven in the summer, without creating too much heat loss or buildup in either season.  I am also going to build a central fireplace that will also be a through the wall fireplace, with the shared wall of our bedroom.  This too will have iron doors that will be able to be open or shut depending on where the desired heat is to be radiated to.  The main of the house will be heated as the main hot water will also be heated by an outdoor fire, namely the forge and kiln fire.


The Forge and Kiln will be part of a project that will consist of a structure that will resemble a small dragon.  This will be built with cob as well, and serve as the forge (the mouth of the beast), the kiln (the tail of the beast), a bakery oven (the belly of the beast), and a hot water and steam generation plant (the blood and heart of the beast).  Because this will run all year, except during the summer solstice when it will be allowed to cool and be maintained, it will be outside and away from the other buildings, in a specific location, allowing it to provide service to all the other buildings effectively, while protecting them from the fire and potential hazards of the beast nature.


All the buildings have specific locations depending on their purpose, and how they are best suited to that purpose.  It is also important that the buildings align with the proper cardinal directions according to their purposes and needs for exposure.  This would seem to be unnecessary, but I assure you it is absolutely necessary for productive living and longevity of the project.


If I could draw better I could demonstrate the reasoning in a more graphic manor, but I will attempt to do so the only way I can, with words.


I have yet to determine the true shape of the house, but I can tell you that it will begin with two spires, well chimneys really, each one a fireplace will be built into, which can be accessed from either side.  On the western side of the house will be the main fireplace, with its built in stove tops and ovens.  It will have iron doors that will open to allow use from either side of the fireplace.  The outside fireplace will be used in the summer months to keep the inside of the house cooler.


The second one will be built in the center of the house, and will be used in winter to add to the heating of the house in general, but specifically to our bed chamber, which will share a wall with the fireplace, and be accessed from either side, again with iron doors on either side.  The main entrance to the house will be on the south eastern corner of the house, where it will greet the first light of day, and be protected from the worst of winters onslaught.  The second door will be on the western wall near the fireplace, to allow for easy access to the indoor kitchen and dining area.  The pantry and lauder will be on the north western corner as they have no need for light or much heat, so they will protect the house from the worst of winters onslaught, and be kept cool in the summer as not being in the direct path of sunlight.  The north western corner of the house will also be protected by the trees and wind break, adding to the efficiency of the house design.


The bathing room will be located on the north eastern corner, with exposure to the early light, and protected from the worst of the winter, it will be warm and bright.  The spare room will be between the pantry/lauder and our bed chamber.  In addition to the spare room, over the bed chambers and other rooms will be the loft, which will have two storage areas for rain water, dry storage of produce, and lastly, some sleeping cots for young guest.  The access to the loft will be stairs that run up to the loft along the front of the spare/guest room, and the central chimney.  The heat from the open room below and the chimney will keep the loft warm, while a end window, and roof vents will maintain circulation of the air and ensure that it is not too warm for the produce or guest.


The southern wall will have a large thermal mass, with two arches in it, through which one will be able to go into the solarium and sit beside the water feature, and view the collection of rare plants as well as the indoor kitchen garden.  They will also be able to feed the fish, that will be part of the integrated watering system.  This will also look out into the center of the area where most of the other buildings will be facing.  This will be facing south, and by that same, it will also be facing the mouth of the dragon (beast), across the courtyard of gardens and other features.


On the western side of the courtyard will be the main entrance to the courtyard, through which will lead to other areas of the property like gardens and orchards.  On the eastern side of the courtyard it will open up to a field where the animals will graze mostly during the winter months.  North east of this will be the barns and other animal related buildings.  To the south east will be a sugar shack and smoke house (built as part of the beast).


There will be other shops and buildings built in other areas, according to their needs and purposes.  I am still working out all the details.  In addition to the main house, there will also be built one or two smaller cabins on the property, for the help that will live there during the height of the season.  There will also be a small carport built for the truck, as one will be needed, but hopefully not all that often.  It will be built to match the carriage house, and may actually be made to be part of the carriage house, as it is really just a horseless carriage after all.  An apartment will be built over the carriage house, as is traditional, and this will be leased to someone, who most likely will pay for their lease through the care of the carriages and the truck.  The carriage house will be one of the few visible buildings near the road access, with the rest being mostly obscured by trees and courtyard walls.


While I can see it, it is difficult for me to convey the entire picture, but I will continue to try.  It is a work in function and form, with elements of time and eternity added in.  Very much will be built with cob or stone, and made to last for several lifetimes.  I understand that I will need special variances from nearly any building code enforcer no matter where I decide to build, but that is a matter of money.


That is the matter of the next installment of this document, how can I pay for all of this, and get it going.  How will I support the cost of operations, and all of that, will be discussed in the next edition you might say.  Until then, I will think about how to describe more detail, and give answers to questions that may arise from the work that so far has been displayed.


Thank you for reading and hope it entertains you, and maybe you will want to know more, and will return to see another edition of this little dream I have so long delayed.


Peace be with all of you… sleep well.

JD

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