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The Architect
Bob Harper
Monday, 5 June 2006
Report from the Non-Electric Mountain -- May 29 2006

Greetings All:

How often have I mentioned this project as being a non-electric camp? If you pushed me I would of course add parenthetically that we have a generator to run the power tools of construction. Yup. Here in the start of the forth year of construction the universe withdrew the parenthesis. Translation: the generator wouldn't start. Checked what my limited diagnostic skills allowed, which isn't much, and even a run down the mountain in search of an auto parts store open on Memorial Day Weekend for a spark plug didn't bring it to life.

Our last visit we had determined that before resuming outdoor work, we would install the 10-5'x5' sheets of Baltic birch ply we were storing in our living space . I thought the stairwell would be worthy of finish and prefabricated enough mahogany railing to do it up right. But......cutting plywood with a hand saw? The damn stuff may be only 1/2 inch but all nine laminations are birch, which is a hardwood. For better or worse I had with me a brand new Japanese Razorsaw, which cuts on the pull stroke, and being under tension when cutting is very thin and has no set to the teeth. Worked like a charm, actually didn't tear the outer veneer at all, which cant be said of even the finest circular saw blade. At my annual physical, the doctor always asks what I do for exercise. "Work." "That doesn't count" Wanna bet?

The railing had been designed by Bob Harper as a flush cap on the stairwell walls. Louise and I agreed that it would be nicer to have it overhang the wall a bit and have a quarter round profile on all corners. We kept Bob's detail of having the rail return to ground after the incline, and the joinery gets a bit more interesting with the overhang, especially where the incline meets the vertical return at the landings.

Here is a photo....just don't look to hard or you will see the shmoo that forgives all sins of haste that occur when constructing five hours from home.

Sunday we had a visit from Barak, Jenn,


and Griffin.

Baeden is just a hair to young to yet delight in the kids loft, where I was concerned about just a screen being sufficient to stop a twelve foot tumble to the ground outside. The inspiration for an alternative to bars across the windows, was to make the bars a marble roll and drop maze.

Of course.

Maybe by the end of the summer it will seem fun to a two year old. Do grandparents suffer from expectations of the grasp exceeding the reach? Guess so. We liked it.

In our non-electric state we did enjoy a couple of battery powered advances. Saturday night we watched Erin Brockovich on a portable LCD DVD player. Thanks to Barak and Chris for a Christmas of the player and Netflix membership. On Monday I finally got around to assembling and learning the operation of our 12 volt propane instant hot water heater (The heart of which is a Bosch Aquastar unit).

Amazing, a shower with enough water pressure to actually rinse off. Solar showers are neat, ecological, and all that, for camping in a big wooden tent, but come up a bit short on pressure for rinsing. isn't technology wonderful. Is such rejoicing oxymoronic in the context of celebrating a non-electric existence? .........I choose to ignore any inconsistencies in my thought.

Love, BSB

Posted by Bennett at 9:10 PM EDT

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