Saturday, May 26, 2012

I installed the bar top I had been working on a couple weeks ago.
This is in a log house I built a few years ago.

We had built a bar top of a huge heavy slab of maple. I was told it had been kiln dried, but I don't think is was dry enough as it warped badly the first year it was installed. It seemed to jest keep getting worse to the point where you couldn't set your beer on there or it would slide off... I don't have any pictures of that, it was too depressing, but this winter I decided the time had come to take care of it.

Here are a couple shots of the newly installed bar top.

This one is made of Northern White Cedar center cut from a 17" log so should have a little less "mind of it's own" when it comes to movement.
Logs like this are not easy to find. Usually when White Cedar in this part of the world grow this large, it develops a lot of rot in the middle. This one has a little but not too bad.

Cedar logs this nice will generally not grow in the Ely are hear but closer to the North Shore of Lake Superior or up towards the Canadian border, International Falls or in the Cook/Orr areas.

This one comes from around Grand Marais. Bob Matchiner, of Bissonnett Log Construction in Ely, happened to have found a few truckloads of exceptionally nice logs and so he grabbed them and brought them over here and had them in his yard. I picked this one out and he took this center slab out with his band-saw mill and then I took it from there.

The worms had removed the bark for me and I left that "wormy" edge on the front side. I think it turned out pretty good.

And just for fun, here are some more pictures I took of the house while I was there:

...and, yes, it is the house in the video I posted a while back:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Of course the big news this week was the fire.
I learned about it from my son who snuck out a text from school saying they had seen smoke and wondered if I knew anything.
I did not. I texted my wife who works at city hall and knows all and she told me about it.
Apparently the wind knocked out a power line and that had started the fire.

They had gone to the roof of city hall and could see the flames and smoke in the east and the helicopters and planes. (Where do those guys come from? It couldn't have been a half and hour since things started and there were two huge water bombers, three helicopters and two spotter planes among many other vehicles and people. How did they get here so fast? Who are they? They just appeared... it was amazing. Also the local Ely and Ely area firefighters who immediately dropped whatever they were doing to take care of things...).

I never look at Twitter, (mostly way to much useless information and I just don't have the time for it), but at this point I turned to Twitter to see if there was any chatter and there was none.
I tweeted what I had heard and shortly after that my electrical power, internet, and cell phone were cut off and so I was out of touch completely, (right now might be a good time to think about switching to ATT. People with ATT were walking around chatting away, while I, (Verizon), had nothing...)

Even a battery powered radio didn't help. The local radio station was not able to broadcast over the air. I imagine it had to do with the power being out, though I heard they were still streaming on the web but that didn't help me. (I heard later they stopped by city hall looking for a generator they could use...?!?)

Baseball practice was canceled so I picked up my son and stopped in at city hall to see what was going on.
Everybody was there of course but things seemed relatively calm. There was nothing you could do but wait and see.
I loaded up a few 5 gallon cans of gas for my generator and went home.

We went back later to the edge of town where you could see the fire fighters working. The whole town was there watching... like a parade. The smoke was still thick over that end of town.

The emergency was over by about 6:00 and my wife came home.
We listened to the hum of the generator through the evening and had a glass of wine and thought a little bit about what you would take and what you would leave... I'm sure that's what everyone was thinking at that point, but there were a few people that had to actually make that decision very quickly on Thursday... 

The wind was blowing to the north, (it was very windy), and, though we are only a couple miles from the fire, (to the south east), other than the power and communications being down, we were not threatened.

Sometime during the night the power was fixed, (It always amazes me how those guys get that stuff fixed so fast all the time. I expected this one to last days...). The internet was back up in the morning and I started getting a little more info.

Here are some links to some of the news, (there was lots of news people here even the BBC):


Local Ely guy Steve Foss has a lot of good pix on line:

...and of course the local coverage is at the Ely Echo or the Timberjay, but I think they will make you pay for it this time...

The black outline in the picture above shows the perimeter of the fire.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This week we finished the reclaimed oak floor that we have been installing and filling and prepping.
The product comes from Manomin Resawn Timbers in Hugo MN.

It is meant to be very rustic. There are places that still have the surface of the actual timber before it was resawn into boards and all kinds of nail holes and knots...

If I remember right, Sarah, down at Manomin, told me the timbers were from an old brewery somewhere.

It's pretty cool stuff. Not the kind of floor kids would scoot around stocking footed on, but after about 5 coats of floor varnish, it's not bad...

Here are some pictures:
reclaimed Okk floor by

reclaimed oak floor by

reclaimed oak floor by

reclaimed oak floor by

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another project I have been working on in the shop is a bar top for a "man cave" in a home I built a few years ago.

The top is made of 4" thick  by 15" wide slabs of Northern White Cedar, which is the type of cedar that is indigenous to northern Minnesota, though trees large enough to get a slab this thick and wide are hard to find...

The bar top here is still sitting on the work bench in my shop. I think I will give it a few more coats of varnish before I take it out to install...