Do you remember the neat models we played around with in this previous post? Oh, I know, everything looks so much neater on paper. And that three dimensional model, using tiny sticks to represent the immense logs we'll be using for roof beams... well, it's a bit removed from the real life experience of moving a 200 kg (440 lbs) log, even just a little.
Moving Logs a Little... And A Little More Than Just a Little
I already gave you guys an idea of the kind of undertaking that was required to even lift one end of these mothers, so we could grind the bark off. Four of us lifted it up, while one person placed a plank underneath. So even though we got used to lifting them, rolling them to the side, and even dragging them back and forth, we knew that this was just the beginning of it. And it was, as they had to travel to our neighbor's property for the acid treatment. It's not a long way to go, but they need to go up a steep dirt road. Thankfully the pick-up truck was cooperative (mostly).
Our neighbor has just the thing we needed: a long tank to treat logs with, in a boric acid solution, to keep termites at bay. Of course, once the truck dragged them over there, we still had to roll them, move them, pivot them, and eventually lift and lower them into the acid tank. And even with all the help there, doubling our numbers, those logs were heavy still!
Not Just Moving, But Perfect Placing
We managed to transport three logs at one time using the truck, and once all thirteen beams had a chance to spend four days in the acid, they found their way back to our site, in the same way they left. Now they only had to get up on the top of the bond-beam so they could form the roof. Hahaha, we kept laughing at the absurdity of this idea. How could anyone in their right mind imagine to drag these monsters up on top of our tire wall of roughly three meters (9 feet)? Even more absurd seemed the idea of standing them up on the far side, where there wasn't even a berm to climb up on. But we had to start at some point, right? So once the form around the bond-beam was ready to be taken off, we felt ready to try setting up the first beam.
They Did It Because Nobody Told Them That It Was Impossible
By now we knew perfectly well: as hard as it was to lift up one end, as easy it seemed to drag one end in a circle around the other one. So two people could walk the log to the berm without breaking much of a sweat. Then we'd need some help of maybe another two, and we could do the same thing up the hill too. (Whoo-hoo!) Finally, with some more help, we could even pull the top end all the way onto the bond-beam, while pushing the lower end upwards. In no way was this exercise as easy as I might make it sound here... but eventually we were amazed at the possibility of it!
Using Human Ingenuity
In the end we managed to place all thirteen logs onto the bond-beam within only a few days. Originally we had been considering calling a back-hoe to do the lifting, but the current situation of the COVID lockdown threw a big monkey wrench into these plans. But being notorious suckers, with not much else to do in our quarantine, we just had to try on our own.
After the vigas on the berm side were placed without much fuss, we went right ahead to place the ones on the other side. Instead of trying to set up the beam straight right away, we placed one end on top of another one, and slid it up the side. Sure, there was a good amount of pushing and pulling involved, some pivoting, a bit of rolling, but eventually we had thirteen vigas sitting on the bond-beam, ready to be placed on top of each other, in perfect position, where they could support each other. And we couldn't be happier! What kept coming to mind were ingenious builders of the past, may they be Egyptians, Mayas, or the builders of megaliths like Stonehenge. In some way we felt we could relate to them closely now.
Follow our Construction Adventure in This Series:
Talking About Logs
Visual Concrete Pour by @redhawkrising
Pouring the Bond Beam
The Circle is Complete, We're Pouring Tomorrow
Starting The Long Finish
Concrete Plans and Concrete Actions
Earthship Build in the Time of Hive and Coronavirus
Machines Taking Over Work: The Day Everything Changed
Zome Building Workshop in Mazunte
The Ceremony of a Minka
Hay Pase, Got the Permit!
The Diverse Cars at Itínera
Waiting for the Man
An Impression of Hyperadobe in La Boquilla
Bending Rebar Like a Mexican
Working at Night for the Perfect Level
The Challenge of Scoring Tires
Creating Conditions to Work and Live
Previous series: A Theater on the Beach