Thursday, June 11, 2015

Be careful what you wish for

I found out yesterday my grant-writing skills scored another success. I wrote an application back in February asking for money for the museum to do some repair work. Enough time had elapsed that I'd more or less assumed nothing was going to come of it. I was wrong. I now have the fun of trying to find a contractor to work on doing exterior work on the building.

Why do we need exterior work? The building leaks. It looks kind of neat, but it leaks like the proverbial sieve. In cold weather, we end up heating half the county when the furnace runs. If it rains or snows, water runs in. The structure is built of D-logs, i.e., logs that were squared on three sides and then stacked. At the time the museum went up, in one of those not-so-brilliant cost-saving moves, the historical society opted not to spend the extra $5,000 it would have cost to have the logs scribed. The logs were freshly cut, they were not scribed or splined, there was no provision built into the construction for ever tightening the logs. I think most people can figure out what happened. The logs dried, they shrank, they warped away from each other. And here it is 22 years later, we've got gaps in the walls you can see daylight through and the interior has water stains from where the rain's seeped in. We had a bad storm last fall, a hard driving rain out of the northeast, and there was water quite literally running down the interior walls.

The obvious answer to this problem is to side the building. Cover those funky, warped, shrunken D-logs with a siding that actually seals the building. Unfortunately, even though the building is not historic and technically we could just throw up the cheapest siding we can find -- T1-11 sounds good to me -- we do have an image to maintain. There was a lot of promoting the notion that supporters "buy a log" when the society did fund-raising 25 years ago; it wouldn't go over real big in the community if those logs vanished under HardiePlank. So we're probably stuck trying to figure out a way to afford enough half-round log siding to cover the logs. Which sounds a little bizarre -- covering real logs with faux logs -- but it will preserve the general appearance. 

Assuming, of course, we can figure out a way to stretch the grant to cover both materials and labor. One of the more annoying aspects of this project is that it's a technically easy one, a project that could easily be done by volunteers, but we're all just too damn old. The S.O. is about the only member who's still capable of climbing ladders and swinging a hammer. If we had half a dozen geezers in about the same shape as him, we wouldn't need a contractor. As it is, we're in an interesting position. Enough money to pay for materials or to pay for labor for the whole building, but probably not both.

Oh well. Now that I know what we've got to work with, the first step will be to measure the building and figure out the square footage. Once we've got that, we can figure out how to tackle the work. If nothing else, if we could get the elevations that get hit the worst by wind and rain sealed we'll be in a lot better shape than we are now. I guess as headaches go, I can't complain much about this one. We may not be able to come up with a complete solution, but at least we'll be able to improve things considerably.


  1. The guy at the lumberyard had a better idea -- high school students from one of the local industrial arts classes. One school is supposed to build our pavilion; we need to appeal to the traditional rivalry and get the other school to install the siding.

  2. There is untold resources in high school shop classes. Our children actually built a log cabin for teacher housing in one of the Native villages where I taught school. In another school we built and sold sweat lodges to be able to spend more on shop material. A shop class might well volunteer to build things to sell to supply money for needed material for your cause.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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