Digging a Trench for electrical 11/2/2022

Who knew electrical would be so expensive? wow. First off, it would have been so much more had I hired it out. A guy in California told me he got a quote for $35k for electrical in his cabin - he wanted to know what I spent on mine. I'm 100% I haven't spent $35k. But I will probably end up close to $3k, which is a lot more than I thought it would cost.

  • For one thing, there's cost of cable - copper especially - is through the roof.
  • For another, I set my cabin back 200 feet from the road. This particular utility company will provide up to 150' of cable to your house at their expense. This meant that I would still need some kind of pedestal or customer owned "run" to complete the connection, which would mean a big power pole in my yard with an aerial cable hanging from it.
  • Also, I dislike the new wifi meters. I don't know if there's something to the claims that the EMF's are dangerous. It's definitely not 100% benign.
  • Finally, I don't want to mount their meter to my logs - cutting them flat to mount a meter to them is ugly, and possibly bad for the logs. Even just a flat board would hold water next to the logs, which is always a bad idea.

So, I called the engineer for my area at the power company and asked what my options were to avoid placing the meter directly on the house. He said they actually prefer the meter at the road, and sent me an engineered drawing of how to build an approved pedestal - normally the way they would connect power to a mobile home. Fine by me - meter is at the road, not on my house. They don't need to come in my yard for anything.

And that's where it gets expensive. The direct burial cable was almost $8 / ft. I spent over $1700 on a 200+ foot 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0 URD cable (don't ask me what that all means - 4 conductors and a ground is all I needed to know). The guy that trenched my sewer line also trenched the power line - "24" down," he said. "That will save you some money..." I didn't understand what he meant at first - then I read the rules - 18" or deeper means you don't need to house the cable in conduit, according to local code. He obviously couldn't dig under the house with his machine, and I thought I would still use conduit there, as an extra protection - until I saw that a 10' stick of 2.5" electrical conduit was $78. Over a thousand dollars for conduit out to the street if I went that route.

All of the above should explain why I'm hand-digging a trench under my house for electrical cable: I'm saving $300 in conduit just under the house doing it this way.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13144) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13144) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Balcony Railing Prototype 11/5/2022

I was going to use some oak I milled early this year, but turns out it's not exactly long enough, so I would have to joint it, which might look weird. So for now (or maybe forever, who knows?), just going to be 2x4's cut to fit in between the vertical oak posts. Maybe after we move in and I get serious about a shop, I can revisit the oak idea. Pine will do for now.

The rebar is leftover 5' lengths from the cabin. For the balcony, it is about 8" too short to make two bars out of each piece. For the stair handrails, it is about 2" too short. But it's not a complete loss - the leftover pieces will be used to pin the garage logs together when I get to that point.

For now, I just spray painted them with flat black enamel. I need to take it apart now, sand and poly the wood, and give the rebar another coat of paint.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13149) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13149) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Trenches filled in 11/11/2022

I hired this guy a month ago to dig my trenches for sewer and power lines. He said $100 to come back and fill it in. Can't beat that price, and it was worth it to my back, so there he was today filling it all back in.

I still need to install the pedestal for the power line. I was waiting for a "meter base" that I bought to ship, and it was on the porch tonight when I got home. So now I just need a few more parts like some cross-bracing for the pedestal, some concrete for the uprights, and some conduit to the power pole.

I also need to figure out how this whole set up should be grounded. I think if the meter was right outside the door, I could get away with copper rods right there grounding the whole system, but I think the inspector may want to see a little more of a robust grounding system - I might have to buy the grounding kit for my breaker box. We'll have to see.

Oh - all the sand - I bought another 4 tons of sand. I used a few hundred pounds to level the sewer pipe - didn't need much, the slope was nearly perfect. The rest is for chinking the inside of the cabin.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13154) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13154) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

One Bedroom Chinked, inside and out 11/14/2022

Got one bedroom fully chinked. Trying to hold myself back from throwing up some drywall and installing the floor - we are going to wait until I get the electrical and the HVAC installed. And THEN we are going to get the floor and walls in for this bedroom. It would be nice to have one room fully finished.

For the un-initiated, the chinking is traditional mortar chink, made from sand, lime, and mortar. The gaps between the logs are first stuffed with insulation, then nails are installed every few inches, and the chinking is applied over the nails. Chinking won't normally stick to wood and will eventually crack and fall out if done this way. But it loves to stick to nails, and will remain in place basically forever if applied in this manner. That fake silicone-based chinking is actually bad for logs (not to mention as pricey as gold). Water can get behind it and become trapped, causing the logs to rot. Traditional mortar chinking breathes just like the log does. If water gets behind the mortar chinking, the chinking will actually let the water pass through or evaporate. But water should never get in your logs because of your huge roof overhangs, right? right....

The other rooms aren't far behind though, but I do need to wait - the polar vortex is upon us, and we are in the upper 20's at night, which isn't great for chinking. So I'm working on other stuff.

[[!tags 2022-11 cabin chinking]]

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13159) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13159) line 3. -- hail Eris!)

Electrical Pedestal started 11/18/2022

Wife took a picture of me. These two steel uprights are about 190 feet from the house. Yes, I'll cut that taller one down to size. I asked the engineer at the utilities company how they want this pedestal wired, and he sent me a drawing that is, for some reason, very difficult to follow. Looks simple enough on paper, but trying to make what I can buy at the hardware store match the drawing has been pretty difficult. Supply lines and stuff, I guess.

I made some progress today, though - got the utility side conduit (3" schedule 40 pvc in the ground). I couldn't mount the disconnect switch because my cross braces weren't long enough - two inches too short! I was trying to use the leftovers from the uprights. Ok, so I will go spend some more money. grr...

Then my bolts were too big. I bought smaller ones, but they ended up being too long, lol. Finally got the right bolts and attached the meter base. Then shoved the pvc up into it, and glued it all together back to the power pole. Then I started shoveling dirt into the trench. Neighbor saw me, and came over to offer his tractor to finish, and I couldn't turn him down.

Tomorrow's goal: get the disconnect switch mounted with conduit and wires sticking out.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13164) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13164) line 3. -- hail Eris!)

Drywall nearly complete in one room

I'm waiting for a guy with the right tools to terminate my electrical at the road. I don't feel like a $100+ cable cutter is a tool I need to buy for one use. Meanwhile, I started drywalling one room - the easiest room in the house - no plumbing, one window, and a closet. Wife wants at least one room complete.

Folks tell me all the time "how I would do it" - they would put wood siding in the room. They hate any and all drywall. To me, I like the contrast of drywall up against logs. I really do "have enough wood" in this house - almost 300,000 lbs of wood. Adding more wood siding on the inside is like going to a buffet and loading up your plate with mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and fries: too much of a good thing.

I got the drywall close to the logs by scribing it with a compass up against the logs. I'm going to try a method I saw online somewhere with cardboard to get the mud right up against the logs when we get to that point.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/Discordian.pm in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 13169) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 13169) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags: