Hot iron!!!

Steel gets a tad toasty when it has been sitting in the sun.  So we had dinner at Stumblina Cantina (and listened to Eddie Roswell singing on their patio) and returned to work at 8 after the sun had set.  Truss number 3 is now in place.

Back to work on the house


I’m back to working on the house.  Today I finished welding truss #3.  We will get it up later this week.

Our climbing gym, Phoenix Rock Gym, was shut down on March 18.  We were finally allowed to reopen on May 13.    We had been using my income from the gym to fund house construction.  During the shutdown I focused on helping folks worse off then us and bringing in some income from Desert Rat Forge and Rope Guy.

On a steel horse we ride


With Gandalf on the east side and me on the west side of the house we used come-a-longs to move the truss into place.  I created a device (I’m calling it a beam horse) that slides over the 5in beam we are sitting on to give us stable foot rests.


Look closely and you can see the beam horse.


The truss is in position.  Nest I will weld it to the four support beams.  Then we will remove the counter weight.

First house truss is up – mostly

We got the first truss lifted up on top the house!  It weighs just under 1200 pounds.

After raising the truss a couple feet we triple check everything to make sure the load is balanced and secure.


Because the truss will be sitting on the bottom cord it is prone to tipping over until is it welded in place.  Gandalf is pointing to the long counter weight temporarily attached to the truss.  This keeps it form tipping over.  It will be removed once the truss is in its final position.


We used come-a-longs to drag the truss into place.


The truss is half way to its final position.  It will be a little trickier moving it the rest of the way.  Good thing we are climbers.

Wanna be house truss

This is the start of the first (& longest) house truss.  It is just over 51ft long.  Once completed it will be lifted up onto the support rails and then dragged to the far end of the house and welded in place.  Since the house is “wedged” shaped each successive truss will be 8 inches shorter than the previous truss.   The 5in square beam under the truss is there only to provide a long flat space to fabricate the truss.

Since the previous post we participated in a very successful Hidden In The Hills Studio Tour and installed lights and shelving in the shop.

Almost ready for roof trusses


Of friend of ours, Dick Mueller, built this model of our house so folks can get a better idea of what our finished home will look like.


Been busy adding the final big beams needed to support the house roof.  Matt is clamping a temporary small beam into place that will hold two verticals in place while they are welded.


Gandalf contemplating his clamping system.


Welding a horizontal beam on top of the two verticals we have clamped.


I have a fireproof welding blanket over my lap so the sparks don’t build up and catch my pants on fire.  The scaffold is holding up the horizontal beam I am welding so I needed to don my rigging gear to get into position.

Doors, etc.


Made 3 big (14ft high by 6fy wide) movable panels to enclose the shop.  The open door shown here is part of the left panel.


Panels in open position.


Welding vertical posts in place on the south end of the house.


Nice shot from Bob’s drone.

Moving big steel

We now have 4 of the 8 38ft beams installed.


Each beam weighs 450lbs.  Just a tad bit of grunting to move them into place to be lifted by the electric winch.


The containers get a bit hot in the sun so I have a small piece of carpet that I kneel on.

Big steel and concrete


Yesterday we had 10 38ft 5×5 box beams delivered to the local building supply because the truck would not fit down out driveway.  They used their forklift to load two beams at a time onto my truck rack and we brought them home.  My handy bridge crane was used to unload.   These beams run the length of the house and will support the roof trusses.


This morning we mixed up a mess of concrete and poured the footers for the south wall of the house.  The ground is steeper than it looks so we dumped the concrete onto a metal slide.  As you can see we trimmed the jojoba bush just enough to get the footer in.

I’ve been busy – really!

It has been awhile since our last post.  Other than a 17 day rafting trip thru the Grand Canyon we have been hard at work.  Now that the shop is mostly done I have been spending some time on client blacksmithing projects when I’m not working on the house.


These are the gutters that went on the south side of the garage.  8ft long sections from 14g steel – very beefy.


This is the 2500 gallon tank we installed next to the garage to catch rain water from the garage and the shop roofs.  Eventually we will build a rock gabion to cover the tank.


On of my helpers (Gandalf) mixing brown dyed concrete and pouring into 12in by 24in forms to make a basket weave pattern on the patio in front of the house.