Sunday, October 7, 2012

The snow splitter project revealed

In winter, the snow accumulates on the roof. Eventually, a warming combined with gravity gets it loose. With a crack of thunder it slides off the roof, and I am blocked in. Hours of shoveling. The snow blower won't touch it. It's so hard you need not just a snow shovel. You need an ice axe, the Dragon Lady, and divine providence to be rid of it. So, in the depths of last year's winter, the Snow Splitter project was born. The idea is to build a sort of shed off the front porch. This will deflect the avalanche of snow, and maybe we can get out to the car without so much shoveling. So the project began with laying out the foundations. Stakes were driven in the appropriate locations.
 I will admit it up front. We made a gross mistake. We did not use batter boards. These things are foolproof. Unfortunately we were foolish. Fortunately John has an excellent eye.
 So at the end, we had three holes in the ground where the furthermost uprights would sit. We put my standard 4x4 (or 8x8 cm in metric, which is what I work in) and put my forms, used to shore up my porch) in. We aligned them by eye. Unfortunately not good enough, but it worked in the end. Slightly cockeyed, a cm in three meters. 
 Then we infilled with rock and steel scrap. mostly package strapping steel twisted in a vise. Reinforce concrete at all times.
 At this point I used commercial stuff. I could have made it. It would have taken much longer! I used  commercial anchor bolts. The anchor bolt sticks up in the above pic. We also used commercial 4x4's for this project. Then it was time to mix and pour concrete.
We used pre-mixed concrete from Home Depot.  We have no concrete mixer. Used a plastic tub and a shovel. You want the concrete wet enough to pour, but not so wet as to puddle. Another case of Goldilock's equation. Not too hot, not too cold, but Just Right. . Here's John pouring concrete. 
 And we have two foundation posts in the ground. To this we attach steel upright hangers, available at your friendly Home depot (or Lowe's depending on preference).
  We attach the uprights to the hangers. To the uprights we attach the crossbeams, also with steel hangers. All these gadgets save time. It is more elegant to make mortise and tenon joints. This time I went for expediency over elegance. Here's John up on the ladder putting in a beam:
And here you can see our simple structure. 
Now for the ridgepole, all held in by steel stuff at all critical joints. 

Then it was time for the rafters, which I measured and worked out. Since our design was off, because we didn't use batter boards in the first place, I recalculated the rafters.  In the next pic, Fluffy passed up screws. She brilliantly discovered that since the screwdriver is magnetic, all she had to do was pass up the whole drill, screw and all, to John...
 ..who then could screw the rafters in. We used screws rather than nails; much stronger.
 At the end, we have a respectable snow splitter. We used salvaged roofing for, well, the roof.  It will divert the snow off the door! A lot of detail work left, like the flashing along the ridgepole. We'll do that, if only it stops raining.
Of course, this thing suggest YAP (Yet Another Project). Extend this thing all the way to the shop. Then we can walk to the shop in winter, unhindered by snow. So many projects, so little time.

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