the way i figure it, if you’re going to go get some 14 and 16 footers for the treehouse from your amish sawyer and you have the opportunity to use a trailer made from a 1938 dodge truck from marv who lives down the street who got it from his father, well, it’s a no-brainer – it’s The Way It Must Be Done.
you can 8 footers just fine without a trailer with the old ford but 14 and 16 footers are looooong. i thought i’d be able to keep the trailer gate closed but they boughed enough that they were resting on the roof of the galaxie which wasn’t going to work, so i had to improvise with what i had available.
looks totally legit.
i wasn’t 100% sure i was going to make it home without incident but i drove slow and stopped a few times to make adjustments and made the trip without losing the load 🙂
having frida tag along makes the adventures all the more fun! she didn’t go out to the sawyer but she was veeeeeeery happy to hop in and help me return the trailer to marv.
when i pulled up to my amish sawyer in the galaxie 500 to get another load of black locust lumber for the treehouse, i could see a young amish boy ( one of the boys who got a good laugh the last time i picked up a load ) furrowing his brow wondering how i was going to fit the twenty 8 and 10 foot 1×6 boards into the car.
clearly, he was unaware of The Enormousness of a 1965 galaxie 500 trunk and was suitably impressed when i opened the trunk and he saw we could fit 6 feet or so of the boards in the trunk by using the space for the spare tire in the addition to the trunk WITHOUT PUTTING THE SEAT DOWN!
after we got all the wood loaded i thanked him for the help and he smiled and said, “that’s one handy car. i really like it.”
just when we finished up, the clouds opened up and started dumping rain down. i pulled out of the cover of the mill, turned on the wipers and he ran up to join his brothers who were emerging out of the corn fields on a enormous horse drawn wagon stacked high with corn to put in the silo.
about 7 weeks ago i was almost ready to put on the decking on The World’s Most Awesome Treehouse(s) and wrote:
“one big remaining decision – to use pressure treated decking or not? i think i’m leaning towards pressure treated to help prevent decay. i’m thinking that anything i put on unfinished decking to prevent rot is going to be at least as unfriendly as pressure treated lumber. suggestions?”
well, you all did have suggestions and pretty much mostly everyone recommended avoiding pressure treated lumber when kids are going to be in regular contact with bare feet, if for no other reason than following the precautionary principle because there’s not-so-fun chemicals involved in pressure treating lumber. all a good reminder of something i already knew. but what wood to use instead of a pressure treated lumber that wouldn’t require treatment with chemicals to prevent rot?
a bunch of local folks recommended finding an amish sawyer who would mill black locust which is extremely hard and renowned for its resistant to rot. local folks who build decks out of the wood claim you don’t have to do anything to it and it will last decades or longer. perfect! and as an added bonus i would be supporting local sawyers whichy is A Good Thing.
it took a three weeks but i finally found a sawyer who was quite reasonable with price ( $1 per board foot, which is actually cheaper than cedar decking from a big box lumber store ) but originally he was so swamped with orders he wasn’t going to be able to fit me in for “a couple of months”. i must not have done a good job of hiding my disappointment on my face because he immediately said, “well, how much do you need? oh, only enough enough for 14’x16′ deck? well, i think we can try to squeeze you in. see ( with a twinkle in his eye ), this is my downfall, i try to make everyone happy.”
with a handhshake i’d come back in 3 weeks. in the end, because of other obligations they needed 4 weeks to squeeze my order in, which puts me 7 weeks behind but i’m just happy to be making progress and doing it the way i want.
i get ready to go out to the sawyers to pick up the wood with the vague idea that i’ll just make couple of trips in our jetta. i thought if i put the back seats down i could probably fit 8 feet in the car and have 6 feet hanging out the back, but i remembered the sawyer said he’d give me generous 14 foot boards, closer to 15 feet, so i’d have more than enough overhang to trim. right before i left to pick up the wood i thought i’d better measure how much room i had in the car with seats down and was suprised to discover i could only fit about 6 feet in the car.
uh, oh. there was no way i could drive down the road with 9 feet of board hanging out the back of the car. so i quickly tried to procure a trailer or a truck and could only come up with a compact chevy s-10 on short notice which gained me a couple of feet with the gate down, which still meant i was going to have 7 feet hanging out. oh well, it was the best i could come up with so i figured i had to make it work and drove out the sawyer’s place.
with the head sawyer, i loaded thirty two 14 foot boards in the bed of the truck and watched the bed sink lower and lower. because black locust is one of the hardest woods, it’s also veeeeery heavy, expecially when it’s still wet and from a freshly cut tree. the little chevy s-10 was sagging under the strain and the ends of the boards were really close to the ground after the wood were loaded. and even with the truck bed, the wood was teetering precariously. but ever the optimist, i thought i’d give it a test by driving a couple hundred feet from the saw mill to the end of the driveway. driving slowly up from the mill i could hear the boards dragging on the gravel driveway and slowly pulled up to a half dozen amish young sawyer men sitting on a huge hay wagon hitched to a team of very strong work horses. they all had big smiles on their faces. it was clear they they were all wondering if i was really going to try drive all the way back to town. the juxtaposition of me in my little s-10 and they in their big horse-drawn wagon was amusing.
i said, “nope. i guess this isn’t really going to work.”
they all let out hearty laughs. a few said simultaneously, “nope.”
one said, good naturedly, “i think you might need a wagon.”
“yup. i think you’re right.”
they helped me unload half the wood and we rigged some plywood and a spare tire and some logs to weigh down the wood in the bed of the truck that kept the overhanging wood from barely dragging on the road and i set off for town, slowly.
i got lots of looks from folks along the way, but made the two trips without incident 🙂