Chester, Get Your Safety Glasses On

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Chester the hen watches Dennis cut wood framing
Chester the hen watches Dennis cut wood framing

Thursday, May 8

We got a new hen last weekend and she’s adopted the construction crew from Aspen Diversified Construction, Inc. Rather than hang out in the yard searching for bugs and worms, Chester likes to hang out in the studio and supervise the construction activity. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything, even standing calmly on a piece of framing timber while Dennis cuts it to length with his Skilsaw. Where do we find chicken-size safety glasses for her? And that name, Chester? That’s what Mike started calling her.

Mike Gill raises glulam beam

Mike Gill raises glulam beam as Dennis taps it into horizontal position

The big project this week is getting the glulam beam that will support the second floor into position. Wednesday Mike and Dennis raised the long section into place using the lift you see in the photo above. The beam is in two parts because the engineer determined that there would be much greater stress if it were one continuous beam, even though the support post will be in the same place. I don’t quite understand the physics involved.

Mike Gill and Dennis check horizontal position of glulam
Mike Gill and Dennis check horizontal position of glulam

The end of the long section of beam has to be in exactly the right position to line up with the anchor for the support post on the footer. Mike and Dennis got it in place with about 1/8 inch tolerance.

Dennis jacks up glulam beam
Dennis jacks up the glulam beam

Once the beam was in position, Dennis and Mike jacked it up under the floor above. The old floor sagged a lot so it was a somewhat delicate operation to raise the beam as much as possible to bring the floor closer to level, but without doing too much damage to the sheetrock on the office wall. They popped one vertical joint in the corner but it won’t be hard to re-tape and paint it.

Before the beam went in there was a lot of bounce in the office floor. Now, even with just the temporary support posts, I can jump and the floor feels pretty firm. The crew is going to double all the joists for the second floor, which will make everything very solid. The original joists were undersized for the length of the span but they’ve held up the floor since the building was originally built in 1928.

Chester the hen
Chester the hen

Chester keeps checking in on the progress. She was called Pink by the kids in the family that raised her from a chick. She’s much more imprinted on humans than our other chickens.

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