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Examining the packaging

Ten thousand staples! Oh man, I think that Jeanette and I are going to be seeing staples in our dreams for the next week since we removed so many of them from the bridge wood yesterday, working with Mike and Ben on the first stage of preparatory work on the Laurel Gulch project.

Wayne and Tom joined the effort to collect cut-up tree segments along the hillsides further up on the canyon so that they can be sold a fire wood, joining a number of other volunteers from other groups who work in the canyons, and since I thought that they had enough volunteers for that project, I stayed below at the Rincon Fire Station to lend a hand with the wood that will be assembled to create the new bridge.

And what fun it was, too! Three large bundles of previously cut and drilled wood was waiting to be unpacked, covered in plastic sheeting that had been stapled to the wood. And then stapled again. And then once again. And then stapled one more time for good measure!

Who ever packaged up the bridge parts must have wanted to be absolutely sure that the plastic covering didn't shift a micrometer since we must have spent four or five hours removing staples, usually digging in to the wood with screw drivers tapped in to place with a hammer and a hatchet, and yanking them out with pliers.

Removing the staples

Much of the wood was literally dripping with Copper Naphthenate, the biochemically safe wood preservative treatment that should keep all of the wood parts healthy for at least the next century or there about. (See http://www.merichem.com/news/news2.php for details about how wood is -- excuse the vulgarity, please! -- "thermally butt treated!" with the chemical.)

The wood parts were plucked off of the shipping stacks and set upon wood runners so that they could dry for the next two weeks while the staple removal continued as each piece was inspected and added to the drying-out stacks.

Calculations were performed to determine the weight of some of the parts, and then got re-computed after we decided that sixteen million pounds was probably not correct. We laid down on the concrete with paper and pen and worked out the weight of the main beams a second time and got closer to what we thought was a reasonable answer -- fifty six thousand pounds which, while probably still not right was at least an order of magnitude more correct.

Since some of us just remove staples and don't do math, we left the mental calculations to Mike and Ben to perform. When Mike suggested that the square root of negative one should be included in the figuring of the beam's weight, us staple removers decided it had been wise not to get involved.

The main beams

Mike and Ben figured out the various measurements and spacing of the tread pieces that would need to be laid out and drilled after the wood is given some time to dry. Of the four of us, I think Mike probably has a better understanding of geometry, and since my brain doesn't work that way, I couldn't even visualize how the wood parts was going to form something resembling a bridge, leave alone figure out where to hammer in a nail -- so staple removing was a good job for me.

Tom came down to the Fire Station after the wood gathering effort ended early due to the need to always consider fire hazards, and he joined the team of engineers making sure that all the parts were accounted for, all the measurements were correct, and all the hardware was of the right caliber for the various weights and tensions that bridge transport and assembly required.

Aside from prep on the wood, there was also many bags of "sacrete" that needed to be moved from storage and get placed on the concrete staging apron. I offered to assist in that but when I was informed that each bag weighed 90 pounds, I recalled my offer. Mike asked six of the Engine 22 Fire Fighter men and women crew to come move the bags and they got it done quickly and, annoying, easily. Ah, to be young again!

The proposed project schedule will be posted elsewhere on this web site in a section specifically dedicated to the project however the schedule so far is thus:

November 2 -- Rincon Fire Station. The two main beams of the bridge will be laid out and about 16 of the treads will be assembled along with strengthening supports so that the partially assembled bridge can be air lifted by helicopter to the gulch.

November 8 and 9 -- Rincon Fire Station. Package up the partially assembled bridge and as much of the heavy materials and equipment that can be carried by helicopter as possible, reconfirming that everything has been assembled and is ready to be transported, either by air or by horse back.

November 15 and 16 -- Rincon Fire Station and Laurel Gulch. Air transport of sacrete and other materials to the Laurel Gulch work site, building the bridge footings, and getting ready to receive the partially assembled bridge. Yep, that's an over night bundle of fun!

November 22 and 23 -- Rincon Fire Station and Laurel Gulch. Air transport of partially assembled bridge to the point where the bridge itself is in place and people may walk across it. Not all of the work needs to be completed, just enough so that the usage of the bridge is safe. That's also an over night project, and if there is any time available, the old bridge will be disassembled so that it can be hauled out on our backs.

November 29 and 30 -- Laurel Gulch. Thanksgiving Day week end however we will probably be able to get volunteers anyway. The remaining work on the bridge will probably be installing the hand rails and anything else that needs to be done.

As you can see, it's a full schedule and as many volunteers as we can get will be needed.

* Two of the packaged bridge parts before they are taken apart and inspected
* The other two packages get taken apart and moved off to dry
* The primary drying stack, many staples get removed
* Other work taking place at the Rincon Fire Station
* Counting the parts and taking inventory
* The staple removal job took a log time
* The other two stacks get taken apart and set aside to dry
* Not related: We get a rope pulling gasoline power to donated to us!
* Not related: I can't wait to fire this puppy and pull something with it
* Jeanette takes a break under the available shade
* Not related: Fake grave site at the Environmental Education Center at Rincon
* Not related: Taking a look at the last bridge that we completed
* Not related: The last bridge we did looks great!
* A final look at the main bridge beams that still need to dry. Heavy!

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map
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