While the front wall held up in spite of storms and six inches of rain at the end of November, this time we weren’t quite so lucky. We had hoped to have the side walls framed out and the walls up by December, but the work was going slowly. I often wished I had paid more attention in high school geometry, though thankfully I hadn’t forgotten everything. I think it’s all still in my brain somewhere, beneath fifteen years of other information.
Chuck, meanwhile, figured out how to use the saw to cut boards at a 45 degree angle. But in spite of our successes, the measurements were off for our side walls. We noticed this when the studs were slanting toward each other at the top. We then realized that the base was 2″ wider than the top (116″ vs. 114″), which meant that the boards for the roof pitch were too short. We used the mallet to try to beat one of the side walls into shape, only to have the wall fall apart.
In these situations, it’s better to start over anyway. We figured out where we had gone wrong, and now we just needed to know how much longer the top boards should be. We needed Pythagoras.
Luckily, the sands of time had left the Pythagorean Theorem unburied in my mind: Since we had the distance for “c” (our hypotenuse) and knew that “a” and “b” had to be equal, we were able to calculate the length needed rather than “guesstimating.” 116″ x 116″ (“c” squared) = 13,456 divided by 2 = 6,728, the square root of which is 82″. For some reason, we came up with 82.5″ that day, and it worked.
The walls are nearly finished. We still have to frame out a couple of windows, but then we will be ready to raise the walls. As a precaution now that winter has begun here in Arkansas, we left the front wall down and stacked the other walls on top of it. To ensure that rain would not fill the ruts between studs, we placed OSB board on top and then the tarp.
What we need next are several nice days during which we can finish framing the windows, raise the walls, and start nailing the rafters up to support the walls. Chuck’s Spring Break is seven weeks away, but there’s no guarantee that the first week of March will be lovely, or even remotely conducive to working outdoors. Last year we had a late snow that week.
Until then, we can cut grooves in the rafters, continue planning, and rest up for our next chance!