Tiny Cabin: Bees, Rafters, Monkey Bars

After much debate, we decided to redo the rafters on the tiny cabin. The first time around, something was amiss. The directions said 92″ boards, but the notch didn’t line up where it was supposed to. We lowered the crossbeam in hopes of cinching everything together, but it didn’t quite work.

What we have since realized: we needed 96″ boards. (Another page of the manual had 96″ boards listed, so we think the 92″ was a typo.)

Wednesday we got an early start and managed to have all of the rafters down by afternoon. This time we had scaffolding, which made the process much easier–and far less scary. Though it was bigger and higher than the elementary school jungle gyms I grew up on, scaling it made me feel like a kid again. The hundreds of hours I spent doing daredevil tricks on the monkey bars reminded me of a time when I thought I was nearly invincible. It was just the confidence boost I needed, though my stomach wasn’t convinced enough to untie the knots.

We decided to leave the crossbeam up knowing that rain was on the way.

Rafters partly down

The first item on today’s agenda was to take down the previous crossbeam, which was hanging by a couple rafters. We sat the crossbeam on the scaffolding, and as I was banging out the nails on the final rafter, a high-pitched buzzing sounded close to my ear. I turned my head just in time to notice a perfect hole bored in the wood and a large bumblebee shooting out of it.

My jungle gym skills were put to the test as I raced down the scaffolding and ran. I had no idea how many bees were coming for me. They weren’t vengeful, though. It turned out that there were just two, and they spent the rest of the day buzzing around the cabin looking for the entrance to their former home. We propped the plank against a tree hoping they would find it, but the bees knew where their home should have been and wouldn’t look elsewhere.

Rafters Down

The hardest part was securing the crossbeam. It was a test of balance and strength (amid searching bees) as we nailed in the first couple rafters and then hoisted the crossbeam into place. The day was heating up, so we took periodic breaks in the dwindling shade.

Chuck cut the rafters while I measured and marked where they would need to go. I nailed in the ones above the loft, but I wasn’t tall enough to get a good angle on the ones above the scaffolding, so Chuck did those. I was glad–blisters had already begun popping up on my hands. We managed to put up all but one rafter–and only because the saw batteries were dead and we couldn’t finish cutting the board. At least we’ll know exactly where to begin tomorrow.

The crossbeam sits much higher now, which will give us more room in the loft. Best of all, everything lines up.

New Rafters

Our next step: the roof!

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