The progress of a project: Bobby Evans reports on the final session of Skinner Cabin
The progress of a project: Bobby Evans reports on the final session of Skinner Cabin

The progress of a project: Bobby Evans reports on the final session of Skinner Cabin

Monday, September 26

Monday morning meeting shiny happy people standing round. All parties are well pleased with the progress made.

20160927_184842This week’s crew from left to right.
Natalie  Clark  BLM Archaeologist
Jon Williams, field supervisor
Peter Heide
Yannai Shmerer
Althea Wunderler-Selby
Robert Denison
Mike Pascucci
Bobby Evans

Eric White, crew leader

Tuesday, September 27



Four in the morning sharpening tools for another day at Skinner Cabin.

Besides early in the morning, I spent an average of two hours daily sharpening these tools on site to keep them sharp.
I am so pleased that the volunteers were so careful handling these tools of mine which means no time at my shop grinding out nicks and restoring the edge.
[Bobby stays up late into the wee hours of the morning – sometimes it’s like he lives and breathes HistoriCorps! He even brought his own tools to the job site and encouraged other volunteers to make use of them, teaching them the correct way to use the tools safely. Many thanks to Bobby for his dedication to his craft and to restoration of the historic places and spaces that HistoriCorps seeks to save every year.]
The roofing begins!
Here’s a photo (at right) of the building on Tuesday morning with a view  illustrating the top sill. Top sill is dimensioned lumber on the right. This is where the split juniper logs used for the roof will be fastened to the stone wall.
In the photo at left, Pete is splitting a log with nothing but a sledge hammer and wedges of steel and oak. The second photo at right is what two weeks of hand preparing juniper log rafters looks like – hard work!



One of the pleasures of volunteering  with HistoriCorps is the people you meet and the friends you make and the stories they tell.
Pete is one example.
Pete’s cat Chloe loves to be vacuumed! When she sees the vacuum cleaner come out she meows and raises such a fuss that she gets vacuumed before the floors.
“What about the vacuum  cleaners noise? I would think the cat would slink off somewhere  safe?” I asked.
“Oh, Chloe is sixteen years old and deaf as a stone,” replied Pete.
Portrait of Pete.




Volunteers are hoisting the one hundred-plus year old ridgeline purlin into place. The procedure is as follows:
First the purlin is hoisted up and eased thru the east window. Once the log end reaches the west wall it is lifted up over the west wall, eased far enough over the  west wall to get the other end of the log into  the  structure. Now the log is carefully  lifted above the east wall and the team inches it over the east wall and drops the log into place. In that last photo, Eric giving thumbs-up on a recently installed beam.



















[A lot took place on Tuesday! All volunteers were busy working on getting the roof into tip-top shape. But look at all those smiles on our volunteers, despite all the hard work they’re putting in!  HistoriCorps volunteers are truly a great bunch of people.]

Below is Mike Pascucci trimming a knot off the side of a juniper log to get a tighter fit when the next log is placed. He’s using a sawzall here. Next, Robert is feeding the next split juniper log up to the dynamic duo, field staffers Eric and Jon. A moment of levity: Jon assumes a triumphant Maoist pose on the new roof. Tuesday, end of day – a nearly completed roof.














Wednesday, September 28

Robert (left) and Mike installing east end fascia log. Mike Pascucci securing fascia log.

Althea is placing and mortaring a stone filling in the space between the top of the wall and the just applied fascia log.










End of day Wednesday: progress! Here are Althea and Yannai, an informal shot.










Thursday, September 29

20160929_104343_resizedEquipment failure. Generator quit today – fuel starvation. Removed disassembled fuel shut off valve – repaired same. We are back in business.



From heat and dust to mud – tough going today. We had to secure the rafters in the rain. Everyone was a little wet for lunch but at least the food wasn’t soggy!

“Oh the joy ” – Quote from the Journals of Lewis and Clark upon arriving at the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia  River.

Atmospheric photo of work in progress: drill on windowsill, bucket on scaffold and a view of ten thousand foot Book Cliffs through window.









Friday, September 3014484722_1282657355098231_3496089639815978919_n

When the HistoriCorps truck pulled up this morning, someone traced “mmm donuts” in the mud on the car door. A couple hours … later BLM Archaeologist appears bearing same. Volunteers love their donuts!


Rejoice! On the inside, we’re mortaring joints. Outside, there’s some last minute rocking up the gable ends to make a tight seal with the roof. Short two pick up loads of topsoil for roof – here are Jon and Eric tossing four inches of dirt onto the near-completed roof. Scaffolding comes down today; we’ll finish tomorrow.

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Saturday, October 1

HistoriCorps employees Jon (left) and Eric (right) finishing stone joints.
The hand riven (split) beams suffuse the interior with a warm glow. 

At right is a detail view of roof. Every beam was split by hand and surfaced by hand using hatchets, adzes and finally wickedly sharp drawknives.

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After three weeks of work, here’s the transformation!

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