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Randsco News

It takes time to create blog entries and not everything that happens, merits an entry. So, we've created this 'news' section, to keep readers up-to-date with our misadventures and accomplishments. Read about it here FIRST, before it makes it into a blog entry.

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Bicycle Crash

May 7th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [title] blah blah •

Bad Day for the Oop

The Hutton House - Alex took a tumble on her new bicycle (which has gears and front/rear hand-brakes). She went into a steep ditch not too far from our driveway.

Mom and Dad weren't there to witness the event, but heard a crying Alex walking down the long driveway.

"I think I broke my arm," she says.

Alex looked fine. No cuts, scrapes or blood anywhere. But when Dad felt her arm through her long-sleeved jacket, he was immediately concerned.

"That doesn't feel right," he said to himself.

He quickly exposed the arm, by taking off the jacket. Sure enough, it looked like Alex had dislocated her elbow.

Mom took Alex down to Urgent Care facility in Ladysmith. She's down there right now getting X-Rays - to make sure there's nothing broken - before they consider putting her elbow back in place.

Poor Oop. :(

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Updated: 27-May-2011
Web View Count: 7609 viewsLast Web Update: 27-May-2011
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A Tandem Touring Kayak

April 3rd, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [8th Boat Added to Fleet] Scott & Rachel bought yet ANOTHER boat, a tandem touring sea kayak. This brings the number of boats owned or held by Randsco to a mind-numbing EIGHT! Are they crazy or what?

Eighth Boat Added to Randsco Fleet

Powell River, BC - Reporters learned yesterday that the Randsco executive staff took an unscheduled trip to Powell River Kayaking, on the Sunshine Coast, to pick up a twenty-one foot tandem kayak. This addition ups the total of boats owned or held by Randsco to - a whopping - eight!

"For a desert rat," said Scott, "this is far more boats than I thought I'd ever have!"

The new boat is a Current Designs Libra XT kayak, a high-volume, double (or triple) passenger touring kayak. It's overall length comes in at a garage-stuffing 21 feet 8 inches and the fiberglass model - which is the one the Kimler's purchased - weighs a back-breaking 92 pounds. The upper deck gel coat is a pleasing light blue color ("Caribbean Blue" according the the Current Designs color chart).

"Ewe," said Scott, "Doesn't that sound fancy?"

"It's not a fast boat," said Rachel, "but it will hold a ton of gear, is really stable and - best of all - it can seat three people, so we can take Alex out for some kayaking fun!"

The center hatch serves a dual purpose, as it can be used to stow gear (with two paddlers), or can be used to seat a third paddler. It even has a molded fiberglass "seat" built right in, for this purpose ... which was one of the selling features for Scott and Rachel.

"As Alex becomes more proficient with paddling," explained Rachel, "we can move her from the center hatch to the forward seat. Then we can take two kayaks with us on our family trips: a single touring kayak and this Libra XT double."

Rounding out the stats on the Libra XT, the boat has a 32-inch beam, forward and rear hatches. The forward hatch has a 22 gallon volume and the rear hatch has a 27 gallon volume. The maximum load rating for the Libra XT is an astounding, scale-straining 850 pounds! (You really CAN take the kitchen sink!)

The Libra XT has proven itself with many tour operators because of its safety, seaworthiness, comfort, carrying capacity and quality construction. Indeed, Scott & Rachel bought this boat from such an operator - Adam Vallance, the owner of Powell River Sea Kayak. They picked up this used kayak at their location in Okeover Inlet, a beautiful location and great launching spot for the Desolation Sound Marine Park - a kayaking destination paradise.

"We'll have to do some kayaking here," said Rachel, as they loaded their "new" kayak onto the Subaru station wagon.

This brings the number of kayaks owned by Randsco to five. Two recreational kayaks at the floating cabin, two single touring kayaks and - now - this triple touring Libra XT "bus"!

"We have too many boats," said Scott, "We must be out of our minds!"

The reviews by paddlers about the Current Designs Libra XT are much what one would expect. "The stability is amazing," wrote one reviewer, "we never tipped [and] it holds a TON OF GEAR ... almost 220 pounds worth".

"Comfortable ... very roomy ... tons of storage capacity."

As one might expect, some people complained about the speed of the boat. One couple said they averaged only 4 to 4.5 mph in the boat. Some don't like that there isn't drainage around either cockpit or hatches.

We are looking forward to family kayaking trips in our "new" Libra XT. Keep an eye out on Randsco for our shakedown cruise in this boat that some call a "touring Cadillac" (and others call an "aircraft carrier")! LOL

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Updated: 7-May-2011
Web View Count: 16528 viewsLast Web Update: 7-May-2011
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Woodshed Take Two

February 14th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [2nd Woodshed] Less than a week after completing the "free" woodshed, the substructure failed. The shed had to be unloaded and beefed up! Lesson learned? There's a reason Scott likes to over-engineer things ... there's no such thing as a free lunch ... remodeling a woodshed is more expensive and time-consuming that making one right, from the start ... and more! ...

Woodshed Substructure Fails!

Hutton House - Reporters got a giggle as they walked around the "recycled" woodshed at the Hutton House last Thursday. Less than a week ago, they had photographed a completed woodshed that held three and a bit cords of wood. Today, the woodshed sat empty and the flooring had been pulled up. Apparently, the substructure failed in the middle of the night on Wednesday.

"I heard a loud 'CRACK'," said Scott, "It woke me up and I immediately knew it was the woodshed."

Scott had completely underestimated the weight of three cords of (wet) cedar wood and - in an effort to save costs and move forward - had (in a very uncharacteristic fashion, mind you) under-engineered the woodshed substructure.

"Nearly every one of the deck screws used to hold the substructure - failed," reported the embarrassed builder.

"You can see them ... here ... and ... here," he said, walking with reporters around the partially dismantled woodshed.

Asked if he was going to abandon the project, Scott replied, "Oh no, it just needs to be beefed up. It'll be back to holding wood within the week."

And so, the reporters left and Scott went about the task of completely dismantling the old 2x4 cedar wood substructure, getting it ready for replacement. It took the better part of two days to unload the wood, cut out the flooring, dismantle the substructure, remove broken screws and prepare for a new, better, stronger, substructure.

Scott took a trip down to the nearby building center, making almost $200-worth of purchases. (For those keeping score at home, the "free" woodshed is now up to $600!)

Rachel thought Scott was holding up well, given this sad turn of events.

"What can I do?" he asked, rhetorically, "I'd laugh, but it'd only make me cry. You make a mistake, you learn from it and you move on. I can't believe I under-engineered something ... I am like the King of over-engineering!"

It took Scott another couple of afternoon's worth of work to replace the old substructure with one that's beefier and better.

He jacked up the woodshed, re-leveling it and resetting it on the four 8-inch by 8-inch piers, tying it to the substructure using 5/16" diameter galvanized lag bolts, each 5 and a half inches long. He replaced the front 2x4 edge with 2x6 pressure-treated lumber and placed a 2x6 cleat under the rear 2x4. (Only the two side 2x4's remain from the original substructure, as they're under the plywood siding and more of a 'bear' to replace).

Joists were spaced closer - every foot, rather than the original foot and a half. 2x6 pressure treated lumber replaced the 2x4 cedar joists and each end is now supported using galvanized joist hangers.

Pressure-treated lumber was also wedged and leveled cross-ways, beneath all of the interior joists - front, center and rear. They rest directly on the ground and provide complete substructure support, for the interior of the woodshed.

Lastly, the cut-out flooring (numbered before removal) was re-laid.

When reporters returned to look at the beefed up shed, they were surprised that there wasn't more evidence of the work.

"Really, it's only these two cut marks on the floor," said one reporter.

"And numbered planks," laughed another.

"Laugh if you will," said Scott, "I've learned my lesson about 'free', 'recycled' woodsheds! Apparently, there's no such thing as a free lunch, eh?"

"After $600-worth of materials and a complete substructure re-do, this is one shed that definitely isn't free. By the same token, it will now easily support 3-4 cords of wood ... wet or otherwise."

"All that remains now," said Scott, "is restocking it with wood! Any one of you reporters want to put down your recorders and help?"

"Didn't think so," Scott said, as he watched every one of the reporters head back to their cars.

"Oh ... don't forget about the painting," he yelled, "It still needs paint!"

By that time, however, everyone had left. Scott then opened a beer and sat back to admire his new, built-as-it-should-be woodshed.

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Updated: 28-Apr-2011
Web View Count: 6842 viewsLast Web Update: 28-Apr-2011
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Woodshed Project (Completed)

February 4th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [2nd Woodshed] Scott finishes the second woodshed amid project cost overruns & contractor delays. So much for "free" and "in one day"! ...

Woodshed Project Completed Amid Cost Overruns & Delays

Hutton House - Reporters walked around the newly constructed Hutton House woodshed number two. Originally meant to be made from completely recycled materials, Scott and Rachel opted to add plywood sides and a metal roof (since the original plan - no sides and a tarp roof - leaked like a sieve!)

"We are happy to have the second shed," said Scott, "Though it ended up costing more and taking longer to build than originally planned."

"It's now stocked nearly to the brim with milling debris, left over from when we bought the property. Yay! After four years, the pasture is finally 'clear'!" shouted Scott. (Mind you, Scott cut so much firewood last year that there is now a 4-year supply, stacked in wind-rows to dry - in the pasture!)

The original 'plan' for the second woodshed was to build it using 100% recycled materials and do it in one day. Though the project got off to a good start, it took longer to move the fence than originally planned and the project ended up taking two days, rather than one.

The "recycled" woodshed had no sides and only a (used) tarp for a roof. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the tarp had a fair number of small holes, which Scott tried to seal using some 'Tuck Tape'.

Immediately after completion of the "recycled" woodshed, the weather turned inclement and it proceeded to rain for several days. Much to Scott's disappointment, the tarp leaked like crazy. It became obvious that a tarp roof wasn't going to cut the mustard. A trip to the building supply center was required.

The project took a more expensive turn, as we headed to Home Depot to purchase 1x6 slats, 10-foot painted, corrugated tin roofing, metal drip strips, 7 sheets of half-inch plywood and a variety of screws. Cost? $400 ... nearly 'on the nose' (or is that 'on the chin'?)

Like most public works projects, this one suffered from delays - at least the workers didn't strike! (all one of them) - and budget overruns! LOL ... We'll leave it to you to figure out the percentage overrun from $0 to $400. Ha!

Despite the overruns and delays, the project was finished within a month and that included an extra day day to move and stack nearly three cords of (soaking wet, recycled) cedar wood into the new shed. The woodshed creaked and groaned as it was filled with wet wood. Three full rows and a partial 4th row meant that the woodshed was nearly full.

"That should be enough kindling to last us for 5 years," said Scott.

Even though the woodshed is complete, it's not really. Because most of the cedar wood that was loaded into the shed is wet, Scott purposefully left off the back of the shed, so that air could circulate and allow the wood to dry. The new shed also need a few trim pieces and - of course - a paint job.

"Add that to my list of summer projects," said Scott, sarcastically.

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Updated: 14-Feb-2011
Web View Count: 10078 viewsLast Web Update: 14-Feb-2011
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Woodshed Project (Day 1)

January 8th, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [2nd Woodshed] Scott attempts building a second woodshed using only 100% recycled materials and doing it in one day. See how that works out ...


Hutton House To Get Second Woodshed

Hutton House - Reporters recently learned that construction crews are building a second woodshed on the Randsco campus. The news came as a surprise.

"We always knew we wanted a second woodshed," explains Scott Kimler, the construction foreman (the architect, purchasing agent and work crew), "We just didn't figure on building it right now."

Like many projects, this one was precipitated by "timing of events".

The Randsco pasture was piled high with wood milling debris when the Kimlers first took ownership of the 5-acre property. It's taken them four years to clear that debris and in the process, they were able to recycle a lot of the cedar wood, using it as kindling stock in their wood stove. (The last bit of the debris pile was cut into kindling stock just last weekend).

When Scott started moving the remainder of this wood and stacking it closer to the house, he thought, "A second woodshed would provide a much better storage option than this flimsy tarp."

Another project was born.

The building site selection process was easy: build the shed where the current - semi-dry - stack of kindling stock was sitting, next to the fence. "But what materials should I use?" Scott thought.

In an effort to keep the project scope, size and costs down, Scott decided to use 100% recycled building materials to construct a 10-foot long, 6-foot wide and 8-foot tall shed. (Our neighbor is a contractor and lets Scott pick through his building and remodeling "burn pile". Over the past 4 years, Scott has accumulated a fair bit of building materials. All hand-selected, moved, stacked, stored (somewhere). Lots of nail-pulling is involved, but recycling stuff is good for the environment, eh?)

Cedar 1x6 planks would be used to make an elevated wood floor that would rest on a sub-floor of 2x4s which would be supported by several large (8"x8") posts. The walls would be open - just 2x4 framing - and the roof would consist of a light-weight tarp. Simple, easy ... effective.

Scott is ambitious. He thought he could complete the project in a day and so, without the normal ribbon-cutting ceremony, he began work the very following morning.

The weather is always a factor here in British Columbia, but the day dawned dry, cold and clear. Temperatures remained below freezing all day, but it also remained sunny and bright.

With a steaming mug of hot coffee, Scott started the project at an acceptable hour - 9 AM. The first step was to move all of the semi-dry kindling stock, now stacked under a tarp. The 14x10 tarp had a few holes in it, but it looked like they could be repaired and used as the roof. After the building site was cleared, Scott grabbed a tape measure, to determine the exact location of the shed.

"Uh oh," he said, disappointed, "With the tree roots and such, there's no way I can fit a 10-foot shed into this space without it being cramped."

Stumbling block number one. What to do now?

"I know," thought Scott, "The fence takes an odd jog here. I could move the corner of the fence out a couple feet and there would be plenty of room. All I have to do is undo the welded wire mesh, dig up the corner post and push it out. No problem."

Right. Problem!

Once the corner post was out, the old fence disintegrated. Three posts needed replacing because they were rotten through at the base. It took Scott all morning to move, fix, tighten and repair the fence. The project didn't actually begin, until 1:30 PM. So much for getting it done in one day!

Scott pushed on, measuring and cutting 2x4s for the sub-floor. He framed the 10-foot by 6-foot sub-floor and screwed it to six 8x8 posts. For expediency, the 8x8 posts were set on the ground. No post-holes, no concrete piers. This will hugely reduce the life of the shed, but Scott was looking 5 years down the road, not 50.

"There's time enough to plan and build a proper woodshed," he thought, "A bigger one, built using better materials and one positioned after seeing how this one works out."

With the sub-floor in place, Scott added 2x4 joists, spacing them 1.5 feet apart. Several 1x6 cedar planks were laid on the sub-floor, screwed into place and then trimmed.

In the waning daylight, Scott snapped some pictures of the new shed floor and called it a day.

Tune in to see what happens on day two and learn how a one-day project turns into more (and more).

"Does this stuff only happen to me?" wonders Scott.

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Updated: 4-Feb-2011
Web View Count: 10735 viewsLast Web Update: 4-Feb-2011