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To Build a Bridge

This project I did today. It is a "one afternoon project." The bridge I'd built 22 years ago to get across the creek was on it's way out. I needed to replace it. Here is what I was looking at at 12 noon today, when I started the project. I needed to remove the nails from the cross boards to tear the old bridge down:


Here is what was remaining after 1 1/2 hours...the supports. I had taken two eight foot long 4x4's to make each support 22 years ago to span the 16 feet across the creek. I made three supports as you can see. To get two of them together, I cut out slots about 12 inches and 1/2 way across each 4x4 then bolted them together. After 22 years, it is obvious what my flaw was. Though they held up, after two decades they were starting to have problems. They were bowing where I'd bolted them together:


more under the orange cloudy thingy

It is now 4:42PM so I'll do what I can with this diary, then publish it...then finish it up, if I don't have it done by 5PM.

I don't have a truck so I rely upon my Subaru to cart everything. It measures 15 feet and 9 inches in length. I decided to get 16 foot long treated 2x6's for the I didn't have to screw around with putting two 8 foot boards together. Plus bolting two 2x6 x16 foot boards together will give me better support than the old 4x4's did. I tied the 16 foot boards to the top of my car and drove up from Chico to Paradise with them. I made sure they were exactly the same length on top of my car as my car is long so I didn't have them hanging past the length of the need for red flags on the boards:


Here are the boards...six 16 footers and ten 2x6 x8 feet redwood boards (only sustainable redwood!) that will be cut into three 32 inch pieces for the bridge top (96 inches divided by three = 32 inches...perfect span width for a bridge). You can see how long the 16 footers are. They were on top of my car:


I took 3 inch lag bolts spaced every 3 feet to hold two 16 footers together:


Here they are in place. This is at the 3 hour mark:


Here is an end view of one of the redwood pieces I'll cut into thirds. Notice the grain? See how the grain curves upward? To make a deck or bridge or anything like that, you must make sure the grain curves downward so it won't "cup up" in the rains. It is amazing to me how many people don't know this simple thing and build decks wrong because they don't pay attention to that little necessary thing. So when I use deck screws to screw this redwood board in place, it will be turned upside down from the orientation of it in this picture:


Well here are five pieces in place ready to be screwed down. This picture was taken at 4:15. I had to go to the supermarket to get dinner and so took about 45 minutes out of my afternoon to do that. If I didn't do that, I would have been able to screw these and all the others in place in about an hour. The new bridge would have been done. I'll have to finish it tomorrow. But the whole project...tearing down the old one and building the new one will take only about 5 hours total. A nice "afternoon project."


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