In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Island engineering

There's a lot of ingenuity involved when anything gets built or repaired on the island. You want to use what you already have on hand, and avoid having to get materials from the mainland. This approach cuts down on time and effort not to mention the cost of the project. 

When Skipper and Radar restored our old wharf two summers ago they used logs from the forest and lumber they milled on the island. The dock sits on four huge rock-filled log cribs.  The cribs are connected by joists that run along the top of them and are bolted together and supported by log pilons from beneath. It's a really old way to build a dock, and it's as good as it ever was:

Our dock is not very protected from the waves and chop of the harbour. We have had several big storms since the dock was built, and last fall it began to lose some pilons on the outer side. The planking of the dock began to sag. I sidled along the far inner side to keep away from the sagging place. 

It isn't completely repaired yet. That will take some very low tide when Skipper and Radar can get down beneath it and replace the missing supports. But until then Skipper has come up with an ingenious solution. He put two big stumps on either end of the damaged part. Then he laid a very long log  from one stump to the other, making a timber bridge that rests on the stumps. 

In the middle of the dock's sag he drilled a hole through the planking. On top of the timber bridge he placed a car jack. Then he ran a chain down through the hole around the support timber up over the timber bridge and over the car jack, and joined the chain back to itself, like clasping a necklace. Then he took the car jack crank and cranked, until the planking was pulled up level.  In essence he created a mini-suspension bridge. And there it sits until they can come back to rebuild the underneath support.  What clever island engineering!

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