Monday, March 7, 2011

Yoga Platform Progress II

I suspect I should really name this Yoga Platform Progress XIV, but who's really counting?

Last week I spent several hours -- as in probably 20 or more -- behind a shovel in my backyard.  Between the backsteps extravaganza and the pending platforms -- I was diggin' it.  I was the hot-diggity girl.  The hot diggity girl diggin' the diggin'.  Ahhh ha ha ha.  Okay.  I was not diggin' it anymore, but I had to power through and finish.  Friday was my deadline to dig up the grass for the third platform.  My sister was arriving the next day, and Red and I planned to build the platforms Saturday morning.

Note:  I (italicized "I") planned to construct and complete all 3 platforms.  Because, you know, the hard part is done, and this last part will "just take a minute."  Red, on the other hand, it turns out -- and as per usual -- had a much more realistic view of what would actually be accomplished.  I got the double-eye-brow raise when he realized I thought all three would be done.  I'm overly optimistic, what can I say?

I got off early on Friday (c'mon, act surprised) and headed to my garden shed for the shovel.  It was hanging in its place like an old friend waits for you at a coffee shop.  Quiet.  Patient.  I do feel like we bonded.  And you know, the shoveling must be all about technique and I must have mastered the technique, because the first two platforms took me 2 hours each, and the third platform took me about half that time.  Go, me!

Once that was completed, I was ready for the weed stop fabric.  It comes on a roll, and the width is 3' wide and then 50 or 100 feet long.  I bought one of each.  My calculation?  Each platform is 6'x7'.  I want the fabric to extend 1 foot past the platform, so that's 7'x8'.  7 times 8 is 56.  56 times 3 platforms is roughly 150.  (Okay it's 168 but stay with me.)  I bought one 50 foot roll and one 100 foot roll.  I think it's well established that I suck at math.  And after this exercise, perhaps we can add geometry to that list.  (I do clearly recall staying after school nearly every day of the semester of junior high when I was taking the required course of geometry.  Bless Mr. Matthews' heart -- he tried his best to explain to me but I just could not get it.  I barely squeaked out a C.  As a side note, he was also a scuba diver for the police department:  very interesting stories.  Much more interesting than, say, the spacial relations of trapezoids.  Perhaps that explains my love of Patricia Cornwell novels.)

Unwisely, when I started laying it down, I started with the 50' roll.  I say "unwisely" because after I used all of the 50' roll, do you know how much more I needed?  About 5 feet.  Had I used the large roll... I could have returned the smaller roll.  Yep.  I bought approximately THREE TIMES MORE than I needed.  Please.  Put me in a spelling bee.  I realize now my error, but that's fairly useless.  I'm sure I'll find a need for the remainder.

Saturday morning came, and it was cold.  Too cold.  Platform construction did not happen... a good house cleaning inside did happen, and I felt very ready for my sister's arrival late afternoon.  Fun ensued.  Fun that involved a cork screw and ottomans, not shovels.

Sunday morning Red came over and we calculated how much lumber we would need, and headed off to Home Depot.  As we loaded up the lumber cart we realized that it was going to be a LOT of lumber.  We bought all the treated lumber we would need for all three platforms, and then we bought enough of the untreated lumber for just one.  Theory being, we could fine tune our construction plan (remember we didn't exactly have instructions for the platforms) and, we reasoned, the really important part for him to help me with is the side rails upon which the platform would rest.  Despite the reduced scope, it was still sort of a lot of lumber.  In addition to the lumber we bought 2 boxes of wood screws, and 12 - 50# bags of pea gravel; er, pea pebbles.

Our first step was to determine what height off the ground the side rails should be.  I am developing a love/hate relationship (okay it may be one sided -- you figure that out --) with the 4 foot slope in my yard.  In doing that, we realized the sun was much too bright to actually see the laser that my laser level shoots out.  Even with the nifty red glasses that came with it -- pretty much invisible.  We went the old fashioned route of a 5' level.  It worked.

The support rails on the first platform went up pretty fast once we figured out the height. We added two cross pieces through the center of the frame for some middle support.  Red's electric drill is so much nicer than the rechargeable battery ones. 

Then we laid the boards on the diagonal for the platform.   When I stood in front of the lumber at Home Depot I realized that in my mind I had been envisioning 1" x 8"s not 1" x 6" planks, so that was a slight change up.  We laid down 10 foot long boards in the middle, going corner-to-corner, and then 8 foot and 6 foot boards as we graduated towards the corners.  We got them all on -- still hanging over the edge longer than they needed to be -- and got up on the platform to try it out.  Kind of bouncy.  The 1" thick boards weren't stout enough.  Ugh!  We pulled them all off, then had to pull out all the nails on them, and we added some additional 2"x4" cross supports.  Laid the boards back out, and re-nailed them down.  We used 10 penny nails in between the planks for spacing.  The corners are still a little bouncy, but it's better.

Red had a great idea for how to align the circular saw against a guide for zipping off the ends of the planks that hung over.  Figuring out where the guide itself should be aligned was tedious, but once we had the measurement it worked great for all 4 sides.  By the time we did the 4th side, though, it was late in the day and I was punchy.  At one point when we had made the wrong cut twice and were measuring for the 3rd attempt, I was laughing so hard than I had to just lay my head down on the platform.  It was a sign that we should call it a day.  But check it out!  Isn't it beautiful?

My original goal (and I knew it was just a goal...) was to have all 3 platforms be the same height. Due to the blessed slope in my yard, it turns out that really isn't possible unless I have the right hand side of them pretty darn high off the ground. This platform is 10.5" above ground level on the right hand side. That's a fairly comfortable sized step up. Two feet may not have been quite as comfortable. The revised plan is to have each platform a different height, sort of staggered.

The first platform is just about finished.  The last (lumber) step is to affix a 1" x 6' plank as a skirt all the way around, to hide the treated 2"x4".  Then I'll sand, stain, and seal it.  At least I think I will stain them... I won't decide for sure until they are all done.  So what you see there is as much as we got done on Sunday.  We didn't even get the side support rails on the 2nd and 3rd one!  Okay, okay, so it took a little longer than I thought. 

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