Archives for posts with tag: Misha

Saturday was the last warm(ish) day we’ll have for a while. It was also the day Mikel pulled off the last plywood form from our retaining walls. Something tells me he was pretty happy about this milestone. I spent the morning working with him, pulling brad nails from the forms and cleaning a few things up.

Misha: Happy to pull the last form.

Because it was a bit warmer I also pulled off more cedar boards from the concrete. This is tough work to be sure. We’ve had so much wet, cold weather, and the cedar is swollen and partially frozen into the concrete.

Part of why I wanted to do the work now though is because the concrete isn’t fully cured–it’s still “green.” Because of this, the ribs between the cedar boards are still fragile, so when I pull off the boards some ribs stay in tact, while others break off. And I like this look.

The work was much easier than last weekend though. It’s amazing what 10 degrees can do.

Finally, a more complete view of the wall, sans cedar.

Wood grain, concrete ribs and aggregate.

Just a snapshot, but I like the composition of this one.

I a recent post I mentioned that Jesse Oviatt is cutting slots and chamfers into our glulam posts to accept the new brackets. He invited me over to check on progress.

Jesse is a super-meticulous guy and he’s definitely paying attention and making suggestions about details on our project too. When I pulled up he was doing some work with a Japanese pull saw–not something you see people working with everyday.

He started the project by building a router template to help speed up the process. Judging by how clean the mortises look, I think it’s working well. It’s still early, but Jesse’s making progress and he is genuinely excited about the project. We’re definitely fortunate to be surrounded with the team we have in place.

We also talked about a couple of details (big surprise). Jesse is ultimately going to cut a 1/8″ chamfer on the slots at a 45 degree angle. This is super subtle, but will be quite nice.

Someday when I have a bit more time I’ll put up some other examples of Jesse’s work. In the mean time, if you need a builder or carpenter for a project, you can e-mail Jesse. [oviattconstruction (at)]


Jesse showing how the metal plates fit into his mortises.

Jesse was the only human out at his shop today, but luckily he’s working under a watchful eyesocket.

Jesse's supervisor.

Here’s today’s math question: what does 2 cement trucks plus 1 giant pumper truck equal? If you guessed 40, you’d be correct!

Yes, another day, another 40 yards of concrete. I’m nursing a nasty little cold, but couldn’t resist running by the site to hang out in 39 degree weather to say hello and check in with Misha and friends.

Lots of work today, and I couldn’t help but think of our contrasting work environments. You know those days when it’s 2 degrees cooler than normal in the conference room, and everyone complains and keeps taking breaks to get more tea or coffee? No more complaining. Like I mentioned, it was still very cold at mid-day, and Misha was covered in concrete splatter all day long. Very. Hard. Work.

One other thing. There’s something amazing to me about watching highly skilled people work. I have a picture of this below, but watching Misha detail the edge of the round sonotube was inspiring. It was a series of quick movements that looked so very simple. Yet were to try it yourself it would become quickly apparaent how much skill it requires. This kind of thing–mastery through repetition–is true for most things in life, but it’s still a wonder to observe.

Check the title. The first 60. And yes, this means the first 60 yards of concrete. That’s a lot of concrete.

Last week I mentioned that I had blocked out how much concrete we’d use in this project. Well, I can’t avoid it anymore. So for those readers that relate to yards of concrete, and judging by the number of visitors coming here from the link on Build blog (thanks Andrew!), many of you will, we’ll use 325 yards of concrete. That’s a buttload (technical term) of concrete.

Misha and his merry band, with Carrie’s oversight, made tremendous progress today. And they worked very, very hard. I stopped by after work this evening, around 6, and Misha was still at it, and visibly more tired than at noon. I included a couple of pics of Misha today. Hard work, but good morale.

Carrie’s dog, Sambuca, was the only sad looking one on site, clearly unhappy that she was stuck on a leash while everyone else scrambled around.

Overall everything went well, although I was greeted by Carrie with the quote of the day: “Hi. So they had to bring the biggest pump truck they had to get a boom long enough, so we pretty much blew through our entire pump truck budget during the first pour.”  Not good, but not disasterous in the big scheme of things.

Up next are the rest of the house walls, then it’s on to the big-boy retaining walls next week. Good fun.

Lots of pics today. Enjoy.