Archive:2009 Brian Waddington hut renovations

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Main article: Hut Maintenance

Progress Report and What Remains to be Done --after Reno-1


  • To control the dampness and moldiness.
  • To make it warmer.
  • To make it nice.
  • To make it easier to keep clean.
  • To reduce hut deterioration.
  • To minimize environmental impact.

Work is easier and less overwhelming if people coming up to the Hut to work, have an idea what they want to do when up there, and this also makes it easier to ensure that the proper tools and materials are available. If you see something that you would like to do or finish, please put your name beside it and adopt it as yours.

Most of the incomplete projects listed below, are not lacking in materials or in planning; all we need is personnel with time to do the work.

Completed Tasks

Solar Air Heater & Ventilation

Status: Completed.

It's installed and working as expected.

  • Paint exterior under device dark colour to make it absorb more sunlight. DONE.
  • Plug the old five-inch vent hole above the upstairs south window so it doesn't leak air. Probably a piece of plywood nailed over the hole, maybe with some insulation stuffed inside, would do the job. DONE

Note: We should modify the vent at the north end of the hut, so that it cannot be shut off. The vent holes are 5" in diameter.

White Paint & Plywood Walls

Status: Completed.

  • Applied about 8 gallons (32 litres) of Premium Alkyd Low Odour paint in 2-4 coats to to all interior plywood surfaces. It looks good and it should stop a lot of moisture from soaking into the walls to feed mold. DONE

The smell of paint will become less in a couple of weeks.

Mosquito Screens

Status: Completed.

They are partially installed, but unfortunately an essential part was lost preventing the assembling of the final screen. A ladder is needed for installing the upper screens. The ladder is up there but it was being used for roofing. DONE


Status: Completed.

The Curtain Committee has provided curtains to keep in heat at night. These need to be installed. DONE The entranceway curtains maybe should be re-installed, (they were taken down for painting) though they make the entranceway cold and a place for condensing of moisture, attracting mold. The 7 windows are:

  • (4) 29 1/2 x 41 1/2
  • (2) 29 1/2 x 31 1/2 (by stove area)
  • (1) 25 1/2 x 25 1/2 (diamond)

Curtain Geekatry

  • That's a total area of 4*(29.5*41.5) + 2*(29.5*31.5) + 25.5*25.5 = 7405.75 in.2 = 4.78 m2
  • The Boltzmann constant is 5.67*10-8 W m-2 K-4.
  • If we assume a cold, clear, night is 3K for radiative purposes (cosmic background radiation, which has been measured from the ground) -> 5.67*10-8 W m-2 K-4 * 3K4 = 4.6 * 10-6 W/m2 -> 2 *10-5 W
  • Or maybe a bit warmer, 200K (-73C) = 90 W/m2 -> 434 W
  • Or a cloudy warm winter night, 263K (-10C) = 271 W/m2 -> 1297 W
  • Cold hut interior 283K (10C) = 364 W/m2 -> 1738 W
  • Ok hut interior 288K (15C) = 390 W/m2 -> 1865 W
  • Warm hut interior 293K (20C) = 418 W/m2 -> 1997 W
  • Hot hut interior 300K (27C) -> 460 W/m2 -> 2195 W
  • 1 W = 3.41 BTU (BTU is often shorthand for BTU/hr, so really 1 W = 3.41 BTU/hr)


Status: Completed.

The main objective of the roof maintenance was to seal the gaps beneath the main ridge cap. This is done (with foam and tar caulk). This should drastically improve the mildew situation near the roof beams. However the large gap under the ridge cap above the Honeymoon Suite still needs to be covered with sheet metal (already up there). This job will need 2 people on the roof at once and requires the corrugated sheet metal panels be unscrewed and lifted. Probably about a 1/2 days job. It has been suggested to me that this part of the roof doesn't see as much wind, so it's likely that less snow gets under the cap and melts, plus I sealed some of the area under the cap with tar. The sheet metal to do it is up there. DONE

Moving the Outhouse

Status: Completed.

This is a task where a large crew can be used, and you mostly stand around telling potty jokes. First, try and find a good site for the new outhouse hole. This has to be somewhere not too far away from the Hut, and not in the swamp that surrounds the Hut, somewhere that digging is good. If we can find a good spot (unfortunately you need to dig to find how good the digging is), near the present spot, it should be possible to haul the outhouse over there intact. If the spot is too far away, it will be necessary to take the outhouse apart and put it back together in the new location. Finally you cover the old hole. DONE, BUT (1) SMALL HOLE (2) GROUND WATER. Splash a quick coat of paint on the inside to help use up the remaining paint, DONE.

In Progress Tasks

Trail around north side of Lake

Status: OK.

We noticed the north side is clear of snow, and there aren't many boulders to get around. Both Scott Nelson and Veenstra like building bridges, so a bridge across the creek at the lake outlet, and a trail around the north side will probably get built. DONE, see Phelix_Creek_Trail_Construction#August_1-3_2009 for details. Bridge is functional but could use some nice-to-have touching up. Trail needs some more markers.

Tung Oil & Beams

Status: OK.

All beams, even the difficult ones, have received one coat of oil, and they look really good. There's two liters of oil up there. To re-coat any thirsty looking beams we need cheap paint brushes, and rags. These are up there, ready to be used. OK

Kitchen Cupboards & Countertop

Status: In Progress.

The upper kitchen cupboards were beautifully stained "red oak on maple". These need a second coat of urethane in a few weeks. The lower cupboards need to be similarly treated. The kitchen counters were covered with sheet aluminium. We may want to caulk under the edges because when spilled soup gets between the aluminium and the maple counter top, it will stay there and further damage the counter top. NOT DONE We have the stain, the urethane, a small paint brush, rags, caulking. NOT DONE Cupboard floor painted white after removing dead mouse DONE

Exterior Trim

Status: OK.

There's a can of oil-based trim stain up there and the trim sure would look better if it was re-stained. Need a wire brush to remove the old peeling stain, and some way to reach the high trim boards (ladder). OK

Paint the smaller benches and table

Status: In Progress.

Another coat of paint (it dries fast) will use up the remaining pink paint. NOT DONE

Double Glaze Windows

Status: In Progress.

The plastic to double glaze the windows has been hauled up and installed. Some windows need more little plastic clips. They and the screws, are up there. We could caulk the windows with special caulking, which is up there. NOT DONE

Interior Decoration, Signeage, etc

Status: In Progress.

This was all taken down for painting and needs to be put up. The sign about paying, etc needs to be much better; currently it's written in pencil and partially scratched out. See the signage at Brew for details. In general we need fewer and more comprehensive signs. DONE A paragraph describing what to do when leaving, might avoid the unfortunate happening a couple years ago where somebody left the upstairs window open and the upstairs filled with blowing snow. POSSIBLY NOT DONE

Porcupine Deterrent

Status: OK.

Scratchy stucco mesh was installed and now no creatures larger than a mouse can get under the Hut. Some of the plywood skirting has been eaten by porcupines. To stop this, a huge amount of wire mesh, or stucco mesh, or something, would have to be applied to the skirt going around the Hut. OK

Drainage around the Hut

Status: OK.

Some ditching was done to divert the water from the large melting pile of snow behind the Hut. There are proper drain pipes installed below surface, and they seem to be doing their job of keeping the ground from being soaked, deeper down. In a couple of weeks the large pile of snow should be gone. OK

Garbage Hauling

Status: In Progress.

A lot of accumulated junk was hauled out, including the two old kerosene heaters and a propane heater and tank, big tanks left over from the composting privy, etc. There's some steel cable still up there; might be good for building a bridge at the lake outlet. There's some Dexion handy angle that might not be good for anything.

The lead-acid batteries left over from the composting toilet and weighing 63 lbs each, are probably toast as they have been discharged until they read 1.5 volts, whereas they should not normally be discharged below about 11 volts. While waiting for somebody to carry them out, they are being trickle-charged with spare current from the photovoltaic panel, and on a sunny day probably receive 0.2 ampere hours of charge current. Whether the charge is retained, is not known. They should be carried out. Battery acid should be drained into some pop bottles. The batteries should be wrapped in plastic. Might want to use Roland's frame pack to carry them out to save getting battery acid all over your Arc'teryx.

There's a few other items left over from the days of the composting toilet, which could be carried out, but they aren't nearly as challenging as the batteries. SOME PROGRESS MADE

There is a large garbage pile near the outlet of the lake that includes a bunch of plastic buckets etc, several tarps, a few 45 gallon drums etc etc. Origin unknown. Begin hauling this out. SOME PROGRESS MADE

Not Yet Started Tasks

South Window

Status: Not started.

Really big windows are nice; they let in lots of light. But really big windows put a lot of strain on the frame and hinges. The downstairs south window frame is in bad shape. The window can only be closed using a hammer. Options include nailing it shut, taking the frame apart and epoxying the cracks and planing it smaller, or changing the whole style so it still opens inwards but swinging "hinged" at the bottom rather than at the side. They don't even need hinges or hardware; they are held closed with wooden wedges, and they do not get snow buildup. Both Scott Nelson and Steve Mullen know about windows that open this way. NOT DONE

Refinish the floor

Status: Not started.

Maybe leave it for next time.

Refinishing the floor is a major task. Normally you would use a huge power sander to remove the old finish and flatten the floor. This will be extremely difficult and labour intensive using only hand tools.

At least two coats of finish will be needed, with 12 hours or so to dry between coats (for floors, the finish has to dry enough that you can walk on it lightly while applying the next coat). After completion, there should probably be no heavy use for a week. No one can be in the hut doing any other work while the floor is drying. Probably no one will want to sleep inside either. NOT DONE

Equipment / supplies needed:

  • sanding implements - normally power sanders are used for refinishing floors. For a manual approach, several half sheet (or larger) sanding blocks will be needed so multiple people can work at the same time.
  • Dust removal - a vaccum cleaner would be ideal, but it we are less picky we can sweep up the dust.
  • Finish

Probably costs $150 for finish - urethane or tung oil. Sand paper - $100. In the case of manual sanding, expensive fancy sandpaper will cut the manual effort by about half.

Add railings in various places upstairs, especially to honeymoon suite

Status: Not started.

If we add rails we must do a good job. They should match the other wood up there and they should be strong, because if some inebriated person leans against them and they break, we will have an injured person to deal with. NOT DONE


Hut Dimensions for Painting

Measured from the inside, accurate enough to figure out how much paint we need:

  • Main Floor:

Length of hut - 7.3m Width of hut - 3.9m Length of vestibule - 1.8m Height above wainscoting - 1.8m Ceiling height - 3m

Beams are 24" around (8" against wall or 6" free standing): 10x 3m 20x 1.2m 20x 3.9m

Unpainted table - 3'x6' 2x Unpainted benches - 1'x5'

  • Loft:

Length of hut - 7.3m Width of hut - 3.9m Length of 'roof/wall' - 3.6m Length of vestibule - 2.2m (yes longer than downstairs - it's not as high and the roof slopes) Length of 'roof/wall' in vestibule - 2.3m

Beams are 24" around 8x 3.6m 20x 1.5m

Other thoughts

  • More mallion and chain for lanterns
  • Trim for messy paint jobs?
  • Paint the ladders?
  • Floor appears to be sealed already - should we do it again?
  • Outside paint seems to be alright - should we do it again?
  • Railing for upstairs traverse to honeymoon suite? (2x1.6m posts, 2x1.6m rails)
  • Plexiglass on inside better - glass absorbs UV without turning opaque.
  • The "Brian Waddington Hut" wood sign is still only half complete. A chisel could fix this quickly.
  • Vents suck, and only sort-of open. Maybe a simple tube, pointing down, that cannot be closed, would be good. Or supply a cap which can be taken on/off - this would be less confusing than the 'rotate 180 degrees and wonder whether it was open or closed to start with' vents we have now. Plastic probably gathers less condensation than metal.
  • Roof doesn't appear to be leaking enough to see it inside anymore, probably could still use some repair.

The hut seemed plenty warm with just the two catalytic heaters and 11 people; there were some French people up there too. The big catalytic is harder to light (you're supposed to use some alcohol-based priming fluid, which we did not have). Not Brew Hut warm, but I had to unzip my sleeping bag.