What a summer so far, I have been too busy to play much in the shop. I do have a couple of larger projects that I intend to get started on soon, but the next thing on my list is taking a mission trip to Appalachia. My church’s youth group is packing up tomorrow and heading to coal mining country in Preston county, West Virginia. About 60 of us, teens and adults will be working on at least five different houses while we are there next week. A local Catholic church out there has a program that recruits groups from all over the country to come spend a week or two and donate time, talent, and materials, to repair roofs, build wheel chair ramps, build small additions, repaint, or re-side houses, basically anything we can do to keep the weather out, the heat in, and the plumbing flowing…
The economy in this area is extremely depressed because a majority of the work in the area is dependent on the coal mining industry. When the price of coal goes down, a good portion of the local work force gets laid-off until the prices come back up.
This will be my fourth year going with this group. we have a few fellows in our group that have been doing this for 20 years. Two of my boys will be coming with me again this year. They both will be in other crews. If you are interested in following the projects that we are working on this year, Here is a link to the Saint Peter’s youth ministry page: Appalachia 2013. There are five buttons: Site A – Site E. Click on any one of them for a description of the job, then check back throughout the next week. We will be attempting to update the sites every evening, so you can follow our daily progress. My crew will be working on Site D. We are going to be building a 40′ long wheelchair ramp for an elderly couple. Mrs. Piper is confined to a wheelchair, but the house only has steps. When an ambulance was recently called for her, the paramedics couldn’t get her out of the house because they couldn’t get her down the steps. Our goal will be to take a ramp from the front porch all the way down to the street in front of their house. Here is a PDF of my plan. Wheel chair ramp.PDF
The railing may not meet code in your county, but the homeowner has insisted on paying for the materials on this project, so I wanted to keep the cost down. Picket rails are designed to keep small children from falling off the ramp, the rails I am putting on instead will aid the person in the wheelchair, by offering a hand hold at a lower level. Pickets can always be added later if needed.
Here are a couple of pictures of my job site, I intend to post more on my blog, but may not get the chance until I get back.
I had a real dilemma this year. Half of my vehicles are in the shop, and my wife needs my car, so I will be bumming a ride with someone else. Usually I pack nearly every portable tool that I own into the back of my van and work out of that for a week. I had to knock my list of tools down to the bare minimum that I can throw into someone else’s trunk. I started by charging all the batteries for my drills, they will be essential.
While they were charging, I pulled together my essentials and threw them into my tool bag. We do have some additional tools at the work camp, but I wanted to make sure I had what I needed.
And, of course, I couldn’t resist posting this picture. When we went down for the survey run last month, we passed a few interesting places, like this one: