Moving the First Floor
December 2010
  • Making the Move
  • As I've said on many occassions, I have the most patient neighbors that anyone could ask for. For well over a year, bits and pieces of the Yorktown windmill have slowly grown across the front yard. They've manifested themselves on carts or dollies, they've been stacked, restacked, combined and broken apart. Without variation, the neighbors have stopped by, asked about the progress, and occassionally helped lift something heavy.

    Unfortunately, with the approach of winter, the windmill team encountered a few new obstacles that would delay our project until spring.

    The delays were not in the form of weather, of course... All of our volunteers have proven impervious to heat, cold, snow and torrential downpour --- although they have been slowed down by a pleasant afternoon on more than one occassion. No, the delays were more of a political nature. To save time, the details are discussed in the news articles below.

    Needless to say, with Christmas approaching, it seemed the best gift I could give my neighbors would be to relocate the construction project into the backyard. There the work continue unabated without disrupting anyone's Holiday season. Because it was designed with mobility in mind, the first floor breaks into 10 major elements weighing between 700 and 1000 pounds each.

    This page details the first major move of the project - and what we learned from the experience.

  • Breaking Things Down
  • Speaking of learning things...

    Lesson 1: Mortal men cannot easily lift 700 to 1000 pounds.

    Consequently, the first part of this project was to manufacture a gantry crane that could be used to disassemble and assemble the wall panels. Made from white and yellow pine, the gantry stood around 14 feet tall and had a two ton chain wench attached to the top.

    While the chain wench was slow... it was also steady, and it made it possible to tear down the walls in a reasonable amount of time. The wall panels were then rolled behind the house using a wheeled cart and a mixture of both truck power and raw, manly strength.

    The floor panels were another story...

    Each half of the floor weighs around 1000 pounds and has a concrete siding skirt attached. Because of the shape and size of the floor panels, it wasn't practical to move them on the dolly (we tried... it sank into the mud). As a follow on solution, we placed PVC pipes at intervals under the floor panel and then rolled it (Ancient Egyptian style) around the building.

    Lesson 2: Concrete siding is inflexible.

    As soon as the PVC pipe rolled out from behind the floor section, it collided with the hardi-plank and tore it away. While the floor itself is none the worse for wear, the decorative banding around the floor panels would have to be replaced completely. You can see some examples of this in later pictures.

  • Putting it All Together Again
  • The next step in this grand affair was to reassemble the first floor in the backyard.

    Lesson 3: Next time, put wheels on the gantry.

    Unabated by the sheer magnitude of the gantry, our team of volunteers carried it to the back yard where they began to reassemble the various pieces that had been scattered about. As you can see from looking at the pictures, this particular project was conducted over the span of several weeks. In that time, the weather went from being a little cold to completely icy. Still - none of our volunteers gave into the weather... although one of them did succomb to the gantry. Which brings us to our next lesson...

    Lesson 4: Don't drop the winch on Dave Abbott.

    Despite his confidence that he had a firm hand on the winch chain and was ready to catch it, Dave was caught off guard by the sheer power of gravity in Seaford. One must give Dave credit though, he didn't say a word about it until 15 minutes later when he noticed that he had an extra furrow in his brow...

    You may call it a concussion --- we call it manliness. A quick band-aid later and he was back to work.

    And finally...

    Lesson 5: Next time, rent a crane.

    Although the entire project is movable, it moves a whole lot easier with a crane or a construction forklift --- and leaves a lot fewer scrapes and bruises.

  • Volunteers
  • Although it was not the most glamorous part of the project, relocating the first floor was certainly one of the most difficult and aggrevating. Special thanks to the following volunteers who came out and made it happen...

  • Dean Golembeski
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Dave Abbott
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Randy Hartman
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Patrick White
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Dan Gregory
  • United States Air Force
  • Brendan Fisher
  • The Fifes and Drums of York Town
  • Sid Rickards
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Larry Snyder
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Larry's Brother
  • Seaford, Virginia
  • Larry's Brother's Wife
  • Who came looking for Larry's brother, but left empty handed in Seaford, Virginia
  • Daniel Akers
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Ross Davenport
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Lee Latimer
  • Citizen of York County
  • Madelaine Akers
  • Old Dominion University
  • Evelyn Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Twisted Oaks Foundation
  • Walt Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Twisted Oaks Foundation

    For additional information, please contact Walt Akers.