My mind is filled with construction details.
The new porch is very much post & beam style construction. It's not completely designed that way, in the old-school style with the oak pegs and half-lap joints everywhere, but there are some lap joints. It's mostly a hybrid due to the availability of materials.
The hardest part that I can conceive of is going to be raising the posts. These are 4x6 timbers, green-treated, and they are pretty doggone heavy. There are three of them on each side: the first will be attached to the house framing so it will stand alone, but the next two are essentially free-standing, and they will have to be held in place with temporary braces while the beams are placed on top.
I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to make some steel angle plates to help hold the posts once they are placed. I'd need about 16 of them. I can pick up 2" steel angle iron at 'Nards, I just have to cut and drill the little bastards. Unless I can find them already made. I may have to do some shopping.
I picked up an air nailer last night. It's a framing nailer, designed to shoot nails for construction framing (not picture framing). After building the shed, it became incredibly obvious just how much of a time-saver it is even over screws and a screw gun. And there will be enough nailing and assembly of beams to make it worthwhile, particularly considering that I'm probably going to be doing the roof reconstruction as well.
Being all obsessed with home improvement and reconstruction lately, I have found some really interesting information on building materials. One of the things started with my idea to use a combination of stone veneer and cedar for the siding. The stone veneer is pretty straightforward, but cedar is a little different.
Cedar is a great wood. It is resistant to insects and rot, and it weathers very beautifully in a rather rustic manner, but it takes maintenance every year. It's a really soft and porous wood, so it's prone to damage easily.
Well, there are things that you can do to make it more suitable and weatehrproof. One is to soak it in wood hardener, which is a chemical with resins that bond to the wood and essentially infuse it with acrylic. It becomes really hard and durable, and it won't rot. And if you do it deep enough, you can actually polish the wood.
The other is a bit more interesting. There is a product that is a two-part epoxy that is not petroleum based like standard epoxy. It is designed to soak into wood fibers and harden, and was originally designed for marine applications. It essentially plasticizes the wood, making it a wood-epoxy hybrid on the cellular level.
I think it's probably overkill for what I have intended, but it makes for some really interesting applications that I want to keep in consideration for the future.
I also found heavy-duty urethane coatings, much like paint except that they infuse into the wood and pretty much eliminate UV deterioration completely. They are opaque like paint, but durable enough for vehicular traffic.
I also found laminating adhesive for making your own engineered lumber. Heh.
Okay, I'm starting to get excited again. Despite knowing that it's gonna be a buttload of work, it's going to end up being really nice.