Cider House, Part 7

Now that the long, cold, snowy and thoroughly depressing winter is over, it’s time to move upstairs to add the floor above the lower level. Then we can have barn dances and parties and such. But before Virginia and Michael can do that they have to replace another sill and somehow get the last floor joist in.

The last joist goes just inside here

There are several problems to deal with here. The new sill is almost in place but must be shoved under this post over the interior stone wall. On the right, behind the staging, there is another post that is too short. Then the new joist has to go inside behind these posts.

Ironically, the sill goes in first to sit under and support the posts. A cant hook and mallet do the trick.

The short post gets an extension so it will sit on the sill. The other post is securely locked in place.

The left end of the sill will be attached to what’s left of the original sill. Here you can see the gap where the last joist has to go. It will be partially supported by the dropped header below.

The sill in place

Now, on to the joist. First Michael gives it a few final touches with a chisel while Virginia finishes rebuilding the stone foundation under the sill.

Using log rollers, timbers and various tools, Michael aims the joist toward its final resting place and shoves it in.

After a lot of finagling, the tenon on the end of the joist sits above the mortis where it’s supposed to go. Using the staging and the hoists, Virginia maneuvers the other end while Michael pries the tenon down towards the mortis.

All seems to be going well and they are ready for the final push.

No one panic

Not to be deterred, they use the hoists and a rock bar to get the joist back into position. All that’s needed now is a little nudge.

Stoppa stoppa

With the one end in place Michael lowers the other end onto the center stone wall. Originally, there was a mortis and tenon on this end as well but the stone wall works just fine.

Pusha pusha

It’s still stuck, but with Red supervising all it takes is a final stomp to get this end in place.


With all the sills in this half of the cider house repaired or replaced and the joists in, the floor can finally be laid down using new 1 1/2 inch planks. The old floor boards have been power washed and are now being used as siding.

For the first time I can stand in the middle of this room and look up at the beautiful interior structure. Happy days.

Now that the north half of the cider house is just about complete, Virginia, the former scenic artist, starts the onerous job of painting it with a combination paint/stain. Barn Red, of course.

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