I spent the whole weekend working on the lock mechanism for the winch. I finished it with only a few hiccups, and was eager to test it out. I also decided to make a big purchase and buy a stihl chainsaw after the problems I had with the one from lowe's (which they took back, no questions asked).
The ice on the pond is doing strange things. Large cracks (as in up to 1/4") are forming throughout the surface, and it's happening in real time, like a glacier on fast forward. At first it's alarming and it sounds like you're going to fall through, but considering how thick the ice is there is no danger. The noises range from typical crrracks, to odd rubber band sounds, and as Jason pointed out on the site visit last friday, like someone getting punched in the stomach.
The new chainsaw worked pretty well, although it did bog down here and there. Mireille put me in touch with a friend of hers who works on the ice hotel in Sweden, and in the photos it shows him using a huge Stihl chainsaws, the ones that go for over $1000. I settled for the $339 "farm boss", as the salesman assured me it was the most popular all around Stihl. He also showed me a 30 inch diameter tree trunk that he cut through. Okay, sold.
Test #2 didn't work out so well, as I'll let the video explain:
The failure of the mini-gantry crane was due to a poor connection I made using brad nails. I watched the movie in slow motion the way we did in structures class, and I saw the exact piece that went...and thought about it and remembered 'hey, I never screwed that in'. In part, because I didn't think it was going to be a significant factor in carrying the forces, but once that weak link went, it was all over.
One upside to this failed attempt was that I learned just how thick the ice was (I measured 10 inches) so I felt confident about driving my car out on the ice to load up my stuff....confident enough to drive very slowly with the rear hatch and the drivers door open in case I had to jump out, but after five minutes I was very sure about the laws of physics and drove all over the pond, and onto the different washouts from the edge of the gravel pit. And I'm sure my car was the first one to ever do this on the nudie pond, thanks in large part to a small road my Dad put in at the mouth of the pond.
I went back to the studio and started ripping the 2x10's down into more manageable sizes, and now I have a bigger, beefier gantry crane that towers 11' high and has stronger connections. I'm going to paint it white before I take it out to the pond. Transporting this thing will be crazy. It comes apart in three pieces, but it's still big and heavy. The justy will prevail....