I’m back with my family, though I hesitate to say I’m home. (It’s tough to know what to call “home” right now.) Nonetheless, I have returned safely with some valuable house building experience under my belt. Here is what the house looked like when I left along with two of the other guys who had been working on it:

Some of the building team remained and some other guys joined as well–there is still lots of work to be done, obviously.

These are some lessons I learned over the last few days:

  • Dried hardwood is tough to nail into. Rubbing soap on a nail helps.
  • If you don’t want a nail to split a piece of lumber, blunt the end–I can’t believe I had never heard this.
  • If you want lumber from a PNG saw mill in a timely fashion, you may have to pay-off the workers.
  • If you don’t like the idea of living in a warped house, it is good to buy lumber far in advance giving it time to dry. (This may only be true here.)
  • The mechanical advantage of a framing hammer is no joke.
Thanks to everyone who has been praying for us especially during this time.
  1. dan

    Only a couple of years ago my dad taught me the blunt nail trick, and I was FURIOUS. How did this not come up the FIRST TIME we were ever together and the task of nailing into wood was involved? Philly, let’s not let this generation sin continue… IT STOPS WITH US.

    • Joseph


      • The obvious question in my mind is why nails are even made with a pointed end if apparently a blunted end is preferred? Just sayin’…

        • Hannah

          looking at old nails…they were flat/squared shapes. some modern inventions don’t solve everything I guess.

  2. Rick

    The blunt nail trick should be one of the first five lessons of building stuff.
    1. Righty-Tighty, Lefty Loosey.
    2. Measure Twice, Cut Once.
    3. A Blunt Nail Doesn’t split wood.
    4. The magnitude of torque depends on three quantities: the force applied, the length of the lever arm connecting the axis to the point of force application, and the angle between the force vector and the lever arm.
    5. Allen Wrench is the hexagon one.

What do you think?