This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

A House – Update XI – Porch Cross Beams

After the house pony walls were in place, it was time to start on the porch cross beams!

Since we did the porch posts some time ago, they had opportunity to start to torque and bend in the air. I had hoped to get to the cross beams sooner so this problem would be limited, and I never cut them off in hopes that most of the twisting would happen on the top parts that would be cut off; and now in retrospect, I probably should have done the porch posts and cross beams at the same time; but that wasn’t going to help now; and so, one of the biggest issues we had to overcome was the un-level, twisted posts.

At first, we used the truck and a ratchet strap to level the posts:

Porch Posts Leveled with Truck and Ratchet Strap

But then switched to using the tractor because it was more maneuverable into the tighter areas around the house:

Porch Posts Leveled with Tractor and Ratchet Strap

A few posts only required a single 2×6 brace to get them untwisted:

Porch Post Twisted Straight with One 2x6

Others required two, in the shape of an “L”, and with some of these we did a brace on each side (also notice the 2×4 from the cross beams, which was used to twist it flat onto the top of the post):

Porch Post Twisted Straight with Two 2x6s in an L Shape with a Cross Beam Torquing 2x4

Quite a few required three 2x6s in the shape of a “U”, which gave us a lot of twisting counter-pressure:

Porch Post Twisted Straight with Three 2x6s in a U Shape

Here is a post leveled with the ratchet strap off of another post, and two “L” braces in place keeping it torqued straight (although, we could have probably done it with only one “U” brace instead):

Porch Post Leveled with Ratchet Strap, Twisted Straight, and Braced

Once leveled and twisted in shape, the tops were cut off:

Cutting Off the Top of the Porch Post

In similar fashion to leveling the foundation piers, we used the water level from one post to another, and we tried to use the same starting post each time so any errors introduced were not additive:

Using the Water Level to Get the Level from One Post to the Next

And here is a cross beam in place. The cross beams are treated 4x6s, like the porch posts:

Porch Cross Beam in Place

We used two T-straps, inside and outside, to join each post to each cross beam, used 3 1/4″ 16d galvanized “Common” nails to attach the T-straps (come to find out, there are 3 1/4″ 16d galvanized “Box” nails, which have a smaller diameter and aren’t as stout, even though they cost more at the place we got them), and used bolts to further secure them:

Porch Cross Beams Joined with T-Strap

So, as I mentioned, we were able to put quite a bit of twisting force on the posts to get them straight, which some of them really required. One of the biggest fears with that though was having the post come apart from too much twisting.

Well, with one badly torqued post, we got it almost straight. I looked at it, and looked at it, and said, “Just a little more, to get it just a little more straight.” And yep, that was it…snap! Bummer:

Porch Post Broken After Too Much Twisting

Well then, what to do. Mr. Gurau, who has been helping with the house building, had an idea. He first cut off the post at the porch floor joist support level:

Cutting Off Broken Porch Post
Broken Porch Post Cut Off

And here is how he installed the replacement post, using the T-straps:

New Porch Post Strapped in Place
Another View of New Porch Post Strapped in Place

Here is what it looked like when it fell to the ground after being cut off. In thinking about it, the Lord might have been especially gracious in allowing the post to crack now, giving us opportunity to replace it now, rather than having to do it some time in the future, when the whole porch roof was up:

Broken Porch Post on the Ground in Pieces

As Mr. Gurau progressed and got to the corners, here is how he handled them, using the T-straps:

Outside Corner of Porch Cross Beams with T-Strap
Inside Corner of Porch Cross Beams with T-Strap

And here are the porch posts complete!

Completed Line of Porch Cross Beams
Another Completed Line of Porch Cross Beams

We’re grateful again to God for granting us provisions for the house, and for the help in Mr. Gurau He has allowed, and for Mr. Gurau’s continued safety while he works, for which we continue to pray.

— David


  1. Anonymous

    It looks great. We're looking forward to having a big porch on the south and east sides of our cabin addition as well as the dog trot walkway on the west. We've had the same experience with setting posts and delaying construction only to have them warp.

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi onbigturtlecreek,

    Porches are neat! You can have sun, shade and/or breeze when you want.

    Thanks for saying hi!

    — David

  3. Anonymous

    Nice progress on your porch and home….yes porches are a neat addition to overall living space! Yours looks very spacious; may it provide many years of breezy, shaded, or sunny comfort and pleasure.


    Please see a question I'll PM to Susan. Thanks.

  4. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Beth,

    Yes, I wanted the porch to be a little bigger so that, Lord willing, when the community meets at our place and it's nice outside, there's hopefully room for everyone.

    Thank you for saying hi!

    — David

  5. *

    Dear Susan and David,

    Today I found your blog and your pathes are very interesting to me.

    May I ask some questions?

    What is the name of your Christian group? Do you share all possessions that you have like the first Christians?

    What do you do when a member has to go to a doctor or in hospital?
    Do you have an insurance?

    Many greetings and blessings from Germany
    In Germany it is not possible to live a comparable life to you.
    You cannot live so separate from worldly things…school, for exemple is duty, homeschooling is forbidden…

  6. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi cara,

    We don't really have a name other than Christian, although we are working toward living an Amish life-style. We share amongst ourselves and give as those have need; but we're not communal, in that, everything does not going into a big pot that anyone can come get from. We all have our own homesteads, gardens, crops, etc.

    We have a county hospital available as part of our property taxes, and from there would pay as paying customers. We currently have a growing community fund to help with such circumstances.

    I'm sorry to hear of the restrictions for you there. Perhaps the Lord will grant you to be able to live as you believe you should, unto Him.

    Thanks for saying hello, and may God's graces and mercies be with you.

    — David

  7. *

    Thank you for yur kind answer.
    I am looking forward to read your whole blog:)
    A wonderful Christmas time to you,

  8. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi cara,

    Thank you for the reply. Actually, we reject Christmas. If you're interested, here's why: Why Not Christmas. Thank you for your well-intentions though.

    May God guide your path.

    — David

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