In May of 2004, I felled trees and cleared the land for the castle and the septic system, using my jeep to skid the logs. In the woodshop, I started to cut the components for the foundation forms. In order to keep the concrete from sticking to the forms we needed a releasing agent. All we had was some ancient crisco shortening from the metal shop; Aaron Woodruff took up the task of greasing every inch of the forms. Unfortunately for Aaron, the job took days and the shortening was rancid; nary a complaint from him though.
The base of the tower as well as the tower itself rises at a 2 ½ degree angle off of vertical. This is to provide strength and to be aesthetically more pleasing. The angle and the curve added to the complexity of the form work. Cast into the foundation on the curved portion are arches, both on the exterior portion of the tower base, and on the part that is contained inside the area that intersects with the rectangular section of the foundation.
Also cast into the base are art deco influenced brackets to support future braces, and for candles. The North-West area of the formwork was out of the reach of the concrete pumper: to get concrete to that area we used pipe staging (scaffolding) to make a tower. On top we made a circular platform and indexed a steel chute made from 2×4’s and old metal roofing.
After the pour, I stripped the forms and set to work on the sill timbers and joists. Then it was decked for the winter. The lumber for the decking arrived in zero degree weather. Each 2×8 hemlock board was encased in about ⅛” to ¼” of ice. At Wayne Krauss’ suggestion, we dragged out an old wood stove, put on two sections of stove pipe and stoked a fire. Once very hot, we slid the boards slowly across the top of the stove and shaved the ice clean off.
Helping in 2004 was Regis Asa Cummings, Aaron Woodruff, and Wayne Krauss. Also Hana Krauss at age 8: only she was small enough to climb down into the formwork and connect the steel cables that held the circular forms.