Great Valley and Corporate Glitz

Back in September we spent about  three days with a crane unloading and setting in place the pieces of this stair, some of which weighed more than a ton.  Here is Ryan waiting to guide a tread to its place if his partner wakes up  and cranks it down with the Roustabout portable hoist. The weird green stuff covering the sides of the stringers is styrofoam, protecting the stainless steel cladding during shipping and erection.

Now it’s well past summer, but the trees , even after Hurricane Sandy dumped days of rain on Great Valley, have more leaves than those in Michigan. I expected the little stream called Valley Creek to be much fuller just a few days after the storm than it was. Apparently the rocky earth around here doesn’t retain groundwater the way Michigan terrain would, so most of the moisture  had already coursed through this creek at the bottom of Great Valley by the time of these shots.  As I followed the path along the banks I saw everywhere clumps and tangles of sticks and leaves thrown up and left three or four feet above the day’s water level. 
If my bicycle brakes hadn’t squeaked I might have got closer to the deer before they bolted up the hill, or; who knows? they might have trampled me.  The path was not designed for bikes, nor am I daring enough to ride on the edge of a cliff, even if the fall is only 5 or 6 feet into the water.  Plus, many tree trunks  had fallen across the path, so I walked or carried the bike a good ways before the trail widened and turned into a gravel road.

But back at the job site here’s what the stair looked like on November 5.  We still had one last piece of stainless cladding to glue onto the upper landing where the black area is showing.  A couple days earlier we had torn off two sheets at that location, because they had defective finish that didn’t show up until we removed the plastic coating. The five vertical wooden pieces are the clamping system we devised to hold the piece we had installed  Saturday morning.  The last few days have been grinding, sanding, polishing, caulking and cleanup.  The General Contractor is rushing us to get done so that the tile man can finish, but the GC’s schedule makes sense only to the GC’s people, and not even to all of them.  Because the light on the two replacement panels is so strong and highlights any irregularity, we had to be careful with our clamping, so after the glue had set for a few hours I had loosened or removed the wedges and replaced them with the black “Gorilla Tape” that’s visible on the last panel we put up.  The office workers who’ll be using this stair will have no idea what a pain in the butt it has been.

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