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Ahoy maties! We're building an impractical 3-sided platform (now with crow's nest)! This page documents our progress.

Designer: Kipp McMichael

Builders: Kipp McMichael, Trea Kines, Jean-Claude Breach

Inhabitants: Kipp, Trea and Miguel Sanchez (comin from Alabamie with a banjo on his knee)

UPDATE: We done got granted! Thanks to the sponsors of Ephemerisle for giving us some cash to help pay for the platform. Their help is allowing us to build an even better platform than we originally proposed.


Notes: We realized after submitting our proposal that we probly over-planned some of the platform. The main beams likely didn't need to be 4-ply - so we are reducing the wood used to build the platform. Trea also had the bright idea to build a crow's nest too so we have a little perspective on the festival.


Home Depot is our friend: cheap wood, cheap PVC pipe, cheap fasteners, and cheap powertools!

Ebay and the internet are also our friend:

  • We were able to get the exercise balls for $10 a piece. And they're all a cool shiny graphite color.
  • We were able to source the PVC fittings online for about 1/3 the price of our local hardware store.
  • Artwork aids in the form of blacklight LEDs and batteries for nighttime fun.


Day 1 - Sept 12: Jean Claude and Kipp start the platform and the buoyancy cubes (Trea had the good sense to be on vacation)

So we got the 2"x6"x16' boards for the main struts of the platform as well as the PVC necessary to build the cubes that will hold our buoyancy exercise balls captive. So day 1 involved drilling and bolting the 12 boards into 3 struts and cutting 144 PVC segments.

Day 2 - Sept 19: Trea and Kipp continue construction on the platform, and try to finalize plans for the crow's nest

Today we learned to love the miter saw. Kipp showed up this morning with a truck full of 2x4's and we were able to get the entire wooden structure of the platform measured, cut, placed, and labeled. We only screwed pieces together that we needed to be in place for measuring. This keeps us from having to reuse screw holes later, when we assemble the raft at the Delta.

We placed everything where it will go, labeled every piece of wood, and pretty much finalized the plans for the crow's nest. We're still trying to decide how high we can build it, but we have the basic idea. Here are some pictures from today's progress.

Day 3 - Sept 26: Trea and Kipp finish the decking and botch the first attempt at the crow's nest platform

At the close of work on Day 2, we had decided to look into plywood for the decking surface to save time. Once we priced the plywood however, it became apparent that it was a bit too pricey - so we returned to our original idea of using reclaimed wood from warehouse pallets. Kipp had collected some pallets already and then had a great dumpster diving haul on Friday wherein he got 2 4"x4"x10'posts, 2 pieces of plywood, and lots of boards for decking. We collected some more pallets on Saturday during lunch and spent most of the day measuring and cutting boards and plywood for the decking of the platform. The miter saw was again our friend.

Near the end of the day, we had finished all of the decking. Although it covered up our nifty Siperpenskified framing, the checkerboard decking of difference wood types, colors, and ages makes for a neat effect on its own.

With our light running out, we decided to try and get the crow's nest platform built. The reclaimed 4x4 plus one new 4x4 would constitute the crow's nest support and we'd likely cut off a foot or two of 10 foot length since having a person standing to a height of ~16 feet seemed a little too tippycanoe for us.

We threw ourselves at the task of building the platform without any plans and the results were disappointing. We ended the day a little discouraged with our failed crow's best attempt - but resolved to get it right.

Trea's got the pictures so he's the one who'll have to add the gallery for Day 3.

Day 4 - Sept 28: Trea and Kipp finish the the crow's nest platform and learn the value of a good screwdriver

Kipp managed to get off work a little early and head up to Novato for more work. Having learned our lesson with trying to build sans plans, Kipp drew-up crow's nest platform plans to guide our efforts. We got off to a slow start because Trea had forgotten to charge his screwdriver (again!) The miter saw made cutting the 2x4s for the crow's nest platform a breeze. Hand-driving the screws, however, proved to be unbelievably difficult - when we found ourselves needing to tagteam individual screws at exhausting quarter-turn intervals, we decided it just should be so hard. Examining our tools revealed a pitifully eroded driver-head, so we raced to the hardware store to get a new screwdriver literally the minute before they closed for the day.

Upon our return, we found the fresh screwdriver to cut our effort in half - the screws seemed almost to turn themselves. We were able to then finish building the platform, cut and nail the floor-slats for it, and cut the hand-rail pieces before darkness stopped our work. All that's left now is assembling the buoyancy scaffold that will hold the exercise-ball cubes to the bottom of the platform's three corner.

Again, Trea's gonna have to post the pics.