Monday, January 29, 2007

Jan 29th - Moving Material

I am residing in Florida currently and have really been enjoying the warm weather although it is cold by Florida standards, down in the low 40's at night...not bad with below zero in other places.

Right before I left Iowa, I had spoken to a retired woman that I hadn't seen in several years. I remember she had an a lot of granite sitting in a field near her house and now it was time for me to go pick some out that I could use in my house. Nothing exceptionally big but most averaging 2-6 square feet. I figured it would make nice countertops and would work well for other projects, such as patio pavers, walks, shower walls etc. It was a cold day when I arrived and much of it was frozen together and still piled on old pallets. There appeared to be several different colors and the majority was polished and quite nice. She explained that she would be listing her small farm in the spring and would be moving. Once I picked what granite I wanted, I was shocked by the unbelievable price she quoted me and I told her I would return in several weeks to pick it up. Once out of her driveway, I rang her on my cell phone and asked her if she wanted to sell the whole lot. She gave me an exceptionally good price and now I have 34 pallets of nicely quarried and polished granite... at least 2 truckloads! There is much more than I can ever use, and hopefully I can give other folks a great deal. I will keep the majority of it in Iowa but will haul several good size pallet loads to Rico.

Just what I need is another project. We will try and move much of what is there sometime in the spring during some dry weather. It will have to be sorted and restacked on its edges for anything I move long distances to prevent breakage. Oh, how I love a good deal!

Now, how to move all that I have gathered in Iowa all the way to Rico. After some research, I've decided that the best way to move all this stuff is with an ocean container. I own nearly 30 of these 40 footers that I have on my company's property in southeast Iowa. Right now I happen to have an empty one and Mike, one of my employees, has pulled it out onto the lot with a forklift so it can be loaded with a landoll trailer. The landoll flatbed trailer has the ability to pick up a container using a tilt bed flat bed equipped with a winch cable. By tilting the trailer bed, the rear edge of the trailer can be extended to the ground, cable attached and then the entire empty container can be loaded in minutes. I've decided to send the container to a metal fabrication shop we use for fabricating parts for my business in Iowa. I have decided that I will cut two large openings in opposite sides near opposing ends of the container. Barn door overhead track will then be installed and new sliding barn doors installed. Using snugger latches and over headtrack the doors can be secured and the entire container easily loaded with material using a forklift.

While containers are equipped with end doors and easily loaded with palletized material, long lengths of lumber are nearly impossible to load and unload, unless it's done by hand. Containers are an interesting commodity and I have spent several weeks researching how doors are cut in them without weakening them too much. They are an amazing structure and can hold up to 450,000 lbs on top of them! I have even supplied some boxed channel that will be used for reinforcing the openings where the doorways are cut.

I've met a man who has lived in the Dolores area all his life and runs a sawmill just outside of town. Turns out he was good friends with two of my uncles who are now gone. I have visited him on several occasions, purchasing weathered lumber scraps that have laid on the ground near his mill. He has treated me fairly and honestly...these days you can't ask for more. I have approached him with the possibility of me renting ground space for a container in his yard and within a week I have received his answer. He has agreed to give me a 2 year lease. Nice thing about this location is I have to drive by once a week to shop in Cortez, there is much less snow than Rico and he has a forklift that I can hire to unload any and all material I store or move up to Rico. I will have extra tie downs welded to the floor to secure my loads of materials and keep them from shifting in transit.

I will use the same shipping company I used before and I found that the cost of the container fully loaded is no more than just loading a truck...except for the cranes required. Next comes locating a crane that can unload the container full of building materials. A crane will have to be hired in Iowa once the container is ready to be loaded and then another nearby crane company in Dolores will unload the 30,000 lb container. Both cranes are 30 ton cranes and should easily handle the job. This location will help me establish a storage facility for possible future architectural salvage sales in the southwest Colorado area. It will also give me a place to store material for the house out of the weather until we are ready for installation. The logistics are challenging, but now it's all coming together. Enjoy the photos.

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