Today is roof assembly day, and I, Jen, will be wrestling with some serious silicone-coated goodness. Last week I put together some panels, attaching two triangular pieces to form a bigger triangle, then putting the flaps that enable connection to the structure and the sidewalls. And now I’m ready to put it all together into the behemoth that will keep someone dry and cozy.
Something that always strikes me when working on something this size is the balance of simply wrestling these big pieces (they are around 9 ft long) under the machine while holding them precisely beside one another with the right amount of tension on the top and bottom pieces to be sure that they match up exactly, and that the seam is the right width the whole way. Kind of a micro and macro vision at the same time. So I start with just two pieces, lining them up under the needle and stitching them together. Then I run the same seam through the machine again, this time adding a piece of webbing (that is kindly folded for me by a lovely device attached to the machine) that will keep the seam from stretching too much. Then I add another section onto these two. And then another. And pretty soon this thing weighs around 50 lbs. I am still making sure that I maintain the micro-balance of the seam allowance and moving the rod through the machine smoothly.
After all the sections are attached to one another, I now have a cone-shaped monstrosity that I climb onto the table to shake into submission for the final step: adding the big grommets that will slide over some bolts that hold it onto the frame. This entails first adding a piece of webbing onto the corner, then popping a hole in it with a size-specific cutter, then putting the grommet through that hole, pounding it liberally with a hammer, and voila! Corner grommet. Each of the seven corners gets this treatment (today’s roof is for a SeptaYome) and then I can get up on the table again, and have one final wrestling match that ends in a loosely bundled roof that is ready for final folding and seam sealing. And I’m off to my home for some supper!