Facebook Twitter



Labor union carpenter Sandy Scott, who has plied her trade throughout the United States, is enjoying the challenge of helping build a log home in Woodland Hills subdivision.

"I wouldn't attempt something like this on my own," said Scott, who is working on her retirement home while recovering from a back injury that has kept her from her usual carpentry jobs.The unusually severe winter with deep snow and cold temperatures hasn't made the task any easier for Scott, who has helped remove snow so footings could be poured and had to remove snow from the piles of materials delivered to the log home at 2440 E. Crestview Drive.

Scott and her husband, Blaine, an operating engineer for Shurtleff & Andrews, a steel erection company, hired Joe Fortner, owner of Oaker Mountain Log Homes, Midvale, with the stipulation she be allowed to work on the home.

Usually, a contractor doesn't want any help from an owner while he is building a house, but Scott wanted the experience while she is recovering from an injury. She said she gets along great with Joe and his son and the project should be completed in May. At that time, she wants to get back into carpentry work on a regular basis.

Involved with all aspects of the work on the log house, Scott said they have been up to their necks in mud and about the only thing she hasn't done is the shingling. Subcontractors were hired for the electrical and plumbing work.

Scott's project is a log house in the truest sense of the word. About the only things that aren't wood in the house are the plumbing, electrical wires, the concrete footings, the concrete driveway, the appliances and the windows.

The log house has a master bedroom and one guest room, a utility room, two full baths, a loft and a kitchen-living room combination. A patio will surround the entire south and east portions of the house, and a detached garage and woodshop will be built north of the house.

The owner of several types of sophisticated woodworking tools, Scott has built her own kitchen cabinets, and the island working area in the kitchen is a nice blend of redwood, pine and cedar. She also built the vanities in the two bathrooms. All walls and ceilings are tongue-and-groove wood.

The double tongue-and-groove treated logs for the house came from Precision Log in Boise and are pre-engineered for the house based on specifications supplied to the company. The logs arrived on a large truck and then the job began to separate the piles and start building.

"It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle," said Scott, displaying a computer readout that outlines where each log is placed. A foam material is placed between the logs, which are cinched down each night to ensure a tight fit.

Although Scott is realizing a 20-year dream by having a home she can call her own, she realizes that her husband could get transferred and they'll be off again. But they intend to keep their log house because it's their retirement home.

Having a permanent house has been difficult for the Scotts because their lives have been filled with transfers for Blaine with Sandy following.

A native of Pennsylvania, Sandy first married a surveyor, and he was transferred to Denver and sent to Coalstrip, Mont., a tiny place southeast of Billings. Sandy served a two-year carpentry apprenticeship and was a member of Local 1172 in Billings.

She did concrete work and built wood forms on a coal-fired electrical generation plant. After a divorce, she met Blaine on the job, and they worked at the plant together until he was transferred to the Intermountain Power Project in Delta.

She transferred her union book to a local in Provo and went to work for M. A. Mortensen Co. at IPP and wound up as crew foreman after two years.

Their next move was to Nucla, Colo., on a coal-fired generation plant, where Sandy did some high scaffolding, often working hundreds of feet off the ground. After 14 months, the Scotts moved to Pennsylvania but left their daughter to finish high school.

They were in Pennsylvania for one year with Sandy working on forms and scaffolding on cooling towers at another coal-fired plant. From there it was work on the nuclear power generation plant in Cincinnati that had been converted to a coal-fired plant, where she worked for two years.

Then the Scotts came back to Salt Lake City. For six months Sandy worked in Tooele County on a toxic waste incinerator for Tolboe Construction. Then, her husband was transferred to Hawaii to work on another coal-fired plant. That's when Sandy hurt her back.

About a year ago, the Scotts purchased the Woodland Hills property because they like rustic rural areas. They would have liked more trees on the 11/2 acres but figure they can always plant some.

They have about $80,000 tied up in materials and labor for their house and $25,000 for the lot and probably will spend $13,500 on the garage. But they don't worry about the cost: "It's our dream house," she said.