Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back into gear...

OK - you've all waited long enough for this update. As I mentioned in the last post, we are finally making some real progress on site. Having resigned myself to never being Mr Beefcake again, we engaged Jason and Jess from Webb Stonework to drive over from Rushworth and finish off the external rock facing that had remained on hold while I worked in getting vertical again. Big Steve had done a marvellous job inside but was tied up on other jobs for the foreseeable future. I got quotes from a few rockies but settled on Webb as they had much experience with our local crumbly granite stone.

cool setup. tipper on the back too

First day they spent just collecting rocks. 2 strong guys and 5 hours made big enough piles to give them a good selection to pick from. A quick blast from the pressure washer to remove rough grit and setup of the mixing station and they were ready for an early start to laying next day. We've decided to leave what moss and lichen we can on external rock faces so didn't need to be quite so anal in the cleaning this time.

pebbles everywhere
glad we had a hand with all these
and these...

Day 2 and the boys laid over 15 lineal metres of face rock. They fairly punched it out. I've been getting slowly stronger and felt up to doing the pointing. It also let me keep quality control on the finish. Such is the life of a perfectionist... Unfortunately, they'd laid so much that I struggled into the dark to get it all done. 8.30 pm saw me hobble back to the shouse for a good long lie down. Some nasty gusts while I was pointing finally overcame the tethers for one of the tanks lying in wait and I heard an almighty bang as it took off for an adventure. Knowing exactly what had happened, I swore loudly once and got straight back to scraping mortar - there was nought to be gained getting stressed over something I could do diddly about.

powering along
work never ceases for an owner builder

Weekend intervened and Dana came up to inspect. Her excitement at seeing progress again was inspiring. Not even the newly installed dam tank could dampen it much!

this guy felt like a wee dip

Day 3 was similar to day 2 except the boys had a laugh about the tank. We traced the grooves it had made and realised that, had I not had the car illuminating the worksite, the tank would have smacked right into it. Some consolation, I suppose. Lots of facework completed and another late finish to get the pointing done under torch and headlight. Day 4 finished off all of the facework and I hurriedly pointed up as the light faded yet again. I had to drive back to Melbourne late (arriving near midnight) for an early morning dentist visit that had been long planned for the next morning. Jason and Jess were onsite backfilling behind face walls and cleaning up the site while I had a dodgy tooth pulled. I got back to site just as they were packing up after lunch.

looking sweet
nearly there on East side
big rocks in the doorway
still covered in lichen

Last task to do before they left was installing the rock columns beside the bed. Steve and I had found these ~1500mm long obelisks ages ago and Dana and I wanted then to frame the bedhead. Measured, measured again and double-checked before committing to the holes in the to tie these in. Jason squared off the rock bottoms and Sikaflex-ed some 12mm reo into holes in the column bottoms. We then marked and drilled the slab. I was aiming for about 1700mm between the inner faces but, even so, we still managed to leave only 1650mm. At 1620 wide installed, the bedhead will only just fit but should look pretty ace...phew. A bit of mortar in the gap and they look pretty bloody good, even if I say so myself.

and clean-o
Obelix and Asterix??
they be very solid...
...and thick

settling in...
...but standing out

Next step is to extend starter bars through the core walls and then fill those walls with concrete. Then we can start internal framing and have something to show our building inspector before the permit approaches expiration / extension. We still have a long way to go but it sure is nice to be back at it again.