Saturday, December 17, 2011

Updates galore...

Yet again, it's been a while between posts. If it seems that I've been a little slack - not so. Much water has flowed under the metaphorical and literal bridges. We've spent plenty of time on site, Dana has been madly packing up the city house and I've been finishing another OB article. I've been meaning to write more but have been fairly drained come the end of the day and needing to fall in a heap. Besides, when I've had some energy left it has been consumed by the crack-on-paper that is George R.R Martin's Game of Thrones.

Here's a quick summary of what's been going on regarding life around the build.

Dana and I got the hire pressure washer again (do we own it yet??) and spent a day washing down the external rock faces. Jason had done his best to leave moss and lichen on the faces so we had to be a bit careful not to blast it off. As ever, it looked bloody marvellous.

more wire brushes
power squirter
yummy enough to eat
more yum

...Starter bars extended
We have 60-odd starter bars poking up through the blockwork. Engie spec called for a ring beam at the top course and then chem-setting bolts to tie down the bottom boxing that the straw will sit on. I figured that welding all thread to the starters would give a much stronger bond between slab and wall, so a couple of hours with Wally from McKernans saw 16mm threaded rod attached to all of the starter reo with 3-4 inches of double fillet weld.

North East
...Core filling blocks
Blocking required core filling with 20MPA concrete. I looked at getting in a mini-mix and trying to shoot the sloppy grey into the wall cavities. However, it worked out cheaper to get Jason and Jess back to mix at 28MPA, then transport and fill by hand (or bucket and barrow). I made up some formwork that allowed EZ-pour and the guys were very thankful.

...Back to the grind
Next step was to finish off grinding the slab and get it sealed before we did any internal framing. So we booked the mower again and dragged it up to site late Friday night `to get the floor surface done and behind us. KnJnCrew came to help and we all had a good fight with the noisy wobbly gouge maker. Dana got blistered and bruised and Jon did his wrist in the process.

what a grind
looks like hard yakka

Not only that, the beast left horrid gouges everywhere and the slurry got all over the once beautiful stone work.

even more grrrrr
"Oh Mr Hart - what a mess"

Harried call to the hire company on the Sunday got the response that machine was sick and needed to make the return 4 hour trip for a Monday replacement. Bugger... So, back out to Clayton and swap over for a better machine then 4 hours back to site to keep at it. Jon and Dana came back on the Tuesday to avoid a stoopid horse race and finish off the slab. Not so. Towards sunset time we realised that it would take another 3-4 days at this rate to (maybe) get the finish that we were after. At $500 per day for the mower, this was getting silly. Time to call in the pros. In the meantime, I got out the 9 inch grinder and flattened the tops of the walls where that bale supports will live. Very messy...very fun!
this was fun
...Professional grinding help
Todd from Smoothstone gave us a good rate and Matt came out for the day with a real grinding setup: truck mounted 3-phase gennie, 3-head grinder, the biggest commercial vac I'd ever seen and a crane to lift it all on and off. 8 hours later and we had a winner. Phew...

shoes for every occasion
this thing sucks big time
a real proper grinder
the whole kit
Now all we needed to do was grind down the edges that the big machine couldn't get to. Surprisingly (or not), 4 inch 100 grit flexible grinding wheels are not that easy to come by. Hours of google-age and many calls later, I found some in Wangaratta. I knew where to get them in Melbourne but it seemed a long trip for one item. If time was no object, this would be annoying but ok. However, I'd set a deadline to get things done so that we could get all hands on deck to get framed and baled up before Christmas. Farting about finishing the slab was seriously eating into the project timeline. Besides, we were both very much over concrete and just wanted it finished. I took the grinder with me to Wang to check that all would be good with it. Supplier man says yes to all. Got back to Bogie, fitted the disc and started grinding away at the slab edges. About one hour in, the adhesive backing on the disc let go and the disc took off to who-knows-where. What a saga: I could only laugh. I wasn't laughing much when it took 2 hours of searching to find the mangled disc. More phone calls worked out that variable speed grinder should have been used as 14000 RPM was about 10000 RPM too fast for that particular disc. Oh joy. Cup disc duly sourced in Melbourne and delivered to Dana's work. Best thing is that this supplier is now a customer for Dana's workplace. Win-win.

There has been much more go on since then but I'll leave that to a subsequent posting.

Ciao for now...



  1. Your first par got me - crack on paper indeed!

    Glad to see a post - we've been wondering how you were going

  2. I've been wondering how you guys have been going. The fact that you're reading Game of Thrones explains a lot!! Phil and I are hooked!!Great action shots and great to see things happening at Bogie Castle. Winter is coming.

  3. Seems Phil and I both wrote comments at the same time... As you can see we have exciting Saturday evenings. But hey the wine is excellent and the view beautiful, a few comments on our favourite blogs.. what could be better.

  4. Yay Phil n Rachel. You are as bad as us with dualling laptops side by side on the couch...

    Yes, winter is coming...GRRM be damned for his time sucking tomes. One thing for sure: everyone gets shafted...including me. 6 books and there is more yet to come.

  5. Greetings

    Saw your article in the Owner Builder mag.

    Very interesting, similar to my house being built, mine smaller.

    I'm cheating on the polished concrete and just staining, I may hone.

    Yours seems more engineering friendly, massive steel UB's

    What insulation are you using for roof?

    Are the LVL's being exposed?

    Did you just use normal Corrugated Zincalume for the roof sheets?

    Looks great, its a slow process, motivation is the key ingredient.

    Physical mobility is also important, hopefully it improves for 2012.

    Good Luck



  6. Hi Pulpo,

    Your build sounds like fun. Small is good. Much as I love our place, it is a huge undertaking. Just have to chip away at it constantly.

    Roof has R1.5 blanket already installed (bonded to sisalation). We will add R3.5-4 batts between the LVL purlins and plaster sheet underneath that so, LVLs will be hidden. Really wanted Solomit strawboard ceilings but it is out of our budget range. Yes, roof sheets are normal 3.5mm corro zinc. No need to get them rolled or anything fancy.

    Getting better each week - thanks for the encouragement. There are also many updates yet to be published - we are 60% through internal framing as I write.

    Hope that yours goes well. Where is it located?