Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An attempt to catch up on proceedings...

My last post was nearly two months ago. Some might call me a bludger but, oh boy have we been busy. Pre and post Xmas madness, packing up city house chaos, Dana finishing full time work craziness, moving everything 2 hours up the highway insanity...oh, and we found time to do heaps more on the house. I've also banged out another Owner Builder diary entry and a review of Tiny Homes - Simple Shelter for the same mag. The book is gorgeous, as is the rest of the author's back catalog. Lloyd Kahn - I salute you. Anyway, back to the grind. Literally...

It took Dana and me a day and a half to finally finish off grinding the slab edges. Oh how happy were we to put this behind us. While we were on site together, Dana mixed up some sub-soil, sand, lime and straw in varying quantities and plastered it on the side of some bales that I'd sourced. I'd had a visit from a guy who renders in lime and clay for a living and he was of the opinion that our sub soil was "totally crap" for rendering. I was ready to go with that until he presented us with an estimate of $20-25k to spray our bales. Well, turns out our soil works just great. The pure clay patches didn't stand up too well to the weather but the lime based ones are hard as rock even after torrential downpours.
we gunna build our walls with this stuff
lime renders to the left were still hard as rock ... clay ones to the right went mushy
I stayed on to seal the concrete while Dana went back to town for the last few weeks of her job. I started by hosing off any residual dust and then squeegee-ed off the remaining water. Next trick was to don the golf shoes (a tip from the pros) I got for $15 at the oppy and roll on a coat of water based epoxy. I'm with Winston Churchill when it comes to whackfuck but the spikes on the Niblicks kept me from sticking to the epoxy and lifting it before it dried.
golf sucks but golf shoes are stylin...
At first, I thought it looked pretty crapola but it was (only a) little better after it dried out. Two coats of water based urethane sealer followed and it started looking slicker. We are trying to avoid the glossy showroom look but it still looked a little shiny for my tastes. Next time I'll read the label that says "Gloss" a bit better. Ahhhh...bugger it. It's done and we can move on. Here's a balloon John...so you can...Let It Go!
first strip of epoxy
all epoxy-ed now
bit ordinary for my perfectionist eye
but in the right light it looks schmick

and I'll live with it

My man Sol, the carpentry wizard we used for getting the main frame up, came over the next day to get me under way with the internal framing. Pre-injury, I probably would have just done it all myself but, thanks to the Bank of Mum, it made sense to get another body and some pro help. Plus, he came with all the good tools - compressor, frame nailer, coil nailer, extra ladders, 2.4m straight edge, etc and 30 odd years of experience banging sticks together.

I'd done all of the take-offs several weeks previously and sourced some good cheap MGP10 pine in Shepparton.  I also got them to send us 40 sheets of CD-A Ecoply. Only $35 delivery charge too!! Not bad for 730 metres of timber on a 2.5 hour round trip. While we had the grinders in action, I had started constructing some of the boxing that will sit on the rock walls and support the straw bales. Sol cast his eye over it and said "Not bad but have you considered how it joins at the corners, how it supports the structural window bucks etc". Mmmm...good point fella. Guess I'll be re-jigging a fair bit of that.

Anyway, after a few hours of measuring, drawing and head scratching, we got started on the first of the internal walls. This was the N-S wall between our studies. It took 2 of us to get this thing upright. No way I could have done it alone. Nor would I have done it as well. Next day we knocked up the E-W wall bounding studies and lounge. Big-small-big became small again. Sol was only available 2-3 days per week, so I went on with wall boxing and various round trips to town.
first internal wall (pic quality ornery but it's the only one)
E-W lounge/study wall (note my redundant mistakes against N wall...ooops)
contemplating the next step...
...which was to get hm vertical

I'll keep the rest of this framing story for the next post because I'm having a little trouble typing and squinting at the 'puter with only one eye. One eye, you say? Yes, I got some grit in my eye drilling out holes in the block walls and the doc today had to use a needle to dig it out of the cornea. It was most disconcerting but I thank the pharma-gods for topical anaesthetic. Otherwise, I probably would have grabbed the needle for a little impromptu surgery on my new country doc...

arrrrrrrrrrgh...or something pirate-y
As you can tell from the intro, there is heaps more to tell. Stay tuned...



  1. Wow lots of awesome house building things going on!!It's looking fabulous!! Seems like you get injured in every post, ouch!! Don't do a George RR Martin and leave us hanging in suspense for the next installment!

  2. Heh - not that injured. It's just that the downtime from building gives me a chance to type an blog...
    Next installment due soon because...winter is coming.

  3. awesome......................
    hey thanks for the horse-spit-ality over new year, a fine day spent by the local swimming hole, drinking french pear cider I recall.....cheers!

  4. 'Twas a fine time indeed Jonas. Most welcome any time.