Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This is a stick-up (or Lots Of Sticks Up)

I left you all last post with us amid-framing. Here's the rest of the timber cutting and bashing story.

Whilst settling in to primitive life in the shouse, we still found a few hours every day to continue on with the big house. Because Sol had been so kind as to lend us his tools of trade while he XMAS-ed and holidayed, I was keen to make as much use of the compressor / air nailers arrangement as possible. So, we plodded ahead, adding a few lengths of 4-by-2 or sheets of ply every day.
filling the gaps
keeping those conduits out of the way
 Looking back over the photos to write this, I am overwhelmed by how much we have achieved. Each section and each detail was measured, planned out (i.e. drawn up to make sure of how it goes together), cut, assembled on the ground, installed and fixed in for good (once we were sure that it was level / plumb / etc!). Some were a little too tight and had to be trimmed or planed down but most either popped in or were 'persuaded' with a few taps of the eccy-thump machine (rubber mallet). Here are some progress shots as we went.
solid buckeroonies
...and strong
 A few times, we came to a impasse where I could only continue on my own so, in between times, Dana got to making us a letter box. We designed it in the shape of the house and it came out pretty darn good. We planted it at the front gate and then found out that the mail delivery contractors wanted it at the end of the street, so Dana uprooted it and stuck it on with all the other home made letter boxes on the street corner.
looks just like our house...
...except raised on a pole!
My brother Nick and his family popped by and gave me a hand for a few days while Dana worked back in town. We got the first lintels made and installed and I did some precision carpentry to finish off Dana's study. A few more weeks of slowly but surely went by and then Sol called up for his tools. We cleaned them up and dropped them back and I got him to convince my dearest that it was indeed worth investing in the same. A bit of Trading Post and Tag Trader time later, I had a twin cylinder compressor, a Paslode 5000 series frame nailer, 20m of hose and about 2500 collated nails (all for well less than half new price!).
lintels by Nobbie, exquisite framing by me...:)
more Nobbie lintels
now with ply bracing
it makes noise and it blows air
yay for Paslode...
 So I used these new toys (oops, I mean well loved second hand tools..:)) to clean things up a bit and build a bench for the 50 million boxes of hardware and hand tools that had been gracing the laundry stem wall (before I had to install the bottom boxing). Unlike much of my life, I like a clean, well ordered site - you can find what ever you need in a moment. Perhaps there is a bit of the old man in me...

so neat
engineer's son anyone???
Another cool side project that Dana got on to was the creation of a rodent proof cupboard. We'd been getting sick of the little buggers eating through plastic to get at our food and thought that a chunky timber unit would solve this.
no more Rattus
I'm proud of this now hidden multiple compound mitre / bevel. Sitting inside the bathroom wall now - it fitted so perfectly.
More assistance came in the form of Biggsy on holiday for a few days. With many years of site experience, he came in more than handy. I just had to say "I need that bit there and built like so" and it would happen. Nice. Even better were some strong muscles to help lift the mega-lintels into place.

are you sure it's level?

flying the big boy

now docked for good

me team at work

Over the next few weeks I kept plugging away at it bit by bit, taking the time to both do it right and not trash my back again. This meant building in one-person-manageable sections and piecing it all together in-situ.

piece by...

...piece by...

...piece, it all...

...came together...
...just nicely

The kitchen walls took a bit of beard stroking and head scratching to work out but the end result is primo. I'd put aside a couple of studs that were bowed enough to follow the profile of the rafter pretty snuggly. I had to clamp these to the rafter to get true measurements for the studs and then pre-build sections that still allowed drill access to screw studs to SHS poles. Speaking of which, I could swear that the steel in those posts has got harder over time. So hard that (after one too many broken drill bits and some real swearing!) we gave in and hired a magnetic clamp-on drill press for a day. This chunky beastie chewed holes in our steel like a hot knife in butter. Smiles duly followed.
bed wall
kitchen part 1
and the trickiest bit
 Another day and the kitchen wall was schmicko. As soon as I'd tightened down the last bolt, I gave the frame a tap with the hammer and it sang to me...

A couple more 3x4x2 laminated studs for the main dining window and we were ready for the framing inspection. Which, as posted earlier, went just swimmingly, thanks.
can't you just hear it sing???
With all that info now dumped from my brain, I can now start to think about writing up the baling workshop. Soon, soon, soon. :) In the meantime, here are a few more random pics from the period...

oh, it's so pretty

Rats ate the timber louvres. Armour plating will get em. I call it the "Food Dalek"

it's all about the light

that stud on the right looks wonky...because it is!

light ... and... anti-light.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Get with the times

This is another catch up post but chockablock full of building goodies. I left you all hanging on the detail while we were madly framing and stacking bales. Today, I'll go back over the framing period and **sometime soon** I'll get up details of our bale stacking.

So, to backtrack: we'd assembled and erected 2 walls in the lounge / study area. Sol got back a few days later and we started by skinning the E-W lounge wall with 7mm structural ply. This will form a large part of the diagonal bracing for the whole building. With about 5 bazillion clouts in it (all to engineer's specification...sheesh), it aint moving a millimetre.

count the clouts...
Next, we got onto constructing the wall betwixt bath and bed rooms. Standard procedure is to measure up the space, draw out the stud / noggin configuration and calculate the member sizes from there. Then we cut the lengths, removing the dodgy knots and uber-curvy bits and lay it all out on the floor. That way, you can see any obvious whoopsies before sinking a single nail. Stud frames this size soon take on a fair bit of weight and the bed/bath wall needed some sturdy ropes over the rafters to get it vertical. Ditto with the previous lounge/study wall. We purposely left out a few key studs, nogs and jack studs to allow room for the drill to screw and bolt this baby to the steel posts. I tells ya - drilling or screwing into 8mm thick steel with a battery drill is sloooooooooow work. Just ask Dana...:)

nearly ready to lift
and now in place
Anyway, Sol and I next moved on to building the wall between bedroom and pantry/linen cupboard. This time we had to leave a big hole in the wall to allow the whole shebang to fit around the eastern bed head column. Once she was flying, Sol took off for a few more days and Dana and I continued with the boxing on top of the rock walls. This carpentry was pretty straight forward but I/we did forget a few times to either put insulation in the boxing BEFORE attaching the top lid, or remember to put insulation in but forget to lay the pallet strapping under the boxing before locking the whole thing down. I hate doing things twice...

watch out for that rock
have we remembered everything?
I sure hope so
phew...all present
So too does Sol. His original coil nailer had been playing up on the early sheeting and he'd taken the plunge on a new one. Getting the bugger to nail to the right depth took a few hours of nailing, adjusting and nailing again. Meantime I just kept on boxing. After lunch that day, we moved on to the wall between pantry/linen and the outside world. Measured and cut, Sol got the thing attached and I finished off the *new and improved* window bucks in my study. A few stout applications of the universal adapter saw these babies wedged firmly between roof structure and wall boxing. Another item never going to move again!

pantry wall skinned

they staying for good now
The final part of the puzzle before our lovely carpenter retired to the mad pre XMAS rush of his other jobs and businesses was the walling around pantry/laundry/kitchen. We made these in 3 parts - laundry/entry, laundry/pantry (both N-S) and then the E-W wall to the kitchen. Of course, I had misplaced the dimensions of our fridge, so I got Dana to measure at home and text me the sizings. Fridge nook will now happily accommodate our food preserving cold box and a few brooms, etc to boot.

the belt adjusting's the new craze
We were also in a bit of a rush. We'd made the decision to pull the pin on city life a bit early. Running two dwellings, two larders, two gardens and two separate lives had been taking a large emotional and financial toll. Dana was packing boxes every night and running up with a full car every weekend. I was toiling on the tools all day and writing/blogging/bucket-washing/reading by night. So; movers organised for the big stuff, 3T truck booked for the garden stuff and helpers booked to clean up; we took the plunge and relocated to the shouse.

bucks galore

getting pretty solid looking

Sol fixing my f**kups
Although we spent a lot of time organising our new abode (well, new for Dana...I'd been camped there for quite a while), we still found a few hours here and there to keep on with the big build. Best of all, Sol had left his compressor and air tools behind for us (what a guy) and I wanted to make best use of them before he repo-ed his gear and we had to resort to hand nailing again (like it used to be done in the good old days!).

John's study takes form

like a forest...

...that gets filled in
The final bit of today's story is the-workshop-that-never-was. A few months earlier, I'd booked in the building inspector to check off on our framing. Delays from slab finishing, house moving, life in general (and my eternal underestimation of the time and complexity of bespoke building) had meant that we were becoming unlikely to get the framing ready before inspection. Blowing out the inspector was one easy phone call. Blowing out all of the good souls who'd agreed to put aside a December weekend to help us stack our straw bales was a little harder. However, common sense prevailed and we rescheduled our baling workshop for the indefinite future.

Dana's study shaping up

the devil is in the detail

sticks and more sticks
Further common sense is that I've written enough for now and will leave the rest of the framing detail for the next post. Until then, ciao...