Sunday, November 21, 2010

from the beginning (part 3)

...continued.: Sol & Phil struggled through 4 days of sub-zero nights and single figure days (Celsius here folks) that were drizzly, cold and gray. It was so miserable that Phil named the shouse "Mawson's Hut" after that odd fella who ate the dog livers. He had to go back North to warmer climes the following week, so Sol came back to help get the poles and rafters up.

sticks in the wet

another late finish

Jul-October 2010: The Weather!! There's this Irish bloke called Murphy and he's reputed to be a regular owner builder companion. I reckon we've got his whole bloody clan helping out. After 4 dry winters this one decided to be wet, wet and wetter. July was near double average rainfall, August the wettest in 25 years, September double average again and it capped off with snow in October (which was also well above average falls)! The local farmers are loving it but it hasn't helped us at all. Oh well, at least the dam is full to the brim. Patience is a valuable virtue in such moments. ;)

the view from Mawson's Hut in October

hard to build when your stocks look like this

our own little Mt Fuji
waterfall into dam

we be looking out for leprechauns now

Aug 2010: I'd had a crane organised to lift the rafters in place but had to keep bumping them out a few days at a time as we rapidly fell behind schedule in the wild weather. Further, the work site was getting boggier and boggier and I was pretty sure that we'd bog a crane if we tried getting it in. We'd already spent half a day extracting the semi that delivered the purlins and didn't want to go through that again! It had taken the 4WD and 2 tractors to get back up the hill.

...mmmmmm, nuff said...
After the first great washout, we decided to get on top of the site drainage and got the backhoe magician Warren back for a bit of digging. He scraped the Southern edge of the cut and dug a trench for the slotted ag-pipe (donkey's dick to those in the trade). We covered it all up with several metres of 40mm crushed rock and now had an all-seasons workspace.

can't drive on that!

ahhh, drainage

magician at work...who needs ramps

While he was onsite, Warren tested lifting the rafters (all 13.5m long) with the backhoe and we decided it would be cheaper and easier than a crane and dogger. Well, cheaper anyway! So we got him back a few days later to lift the remaining poles into place and then fly the rafters on top. All went surprisingly well and, at the end of the day, we had all poles bolted in and rafters on top with not even a scratch between us. Nice work Sol & Warren.

on the job

working through more rain
steel is flown
ready to make roof framing

Aug / Sept 2010: Purlins and blocking came next. Due to a shortage of available labour, I lifted most of these up by myself. At 290 x 45, the longer 9.5m sticks were a test of my back, arms and brain to get in the air without assistance. However, careful thought and perseverance won the day.

first few sticks up
and then a few more


more again


getting there

what a curve?

slowly does it

notice any wet slab theme going on here?


she's gonna look ace
ok, she does look ace

lotsa safetys working on my own

one end at a time

...and then walk it up the ladder under easy!

Sept 2010: Brother-in-law, Whitey spent a week helping trim and block out, then another bro-in-law, Jon spent a few more days on blocking. Unfortunately, many of the purlins had warped and sagged in the inclement weather so this was a sore test of patience. It took me a further few weeks to get it all straight(ish) enough. Several weeks of contract work back in town just added to the delay but did provide a few welcome bucks to the dwindling kitty.

Whitey on the case
first blocks

i like this shot
bit by bit

block by block

looking sharp
one row to go
J, D n K last row of blocks. Finn and Huon 'helping out'

Next: Fascias and how to cut curves in 45mm thick LVL...coming soon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

from the beginning (part 2)

Early-mid 2010: Finding local concretors who are both reputable, affordable and available is a long process. Finally locked in the gun man, Col Briggs, who was a pleasure to work with and did a great job with his team of guys getting some 55 cubic metres (thanks over-excited engineers!) of grey stuff poured into shape. 5 months later we are yet to even see a hairline crack develop in it. Warren Crosbie manned the excavator like a pro and Wally Dunn laid the pipes for all the wet stuff. All old-timers who knew their stuff and smiled the whole way through...a sweet change from some of the commercial contractors I'd been dealing with at (paid) work.

Col & Jeremy
the pour started early
under way - yay

nice work fellas

halfway there

finishing touches

we have a slab 

July 2010: Gave teh two finger salute to the bossman and joined the ranks of the funemployed. Not now paid for hard work but getting a house and lifestyle out of the bargain. Hours are long but rewarding and I'm getting fit and strong to boot. Poor old Dana is still slaving away selling suckers to windbags (she works with vacuum cleaners!) while I get to work in the bush. What a trooper... It's a harsh deal but, unfortunately, I'm better with the hammer and the buildy-stuff.
July 2010 continued...: We are going for a polished finish on the slab. Hired a terrazzo grinder that the hire place assured us would do the job fine. Unfortunately, 32mpa concrete is as hard as diamond. 3 days of pushing this beast up and back barely scratched the surface. We later hired a concrete mower (what a great term) that got us much closer to the required finish (2 more days of up and back). However, it still needs a final grind / polish to bring out the aggregates. This'll have to wait for later...a bit over grinding by now. :(

Dana, Jon & Karena on the grind

are we bored yet?

Jul/Aug 2010: Sol the mad chippy and his mate Phil the slightly less mad builder came and helped us prep the gorgeous red ironbark poles that help hold the whole thing up. Meanwhile, steel UB rafters were sourced and rolled into a slight curve (250 x 145 @ 31.8kg/m on a 65m radius for those so inclined) in Melbourne before shipping to Ford McKernan Engineering in Euroa for fitting of cleats and 90mm SHS poles. The bush poles will be visible and the steel ones hidden.

I had to choose only 3. Wanted them all...

Phil & Sol prepping poles

...part 3 coming soon (Mawson's hut, evil weather, fun with backhoes and some more progress).