Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Verandah Beams

     The deck is mostly screwed down, just need a few more screws, and progress has been made on the verandah roof.

     This piece was cut from the top of the middle post to make it the right height, cut by hand with a hacksaw! Then the beam was screwed in place.
     The screws were quite difficult to get through the thick metal, and my muscles are aching today from the odd angle.
     It is exciting to see the angle at which the verandah roof will be coming down.
     While Josh was cutting the post, myself and the mother-in-law busied ourselves removing big clumps of raspy grass from around the house, and it was surprising how nice it was to have a clear area to sit on our chairs when we had a rest.
     It's a lovely shady cool place to sit on a hot day. Since then Josh has cut another post to the right height but we haven't taken any photos of that as yet.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Finished notches

     I snuck back down after the sudden downpour of rain and managed to finish cutting all the notches for the verandah boards.

     I also cut a couple more boards for the short end of the verandah, now it is also finished except for a couple of boards which need shortening a centimetre or two. They will be easy to do now I have the new blade on the hacksaw! Although cutting wood when it is wet is no fun, as the sawdust sticks to the plank and you can't blow it away, and then when you rub it off it disappears the cut mark.

     I have found a place which sells the screws I need - SDCWC31040 - and it's 'only' a 90 minute drive away. I have the day off work because of the rain, so may as well take this opportunity. What I have to do now is count how many I need...

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Another notch

     I had 10 minutes between rain showers to cut another notch for the verandah.

      The next notch is only slightly indented into the plank. I cut into each side with the hacksaw, then used the cordless drill to drill holes along the notch, and then hammered the wood chisel along the bottom edge to remove the unwanted wood. It all comes out surprisingly easily.

     I am very happy with my new blade for the hacksaw, it is 24 teeth per inch so perhaps not the best for cutting wood, the internet says 14 teeth per inch is ideal for timber, but worked great for this small cut.

Walking the Plank

      I have put in a few more half days work on the verandah and it is slowly coming to completion. Instead of driving the work 4WD down to the house site, as it currently functions as a very large and easily transportable tool box, I just loaded a few tools into the wheelbarrow and trundled it down. Of course Murphy's Law says you always forget ONE thing every time, and have to walk up the hill again, but that's just extra exercise, and exercise is good for you!

I got myself organised for some early morning screwing only to discover that we have no more screws. I looked EVERYWHERE - the 4WD, the shed, the annex, the caravan - and then looked EVERYWHERE again, but no luck. It turns out that yet again the kit home company has not supplied us with sufficient components. We have some left-over screws from the yellow-tongue flooring which are quite similar but just a little bit different. Unfortunately we can't just 'pop out' to the hardware store to buy more as it is long drive. It is great that we have the option to buy these things over the internet (and often cheaper than a real shop) but we have to know a) exactly what type of screw it is and b) have to wait for delivery. The kit-home company have 'helpfully' told me that I have to go and buy myself some more screws, but have not actually told me the specifications of what I need to buy.
In the meantime I have been cutting planks to length, and cutting out notches to fit around the verandah posts. It is quite the jigsaw puzzle as the last few planks of merbau all have something wrong with them - bent one way, bent the other way, have splits or notches or are too short. I have done my best to figure it out, and then had to figure out the best way to cut out the notches. There has to be one plank with a notch for the inside of the post, and another plank with a notch for the outside of the post.

      Also most of the planks for the end of the verandah have been cut now, just a few more to go. I popped out to the local hardware store and bought some new blades for the hacksaw, since the ones we had were so horribly blunt they were very painful to use. I am very much looking forward to trying the new blades, which only cost $2.50 each, but it is currently bucketing down with rain so I might not get a chance for a while!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Another day of screwing the deck

     A beautiful day of winter sunshine and some more decking drilled.

     The moment the smoke came out of the hole was captured, it looks like a smoking gun!

     I figured out that if I give the screw a 'bang' into the wood before I start screwing, it stops the screw dancing around and makes it easier to put the screw exactly where I want it. Two more lines of screws finished, each one neater than the last.

     I also measured and sawed a plank of merbau to length to help finish off the end of the deck. I had to go through about 7 planks before I found one which was not bent out of shape. The planks are all a bit out of whack so getting them to line up against each other without big gaps will be a bit of jigsaw puzzle!

     I put the measurement line underneath the plank, and so turned it over to cut it. This unfortunately meant that the messy side of the cut was uppermost at the end.

     Next time I suppose I should turn the plank over and then draw the line, so that I can saw from the top. I will just have to make sure that none of the line is left showing at the end as it would be a bit unsightly.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Screwing the Decking

     The decking has been nearly half screwed in now, looking good...
     It is so lovely to finally have somewhere on this 17 acres that I can comfortably walk barefoot - pure bliss!

     I was given a demo on how to screw in the screws, a bit more tricky than it may seem at first. The screw has to screw through the wood first, and then through the metal underneath.

     The hole in the wood is a little oversized due to the wings on the bottom part of the screw, so it is a little difficult to stop it from wiggling around sideways. And as the screws are heavily galvanised to protect from rust, they are not very sharp for cutting through wood. This means that it generates a lot of heat as it spins around quickly while very slowly moving downward, so some lovely wood smoke comes out of the hole and the sawdust comes out looking a bit black and singed. (Don't worry, it is not a bushfire hazard.)

     When the screw finally hits the metal it suddenly screws downwards very quickly. The wrists get a bit sore as it requires a fair bit of downward pressure, unfortunately the screw cannot be relied on to do the work for us.
     After doing a couple of rows I thought my screw lines looked a bit wiggly, as there were being lined up by sight from a plank layed down beside them. I fetched the chalk line from the shed and had a go at using that instead.
     It is a very pretty blue line, so that was nice, but not sure if it made much of a difference to my straight screwing! The screws always do a little dance at the start and end up a fraction of a millimetre all over the place. After only 2 hours of screwing the cordless drill battery was completely flat, and the wrists were a bit sore. The generator has blown up so we are without electricity for recharging batteries at the moment. Next step is to cut the rest of the merbau to length.

    * Oh and I forgot to mention in the last update - also the 3rd post of the verandah had been erected! Did anyone notice it in the photos?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Verandah Joists

     The verandah joists have been put in, looking very nice.

     The merbah decking has also started being cut to size, leaving some cute little short bits to make castles with.