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.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

First Verandah Posts

     The first two verandah posts have been put up, along with the connecting beams.

     The tops haven't been cut to the correct height yet, so don't freak out that one looks higher than the other. There is going to be a third post between these two.

     Next step is to add more beams and what-not. I haven't been very involved with these steps as I have been at a paying job, and by the time I get home it's too dark for photos!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Verandah Started

     Work on the verandahs has started. Brackets have been screwed on the supporting bits and pieces.

     They are bearers or joists or roof supporting things - not too sure!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Gutters Joined

      A few more days work and the gutters are now ready to put up onto the house.
First the end stops were put on the bottom ends of the gutters. This involved drilling holes, adding silicone and putting rivets through the holes. The kit home company have given us spiffy rivets which exactly match the colour of the gutters - Slate Grey.

     Then the end stops were put on the top ends of the gutters.

        Then we cut the gutters to length. After lots of measuring of the various bits and pieces that will go onto the side of the house at each end, taking into account the length of the fascia board, the downspouts and what-not, we came up with some measurements. Then we did it all over again to try and make sure it was right. Then I put the pieces in roughly the right spot and measured it - yep Josh's measurements were spot on. So he measured and started cutting the gutter - then I wandered along and said (just to be silly) 'Remember to always measure twice and cut once!' Then I measured it and - oh no - it was 10 cm short as the overlap of the two gutters pieces had not been taken into account. Luckily it was just a tiny millimetre cut which was easily patched with silicone. So it turns out that the old adage 'measure twice and cut once' is actually true. Anyway, then the gutters were cut to length without too many further dramas, leaving us two short offcuts.

     A test run of joining the two pieces by sliding them together proved to be impossible, even though all the gutter guides we had read simply said 'Just join the two pieces together and carry on with the rest of the job,' implying that it was simple and easy. A quick google showed that in fact there are a couple of things you do actually need to know - you have to cut a bit of the top edges of the gutter, and you have to TWIST the pieces together, instead of sliding. I wish that instructions would give a bit more detail for things like that. Anyway after knowing that it was much easier to join the pieces together.

        Now we have these annoying long gutters getting in the way. Next step is to figure out how we can put these gutters up!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Fascia and Gutters

     Today we finished the fascia board, by drilling holes and riveting the piece that attaches the two sides.

     Here is a picture of the whole house with the fascia board on.

     Then we started playing with gutters. We had to cut the holes for the gutter outlets to sit into. For this Josh marked the rectangles, drilled holes at the corners, put the nibbler attachment into one of the holes and cut out the rectangle. Of course there was lots of swearing and finicky readjusting before it was the right size.

     We have now done the outlets for the gutter on each side of the house. Next the gutter stops for the ends need to be attached with silicone, holes drilled and rivets put through. Also we need to cut the other ends of the gutters to length, we were given 4 pieces each 5.6 metres long which is ridiculously long. I think we have figured out that after taking into consideration the barge boards, the colourbond cladding and the sarking how much we need to cut the other pieces to. We want the downpipes to be as close to the house as possible in order to be able to attach it to the house for support. This measurement may change when we realise other factors which need considering. Anyway we can't start to silicone until we know that it will stay dry for 24 hours, and we have lots of rain forecast!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Fascia Boards

     Today the fascia boards were put up on their brackets. Here is the first one up. The installation instructions were 'Just clip them on' but in real life it was much more difficult. It ended up being easier to slide them in from the end.

     And then the second fascia board had to be cut to size, as for some reason they have given the pieces to us at 5.4m long each, even though the house is only 10m long - not 10.8m. We used our wonderful new cordless drill with our new nibbler attachment. It was a bit fiddley to get around the multiple bent corners on each side, requiring some fiddling with tin snips, a hack saw and some vice grips, but got there in the end. Those nibblers are fantastic! - easy to cut through the metal and giving quite a clean edge. Just required a little clean-up with a file.

     Then the two pieces needed to be joined with a special joining piece, with some holes screwed through and then the pieces riveted together. Today it was almost finished, hopefully it will be fully finished tomorrow.

     Then the next step will be the gutters, which need to be pre-assembled and then clipped onto the fascia board. And this is only one side of the house - all of this will need to be repeated on the other side.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Fascia Board Brackets

          Today Josh screwed on all the fascia board brackets for one side of the house.

          We bought a new cordless drill since the battery had died on the old one, and so we didn't need to have the generator running to do some screwing, which was nice. The other side of the house is on the downhill, so not sure how the ladder is going to reach in order to screw those ones on!

          Meanwhile I was doing some gardening and planting tomatoes, and also collecting clay to use to build my rocket oven. Always something to do!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Roof strapping mostly finished

     Another day's work and all the roof strapping is now attached.

     They still need some more screws and the tensioners put on, but it's looking good.

     We lost a day of work because we had to go and buy some more strapping, yet another thing the kit home company failed to supply us with. Oh well, a trip to Bunnings is always fun, we came home with a bunch of new toys to play with!

Monday, 17 April 2017

First Roof Strapping

        A couple of months of rain have halted progress a little, then last week I went through the pile of parts supplied by the kit-home company, and sorted them out into their relevant categories.
    Here is the guttering.

        Here is an assortment of 'customised flashing'. Each bundle has a sticker on it which identifies what it is, how many there are, how long it is, how wide it is, and how many bends are in it. All of these are just called 'customised flashing' so we don't really know where each piece is meant to go. I guess we will figure it out as we go.

        Here is our zincalume roofing sheets. I had tried to count how many there are, but they are so closely piled that it was impossible! I did the calculations for how many we would need to go across the roof, taking into account the minimum overlap required of 10cm, and I got 14 for each side of the roof - with an extra 36 cm. We wouldn't bother cutting that off the last piece, but just do some extra overlapping of some sheets to make it the right width.

        I had the idea to take a macro close-up photo of the pile and then zoom in on the picture to count the roof sheets - and it worked! Twenty-eight sheets, divided by 2 equals fourteen sheets for each side of the roof - which fits my calculations. I must have done them right!

        Today Josh got up on the roof and started doing the strapping. Half done on both sides, just waiting for tensioners to finish it off. Doesn't look like much in the photo, but the strapping is the two faint X shapes on the right hand side of the roof.

        Meanwhile, since Josh didn't require an assistant, I dug a hole. I separated the piles of dirt depending on which layer they came out of, and it was interesting noting the colour differences at the end. In the middle is the topsoil, on the right is the middle layer, and on the left is the clay from the bottom. I can use this clay to help finish the rocket oven which I have started making.

        Tomorrow we plan to do some more strapping, depending on the weather of course. More rain is forecast!!! Later in the week we are hoping to have a local guy come and help us out with the roof sheeting. Wish us luck...