Tuesday 31 May 2011

Renovating a Roof

The last few days at work I've been renovating an old roof. In the end I think it would have been easier to have taken it completely off and start again but never mind. At least we didn't have to alter the purlins by doing it this way (although some of the rafters had to be packed to catch the purlins).
On one side of the roof I replaced every rafter due to rot and woodworm whereas on the second side I just extended each one down so it will cover the future external insulation as these were all sound. Where the rafters were replaced everyone had to be cut to a different length due to the building being out of square, this made it a bit of a slower job, but its only a small roof!
I decided that although the specifications said to insulate between the rafters and on top I made it a "warm roof" and insulated only on top, this keeps the air flow between the rafters but used a more expensive insulation to meet regulations - the building inspector was happy with this solution.

The roof insulated and counter battened, ready now for felt, batten and tiling.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

To the Grind Stone

Last Thursday I committed a sin.

I lent my labourer a chisel (I'm sure you can see where this is going...)

It came back lighter than it went out. Still a little time on the grinder and its as good as new (a little shorter maybe, but as good as new), this is why carpenters don't lend tools (I know he didn't mean to do it though)

At woodturning I have been grinding some HSS bar that I brought at Yandles to make some new woodturning tools. The first of these tools is a three point tool, it seems a good tool to work with (when I've borrowed Chris's) with loads of uses and good for fine detail, as well as forming beads on bowls.

The raw materials used (Beech blank is a bit big but its all I had)

I made the handle out of beech and fitted a brass ferrule onto it. The steel took a long time to grind but it was quite easy to do as I used a triangle piece of MDF as a jig, this was to make sure all three sides were even so they met in the middle.

I'm quite please with it and I know I'll enjoy using it.

Anyone else been making their own tools lately?

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Where have all the tradesmen gone?

Bit annoyed as I sit here. After getting rid of one bricklayer last week I had a replacement come yesterday. In one day he laid 32 bricks. I was unimpressed. We had a quiet word this morning. Today he laid more bricks, I thought he was getting on better until I looked a little closer at the lintel I asked him to put in.It was level but it didn't have quite the bearing you'd hope it would have. A little under an inch. Now you'd think he'd bring it to my attention or ask where the larger lintels were, but no, I had to tell him to take it out and replace it with a larger lintel. You'd think this was just basic bricklaying skills. Am I asking too much? Is this man a bricklayer?
I remember even when I finished my three year at college studying carpentry I was still nervous to call myself a full carpenter in front of other tradesmen, this was in case they pulled me up on my work or speed. I cared about the finished product and being professional in achieving this. I think doing my training in a much smaller area meant you had to be good, word would get around if you weren't. Working in Birmingham now I can see it's much easier for people to say they are tradesmen, work somewhere for a week and move on.
On a brighter note I managed to do a bit of studding yesterday to create a "vaulted" ceiling on the landing as well as insulate and counter batten the sarking level of the roof. This was in between inductions, phone calls, site visits from management, health and safety men and ordering materials.

Monday 16 May 2011

Shave Horse

After a visit to the Bodgers Ball the weekend before last, I was impressed by quite a few of the demonstrations, Robin Wood, Sean Hellerman and Mike Abbott's were ones that stood out. Mike's "Lumber Horse" took my fancy as I'd always thought about building a shave horse for myself but never have the timber to do it the traditional way (with a large slab of popular).

Last year I did make my brother a shave horse for his birthday but this was made using planed timber to be used in his workshop, in a kind of "saw horse" style. I wanted one I could leave outside with just a sheet over it in winter as I haven't got the space in my workshop. Mike Abbott's one uses 4x2 treated timber (something I normally have kicking round) and can be made in a couple of hours (the design is on his website www.living-wod.co.uk ), so Sunday night I thought I'd knock one together.

It's really simple to make and seems to work well (sorry that I'm in the picture!)-

I just need to renovate this old spoke shave I brought from a car boot sale (Isac Greeves) with woodworm in the handles and I can mess around with a bit of green woodworking (should be a bit different from what I do at work).

What has everyone else got as a shave horse or work holding device?

Sunday 15 May 2011

More door hanging and holding a bricklayers hand

Yesterday didn't really go as planned. I had a job to go hang one pair of 15 panel glazed doors, a 2'9" 15 panel glazed door and alter a boundary fence and install a gate. I thought it would take me just over half a day but in the end it took the whole day. Still it was no great shame as they were nice people, it just means the the lawn wont get mown this weekend!

The pair of doors were the trouble (they always are) as the one side of the lining was out so it took a bit of messing round to get it looking right, the other door went on no bother at all.

On my main job (Summerfield Park) I think we've nearly found all the problems and we can go full steam ahead with the rebuild (I need to with only a month left of the program). We have had problems this week though - I decided to take out a rotten wall plate to replace on the single storey extension and the wall under it was so weak I made the decision to knock it down and rebuild it. That roof is going to need a bit of work next week - I think I'm going to get the wall plate installed a little lower as I need to extend the rafters and currently they don't have any birds mouths (more on this another time).

The bricklayers on this job have been driving me crazy - one because he doesn't turn up and the other because I have to hold his hand (not literary). Every job I have to tell him where to put the props and what order to take things out and install them (none of it is straight forward but he's got 40 years experience)- I might as well have had the trowel in my hand! He even had the nerve to tell me he wasn't paid enough to think! So I had the awkward job of getting rid of him Friday for someone new to come on Monday (all agency labour).

Who'd want to be foreman!?!

Monday 2 May 2011

A Place for Everything

And Everything in its Place.

That was one of the first things I was taught when I started to learn my trade. Andy (the guy that took me under his wing) said this to me as I used to run back and forth to the van to get bits and pieces. Everything had to go back in the same place, even down to the bit of rope he used for the roof rack had to be looped up a certain way. I can still remember now where everything used to go in his Escort van, 10 years later. We used to fit so much stuff in that little Escort and as the years went on it got more and more as I got tools of my own.

I have to admit that this has stood me in good stead and its how I treat my van and tools now, everything has its place, this makes it faster when I want something and it means I know when things are missing. I do get stick on site for being so fussy, and not lending tools very freely (Lend nothing, borrow nothing being a moral of mine).

The trouble is little things annoy me, like my grinder living in a cardboard box. I've been using the grinder on site a lot lately and its cardboard box (which it's lived in happily in for 6 years) has fallen apart.

To make sure I can get the maximum lifespan out of this tool it needs some protection during transport (I hate to see power tools chucked loose in the back of a van) so I spent a few hours today knocking up a ply box to keep the grinder and a selection of discs in, all from off cuts (even the piano hinge was from a cupboard door I took off a few weeks ago). Not a pretty box but it will serve its purpose and it will have it's "place" in the van.
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