Tuesday 28 June 2011

Adding a Purlin to a Roof

We're still waiting for decisions to be made about the roof at Summerfield park, but I did get permission to undertake all structural works detailed by the structural engineer.

This involves things like splicing the wall plate, repairing rafter ends and changing the gable ladder on one end (the whole roof should really be replaced but I've been shot down on that due to the councils tight budget so I'll just do as I'm told).

I did have an argument with the structural engineer when he came as he originally said that a prop in the roof was doing nothing (it was under so much tension you could play a tune on it)- but to leave it in just in case (this way he wasn't going against his original survey. I wasn't really very happy with this answer, so I got him back out to look again, he then agreed with me that something should be done. I suggested a high level purlin should be added, he just needed to tell me the size.

In the end it had to be 250mm x 100mm by just over 5m long and to be C24 strength. It took ages to find someone who stocked a timber this size and strength (most suppliers stock up to 4.8m and normally only C16 strength), still it turned up yesterday so today I could have a bit of extra help to get it into the roof.

I wont say how it got up there for many reasons but it involved 5 men and quite a bit of grunting. Once it was in the loft space I let the other guys go to another job, just leaving just another chippy and myself to fit it. A little brick work making a recess in the gable wall to take it, then packing it up with slate and using mortar to fix it in. I think it was at the limit of what we could lift between us but we were both really pleased when we could take the old prop out and have the rafters sit on the new purlin.

I think I'm doing the rest of the repairs on my own, should keep me out of trouble!

Saturday 25 June 2011

First Try At A Hollow Form

At wood turning on Thursday night Chris brought in some different tools for me to try, all to do with hollowing as I've not tried this yet.

I tried them out on some green Alder (wet wood is always good fun to turn) and after a few test pieces to get the feel of the tools I made this little wooden vase/pot. It only took about 30 minutes to make but I'm sure it will crack as it dries, although the walls are all about the same thickness. I might leave it in oil and then sand it up in a few weeks if it survives!

I always enjoy trying out new tools but its made so much better with instruction! I think I'll probably sign on for my 7th term of wood turning classes but I could do with a good (difficult) project to keep me asking questions and learning, any ideas?

Monday 20 June 2011

A Trinity Of Craftsmen

Bit of a book review here...

Last Thursday, at wood turning, my tutor Chris lent me a book entitled "A Trinity Of Craftsmen" by Freda Derrick. The dust jacket was in tatters but it looked just my sort of book.

I enjoyed reading it and for a book written in 1950 it reads really easily and quite informal for the era. The book is basically conversations and observations that Freda has had on her travels around the Cotswold's talking about the three main trades as she sees it; the mason, the Carpenter and the smith (her holy trinity). The people she meets in the book are all passionate about their trades and all long to see a future in them but worry about the lack of "Young willing lads" to pass their knowledge onto and the need for certain jobs. It concentrates on these trades in villages and rural areas and in conjunction with farming in particular (farming seeming much more important after the war than it does now).

Its weird reading it from a perspective where the writer thinks that a carpenter and blacksmith will be essential for the future of farming and in turn the country as a whole so that we can support ourselves. Comments about welding only really being for light repairs and wooden hurdles being essential for sheep farming (metal one being no good) being quite nice to read (if only I could have lived then!).

The book is split into three sections each dealing with a trade and describing some of their tools and some of their jobs (there are drawings as well). The book also talks about the new (at the time) government training centres for people coming out of the army (even a 9 month course on hurdle making). The section on the carpenter is a little light in content but still makes an interesting read, the section on the mason and smith seem to read much better with a bit more detail.

In all I really enjoyed this book and although its hardly "The Village Carpenter" (Which I think I've read about 6 times now) its a great look back at the past and good to see that even then people were worried about the disappearance of our rural crafts and the altering of village life in general. Also a nice song about a carpenter in there!

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Sycamore Bowl

At the weekend I made a sycamore bowl from a blank I brought at Yandles a while back. Its the first time I've worked with this wood and it turns really nicely and takes a good finish.

As for work I've been having problems on Summerfield Park. Last Thursday night we got broken into (through the roof) and someone took about half the copper pipework that had been installed. I then spent Friday boarding it up and trying to make it secure, over the weekend they made another hole in the roof and had the rest of the copper away. This cost the firm I'm working for money and delays the project even further.

Then to top it all off my computer got a virus and I had to completely wipe and reinstall everything (not how I like spending my time!).

Still the sun was shinning today and who knows what the rest of the week will bring.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Bit of Roof Work from a few years ago

I was looking through some old photos the other day and I came across a roof that Andy and me did back in 2005/2006. This was a lovely old barn that we were there to convert and we saw it through from start to finish, in fact this was a barn i used to play in as a kid as it's only a few miles from where I grew up. Andy still works for the firm who we did this through, they were a great little firm to work for.
When we started this roof I was a bit more daunted than Andy (or he didn't let it show) as the one side had a massive run where three full lengths of timber had to be used for the rafters, being birds mouthed onto purlins and the angle of the one side of the roof made things even more complicated. As well as this when we got there we had to brush the snow off the scaffold! I remember being dogged by bad weather and hiding under blue sheets out of the rain, the yard in front of the barn had a puddle that was over a foot deep! When we got the rafters on it was a great feeling, made slightly worse by the fact that we had to then felt, batten and tile the whole thing.
The tiling started in the new year and here I learnt a valuable lesson about work. We were tiling in the snow, wrapped up against the elements, and I started to feel bad, so bad in fact I had to go home early and take the next day off (My first ever day off ill). I then felt slightly better and went back to work, I made myself so much worse because I wasn't ready to go back - in the end I nearly gave myself pneumonia and had to have x-rays with fluid on the lungs! Three weeks off in total, for a self employed man this is never good.
Still I bounced back and came back in time to do the larch cladding and the work on the inside with Andy.I loved doing this barn conversion (wish I had more pictures!).
Good times
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