Wednesday 27 June 2012

Green Oak Frame - Part 1

The last couple of days I've got to do some green oak framing. It's been quite a while since I've done any but I always enjoy it. Working with big chunky timbers cutting mortice and tenons just puts a smile on my face!
First mortice and tenon - good fit
The frame I'm making is to support two purlins that used to be supported by a dividing wall, with the wall gone the architect has decided that this oak frame would make a nice feature. To start with I made a full size template out of 10mm ply as none of the angles are square and it means I can cut everything ready and make sure it all fits before I have to lug the heavy timbers upstairs.
Chain morticer for me to play with!
The job was made easier by the loan of a chain morticer which made cutting the mortices a fairly quick process - just a bit of a tidy up with a mallet and chisel.
The start of the frame on top of the full size ply template I made
The angles on the frame made me glad I made a template as everything had to be checked quite a few times as with oak you don't want to be making any mistakes.
Tannic acid has made my tools blue my 778 has earnt it's money over the last couple of days
The frame so far - Just one piece left but thats too big to lay out on the template
By the end of today the frame is pretty much finished. I've still got to cut the top piece and mortice it out then sand all the beams down, add stop chamfers where they're wanted and drill out the pegs (draw-bore).

As well as this I need to add a steel to connect up the two purlins in the roof but this will involve the removal of quite a bit of ceiling and altering a few joists, quite a big job on its own.
All good fun though and I love when I go home and my tools are dark blue from working with green oak all day!

Sunday 24 June 2012

Little Roof In A Garden

Garden sheds are normally a flat pack flimsy peace of rubbish, so it's nice when someone wants one built properly, like how a garden shed would have been built on a large estate a hundred years ago.
This one it built out of brick and block and I'm fitting a proper roof to it, the same as if it was a roof on a house.
Nailing the rafters on
It didn't take long to work out the cuts and lengths on the rafters and with only 8 on each side it wasn't a massive job. It was made a little bit more difficult by how the bricklayer had left it but I'm not one to moan.

Working off ladders is never ideal

I'll cut the overhang on the rafters afterwards

Nice, tidy birdsmouth (or I think so)
In doing this it enables the bricklayer to build up the gables, then I can come back and finish off the rest of the roof, I'll probably end up tiling it as well. The roof will still need some bracing and ceiling collars when I come back (like I siad this is a proper little roof).
Not how I spend every Sunday morning!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Changing Glass And Parking Far Far Away...

My wife accuses me of liking "quirky" jobs or locations. Well this one fits the bill. The job is to remove the glass from some windows and then tidy up the frames ready for new glass to be fitted, this is simple enough.
I've left this picture high resolution - see if you can spot how far away I've had to park my van!
The difficulty come in getting to the job. The van has to be parked miles away, you walk up a steep shared drive (with very little parking) then you walk up a muddy track to the house.
The main track leading up to the house
The walk is worth it as the house is in a wonderful spot with views stretching across the Herefordshire countryside, you can watch a storm blow in from miles away right in front of your eyes.
Beautiful views across Herefordshire
I've been to this job a couple of times now (trying to fit it in around my other work) and the glass is coming out slowly. The first two pains I managed to cut the silicone and remove the glass in one piece but the next six a more aggressive approach had to be used. I donned safety glasses, gloves and made sure I had long length sleeves on my shirt before using the last resort way of taking glass out - with a 20oz claw hammer.
Sometimes there's only one way to remove glass from a window...
The customer also wants me to make a two flights of stairs for the house. I've very little time free at the moment (which is good) but I hate to turn work down and these would be interesting as I'd have to assemble them on site due to how far they'd have to be carried. Still there's quite a bit of glass to come out before I need to think about that!
Broken glass - one of the sharpest substances on earth
Anyone else got a long walk to a job?

Friday 8 June 2012

Any Thoughts On Security?

Yesterday I learnt that someone my brother works with had their tools stolen. Although I know this is a common occurrence, it really bothers me. How could someone remove the means by which this guy supports his young family and pays his mortgage?
Useful padlock
Apparently they took the lot, and it got me thinking about my tools and how dependant I am on them to earn my living. As well as this I also learnt today that a building firm I sometimes work for had their yard and offices broken into with computers and tools stolen.
Thinking "It'll never happen to me" is the wrong way to look at the problem, so is "if they want to get in, they'll get in" that people often quote when you talk about the subject.
When you're at work in a city or town you have to accept there's a risk. When I was working in Birmingham I even got into the habit of putting a magnetic "Window Cleaning" sign on the back of the van, figuring that a thief was much less likely to want to break into a window cleaners van containing a bucket and sponge, than a carpenters with tools. Unfortunately that doesn't look very professional so could only be used when I was parked in "dodgy" areas.
What tips and ideas have other people got for keeping their tools safe and secure either on site or at home. I'll be keen to read any ideas people have got.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

How To Patch A Floor

Removing or moving a wall can sometimes mean that a floor has to be repaired. This is what happened today at work.
the area that needs some new boards
The repair was to be over a small area, ideally I would have preferred to take out a longer section of flooring and replaced the boards over a larger area. But this area is going to be carpeted and the two sets of boards in the different rooms don't match up (in line or thickness) so we decided this was the best course of action.

Both sides trimmed out to finish half way on a joist

To start with I removed any nails I could before using the circular saw to cut the floor boards back so the ends finish half way on the joist, this means that the boards have something to rest on and they are supported. Make sure your saw is set only to the depth of the boards or you'll be weakening the joists!
The floor boards in the different rooms are different thicknesses meaning one side had to be packed

The one room has floor boards a slightly different thickness to the other so I had to use packers to bring it to the same level (you can just make your own out of wood, but these plastic packers are great as they come in different sizes and are ready to use).

All screws have to be pilot holed and countersunk so the boards don't split

I fixed the boards as I went and as the screws are near the edge of the boards they all had to have a pilot hole and countersink to save splitting the wood. I also made sure that all the original boards I cut were fixed down as well as I had removed some of the nails from them earlier.
The finished repair ready for carpet
A basic repair but when it has carpet on top no one will ever know I've been there!
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