Tuesday 31 July 2012

Cut Roof On A Steel Frame

If you've been following the blog you're know I've been doing quite a bit of roofing lately.
This is our latest one (with the other carpenter on site):
The Orangery

Good view of the new roof
 Quite an interesting roof as the one side is fairly normal, except it sits on a wall plate we had to bolt to the steel and the top has to notch around the ridge beam.
Picture showing the top of the rafter nothced round the steel and ceiling collars

Small birds mouths with the end of the rafters trimmed to make fitting fasica easier
 The other side finishes into the existing wall, so a timber first had to be bolted along it (working out the height for this was quite tricky) and then the rafters cut to fit between.
Other side into the existing wall - supporting timber is bolted

Tight reversed type of birds mouth
Enjoyable roof again though. The outside details for fasica and bardge board are going to be difficult but I'll post about that when we do it. We've got the box gutter to put on tomorrow (where the roof meets the wall) before we start back on our large roof light installing the plastic frame.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

How To Make A Thermalite Saw

Brick layers are always trying to nab carpenters old saws to cut Thermalite block with. I've managed to make the bricklayer on site a little happier by making the saw cut a little better for them. I know it works as they asked me to alter another saw for them yesterday!
Saw Set
All you need is an old panel saw and a saw set.
Adjust the saw set so it's altering the teeth of the saw to the maximum (in this case it's to 4 teeth per inch) and work your way along the saw, setting every other tooth. When you've finished one way turn the saw around and set all the teeth you missed out. The saw set is basically pushing over each tooth making the kerf wider and therefore the cut more aggressive.
The Set in clamping mode
The "tooth" that pushes over the teeth on the saw giving it's "set"
A much more aggressive saw
Doing this isn't as good as buying a proper Thermalite saw but it is much cheaper and it works pretty well. It makes the cut much more aggressive and faster as well as clearing out the waste better, stopping the saw from binding which can be a problem when using an old wood saw. I also used it on cutting kingspan and it cut much faster than a normal saw would.

Friday 20 July 2012

Fitting A Large Light Well - Part 1

The second half of this week the other carpenter and myself have spent installing the frame work for a large light well that is going above the stairs.
We first had to cut into the flat roof and make a hole the right size. Below the roof a different carpenter had already installed the supports to take the extra weight of this roof light.
The roof before we started (well a little hole to get up)

The frame work was relatively straight forward. We set the laser level to make sure the top was bang on, as the roof itself is sloping, also getting the frame square was really important otherwise the roof light won't fit when it comes.

Frame work

Frame work making all sides level
 Once we finished the frame we covered it in 18mm WBP ply for the lead to be fixed to, we formed a box gutter at the back just below the ridge and added fillets all the way round so when new fibre glass is welded/glued on it's not such a steep bend.
Box gutter formed on the sloping side to allow for lead work afterwards

Light well plyed

Ready for the installation of the roof light and lead work next week
It's certainly a large addition to the roof but it adds so much light to what were otherwise a dark flight of stairs. I've never been asked to cut something like this into a roof before (plenty of normal sized skylights though) has anyone else?

Saturday 14 July 2012

Cut Roof On A Porch

In the UK we describe a cut roof as one you build from scratch, not using preformed trusses. These tend to be the roofs I end up doing and it's funny when I've spoke to other carpenters who avoid them.
Getting the first four rafters up and the ridge is normally the tricky bit
This week another carpenter and myself have put a cut roof on a rather large porch, it has quite a good pitch (40 degrees) and a wide overhang to allow for the stone work that needs to be built up under it.
Ceiling collars added to give the roof that triangulation it needs for strenght

Starting a roof like this is the hard bit, working out the angles, cuts and lenghs. We used a ready reckoner on this roof (a book with tables of values for different pitches), each working it out separately and making sure we arrived at the same answer (we did!). Getting the first four rafters up with the ridge is normally tricky (you could each do with three hand to fix and hold everything). This is the point where you need to make sure all your cuts are spot on before you cut everything else.

Front view of the framed out roof

Side view showing the gable ladder on the front to be supported by the stone work

Picture showing the eaves with soffit added and fasica but barge board still to go on
Once all the rafters were up we added the ceiling collars to strengthen it then work on cutting the rafters to the right overhang and adding a "ladder" to the front to carry the barge board past the stone work that's to go up.
Not bad for under two days work but still a bit left to finish off next week.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Lean To Roof

We finished battening the lean to roof between to two stone walls this morning. It's been a good job despite the weather and nice to work with another carpenter for a change.
All the rafters had to be cut to individual lenghs, although there wasn't a huge difference between the lenghts (around 20mm in places) its a much tidier job to cut them all like this giving tight "birds mouths" on each one.
All the rafters up
We then fitted the fascia and soffit. The fascia was notched to take the soffit, as although it's more work it gives a much tidier finish and allows for movement in the timber. With the soffit we just finished it past where the stone wall will be built up to, this saves us having to scribe it to the stone work and gives a straight line to finish to.
Fascia board and soffit showing notched detail and mitre for joint
 The next job was to get some felt on the roof and fix the battens at the spacing required for the slates that are going to be used.
Roof felted and battened ready for slates
View form the underside. A row of noggins to be added to firm it up
I love roofing and July is normally the best month for doing it, but the weather has been so rubbish its been more like April, with heavy showers coming and going in the blink of an eye. Still we've a few more roofs to put up and alter in the next few weeks so all we can do is hope for a bit of sunshine!

Friday 6 July 2012

Roofing In The Rain

I was roofing today. This is normally good. It rained all day, non stop. This makes it bad.
Earlier in the week we had to strip a perspex roof off of an old potting/storage area of the house and all the old rafters.
The bricklayer then bedded us some new wall plates on yesterday (in sunshine I might add) so we could have the whole roof to ourselves today. It was raining when I woke up, it was still raining when I got to work and it hasn't let up yet as I'm writing this sat at home tonight.

Needless to say I got quite wet today. I had to resort to a red crayon like pencil to mark the rafters as normal pencils weren't showing up on the wet wood. We did do some of the cutting of the tops inside but as the new roof is sitting on very old walls none of the rafters are going to be the same lenght and each will have to be cut to a different measurement.
I was using two "waterproof" coats on rotation so one could dry out a bit while I got the other wet. Still on the bright side we got some rafters on today and lots more cut ready, hopefully it will be dryer next week and this roof can be the enjoyable job it should be!
Anyone else been working outside in this wet July we've been having so far?

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Green Oak Frame - Part 2

The frame is in and up.
Oak frame in position

I had quite a bit of work up in the loft space and ceiling first as I had to fix a metal bracket joining two purlins that used to touch each other, somewhere along the line they didn't and for the last few years a piece of 4x2 has been holding them together with about 4 nails in. With the removal of the wall it was essential to add something to make sure they were both going to be supported by the new oak frame. 
The view from the other side
The diagonal on the frame sits directly below the centre of the purlins and the whole frame is sitting on a steel beam in the floor. The frame itself is also fixed into the stone wall using a resin fixing and threaded bar. 
Kiln dried dowels are used
The frame was assembled using motice and tenons with dowels that were draw bored together. This means that the holes for the dowels are slightly off set so the joints are pulled together tightly when they are knocked in.
The pegs that we got were kiln dried, the idea being that they won't shrink when the rest of the green oak frame does and it holds it all tightly together. In reality the pegs were a little too dry and would split as soon as I started to knock them in, one peg had to come back out as the second knock with a hammer sent a split right down the centre of it, that doesn't make for a very fun assembly!
I think stopped chamfers really soften the look of the oak and make it look more finished
All the joints went together well, a couple I would have liked a little tighter but I know with green oak they are all liable to move anyway and I'm probably being far too fussy.
Since I took these photos I have removed the props and filled all the holes in the walls and ceiling that I needed for access, with a final sanding and a coat of oil I think the frame will make an interesting strutual feature in this bedroom and will be there for many years to come.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Build Your Own Chicken Coop

This is a post I put on my other blog - An English Homestead - but as it's to do with woodwork I thought I'd post it here as well!
Over the years I've made lots of chicken coops (never bought one) and gradually refined the design on every new build, but each time there's always something else I'd change on the next one!
Here's my latest design for laying hens
Large coop for 8-10 birds

Front pop hole (still need to build he ramp to get to it)
I clad the coop in feather edge boarding as it was so much cheaper than shiplap. Also I think this will be easier to clean as with shiplap red mites and other nasties can hide in the tongue and groove where you can't get to them. With the roof I use bitumen sheeting as I've had problems with bugs getting between ply and felt when I've used that (I think this stuff works out cheaper anyway).
House raised off the floor
I now always like to make the coops 18" off the ground. This means rats and mice can't hide under it and also being that high it gives the chickens somewhere to shelter out of the rain.

Large door for easy cleaning
To make cleaning easy I made the whole front open so there's no excuse for a dirty coop!
Good ventilation is important (it's not a pill box)
Large nest box with a good slope to discourage chickens jumping on it
How do you build your chicken houses? And what would you change on yours/mine? Normally I always think I should have built it bigger!
We should be getting the chickens this week so I'll soon see what they think to it.
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