Mar 282020
 

On Monday we went off to the local DIY store to buy a sheet of 75mm thick polystyrene foam board and we made a little portable “hot wire” cutter! We had to slice up the 8foot by 4foot sheet so it would fit inside our car! We cut 400mm wide strips, three of them and only just got that in!

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Portable-Hot-Wire-to-cut-the-thick-Polystyrene-at-BQ


After another interruption, we resumed work on doing our Slate Ribbon today with the task of grouting the gaps between the slates.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Slates-Grouted-1

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Slates-Grouted-2



First thing this Tuesday morning, we went to apply the black mastic sealant along the top edge of the slates, so any rain water that manages to get pass the cladding, will get diverted away from the wall and not dribble behind our slates. Then after lunch, we scrubbed the slates to get rid of the grouting smears and then put back most of the sandy soil and levelled out the ground. We have left just the two ends to finish off when we have made the special corner pieces.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Dirt-Back-infront-of-the-slates


Talking about the special corners, that is what we have been making for the rest of the week. All day Tuesday was slicing up our 75mm (3inch) polystyrene foam board into various shapes, all featuring the octagon angle of 22.5 degrees. It was a case of passing through the hot wire which was set at the required angle (either 22.5 or 30 degrees, depending on the outcome required) and producing 27 octagon parts, 18 parallelograms pieces and 9 pairs of left and right hand strips.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Thick-polystyrene-Octagon-parts-being-cut

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

New-spung-loaded-hot-wire-for-cutting-22

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

All-the-parts-for-the-external-corners-cut



After retiring back to the workshop, we proceeded to glue (using PU slow reacting type) to stick together 9 sets of the octagon pieces, three of them, to form a combined 90 degree corner object.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

External-corner-Part-1-glued


The next day, Wednesday, we salvaged a set of 12mm cement board pieces and one whole new sheet, to make a set of double layer sets. We wanted seven sets of 400mm high by 600mm wide and one odd set, also 400mm high but wider. The last one was using the salvaged pieces. We used our battery circular saw out in the house, on two trestle tables and among a cloud of cement dust, we sliced, sliced and sliced away to produce a heap of rectangular pieces. All of them were glued using our old PU slow glue and then clamped together to flatten everything together.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

A-pile-of-glued-pairs-of-cement-board


we then went back to the workshop to glued another 9 sets of left and right hand combined parts using the 50mm thick strips and the special parallelograms using the slow old PU glue (which we finally finished off!). We used 4inch nails, three in each, to secure the two pieces together while the glue cured.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

External-corner-Part-2-glued


For the rest of the afternoon, while the glue needed its full 24 hours before ready to be handled, we went outside to dig and remove away a spade worth width of soil, and down to the rainwater pipes, from the wall of the house, so we are ready to install the polystyrene strips and the new special corners. We got almost all the way around the whole house, working from the back, up the side and half way along the front.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Base-of-the-wall-dug-out-1

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Base-of-the-wall-dug-out-2



Thursday saw the completion of the special corners where we glued the two “wings” to the central module bit, using our usual old slow PU glue.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

A-finished-external-corner


While that was curing, we finished off the digging outside, going along the front and around the corner to the stud wall for the conservatory.

We had some interruptions in the day but we finished off by surveying all our inside corners and making sure that we had the correct dimensions, but only to discover that our attempt of putting on sticking out plywood strips didn’t quite turn out to be so accurately positioned as we were expecting. It will need a solution so we are back to the drawing board to discuss and analyse the problem. In conclusion, we decided that some will have to be adjusted (which is difficult because they are glued into place, so we will have to saw off the plywood pieces and put on new ones.

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Pipe-cover-support-battens-for-G


On Friday, we had a good tidy up of the workshop so we could use our circular bench saw for the next job, which is to slice the cement boards that we made the other day, with a 30degree angle along the top and bottom edges.
Then we created a wooden jig to provide a right angle framework to support the track saw so we can achieve good accuracy and consistent perpendicular (right angle) cuts, with various tilt angles.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Cross-cut-jig-for-Track-Saw


We needed a mixture of 22.5degrees and 45degrees edges, depending on where the piece fits into the overall object when completed.
There are 10 regular octagon parts, with a face width of 92mm, and then 16 pieces of side wings plus a heap of narrow 50mm wide strips.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

All-the-internal-corner-parts-cut

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

This-all-the-waste-from-the-glued-boards



The last day, Saturday, saw the completion of slicing operation of the double layered cement boards, into all the jigsaw pieces and then we glued together all the parts to make seven inside corner pieces and one special one for the “G” downpipe.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

A-internal-corner-taped-together-ready-to-fold

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Internal-corner-Folded-up-and-glued

Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

All-the-corners-made-and-ready-to-install



We had enough time left in the day for us to go and take our test piece that we made before lunch with fast acting glue, and get it installed into the “Q1” corner (the Conservatory stub wall and the first part of the Great Room wall that looks out over the patio .. or it will do when we have built it!). We actually went around all the inside corners around the house and test fitted our piece and it was not so bad as we first thought. Yes we had deliberately made the whole piece bigger by half an inch, but it is good that most now fitted.
So back at the “q1” corner, we proceeded to place the piece around the downpipe, sitting on a brick to get it positioned just right and then drilled the four holes. We applied some blobs of mastic in and around the drill holes and along the top edge and then screwed the whole thing tight to the wall.
Creation of Slate Skirt Progresses

Internal-corner-installed


Next week, we will continue installing all these parts we have made in the workshop, along with all the strips of the 50mm polystyrene foam and cover all of it with slates; to form the skirt around the whole house.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Mar 212020
 

We resumed the task of getting our Oak Window Frames prepared, ready to be inserted into the house. The next job was to waterproof the inner section of the frames where the glass will sit so that we have extra protection against any incursion of rain water which does not drain away fully. All twelve frames were coated in a semi-flexible polyester resin dyed grey so we could see it (it will be hidden by the glass and beading), to spot any imperfections. Each frame was given a final rubbed down using a rough paper to improve grip for the resin, especially the aluminium material and then masking tape was laid everywhere that wasn’t going to be painted to protect it against dribbles etc.
We used about 350g of the resin (which contains 20% of the flexible agent) per large frame and a little less for the three smaller ones. All the inner surface on all four sides were done, and then also the outer surface was coated too to both aid the same water protection (especially up on the header) but also to aid a better seal when we come to glue the window frames into the house itself. It took about 3 days to complete all twelve of them, sanding them and applying the masking tape in the workshop, while the smelly painting operation was done in the main house on a temporary work table (made on a pack of polystyrene foam boards!!) and each frame laid out across the floor to dry and cure.

Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Window-frame-after-painting-with-Resin


The next job was to clean every window hole around the house, to sand away the weathering effects, especially the bottom edge that had the full blast of rain and sun on it for the last year or so. We also cut a chamfer on all four edges to provide a thicker sealant bead when we come to glue the frames into place.
Then every window was test fitted to make sure that they will slot in. Most of the back windows had to have some minor adjustments done to the bottom edge, removing material until the frame went in and sat nice and solidly. After that, all Oak frames sat tall and straight, none were leaning over or had to be pushed over. Just Nice! We remembered to reapply the chamfer along the bottom edge too!
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Completed-frame-test-fitting


The final touch up operations was done to half of the window frames where the resin had reacted to the Oak timber in some fashion so those affected had their sills rubbed and cleaned with acetone and a second coat was applied. All is well now.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

A-line-of-Windows


While we wait for a supply of PU grey coloured sealant for gluing and sealing the frame into the wall to come (notwithstanding the troubles of COVID-19 crisis), we got started on implementing our Slate Ribbon that will go around the bottom of the wall, underneath the cladding and half buried into the dirt. This is our solution to preventing splashes of dirty rainwater from reaching our Larch cladding planks and reducing the chances of rot and other unsightly defects (and using up some of our spare roof slates). It will be made of a layer of 50mm thick polystyrene foam which is stuck to the wall with mastic glue and also a large plastic “nail” driven through and into the concrete block.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Plastic-Nails


The polystyrene sheets were sliced up using our homemade “hot” wire cutter we made in our large flat top insulation cutting table.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Slicing-the-Polystyrene

Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Hot-wire-cutting-the-V-



And we proceeded to slice up eleven of the twelve sheets we had bought. Each strip having a 30 degree angled top and 400mm wide. We got three strips out of each sheet so we made 33 in total.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

33-Beveled-Strips-of-Polystyrene

The final job of the day (Friday) was to mount two fixing points in the places where we are going to have a privacy gate to section off the public portion of the garden and drive way from our private gardens. The wall needed an extra plank fitted to the outside surface which will serve as the anchorage point for the fencing.

Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Fence-attachment-on-H-Wall


This 95mm by 45mm timber plank goes up from the level of the cladding battens and stops at the 2metre point, this being the height of the fence. We reinforced the wall by putting in three horizontal noggins behind the cement board, inside the wall.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

with-noggins-in-support


It was stuck up with PU tough glue and four long screws.
The final day was starting the process of creating our Slate Ribbon around the house, digging the soil away from the wall (we started right over the far side on the “P1” section), scrubbing the surface and then putting mastic on the wall to stick the polystyrene strips to the wall, and then drilling an 8mm diameter hole straight through and into the concrete blocks. A plastic “nail” was then driven in to anchor the foam strip into place.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

First-strip-of-Beveled-polystyrene-installed

Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Plastic-nailing-in-progress



Then we sliced up some slates into 55mm wide strips and proceeded to stick full size slates (using a cement based tile adhesive) directly onto the polystyrene surface and then the little strip on the slope.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

The-slates-tiled-onto-the-Polystyrene


The last hour was to analyse and design the the shape of the foam block that will reflect the thicker parts of an outer corner where there will be an additional oak octagon cover going around the corner. We will buy some 75mm thick foam board on Monday and then slice it up into the complex shapes needed to form the required octagon pattern that marries the Slate Ribbon going around the corner to the next wall section.
Oak Windows Frames Ready, Slate Ribbon Started

Outside-corner-Polystyrene


So this week saw our first full 6-day work for ages! All our usual meetings and other commitments have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak! Something positive to come out of all this madness that has hit the world! Phew!!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Mar 072020
 

We started our new week in the workshop to continue developing the scorching machine. We decided to completely dismantle our first version and start over again. Using our new found knowledge and ideas, we put together a new cleaner version and got the two input and output rollers mounted and ready to be connected to […]

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 152020
 

We got on with the work we left standing on Saturday, which is putting up the cladding battens onto the walls, ready for installing the Larch cladding. We proceeded by drilling clearance holes top, bottom and middle of each long piece and just top and bottom for the shorter ones. Also the shorter ones were […]

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 082020
 

After skipping Monday for other commitments, we got on with making doors and ramps for our three entrance ways in our main house. We finished off the Front Door, putting on the hinges, filing wobbly edges and then mounting the door into place. then putting on door jams. We also put on two sliding security […]

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 012020
 

At the start of the week, we needed to make sure that we had all the required cladding support battens in place, especially around the drainpipes. The cladding needs something to screw into and it turns out that the walls don’t have anything on the inside surfaces (it is just a single 10mm thick cement […]

 Posted by at 6:00 pm