Oct 212017

Today,we took outside the completed three rafters, these being the E6 and E7 as well as I6. It was the usual case of using our winch motor to lift them up, do a test fit, make any last minute adjustments and then glue and nail the rafter into place.

Three Completed Rafters Now Up and Installed, Plus Extra Measurements Taken


Three Completed Rafters Now Up and Installed, Plus Extra Measurements Taken


Then we proceeded to take further measurements to get the distances for the “in-fill” sections on either side of the rafters (as they are the only full length rafters in these walls), the minimum and maximum lengths. We took down 2 pairs of measurements for the “E” section and another 2 pairs of measurement for the “I” section. All this then got entered into our spreadsheet which will calculate the lengths of all the remaining rafters needed to fill in these triangular areas of the roof.
But the next step on Monday is to complete the eight rafters for the “M” section and then get them installed, hopefully, on Tuesday.

 Posted by at 5:11 pm
Oct 192017

This morning, we finished off preparing all the bits and pieces for making our next batch of rafters. We brought in 48 strips of the plywood webbing and proceeded to pair them up and slice the 32degree angled ends. Then eight pairs had the steel I-Beam (the large version) clearance slot put in, and the other three had the narrow version of the steel clearance slots. Plus a further 11 pairs had the wall top-plate clearance notches cut away. The final job before lunch was to chop up more internal straight noggins and some more little filler noggins too.
After lunch, we exactly trimmed all the CLS timber pieces (that had the scarf jointed extensions) to match what the spreadsheet indicates. We brought in a heap of polystyrene foam strips and then vacuumed the whole workshop to remove most of the sawdust as possible and then finally got down to assembling the three rafters, which were E6 and E7 and the I6 rafters.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will take these three completed rafters outside and installed them and get our workshop cleared, ready for the next eight “M” rafters to be created on Saturday.

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
Oct 182017

Today, armed with our new version of the spreadsheet that now calculates everything from the basis of the measured bottom flange, we proceeded to bring in 15 lengths of 89mm CLS timber plus 11 lengths of the 63mm CLS timber. The first job was to cut the scarf joints in 12 of our 89mm CLS lengths and cut various pieces off another two lengths which are the extension bits to add to the scarf joints. These were glued and screwed together and left to set overnight. Oh yes, the other ends of these pieces had the bird’s mouth cut into them plus the angled slice off the end too.
Next the heap of the 63mm CLS were also cut with the angled ends (still 32 degrees) and then turned around to then cut a precise length off of each one in turn according to our spreadsheet. These all form 11 rafters, 8 for the “M” wall, 1 for the “I” wall and 2 for the “E” wall. These are known measured lengths so we can assemble these ones and get them installed.

Preparing the Pieces for 13 More Rafters


Preparing the Pieces for 13 More Rafters


Tomorrow, we will bring in 50 strips of our 400mm wide plywood strips from off the storage stack outside and cut the angled slices off the ends as usual and also cut the special shaped slots for the clearance of the steel I-Beam and for the wall and top-plate too. It was fiddly but we got there today and hopefully tomorrow we can start assembling complete rafters and get them ready for some to go up on Friday.

 Posted by at 5:57 pm
Oct 162017

Our new week started with us making a second saw guide template for doing “right-handed” Bevel slices.

Next we serviced the Bevel Slicing Machine and made sure that all the nuts and bolts are tight and locked against vibrations by using thread lock glue (similar to superglue) and also mounted a handy wooden block on the base to aid in keeping better pressure on the sled platform and also against the guide rail too.
We then proceeded to do A2 and A3 at the sharper angle of 52.5degrees (this set of rafters are joining to the PA diagonal beam) and the first one, the A2, went through quite well. We had problems where the saw blade started curving outwards but it seems to be ok. But for A3, it did show this problem again but not so much. We think perhaps, that it is doing a lot of work and the original motor and gearbox specs were only for smaller diameter blades and we may be overstressing it. we will try and slow down the speed and perhaps do short spurts of cut and draw back and approach back in again in a series of small movements. We tidied the end with the Planer.
Then we took these finished rafters outside including A1 (which is just a single CLS timber without any webbing) and got them up and installed. We remembered that these rafters needed to be 10mm sticking proud up above the edge of the PA diagonal beam.

A1 through A3 Up and Installed


These three rafters fitted quite well but we did decide to switch over to 6mm coach screws instead of nails as the screws had the extra advantage of pulling the sloping joints in nice and tight and the glue was squeezed out.
Tomorrow, we will do the other two rafters, A4 and A5, to finish off the “A” Wall / Roof section and then move on to do the “E” and “I” Wall / Roof sections.

 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Oct 142017

Just before lunch, we tried out our new Bevel Slicing machine for the first time on the smallest rafter A22 to see how it went. The machine and template performed very well, we are glad to say! We took out this little 1 metre rafter outside to test fit it and it went in not too bad. it was slightly too long but that was because the original finished rafter ended up being 4mm longer than expected, which included also a local variation in the Kerb section of the Skylight.
After lunch, we removed these 4mm off the top end of the rafter and tried again and it fitted much better this time. we went along with our spirit level to test the kerb side of the skylight to see if any more had more than usual variations but the rest were within tolerance.
We then used the Bevel Slicing machine on the next rafter, the A21, but double checking the length first which turned out to be ok. This rafter was test fitted as well and it was fine straight away. We decided at this point to bring out all our tools and glue etc. to install these two small rafters up so we did that, applying the glue and then nailing them tight into place. We carried on with the longest rafter, the A18, next and got that one up into place first time too.
The rafter A19 and also A20, proved to show up some problem with our Bevel Slicing machine where the saw blade seems to be bending away from the straight line and we don’t know why this is happening. We had to finish off the bevelled ends using our power planer. We got these two final (of this local section of the roof) rafters up and installed.

A18 through to A22 Are Up and Installed


It was quite dark when we finished, especially after we have brought in all the tools, compressed air equipment, wrapped up the lift winch motor again and tidied up after ourselves! We left the tall winch support pole in the tower, sandwiched between rafter A20 and A21 and we will deal with that on Monday.

As you can see, we hope we can get the tower from out among the rafters .. or we will be in trouble! – grin!

 Posted by at 6:55 pm
Oct 142017

This morning, we concluded the creation of the new Bevel Slicing machine with the addition of of a G-clamp to anchor the required angle for the bevel.
Then we created a much simpler guide template that fits over the end of a rafter and provide both a starting platform to rest the saw machine and then another platform on the other side to receive the saw machine as it comes through the cut to arrive safely without falling off or anything like that.

Bevel Slicing Machine Is Completed


Bevel Slicing Machine Is Completed


The guide rail (a flat 89mm CLS timber) has an extra thin strip of wood to make sure that the saw machine on its sled won’t tip upwards.

Bevel Slicing Machine Is Completed


Bevel Slicing Machine Is Completed


Bevel Slicing Machine Is Completed


This template is only suitable for 32degrees angled ends and orientated to the left direction. We will have to adjust or make another template to do the right handed orientation, until we have finished all the rafters that has the 32degrees ends on them.

 Posted by at 12:34 pm
Oct 132017

Today, we turned to making a new tool to help us slice angled ends to a certain number of our rafters that needs to fit up against diagonal hip or valley  beams in the roof.

We took an old portable electric circular saw and cut away the original blade shroud to allow a much larger diameter blade to be fitted. To this reduced metal plate, we mounted a sheet of plywood that is bigger than the new blade (300mm diameter) and then put a half a box over the upper section of the exposed blade to protect us from the spinning teeth!!

Bevel Slicing Machine Designed and Nearly Finished!


We then put on a double hinge near the bottom of the saw machine and mounted a thick 18mm plywood base which will serve as the sled to run across the surface of the rafter, with an arm sticking out so that it can be fixed down to achieve the desired angle we need when slicing the bevels. We can now get any angles from a minimum of 22 degrees and go all the way up to an impractical angle of about 85 degrees! We only need to get to 60 degrees for our maximum angle!

The second part of the machine is a template to fit onto a rafter which will provide the support and guide for the sawing unit. We wanted to have the template to flip around from doing a left handed cutting to a right handed cuts without having to unscrew and refit various parts. The design calls for a parallelogram aligned set of bracing arms (to hug the edges of the rafters) and the second set to provide the guide for the saw unit itself.

But it proved to be very difficult to get everything exactly measured and aligned. We tried several different methods and measuring schemes to position the mounting screws but we couldn’t get it working.
So tomorrow, we will have a rethink and come up with a much simpler design and just work with the main premise of just needing a straight guide for the saw unit, set for the required angle and also parallel to the end and then clamp or screw it to each rafter in turn. Perhaps have a second one made to do the flipped around cuts. We will see what comes out with a night of sub-conscious thinking!

 Posted by at 6:10 pm
Oct 122017

Today we got down to assembling all the bits and pieces into nine rafters that form the last sections of roof adjoining the “A” wall. We did three this morning (in two runs) and the remaining six this afternoon (in 3 runs). We used as much of the template as possible to maximise turnaround time. Each pair (one smaller and one larger) went into the template and then each side was glued and nailed, using our squeezer and nail gun as usual.

The Nine Rafters Created for Roof Section


The next job is to build a bevel-cutting saw machine that can be rotated and angled and positioned on the end of each rafter and power cut our way through all the layers of the plywood and CLS timber composite. We cannot use a standard off-the-shelf circular saw as none can angle more than 45 degrees and over half of all bevel cuts are beyond that limit, so we are having to make a temporary tool that is specifically designed to fit over the ends of these 400mm wide by 62mm thick rafters and clamped into place to allow the saw to slide across the end. The other limitation of domestic saws is the limited size of the saw blade themselves and can only cut no more than 50mm at the larger tilts. We need to do at least 100mm so we have bought a 300mm wide blade which will give us a maximum cut depth of 125mm. That is tomorrow’s job to design and build this machine!! A lovely Engineering problem – Grin!

 Posted by at 6:03 pm
Oct 112017

We carried on with the preparation task for making the final Ten rafters that makes up the Roof section along the “A” wall. These ten rafters are the in-fill pieces that both goes along the Hip rafter (five for the PA diagonal travelling across the Great Room) and for the valley rafter (five for the AB diagonal stretching over the Hallway and Stairs).
We did the one odd rafter first, the A1 rafter, right in the PA corner which only has a 89mm CLS top flange (as it is so short it doesn’t have webbing or a bottom flange). We went outside with this one to double check and see how it will fit and discovered that it was rather short! We concluded that because of the subtle differences in the angles of these diagonal hip and valleys rafters against the drawings, we will need to measure the length of both the shortest and longest rafters in each of these local sections of the roof and enter the results into our spreadsheet in order to adjust for real world distances. Fortunately, we hadn’t started slicing or chopping any more of the CLS timber so we updated the spreadsheet and came back in the workshop with new numbers – phew!

The Last Ten


We now have a pile of all the bits and pieces we will need to assemble and create our nine rafters tomorrow. They have been sorted into pairs so we can assemble two rafters in the template at the same time (the template is 6metres long and we can put in two shorter rafters) and save time on moving things around all the time.

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Oct 092017

Today, we started on the next task of creating the rafters that goes up and down the Hip and Valley diagonal beams, with each rafter getting shorter or longer, depending on which direction we are working in.
we made a measuring guide tool to help us line up where the first of the shorter rafters will sit on the diagonal beams, by projecting a side arm sticking out from the two neighbouring rafters and sliding the tool up until it rests on the hip or valley beam. This is then the correct distance apart (which is multiples of 612mm spacing). We did this for A5 rafter (in the PA corner in the Great Room) and for A18 rafter (the AB corner over the Front door extension and stairways). They came out at 4340mm and 4035mm respectively. We plugged these values into our spreadsheet and we now have the calculated lengths for the remaining rafters A4 to A1 and A19 up to A23.
The afternoon was spent on preparing the material pieces, 24 strips of the plywood, 5 lengths of 63mm CLS and 3 lengths of 89mm CLS timber. The plywood webbing were sorted out and had their 32degrees angled ends sliced off, ready for assembly. Further calculations and double checking on sizes etc. was processed, and when we resume on Wednesday, we can look at starting the assembling task and making the rafters.

 Posted by at 5:55 pm