Oct 042017

Yesterday and today, we got going in actually creating the next stage of rafter production! But we also had to do some minor adjustment to our polystyrene foam strips because we discovered yesterday that our let-over chunk of the polystyrene foam was a little more than the 200mm wide we thought it would be. So we had to pass the couple of dozen strips through the hot wire cutting machine again to trim off a thin waste bits. Plus the other discovery was our straight internal noggins were very slightly too long and needed to be trimmed down to 248mm long so that was another hour of work to sort out that annoyance.
We made one rafter yesterday (hence how we discovered these problems!!) and this morning, we took it outside to see how it fitted.
It went in fairly well but we need to do some adjustment here too. the slot on the cement boards on the outside of the walls were not quite deep enough so that needed chiselling a bit lower. Also a fraction of the webbing was protruding and fouling onto the wall’s leg, and finally, the top end of the rafter had to have a very slight trim on the top flange to allow the whole rafter to sit into the wooden slot better.

Actual Production of Rafters Begins!


After lunch today, we carried on creating some more rafters and changing over to use a different glue nozzle to help speed up the application of the wood glue, we managed to complete three more rafters in the 3 hours of the afternoon.

Actual Production of Rafters Begins!


It looks like that we can do about one rafter per hour for a full size long ones (5metres in length) and we will try and get those ones we made today up and installed in the morning – weather permitting, we have strong winds forecasted for tonight!

 Posted by at 6:28 pm
Oct 022017

Today, we made three templates to help us in speeding up our processes in creating the angled cut ends on the plywood webbing and also a cut-out template to draw the required outline of the webbing that needs to be removed.

Preparation Work Continues On Stage Two For Roof Rafters


Preparation Work Continues On Stage Two For Roof Rafters


We then proceeded to slice 48 strips of the plywood webbing (we brought in a further 20 strips from our outside covered storage) using the new angled template. We soon realised that it would be much faster to use the mains powered circular saw to do the job, rather than the battery powered saw!!

Next, we created a heap of straight and diagonal noggings (248mm and 292mm long respectively) using old left-over 63mm CLS timber pieces we had from when we were making the wall’s. We estimate that we will need about 300 straight ones and probably a similar number of the diagonal ones too.
Then we cut the clearance notches on a couple of the plywood strips and then we quickly made a skeleton rafter (the A6 one to be exact) to test our new clearance notches. We went outside to fit it into place and discovered small adjustments that were needed to allow the long rafter to rotate and slide into position. It fitted quite nicely length wise so that was good!
We finally finished off the day by spreading out all the rest of the left-over 63mm CLS timber pieces all under the new rain tent so that those pieces can also dry out and be more compatible and ready for gluing later on.
We are getting there and maybe tomorrow, we will have everything sorted and that we can move into production mode and create the first 11 Second Stage Rafter, specifically A6 through to A17 in quick order and have them up and installed by Wednesday or Thursday!

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
Sep 302017

This morning, we tidied up the workshop by moving the huge piles of plywood webbing strips we generated a couple of days ago. They all (apart from 32 pieces) were transported back outside to their previous covered storage.

Workshop Cleared of Plywood Strips and Confirmation of Calculations Continues


Workshop Cleared of Plywood Strips and Confirmation of Calculations Continues


It took all morning to complete the task. In the afternoon, we spent more time to double check our calculations and analysing the real-world measurements against the spreadsheet and drawings. We took a length of 63mm CLS timber and sliced the 32 degree angled ends and took that outside to do a test fit. We now have a much fuller appreciation of what measurements are meaning what and using that newfound knowledge, we have updated our spreadsheet so it can be repeatedly used for each section around the house without having to repeat certain calculations again and again.
We are much more confidence of what is required and also we will create another template to help us slice the angled ends off the webbing plywood strips as well and that will speed up our production rate, plus also a couple of smaller templates to help mark out the area on the ends of the webbing that needs cutting away to allow for the clearance of top-plate at the bottom end and clearance for the steel I-Beam at the top end. It does indeed takes a long time and lot of preparation work before we see any finished article and it is really interesting to see how all this reflects in other situations like inside a factory somewhere in the world – grin!!

 Posted by at 5:58 pm
Sep 282017

Today, we finished off chopping the correct required angled cuts on the end of the pile of 89mm CLS timber pieces we got made from yesterday. The chop saw did the job of slicing a 32 degree angle on the ends of the timber before we put the machine away to clear the whole saw bench.
Then we proceeded to slice up all the remaining plywood sheets we had in the first storage stack outside, about 114 boards!

Preparation Tasks Continue ...


We loaded a heap on our large trolley and heaved it over to the workshop. The first load was about 39 sheets and it was just a bit on the heavy side to pull / push – Phew! The next three loads, we did just 25 boards instead – Much Easier!!
We pass each sheet of 12mm plywood through our circular saw attachment on our work bench, set at 399mm wide. After double checking the width of the first set (which was ever so slightly a little bit wide so we reduced the saw blade position and passed those three trips through again), we continued to go through all 113 remaining sheets!

We had to stop occasionally to clear the vacuum attachment and at one time, even empty the vacuum dust storage container too. Well, after all, we did 114 sheets, each had 3 cuts on it so that worked out to be just about one whole sheet turned into sawdust – WOW!

Preparation Tasks Continue ...


There are approximately 342 strips in total in those three piles we got in our workshop now! The next job is to move them all out again back to the store outside and only bring in a dozen or so when we need them! But this job is done now and it should save us some time in the long run – we Hope!! Smile!

 Posted by at 5:38 pm
Sep 272017

Over the last three days, we have been measuring, calculating, sorting, adjusting, calibrating and humping all sorts of stuff that are all aimed towards the next stage of creating the Rafters that makes up the majority of the roof structure.
We started on the “A” wall and measuring the distances from the wall to the PA diagonal rafter and also up on the steel I-Beam too. It was proving difficult to get an accurate measurements. Even after we built a laser projector so that the detector would find the laser beam up on the PA rafter but even¬†this proved a bit wild. So we waited for the darkness, in order to see the red laser beam directly shining a line right on the wood surface and drew a pen mark at those points. The following day, we then measured these marks and even this was a little wobbly too. after careful thoughts and discussions, we concluded that the only reliable measurement was the rafter that fits up onto the steel I-Beam, this one is called A6. This measured as 4815 mm. we moved along to A16 and measured that one too, which came out as 4840 mm. we know that the steel I-Beams are straight so we calculated that for each subsequent rafter, we added 2.5 mm to the length.

Then we humped into the workshop 21 lengths of the 89mm CLS timber, but we discovered that most of the timber was rather wet from rain showers we had over the last few weeks and the wind and sunshine has not been strong enough to dry it off fast enough. We will need to sort out the pile (see previous blog report). Anyway, we needed to put 17 of these CLS timbers into the Bird’s Mouth template. But we needed to adjust and recalibrate the template so that the Bird’s Mouth was coming out at the correct depth, size and angle which is 32 degrees for the “A” wall. We verified that all was correct now, and then proceeded to cut these Bird’s Mouth and Angled ends on the 17 lengths. After that, we put 12 of these into the “scarf” joint template plus 12 shorter pieces and today, we glued and screwed together this scarf joint on these 12 length (A scarf joint allow two pieces of timber to be glued on a long diagonal resulting in a longer piece of wood). They are now drying overnight.
To confirm that we were on the right track, we took outside one of these new scarf joined pieces and cut it to length then we went to place it up into the A6 position and discovered that the length was too long. We then realised where our calculations were being misapplied so we have updated our spreadsheet to take this into account.





We are learning! Phew! Tomorrow, we will go through the task of slicing up all the plywood sheets into 400mm wide strips and then put the resultant huge pile back under cover outside!

 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Sep 272017

This afternoon, after lunch, we quickly set up a new stack of all the 89mm CLS timber planks, to spread out every single length so that plenty of air could blow around them and dry them off. The original pallet was packed too closey together and the rain water was able to get in between the layers and soak side ways into the stack of timber. The weather has been cooling off these last few weeks and was unable to keep the timber dry before the next rain shower came along.

CLS 89mm Timber Needed Spreading Out to Dry Properly


We built a quick tent over the new pile to keep the majority of the rain off the pile now and over the next few days, it will dry out much faster now with the air moving freely between every single plank.
It is important to have the timber as dry as possible because we want to use wood glue to make our rafters and the wood glue only works properly when the surfaces are dry.

 Posted by at 4:16 pm
Sep 232017

Today was the day when we grabbed the three rafters that we created yesterday and the day before, and took them outside to get them up and installed!
We only needed to do some little extra work on them in the workshop like putting the bevel slope on the longer MN rafter and round off the edges where all three fitted into the metal brackets.
But first, we went out to slice and remove the cement board and bit of wood off the top-plate for the outside corners (the NO and OP corners) where the eves are sticking out, and the inside corner (the MN corner) needed the pointy bit sliced off the top-plate too.
So after that preparation tasks were done, we got the first rafter, the OP rafter, out and it went up and slid into place more or less straight away. We then glued and screwed tight the corner post against the cement boards and then We got the rafter itself all glued and nailed just before lunch.
After lunch, the second rafter, the NO rafter, also went up and installed with little fuss too! WOW! This is good!
Then we started on the third (the very last LVL special rafter – this was the MN rafter) and lifted it into position and slid it down into the metal bracket .. and it got stuck half way in! The rafter was too long. We had already glued and screwed the corner post into place as well and aligned it all up correctly, but the rafter seems to be too long. So we brought the rafter back down to the ground level and roll out our power planer to take a thin slice off the bevelled end and tried fitting it again. it didn’t get all the way, still 50mm short! So again, rafter came down and more slicing was done. Up it went again and .. nope! It didn’t fit, gap down to 35mm now. this was repeated two more times and we got the gap down to 15mm so we filled the gap with a lump of wood and settled for that solution. All was glued and nailed into place.

The Final LVL Diagonal Rafters are Up and Installed!


The Final LVL Diagonal Rafters are Up and Installed!


That concludes all the LVL special rafters .. 12 corners (5 valley types and 7 hips) and 3 ridge rafters (1 straight and 2 bent with 45 degree elbow joint). It took a long time to do all these (2 months!), but they are a major structural element of the roof and they have to be well prepared and carefully created so we couldn’t cut corners!! The next job is to start making the regular rafters (the 400mm wide ones) and they don’t need to be so fussy about cleaning joints and don’t use special LVL timber, also they come in regular shapes and sizes so we should be able to get a mass production scheme of working and get many more created and installed quickly.

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Sep 222017

Today, following from yesterday’s job of preparing for NO and OP rafters, we sanded and vacuumed these two rafters so it all came together and got glued and nailed tight shut!
Then after lunch, we tackled the third and final LVL special rafter for corner MN. This one is 413mm wide and 5420mm long on the bottom flange. All the bits and pieces were sliced and chopped at the required angle of 26.6degrees, clearance notches and noggings etc. The webbing and LVL timber were sanded and vacuumed as usual and then glued and nailed together.

All three of the remaining LVL Special Rafters are Created


We managed to do three rafters today, they are sitting there drying and will be ready for tomorrow when we hopefully can get all three outside and installed into position. That would be nice – grin!

 Posted by at 6:34 pm
Sep 212017

Today, in lovely sunshine, we started to get the final set of special LVL rafters created. We first went outside to install the three corner legs for MN, NO and OP corners. We chopped a small bit off the ends to make them fit nice and tight into their corners and then measured the distance of the bottom flange from the steel brackets to the face of the leg, down at the correct point. The numbers came out pretty close to the drawing as follows: NM was 5420 mm, NO was 4350 mm and OP was 4320 mm.
After an early lunch, with our freshly printed drawings of the NO and OP rafters, we started preparing all the material bits and pieces. The webbing plywood was sliced down to the correct width of 436mm (we had already made eight of them but at a wider size of 455mm), then sliced angled ends (32.7 degrees) on all of them in pairs. The LVL timber was next to get the treatment of being chopped with this 32.7 degree angles and then the bird’s mouth marked and cut away too. Finally, a heap of internal noggings (both straight and angled ones) were made. The final job of the day was to cut away clearance gaps within the webbing, at the wall end so when the rafters are lifted into place and slid into position, the wall’s top-plate can wiggle into the rafter and settle into the bird’s mouth properly without jamming up.

 Posted by at 5:45 pm
Sep 202017

And in the afternoon, we finished off slicing all the remaining polystyrene sheets into 250mm wide by 38mm thick strips.

Sliced Polystyrene Sheets into Strips


The 14 boards were sliced (using our hot-melt wire machine) into five chunks (four of them 250mm wide and the fifth 200mm – the left over) and then pushed all these into the machine flat with three wires to slice them into 38mm thick strips. We made a total of 210 strips. These are now ready for when we start creating all the regular rafters that builds up the main part of the roof structure.

We then moved them all outside to wait for use.

Sliced Polystyrene Sheets into Strips


 Posted by at 5:19 pm