Feb 272021

On Friday, saw the arrival of the huge load of “Seconds” PU foam boards, all the way from South Wales where an outfit takes spoiled foam boards from the nearby factory and processes then and resells them to anyone who wants them. We wanted it all including the bad parts! By buying everything it makes it slightly more expensive than glass wool, nearly twice as expensive but it is so much easier and nicer to handle than the dreaded glass wool! Plus also, for our walls, the rigid boards are much more reliable and holds its shape vertically in the walls, compared with glass wool, especially the deep amount we are aiming for, over 300mm thick and we didn’t want the wool material collapsing under its own weight after a decade or so. So we found this outfit that packets this spoiled PU foam boards. This time, we wanted as much as he had and could fit on the lorry. We got forty pallets, each measuring roughly four feet by 4 feet and 4 feet high. There were 28 pallets loaded into the main part of the lorry, plus an additional 12 pallets loaded on a second trailer linked to the main truck.

Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


It was slightly more complicated because the driver didn’t want to drive down our Loke and also didn’t want to abandon his trailer module in a layby up the road (was afraid that it would be blocked in). So we took our mini-digger with our new Fork Lift Attachment for our Mini-Digger up the Loke to the main Beccles Road and unloaded all the pallets up there and transported them down on our large flatbed trolley. We had the fabulous assistance from all our neighbours, helping to load two pallets on the trolley and getting that down to our property. That was twenty separate trips in all! Phew!

We landed the pallets all over the place in a random manner, just to get them out of the way and clear the Loke as quick as possible. It took us over two hours to unload the lorry and a further hour to finish transporting the rest! Double Phew!

Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


This load of insulation boards will be sliced up and fitted into and between the legs of our wooden walls, filling it up to a depth of around 200 to 240mm deep, and then the rest will be filled up with glass wool. About three quarters of this load of foam boards will be used up in filling the walls, the rest will be used to start the job of filling the roof rafters and we do need another lorry load of seconds again to get that particular job done too!!

Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


Insulation PU Foam Seconds Arrives on Forty Pallets!


 Posted by at 5:30 pm
Feb 242021

We decided that we needed to construct our own Pallet Forks to enable us to unload the load of Pallets that would be arriving soon, full of PU foam boards. We had plenty of left-over pieces of steel, both a large and medium sized C channel bars, some rectangular box bars and angle iron pieces too.
We took an old 4foot pallet and measured the spacing so we could design a particular size and spacing of the prongs, of course it had to be a compromise and a slight gamble against the unknown shape and size of the forty pallets coming.

All the pieces were cut using our plasma cutter and then welded together using our MIG welder. Then an angle grinder with various cutting and grinding discs to clean up the ends and edges.

Then, it was time to practice using this new piece of equipment attached on the mini-digger, using a suitable pallet, loaded with 10 concrete blocks to emulate what the weight would be like and getting the movement of the digger’s two arms to work in a way that lifted and moved the pallet in a horizontal manner without tilting too far forward or backwards.

Pallet Fork Attachment for our Mini-Digger


Pallet Fork Attachment for our Mini-Digger


We are ready!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 082021

Today, we had a large amount of extra snow dropping on top of the small amount we had yesterday, to make deep drifts of up to a foot deep, window sills loaded up with 6inches of very fluffy snow and icicles forming under our gutters.

Beast from the East MkII Hits


Beast from the East MkII Hits


Beast from the East MkII Hits


Beast from the East MkII Hits


The snow is too dry and doesn’t stick together very well. It is too cold and it is not melting.
It is still coming down as a very very fine flakes and apparently forecast to carry on until Wednesday.

 Posted by at 2:22 pm
Feb 082021

Today, the first pallet of these plastic grid modules that helps retains the gravel and other crushed stony material has arrived. We ordered one pallet which has 260 individual modules.

Driveway GeoGrid Plastic Modules Arrives for resurfacing the Loke


Each module measures 500mm by 500mm and its 40mm high.
Driveway GeoGrid Plastic Modules Arrives for resurfacing the Loke


They have lugs on two sides and key slots on the other two sides so each one can be interlocked together to form a rigid strong grid that is then filled with all sorts of different material. We are planning to use recycled crushed asphalt tarmac recycled road material to create a darker finish. We have a design of two metre wide tracks, separated by half a metre.
Driveway GeoGrid Plastic Modules Arrives for resurfacing the Loke


Driveway GeoGrid Plastic Modules Arrives for resurfacing the Loke


Then at each entrances, we expand out and interlock more of these plastic modules to form a larger sturdy surface so our vehicles can turn in without scrubbing up the material and forming ruts and potholes.
we are working with our neighbour and sharing the tasks, we will do the initial removal using our mini-digger to scrape and remove the old grass and dirt plus the two old cinder and bricks tracks. Then the neighbour would take over to lay down the crushed asphalt material, compacting it in sections and shaping it so any rain water would collect towards the centre of the Loke and run down hill to the soakaway module that we will have made later on.

 Posted by at 1:04 pm
Jan 112021

Today saw the arrival of our new toilet and wall frame!

New Wall Hanging Toilet and Frame Arrives for Evaluation


We wanted to see and learn all the construction requirements for these wall-hanging toilets designs, like how the cistern and the metal support framework needs to be incorporated into our wooden walls.
The Toilet is a rimless design around the bowl but this is a bit misleading, there is still a wide rim (see photo) for the seat to rest upon
But what they really mean, is the water flushes out and around the top edge of the bowl in a slight groove and then falls into the bowl. You can see the water flow along and that is what they mean by rimless. It is a new fashion and the plus points are that it is much easier to wash the bowl clean and one can see this immediately.
But on the other hand, it does mean that the power of the flush has to be controlled to avoid the water simply shooting over the edge if it is travelling too fast. There is a controlling valve inside the cistern to regulate this flow rate and yet another piece of equipment that may go wrong over the years.
New Wall Hanging Toilet and Frame Arrives for Evaluation


New Wall Hanging Toilet and Frame Arrives for Evaluation


The toilet bolts onto the Frame which is fixed in the wall and covered with the wall boards.
We will evaluate this design, by building our cloakroom straight away, plumb the toilet into the sewage system and supply water to the cistern and learn how it all works.

We will start on this task mid to late January when Shaun has recovered.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Dec 202020

We are having our usual Christmas and New Year holiday break again this year but also taking time off for one of our work crew to recover from an minor health issue, a long-awaited hernia operation that was delayed because of the Covid saga. This means that much of January will be gone before we can resume the heavy work of building the internal framework of the rooms on the Ground Floor.
We will have to order more timber soon as we have already used, probably about 50% of our supply of 63mm CLS planks. But there is a world wide shortage of timber and that is pushing up the prices quite sharply and it is likely that we will see 20% price hikes in the new year. O Boy!
But that’s life!
So wishing everyone a good break yourselves and have a Merry Christmas!

P.S. Stephen thought he had posted this before Christmas!

 Posted by at 8:46 am
Dec 172020

For our last week of work for 2020 (and also before a long break because of Christmas and a minor medical issue), we went around the last twelve Pillars across all the ground floor rooms, creating sturdy accurate corner and T-junction reference pillars, all vertical and straight.

Remaining Pillars Installed for Corners and Kitchen Wall Framework Finished


Remaining Pillars Installed for Corners and Kitchen Wall Framework Finished


We made sure that the metal legs (holding up the Skylight) had pieces of CLS timber glued to them that were also vertical and ensuring that the metal legs themselves are hidden inside the wall structure.
Then, for the last day and a half, we concentrated on building the framework that surrounds the Kitchen. We positioned exactly where we wanted the sliding door module to go near the Great Room end of the hallway, plus also a narrow window module (we had one left-over window Oak frame that we didn’t use in the external wall) positioned on the same wall but at the opposite end of the room. Then it was a case of slicing many many vertical posts (two sets measuring 2885mm and 2645mm tall) and went around nailing them into place. This included the first layer of the top plate to secure the posts and form the completed frames of each wall section.
Remaining Pillars Installed for Corners and Kitchen Wall Framework Finished


Remaining Pillars Installed for Corners and Kitchen Wall Framework Finished


It is amazing to how quickly a room like this Kitchen can be built, even if it is just an open framework of posts etc., we can already get a feel for the size and shape of each room we have planned for our Ground Floor.
We are cutting up lots of pieces of wood for the job (over 200 so far)
Remaining Pillars Installed for Corners and Kitchen Wall Framework Finished


This concludes the work for 2020, we can enjoy Christmas and New Year and when we are ready, we can resume work in 2021. It is holiday time now!!

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Dec 122020

For the start of the new week, we both tidied up all the “blobs” of mortar sticking around all the footplates and also tightened all the remaining concrete screws down. This was joined with the task of pulling out a whole heap of further CLS planks to form the second layer of timber to build up the Footplate on the floor, so they are ready to secure and fix the wall structures themselves. The second layer was glued and screwed down, making sure the warping and twisting nature of the timber is flattened out.

Then over the next several days, we marked out all the corners and junctions that forms the various rooms and cupboards etc.
We also ordered another twelve two by six planks (45mm by 150mm regularised timber) to go with the other four planks we already had left-over from when we were building the Skylight kerb structure several years ago. These sixteen planks will divide up into groups of four, in order to build two strong solid pillars to support a steel lintel that is needed at the entrances to all the en-suites rooms plus the bathroom too. It turned out that these four rooms have their entrances in a load bearing walls and we want our en-suites and bath rooms to have sliding doors so there is a lot of floor joists to support (Daphne also want’s a ‘Glass Wall’). We are using left-over pieces of steel 100mm by 50mm legs (the legs that are holding up the Skylight and the roof!).
We have done a similar thing to hold up our cold water header tank up on our first floor and it needs extra load bearing elements and the position for these elements are located over and along Bedroom 2 wall and its doorway, thus we need another lintel built into the structure of this wall, this time using our larger steel leg left-over piece (160mm by 80mm), laid flat and supported by a solid block of 4 63mm CLS planks, all glued together into one block, one at each end.
The final couple of days was spent on building the “pillars” for each corner and mid-wall T-junction, using more 63mm CLS pieces and forming fairly complicated shapes to allow each wall to have support for materials at the ends. Each of these pillars were anchored and locked to establish a good vertical straightness by screwing triangular plywood bracing pieces and putting little pieces at the top to join them together into a nice sturdy block.

Second CLS Layer Laid Down, Analysis and Mapping of Wall Structure and Building of Pillars


These will help in the long run when we come to put up the top-plate horizontal CLS planks as we can ensure that all our walls are vertical and right angle on the various corners etc.
We did ten of these pillars and we got another eleven to go which we will have done next week. We have sliced over eighty planks already, about twenty percent of our stock of timber pieces so it won’t be long before we will have to order another pallet load!!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Dec 052020

We resumed the task of laying out the footplates for the entire Ground Floor rooms. We had to tidy up all the excess jumble of bits and pieces that used to live in our outside Store room and we moved all of it into our new Entertainment Room, sorting them into related piles. We will also build some metal shelving and place them in the Entertainment room too to aid in more items to store while we develop the internal rooms and installation of all the utilities.
The second half the building (the Cloakroom, en-suites, Bedroom 2 and 3, various cupboards and the Bathroom) was mapped out, drawing our coloured lines straight on to the concrete floor. We then surveyed the height of the concrete slab and discovered that one section had a very high level. The relative height difference was 23mm from lowest to highest spots but there was one even higher local spot of another 10mm! We definitely over-did the amount of concrete when making the floor slab several years ago! So we ground down that spot down somewhat but we will treat this particular slab as a special case and have a different finishing level (which means that we just reduce the length of all the stud posts).
Over the next 2 days We pulled out a heap of 63mm CLS timber planks and laid them out over the entire floor, cutting to fit etc. Next, we did drilled anchorage holes and putting in concrete screws to secure all the timber pieces. We used over 150 screws, each being 100mm long by 7.5mm thick.











The final two days was spent packing mortar underneath all the timber pieces everywhere, we needed four separate mixer loads, each having half bag of cement, three builder’s buckets of soft sand (40kg), a handful of fibre strands and a splash of emulsifier, along with the usual water. The laser was kept in one spot at our four way intersection point of our hallways and we used the detector to set all the footplates at the same height in absolute terms. The only exception to this rule was the extra thick concrete slab as mentioned already, and we lifted the detector up by an extra 10mm and set a higher level for the remaining pieces.
And on Saturday afternoon, the final task was to tighten the concrete screws for the footplates that we had put mortar under on the day before (it had set enough) to lock down the footplates and then tidy up the cement mixer machine, hose and other bits and pieces, now that we have finished needing mortar for at least several years, the mixer can go back into storage again, around the back of the building.

Next week will see us doing the job of pulling out another set of CLS timber to put on the second layer to reinforce the footplates, glued and screwed down, and then start marking out exactly where every single stud post will go, taking into account doorways, cleared sections for utility conduits and pipes to go upstairs and other design requirements too.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 282020

After doing other tasks and chores for most of this week, we started on Friday afternoon, the task of mapping out the shapes of the Kitchen and Bedroom 1, with the Great Room alongside them and the laying out of the double layer wooden footplates that will anchor the walls. These footplates will be bolted and mortared down to the concrete floor slab, but first, we printed out from the computer, a set of plans with dimensions and proceeded to literally draw coloured lines on the said concrete slab. We used a string pulled very tight to generate a straight line and mark the floor with spirit pens. We positioned each wall according to the plans and made adjustments to take into account the metal support legs for the Skylight and Roof. The metal legs were not quite in the positions that the plans dictated, but only a few centimetres out. Also, we decided that we would move the Kitchen and Bedroom 1 walls nearest to the Great Room further inwards, so we could avoid having the metal legs intruding inside our Utility Channel that runs around the whole room, with electrical cables etc.

The next job was to do a survey and measure the height of the concrete floor at regular points along each of these walls marked out on the floor and find the highest and lowest points. We used our laser level machine and found out that our recorded numbers ranged from 143mm (the highest point) to 163mm (lowest point) which meant that our concrete slab rises and falls by 20mm across the floor. This would have meant that our mortar line would have to be 25mm thick to accommodate these variations, but we realised that only one wall had the “worse” highest points so we hit on the idea to plane down the thickness of the CLS plank by 8mm for just that wall section alone. This meant that we reduced the amount of mortar to a maximum of 17mm thick in some locations and the thinnest places would be just 5mm. This was much more reasonable. We proceeded to plane down two CLS planks, 3.6metres long from 38mm thick to 30mm thick and placed by the Bedroom 1 and Great Room wall section.
For the rest of the walls, we pulled out a further ten planks of treated timber, the 63mm by 38mm CLS pieces and sliced them to fit to the drawn lines. They all had 6mm pilot holes drilled, ready for the concrete bolts but first, to help drill the holes into the concrete slab.
The final task of the day, and week, was to trim and slice the wood to fit around the bottoms of the metal legs, taking into account the metal pads and bolt heads etc.

Laying Out Footplates for Kitchen, Bedroom 1 and Great Room


Upon the new week, we will drill and mortar these planks into place, put on the second layer of wood and then start mapping out the next room, Bedroom 2, Bathroom etc.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm