shaun

Mar 202019
 

A year on and it is time to empty our septic tank. The water was starting to go murky so we ordered the man with his smelly lorry to come and suck out all the waste and water from our tank.
We then gave it a quick wash down inside but it was fairly clean anyway.
One reason for the tank to be filling up quickly, is for the amount of kitchen waste we put down the sink, lots of peelings, green leaves and chicken bones etc. plus also flowers too!!
But when we have the main house built, we are having a water trap under the kitchen window, buried in the ground, which will collect up the solid waste in a wire cage and we will dump this on our compost heap instead. This would hopefully extend the life of the septic tank capacity and maybe only need to empty every two years instead.

 Posted by at 11:30 am
Mar 162019
 

For this week’s worth of work, with lots of weather interruptions along the way, we started the actual process of putting up our Slates! Using our new collection of tools and equipment, we projected a line up the roof at right angle from the Fascia to serve as the master reference line to work from. We started to use a blue chalk line to snap down lines from top to bottom but the rain nearly washed it away after doing the first 20 lines. So we reinforced the refernece line with a solid black marker pen and then marked each batten with 204mm spacings using a old metal tape which we prepared with marks so we don’t have to keep measuring the spacings each time.
After the marks were redone, the first job to do was to cover up the Gutters with our galvanised metal mesh (1 quarter inch spaced grid and holes) by aligning the bottom edge to the front of the gutter’s upright plank, stapling it down (on top of the rubber membrane already there) and then lifting the mesh up to the first line of the tile battens. Here we also stapled it down (using stainless steel staples) and then folded up the excess mesh backwards so we had a padding of this mesh to support the bottom line of slates hanging over the gutters (the padding acts like the missing third layer of slate). Finally, we screwed down a fixing cap of oak timber we had previously made, on top of the mesh and rubber, using stainless steel wood screws with nice large dome heads to clamp down everything. We trimmed off the excess rubber away and the whole thing now look neat and tidy.

Slates Start Going Up!

Gutter-mesh-and-capping-strips-installed-on-I


After that, We started in the bottom outside corner (the join between H and I sections of the roof) and working left to right, started putting on the slates. But the first task was to slice a dozen slate tiles to remove 112mm off their lengths, because the first layer which is hanging over the gutters needed this amount removed to align up with the bottom edge of the second layer. This ensures that any rain water flowing down the roof is still captured by at least one layer of slate before reaching the guttering. We had to smile because we nearly got caught by the “rookie mistake” of not turning over these shortened tiles upside down so the bevelled edges are visible from below and the first and second slates sit flat together back to back!
After that, it was a case of getting into the practice of nailing our nails in for each row before putting in the next slates (thus avoiding discovering afterwards that we missed some nails!!) and also remembering to turn the slates upside down when using the guillotine too, because the guillotine works downwards and causes the bevelling edge effect as the blade explodes through the slate.

We are learning as we go along!
The next thing for us to learn, is doing the diagonal shaped slates when we interface to the hip edge. After having sneaked a training video on the net, we had that one sorted too and we were able to complete 5 rows before the end of the day.

Slates Start Going Up!

The-first-slates-1

Slates Start Going Up!

The-first-slates-2



We continued on the next two days and doing three slates at a time for each row, working diagonally back towards the hip, this being the best compromise between doing more at once against having to lean over to far sideways (and slightly above) to nail in the next hooks and slide in the slates.
When we reached the inside corner, at the bottom of the valley between the I and J roof slopes and had to spend some time there to sort out the metal mesh, to shape it , cut it and bend it, to cover up the corner of the gutters and the end of the fibre-glass trough. We then completed a total of 9 stripes.
Slates Start Going Up!

The-next-9-stripes-of-slates


Finally, on the last day, Saturday, we could work on installing the slates without pausing to cope with another challenge like a valley, we got about 300 slates up, we had to go and load up our three “boxes on wheels” (which hold about 110 slates each) with slates from the eleven crates waiting alongside our Loke.
We finished the day by installing the second fibre-glass trough section to join on to the first one. We are getting quicker and completed 15 stripes!
Slates Start Going Up!

The-next-15-stripes-of-slates


We are about half way up and we will resume on Monday, weather permitting, and hopefully get the rest of the roof done by Tuesday. At which point, we will start on the J section at the bottom again!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Mar 112019
 

Today, following on from Saturday’s work, we designed and built a slate cutting guillotine with supporting stand which has rubbish collection built in.

Slate Cutting tool, Nail Containers and Slate Spacing Guides

Slate-cutting-guillotine-and-stand


The guillotine sits on top of the box like container and there are standard measured marks to help us repeatedly slice certain slates at various required sizes.
The next piece of equipment we made, was a couple of containers to hold the various types of nails (the stainless steel slate hooks and two sizes of copper nails).
Slate Cutting tool, Nail Containers and Slate Spacing Guides

Box-of-slate-hooks

Slate Cutting tool, Nail Containers and Slate Spacing Guides

Box-of-copper-nails-with-tool-storage



Next item were two templates to guide us to align the slates at the required 204mm spacing, made using a 38mm wide batten with nails hammered in at the correct distances.
Slate Cutting tool, Nail Containers and Slate Spacing Guides

Slate-spacing-marking-sticks


Finally, the second guide template was a metal affair with notches at the nailing points, again at the 204mm spacing but also marked are the half way points (the 102mm distance) between the notches, to allow us to align to the chalk line on the tile battens.
Slate Cutting tool, Nail Containers and Slate Spacing Guides

SLate-hook-fixing-guide


Hopefully these pieces of equipment will provide consistency, ease of getting the job done and achieve a neat finishing touch to our roof. We now need to have good weather!!

 Posted by at 6:23 pm
Mar 022019
 

Here is a summary of our work for the last 10 days ..
Using glass fibre and black resin, we sealed the complex downpipe channel three way intersection plus the two outer corners too. We did this to avoid the complicated task of laying the rubber membrane lining the gutters to go around the odd shapes of the corners and joining together the two incoming gutters (off the I and J sections of the roof). Then we glued in two separate straight strips of the rubber membrane, along the bulk of the gutters and sealed the ends onto the glass-fibre surfaces with contact adhesive.

Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Fibreglass-and-rubber-on-inside-corner-IJ

Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Fibreglass-and-rubber-on-outside-corner-JK



The first strip of the breathable membrane we put on the roof is for the valley as this is always the lowest point for any water to run downhill so we laid down a metre wide strip with stainless steel staples.
Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Membrane-in-the-valley

Next things we had to analyse and test, was the valley trough (a moulded fibre-glass constructed object) that needs to fit underneath the slates, to catch all the rain water flowing down the slope into the valley. It is a deliberate method of allowing the water to “leak” pass the end of the slates and collect together and be diverted in a channel. For this reason, the battens needed to be spaced apart so it is fully supporting the trough on the bottom, and then supporting the two outer edges on the wider tile batten.
We made a test assembly on another valley on the roof first and worked out that three 38mm wide battens can be placed together (with a gap of 38mm between the inner single batten and the two outer battens) on each side of the valley, with a gap measuring 130mm wide between them. Then a 50mm battens is placed on top of the 2 outer battens to hold the edge of the trough.

Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Test-fitting-valley-trough


Using our research, we proceeded to screw full length battens (4.5metres long) into place, on top of the breathable membrane already there, going up the I-J valley and then we doubled back on ourselves putting 90mm nails into the underlying rafters to provide a strong secured fixing.
It now follows that we can start on the task of mounting all the tile battens on to the roof. The breathable membrane goes on first, going flat on to the roof boards, starting the first line, overlapping the lower rubber membrane and running over the Hip and Valley ends. The membrane was held into place with the vertical lines of battens, in short segments that stop just before the top edge (To allow the next piece of membrane to overlap). Then the horizontal tile battens were nailed into place at regular spacing of 112mm apart, so that a slate will sit across three rows of battens and hook onto the hanging nail off the third line.
Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Slate-layers


We managed to get about 20 rows on the I roof and about 16 rows on the J roof sections, just about half way up the slope.
Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Battening-started-on-I

Rubber Liner Installed in Gutters and Tiling Battens Started

Battening-started-on-J



On Monday, in the afternoon, we will resume this task of more wooden battens and probably have it all complete by Tuesday.

We are learning the techniques and methods needed on this section of roofing, and will be getting better and quicker at it as we progress!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 202019
 

Over the last 10 days or so (with interruptions), we had installed the new Oak timber pieces to form the Guttering for the roof sections I, J and K.

Installed the First Three Sections of the Gutters

Gutter-structure-on-I-J-finished


We carefully measured each section so the base board overlapped the upright pieces in an even way, getting the angles correct for the outside corners (needing approximately a 22.5° angles) and for the joining to the Downpipe channels (needing a 45° angle). We decided that we would put on a much thicker and taller piece of Oak timber to cover up the end of the Downpipe Channels.
Installed the First Three Sections of the Gutters

Gutter-inside-corner-cover


Then using two homemade metal scrapers to spread out the special bulk-filling PU glue, one for the 19mm slot in the Fascia board (with little notches to ensure enough glue is left behind) and the other scraper for the multi-finger tongue and groove joints in the base board and the upright pieces. We used lots of clamps to squeeze the joint nice and tight but we also had spacer blocks inside the guttering to make sure we didn’t bend the vertical fronts inwards.
Installed the First Three Sections of the Gutters

Gutter-structure-on-K-finished


These Gutters being completed now allows us to start work on the roof itself, preparing it for the battens and breathable membranes etc. That will start tomorrow.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 082019
 

These last few weeks since the start of the year (January 2019), we have been processing lots of Oak Timber planks and producing finished pieces to build the Guttering System for the roof.

The Track Saw

We took 85 planks off our Oak Storage rack, these being a nominal 27mm thick by 2000mm long and selecting them to have a width from 110mm to 160mm wide. We needed to plane down all 85 planks to end up with 100mm wide and 19mm thick. It was the case of using our new circular track saw to slice a straight edge and then using this new edge, slice the excess width off to produce a consistent 105mm width planks with the bench saw.

Processing Oak Timber to produce Guttering pieces

Starting-gutter-making-by-straightening-one-edge

The Planer

Then our planer, with its two extension tables, took over the job to clean and flatten one flat side before all pieces going through the thickener mode of the planer to clean the other side and generate 21mm thick pieces. We stopped at 21mm thick, as the finish surface was very good so no need to keep going to the target 19mm. The final step was to clean the two edges and passing it through the thickener process to make a set of clean pieces, all 100mm wide.

Processing Oak Timber to produce Guttering pieces

Gutter-Planks-ready-for-shaping-

The Router

The 85 clean pieces were then split into two piles, the Base board (of the gutters) and the vertical uprights. We needed more consistent and longer ones for the base boards (a total of 43 full length 2metre pieces). The remaining, made up of 34 full length pieces and a collection of random lengths where we had to cut some planks up because they had more twist and warp down the length (to minimise wastage during the planing process).
The first job with the router was to cut tongue and groove joints in both the base boards and the upright pieces. These are made up of four small “fingers”, located on the edge of the base board and on the lower side of the upright pieces so they come together and lock into a right-angle combined object. Then the upright pieces had a 45degree slope trimmed on the bottom edge so it provides a neat corner to the gutters. The final step was to trim a 10mm strip off the back of the base boards to provide a 19mm thick “tongue” that will slot into the Fascia boards.

The Cap and Covering Strips

Using the left over pieces from the earlier slicing of the wider planks, and more from our old left-over pile of strips in storage, we then produced lots of thin strips of Oak pieces, one size for capping the Upright sections of the guttering (designed to clamp and hold down the rubber liner and wire mesh), measuring 30mm wide by 10mm thick with all edges trimmed with a small 45degree angles. The second set of strips is for covering up the vertical and horizontal joints in the gutters, to disguise them. These Covers are a little bigger, measuring 35mm wide by 12mm thick, but only the front facing edges having been trimmed with the 45degree angles.

Processing Oak Timber to produce Guttering pieces

Pile-of-gutter-parts

Processing Oak Timber to produce Guttering pieces

Gutter-part-shapes

Processing Oak Timber to produce Guttering pieces

How-all-the-gutter-parts-go-together


We have finished producing this set of Oak timber pieces for the guttering around the roof but only with the experience of installing the gutters will show us if we have generated enough wood to complete the whole circuit. It is not difficult to make some more, we do have some spare oak planks in storage.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Dec 242018
 

We decided to take a break away from our building work and relax, to recover some of our mental balance and stamina. We did do some other little jobs that has been hanging about for a while, like tidying up the workshop, recycling some electrical equipment, install new lighting and of course, organise for Christmas too.
We planned to restart work in the New Year after we have visited family down in London, to tackle the next job of producing the Oak Guttering for the main house.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 262018
 

We continued with the task of slicing up the wider rolls (four of them) into a little bit narrower width (380mm because we are using narrower slates than we envisaged months ago when we bought the rubber), using our dispenser with the razor blade as the cutting tool. But we discovered that the rubber material had too much flex in it to keep it straight and it wobbled side to side and made a ragged edge, especially after pulling out longer pieces. So we had a think .. and decided to replace the razor blade attachment with a battery powered scissors instead.

Rubber Strips for Hips and Ridges Done and Metal Mesh Dispenser Coming Together

Rubber-slicing-tool


It worked much better but it was still awkward in trying to handle the rubber material and we ended up getting a third pair of hands to help to help roll up the cut rubber – we needed 1 person to unroll (the rubber is firmly ‘stuck’ on the roll) and 2 to re-roll (1 for each strip).
We now have a trug full of 15 lengths of rubber strips, for the hips and ridges, alongside another 2 trugs of similar pieces but for the guttering.
Rubber Strips for Hips and Ridges Done and Metal Mesh Dispenser Coming Together

Trug-full-of-rubber-strips

So that’s that job done so everything was dismantled and we started making the next dispenser, this time for the roll of the metal mesh. This metal mesh is for covering the gutters to keep out large items like leaves, moss and other rubbish blown on the wind.
The mesh is a grid with 5mm spacings and the roll (being 920mm wide) will be chopped up into 300mm lengths and we are planning to use a guillotine like mechanism to cut the mesh. We will find out later on whether it will work or not .. time will tell!

 Posted by at 6:02 pm
Nov 242018
 

Today, we made a dispenser to hold a roll of rubber membrane (20m long strips 500mm wide wrapped on a cardboard tube) so we could easily unroll each roll of rubber and cut them to the required lengths. We had a list of 16 numbers, optimised to minimise wastage off these 20m rolls.

Cutting-the-Rubber-for-gutters-to-length

Cutting-the-Rubber-for-gutters-to-length


We now have a pile of cut pieces ranging from 1.4m to 10.2m long, ready to be inserted into the guttering when we get to assemble each section around the house.
We then modified the dispenser by adding a cutting module, positioned at 380mm from one edge so we can produce a narrower strip of rubber for protecting the hip and ridge lines. The cutting module was made by sandwiching a classic razor blade in between two strip of battens and then screwed down to the upper layer of the cement board.
Dispenser and Cutter for Rolls of Rubber membrane

Rubber-slitting-machine


Even a razor blade struggled to cut the rubber membrane when we tried to slide it through the thin slot. But we realised that if one manually cut a short distance first, it started slicing fairly easily afterwards.
On Monday, we will slice the remaining four rolls and cut a further 15 lengths (10 hips, 5 ridges).

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Nov 242018
 

We took the opportunity yesterday and this morning, to install two LED flood lights up inside our house. Each 300W unit was fixed right in the roof, just under our skylight on each narrow end section, pointing towards each other and downwards.

Flood Lights Installed Inside House

Theinterior-all-floodlit-1

Flood Lights Installed Inside House

Theinterior-all-floodlit-2

Flood Lights Installed Inside House

Lighted-windows



We put a waterproof switch beside the Side Door entrance and ran the 5amp mains cable up and along a rafter to the Skylight. The amount of illumination from the 60o Watts of LED lights is about 60,000 lumens or equivalent to 4000 Watts of old fashioned Tungsten flood lights!

 Posted by at 11:31 am