shaun

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 142020
 

For the start of the new week, we sanded down all the wood filler we had applied to the Sill and Header pieces where there were small knot holes and in one case, a very big knot hole on the under side of one of the sills.

All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

Large-knot-hole-after-filling-and-sanding


Then we started making a jig to hold the various oak pieces that makes up our Window Frames. We have nine large windows to put together so having this jig will greatly help us maintain tight alignment and good square right angles, consistent across all windows.
All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

First-try-of-the-assembly-jig


Then over the next couple of days, we proceeded to build those nine frames, using the tough thick PU slow setting glue for the major joints in all four corners and the faster thinner PU glue to hold the four aluminium strips into place around the edge, ready to support the triple glazing unit.
All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

The-first-window-is-assembled

All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

and-waiting-for-the-glue-to-cure



Then we adjusted the jig to do the two smaller window frames and finally the smallest one too.
All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

Last-window-assembled

All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

All-13-Windows-assembled


So that being done, and while waiting for the glue to set, we got on with another job, something completely different this time, putting up a new fence along our Loke to hide and block off the view of our mini-digger and some plies of old pallets etc. We bought the cheapest fence panels we could find, just £100 for five 6foot square panels and six metal post sockets to take 75mm square wooden posts. We made those posts by using six planks of our treated 63mm CLS timber and doubled them up to form 76mm by 63mm posts. We glued the two pieces together and once set overnight (we used some really old slow setting PU glue), we then trimmed the end to form a neat pointed tops. Plus also we stuck on a slab of cement board, just the right size to pad out the bottom of the post so it was the correct dimensions to fit nice and tightly into the metal sockets.
After that, we dunked both ends in timber preservatives, making sure the bottom ends had a good 30 minutes sitting in the liquid.
While that was going on, we went outside to clear away part of the old plastic mesh fence and pulled out several old wooden posts. Then collected 21 concrete blocks which will form the bottom layer underneath the panels, to raise them up off the dirt. The original round 3inch post was pulled up and moved to be right next to the hedge and we used this to tie on a string to make a taut straight line to align everything up. We were very lucky these last few days with lovely weather and that enabled us to go out and install our new fence panels, with their six new homemade wooden posts plus getting the concrete blocks set into the dirt in a level straight sections, one for each panel, before stepping up. The Loke is on a slope of about 2or 3 inches for every 6 feet, so our panels steps up each time.
It was all fairly simple to do, getting the posts into place using a double spirit level gadget that measures the verticality in both directions at once. The metal sockets have very long spikes that easily slides into the ground and two nuts and bolts to clamp the sides of the socket onto the post.
We made a heap of rotating toggles to hold the fence panels on the inside and nailed up long strips (about an inch square) on the outside to make a neat presentation for the whole fence line. These toggles allows us to quickly release each panel, just in case, we have a delivery that needs access to unload items.

Section-of-fence-to-block-the-view-of-our-junk-from-our-neighbor

Section-of-fence-to-block-the-view-of-our-junk-from-our-neighbor


We will make a simple ‘gate’ to fill in the remaining gap that we left behind to stop most people from just accidentally wandering into our garden but have this gate to allow us to get out onto the Loke if we want to.

Finally, for the last day, Saturday, we got back to cleaning our newly glued window frames, rubbed down all the surfaces to remove any dribbles and cleaned the aluminium strips. We now have a heap of solid window frames, waiting for the next task to be performed on them, which is to apply a waterproofing coating of resin in and around the area where the glass will be situated, especially down on the sill so that any rain water that gets passed the outside beading holding the glass in, will just run straight back out again and not sit on the wooden surface and potentially cause damage with rot.

But First of all, we did some testing with a special blend of polyester resin where we added twenty percent ‘flexible’ resin which makes the finishing resin layer much more flexible so it won’t crack with movements. We painted some small pieces of wood, one was a thin strip and the second one was two pieces screwed together to form a slightly loose right angle joint. After we had finished cleaning the window frames, we got out our prototype narrow frame to give it a coat in this special resin. We applied masking tapes right around the frame to protect against any dribbles and had only an area of 75mm exposed, which got coated in the grey flexible resin. We didn’t use any fibre glass as we just wanted to seal the oak timber to protect it from rainwater.

All Window Frames Created and Installed New Better Looking Fencing for Loke

Testing-the-resin-coating-of-the-frame


We will see how that looks on Monday and if is ok, we will proceed to do all the other twelve window frames too.

 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 drive motors (which are on order).

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Larch-processor-Mk2-Day-1

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Larch-processor-Mk2-Drive-rollers-with-counterweighted-pressure-roller



Then we got our four gas flame torches and connected new pieces of hose and reconnected back to the gas tank and did some burning test to see how the flame came out of each fan like spreader, to ensure that we would be burning the total width of the wood passing under the flames. But unfortunately, one of the four torches is of a different manufacturer and it behaves a little differently. Also we think that one of the fan spreaders is mixed up with the odd one out and the flame shape is different and not producing a same result.

The following day, Tuesday, had a small interruption (the septic tank was serviced and emptied), we resumed on looking at the gas torches and started analysing each flame pattern, swopping parts around, comparing the results and concluded that there are subtle differences in the manufacturer’s output. We were able to improve one of the torches by expanding the air holes in the gas mixing chamber and increased the oxygen supply to get the flame much more bluer and more powerful. But doing the same trick to the other ‘poorer’ torch didn’t have the same desired effects. Under the magnifying glass, we could see on the brass nozzle injector, that the tiny little hole (less than 0.3mm in diameter) were not consistently centred and perhaps not even straight. But we decided that three were producing a good strong flame and with the spreaders, they will do the bulk of scorching the large area of the Larch timber and the fourth torch with the weaker flame will do the angled edge instead.
So rebuilding four individual torch mounting blocks, and putting them on to a piece of plywood, we took it over to our plank moving mechanism and fixed it at an angle of about 30 degrees downwards so the flame would attack the surface of the Larch as it goes pass.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Larch-processor-with-torches-mounted

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Larch-processor-Burning-torches-closeup

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Larch-processor-Torch-hose-assembly



This is as much as we can do at this stage, because we need the motors we got on order, to help control the movement of the plank through the flames to get a consistent scorching effect. Our test run we did today was just by pushing the Larch through by hand and it was quite obvious in how the burnt surface varied along the plank. We also noticed that the middle torch burner wasn’t as effective as the other two neighbouring ones and therefore there was a paler strip being generated down the middle. We will have to make some adjustment later on when the motors arrives.

For the remaining of the day, after tidying up the workshop, we got back to preparing our new windows. We got all our aluminium strips in from our storage rack, and started slicing them up into all the required lengths to make up the twelve windows frames we are going to make. We made nine 1612mm lengths and twenty-four 1637mm lengths.

On the Wednesday, we discovered that the weather was very calm and actually reasonably warm (at 10°C!!) so we switched tasks and got on with doing the second coat of the black acrylic paint under our Eves. The two Porches got their first coat and that used up our second 5litre tin of paint! A quick trip out to the local DIY store and bought our third tin and used half of it going around all the Eves, making sure that we now got a solid black coverage. We even did the boxing that makes up the Downpipe Channels.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Its-black-under-the-front-porch

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

and-under-the-side-porch



To finish off the remaining paint, we painted our two temporary doors (the side door and the front door) and they are both now black.

The for the rest of the day, we were back in the workshop to finish slicing up the aluminium strips into their required lengths, a further nine pieces of 1707mm long, two lengths of 1097mm, two lengths of 1002mm and finally, a 900mm and 805mm pieces to finish off.
Then the drilling operation got going; making 3.5mm holes with a countersink, spaced apart by 160mm and 7mm off from the edge.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Drilling-and-countersinking-the-aluminium-strips


We got through all 48 strips, drilling over 600 holes in total. All the holes were cleaned with a deburring tool and any sharp ends were filed off.
New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Strips-all-drilled

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

with-extra-holes-at-the-ends

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Making-a-lot-of-swarf


The next job was to recalibrate our template module that guides our router machines along the vertical Oak side of the window frames, putting in T slots. Our prototype window revealed that we had a slight misalignment between the left and the right sides and yes indeed, we could detect a difference to where the ‘end blocks’ were located. So we adjusted those by a tiny bit (0.75 mm or 1/32″ !!) and now the two ends are balanced.

We did all one side first, twelve of them, double checking that the timber piece went in the correct way around and proceeded to cut five T slots in each piece.
Then got all the other twelve pieces done with their T slot cut too.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Routing-keyhole-slots-in-the-window-sides

The next job was to wash all the metal strips, all 48 pieces, with hot soapy water to remove the coating of the drilling coolant solution (the kitchen got rather wet, all over the floor and worktop!) so the glue will work at maximum strength, adhering to the oak timber.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

All-the-sides-with-slots-and-the-aluminium-strips

Then all the sill and header pieces were fetch from our main house where they have been waiting for this moment, got a thorough sand to remove any oxidation effects for being exposed to air for well over six months. But one of the little jobs was to glue in little triangular pieces into the headers, to block off a gap that was visible when the octagon wings were installed. We glued 24 pieces and nailed them into place and after lunch, power sanded the area to remove the glue and any excess wood to get a smooth finish.

New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Gluing-infils-on-the-window-headers


We also got done was to make a jig frame structure to hold and position the four elements of our window frame so that they are always right angled to each side and also aligns up from sill to header too. The basic design is done and we will add further pieces to it to hold the sill and header pieces.
New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Start-of-a-jig-to-assemble-the-windows


The last thing that got done for our week’s work, finally, was to fill little holes in the oak sill pieces and some of the header ones too, using a mixture of polyester resin and wood sawdust. This was shoved into the various sized knot holes and we will rub down these repairs next week.
New Version of Larch Cladding Scorcher Machine created, Eves Got Second Coat of Black and Windows are Progressing

Filling-some-surface-defects-in-the-Oak-sills


It was a good week of work with only one afternoon of interruption so we got a lot done. Next week, hopefully, will be another good week and we should get our twelve window frames created.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Mar 032020
 

The man with the tank, the same lorry and man as last year, came this morning. We attached a piece of 68mm diameter plastic drain pipe on to the massive end of his flexible rubber hose, because his hose has a huge metal coupling unit that is far too big to get pass various internal structural elements inside the septic tank. We started doing this last year and did the same this year as well, and managed to remove almost all the “rubbish”, right down to the bottom of the pointy depths of the tank.
We then blasted the upper chamber with our garden hose but it wasn’t very messy anyway which is good, and then we washed out the output inspection man-hole chamber (which is painted white at the bottom for easy comparisons and spotting of murky conditions) and flushed quantity of water down and into the leach field pipework.

Annual Empty of Septic Tank with general tidy up

Clean-sample-chamber


The conclusions for this year is that the tank held up much better and didn’t suffer from large foaming events in the last 12 months and we got the cycle time for the clean-out operation about right. When, in several years, we have moved into our new house, we will have a working kitchen with its own rubbish collection chamber to catch the food stuff we put down the sink, this will reduce the large quantity of “solids” going into the septic tank, and we can reduce the frequency of the septic tank servicing task – Phew!!

 Posted by at 10:54 am
Feb 292020
 

Monday was the day we finished off gluing the octagon “wings” together and we now have a pile of 24 wings (and one spare just in case). They are not yet defined as left-handed or right-handed, they needs the bevelled sliced bottom ends to get them assigned into those two groups.

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Octagon-Wings


But we want to make adjustments to our template device first before committing ourselves, and set the height of all the wings etc.

In the meantime, we cleaned up the prototype (narrow) window frame of all the glue residue and tested it for solidness and carried it outside to see if fitted all our twelve holes in our walls. We discovered that the holes along the front of the building, the two side walls (the “P” and “H” sections) were able to take the window frame without trouble, with some millimetres of clearance, but along the back of the building, it was tight and even wouldn’t fit. It had been raining all morning and all day yesterday too, so the woodwork was likely to have swollen. This is not surprising and we can just sand the edges of the hole to get it to fit. We will also apply a 45degree angle chamfer around the edges of the hole too, to allow a decent quantity of sealant to provide a solid plug against rain water etc. and last a long time, even if the building wiggles in the wind, the seal will survive.
The last job of Monday was to finish off putting the last odd three battens for the cladding, two of them around the “G” plastic downpipe

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Pipe-cover-support-battens-for-G


And the final third piece for the “M-N” downpipe corner where we needed an additional batten to allow for a neat straight vertical line of fixing screws to hold the cladding in place. We also glued little short 200mm pieces on the side of the Porch beams on both the Front and Side door areas.

Over the next couple of days, with some interruptions, we were testing the various timber treatment solutions; Fire Retardant, Timber Oil and the Timber preservative. We wanted to see how much and how slowly the liquid soaked into the test pieces of the Larch timber. It seems that the Larch is a dense wood material and it slows down the absorption rate. For example, leaving a piece in the liquid for 30 minutes, it only absorbed half the amount required to ensure the correct protection as provided by the special liquids, especially the fire retardant one. But if we dipped the timber in for a few seconds and then allow it to dry, repeat this step again another two times, we can reach the proper absorption levels. This is much better use of our time because we can go through our entire stack of timber with the quick dip and dry off in another new stack, and by the time we got through the 600 length of timber, we can start over on the first ones again for their repeat treatment.
The Timber Oil is definitely slower as the oil is thicker and it does need more time than a few seconds, maybe a couple of minutes in a complete ducking, drain and then allow to dry. We think we then can repeat the process a second time and should also get to our required penetration levels to help protect against the effects of the Sun’s UV rays and general weather.
The other area of testing was scorching the surface of the Larch, using a gas burner and then wire-brushing the carbon residues off. We did an initial gentle burn, a mid-level burn and a long burn.

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Larch-scorched-a-bit

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Then-wire-brushed

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

and-finally-oiled



Then started mixing up the combinations, to see the effects to the surface colouration when the liquids were applied in different ways.

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

The-diferent-test-pieces


We also started designing a mechanism where we will be able to put one plank of the Larch onto a set of rollers to guide the wood under a gas blow-torch and then through a spinning wire brush cleaner and pass a third roller which is there to slow down the rate of progress of the plank so we can get the desired scorching effects. We built our first version of the machine with the spinning wire brush ‘roller’ powered by a electric drill which had roller underneath which pressed the wood onto the brush and also resisted the forward motion of the wood from the spinning brush.
Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Larch-processor-Wire-bush-on-drill

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Larch-processor-Wire-brush-and-friction-roller

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Larch-processor-The-first-try



But after doing some test runs, using real lengths of our Larch timber, we discovered that our spiky wire brush cylinder won’t be able to cope with very slightly warped planks (the technical term is “cup”) and it would only scrub either just the middle bit, or just the two outer edges. We cannot rely on the Larch wood to be dead flat all the time. This puts our design of the Larch Scorching Machine under the spotlight again and come up with something else.

In the meantime, we still can use what we have built, to mount our flame burners, pointing at the timber as it slides pass but we will need a different method of driving the Larch planks through the machine.

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Quad-blow-torches-


The scrubbing task will have to be done manually, probably using the same wire brush cylinder but controlled by hand to cope with the warps etc.

An odd job we did this week, on Friday, was to build our first space illumination device. We got a new supply of LEDs strips in which are mains powered directly off the 230V supply. It doesn’t need any transformers or other control units, just plugs straight into the mains socket. We wanted to have a couple of large space illumination units to help light up areas in the main house while we don’t have any built-in lighting units (especially after the first floor is in). The 20 metres of LED strips were cut up into 2 metres lengths and stuck to a plastic drain pipe. There are ten strips side by side, covering about half the way around the pipe.

A Light 'saber'-Does not cut for sh*t

A Light 'saber'-Does not cut for sh*t

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

even-when-turned-on

Larch Cladding Timber Oiled and Burnt in Various Ways!

Light-emitting-stripes



These lights are tough so we don’t have to worry about damaging the bulbs or smashing glass covers on commercial lighting units, these strips are protected in a thick layer of rubber material. We will mount the tube to a paving slab as a base to make it stable.

Next week, we will get on with our windows while we wait for new electrical parts come for our 2nd version of our scorching machine and perhaps, if we are lucky with the weather, we may even be able to put down the second layer of the black paint under our Eves too.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Feb 222020
 

We resumed the task of putting up the cladding support battens in, around and under the two Porches, i.e. the Side Door and the Front Door sections. We had to put in reinforcing internal battens going up the gable triangles before we could put on the battens on the outside. Oh yes, plus also, we put a set of diagonal battens just under the roof surface to provide fixing for all the angled ends of cladding pieces going up into the triangle. The doors had their own shorter battens because they were positioned independently of the standard 2 foot spacings.

Back-door-gable-battened-1

Back-door-gable-battened-1

Back-door-gable-battened-2

Back-door-gable-battened-2

Front-door-gable-battened-1

Front-door-gable-battened-1

Front-door-gable-battened-2

Front-door-gable-battened-2



That was Monday and Tuesday that saw those sections done, we also cut up some 12mm thick marine birch plywood into 100mm square pieces and dunked them into the timber preservative solution, and left to dry overnight. Then on Wednesday, we proceeded to gather up all the battens we had previously allocated for the inner downpipe corners, making sure that we had the required 14 pieces, of which five had to be shorter ones that could only fit under the gutter channel itself. We put in the screw holes where there wasn’t one already, populated with a 80mm stainless steel screw and then spent much of the day, gluing and screwing four square plywood pieces to the narrow edge of each batten, 7 set of left-handed ones and the other 7 being a right-handed set. These plywood are sticking out away from the wall and will provide an anchorage fixing point for the Oak covering planks which hide the plastic downpipes.

Pipe-Cladding-detail

Pipe-Cladding-detail

The last little job of Wednesday was to slice up some cement boards to make 100mm wide by 500mm long pieces, ready to be also glued and screwed to the bottom of the same battens to provide a very similar function but this time to support the bottom splash back slates running around at ground level.

Pipe-cover-battens-with-plywood-attached

Pipe-cover-battens-with-plywood-attached


Thursday opened with the task of finishing off the preparation of the cement board strips by cutting them into 500mm lengths and then got outside with a spade, our collection of cement board pieces, a pile of screws, tools and our prepared battens. We dug foot down little holes either side of the plastic downpipes, glued and put in a single screw to hold the cement board pieces on the edge of the batten, positioned each batten up to the line we had already drawn several weeks ago and then glued plus screwed it into place. The cement board hanging down went into the soil and packed around it to secure it into place.
Pipe-cover-battens-installed

Pipe-cover-battens-installed

Pipe-cover-battens-details

Pipe-cover-battens-details



We got that done by lunch time, and in the afternoon, we resumed work on the Oak window frames in our workshop. We implemented our plans by first drilling holes in each aluminium strip, a set of holes 3mm in diameter with a counter sinking attachment fixed to the drill bit so both the hole and clearance for the screw is drilled at the same time. Each hole is 7mm from the edge and spaced apart by 160mm. Some of the ends had extra holes to be firmly fixed to its sibling oak frame. Then we went along screwing on the aluminium strips to the four frame pieces and achieved our first look at a (nearly) completed window.
Window-assembled-for-the-first-time

Window-assembled-for-the-first-time

Window-aluminium-strips

Window-aluminium-strips



Friday’s job was to design a jig structure to hold the two long vertical frame pieces so we could cut a special “T” slot into the side of the timber, ready to receive a screw or bolt that will be attached to the removable “octagon wings”  on our windows and doors.

T-slot-for-fixing-Octagons

T-slot-for-fixing-Octagons-e1582471933186

How-the-Screw-goes-into-T-slot

How-the-Screw-goes-into-T-slot


We performed some tests and then went for it by cutting five T slots in each side piece. We had to use two router machines to achieve the end results as the special T router bit wasn’t longer enough so we had to cut a precursor slot first using a ordinary straight cutter bit and then used our T shaped cutter afterwards.

T-slot-and-Screw-jig

T-slot-and-Screw-jig

The last job of the day was to take two sets of our octagon wings and get them glued to form the section of the octagon shape and have them ready for the next day.

The last day, Saturday, we took those octagon assembled pieces and adapted our jig framework to allow us to drill a pilot hole into the interfacing surface, get a screw in and then slide the whole thing on to our window frame. After some more testing of position of this pilot hole, we proceeded to do the five holes in each of the “wings” and put in the stainless steel screws and fitted it all together.

T-slots-on-frame-and-Screws-on-the-Octagon

T-slots-on-frame-and-Screws-on-the-Octagon

Window-frame-completed-1

Window-frame-completed-1

Window-frame-completed-2

Window-frame-completed-2



There was a lot of fiddling around of course, and we got to a point that we have learnt several things about our completed prototype window frame. For example, we saw that we had cut off too much of off the height of the octagon wings because there was too much of a gap at the top. Also the two wings were not quite aligned, having slightly different gaps at the bottom between the wings and the sill. We want a gap but only a couple of millimetres to allow the rain and moisture to be blown away and keep the timber fresh and dry. These wings are not to be permanently fixed to the window frame as we want to remove them to service the cladding in some future years, so we need to ensure long life the timber material, hence having a good circulation of air in and around all the timber materials.
We have written down all these results and we will make adjustments when we get to cut the next batch of the octagon wings sometime in a week or two.
In the meantime, we had gone through the entire stack of our octagon pieces, tidying up “bad” ends and cutting every one to a uniform 1650mm long. Ultimately we are going to cut them to a more precise length, including the bevelled cut to match the slope of the bottom sill too and to the height of each window as we make them in turn.
The final last part of the day was to start gluing and holding together a batch of the octagon wings. We managed to do 16 of them before we ran out of PU glue. We got a further 8 to go to complete the set of 24, to go with our 12 windows we have in the house.
Lots-of-window-Octagons-glued-up

Lots-of-window-Octagons-glued-up


So next week, we will continue with that task, but also start investigating ways of oil treating the Larch cladding timber, including the fire resist treatment as well, plus also, sorting out the slates that provide the flashing protection between the dirt and our timber cladding. Oh yes, We do have one more downpipe still to do to put battens around the plastic pipe, namely the “G” point next to the Side Door – mustn’t forget that!!

 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 dipped into the timber preservative solution to ensure long life.

Cladding-battens-cut-and-drilled

Cladding-battens-cut-and-drilled


The first wall we tackled was the two back sections, “K” and “O” and after confirming where the bottom of each batten comes down to (overlapping onto the concrete block) and double checking with another batten on another section, we were happy that things were consistent. We used lots of PU construction glue to stick each batten to the cement board, lining up over the nails (fixing the cement boards to each leg) and then screwing down tight the three (or four) stainless steel 70mm long screws.
First-lot-of-battens-on-KLMNO

First-lot-of-battens-on-KLMNO


The rain (and one heavy thunderstorm shower) interrupted this process so we got on with predrilling the rest of the battens, dipping the cut ends in the preservative and distributing the battens to various sections around the house. We made extra ones where needed and we also realised that the inside corners where the downpipe channels lie, we need an additional batten to allow us to fix the ends of the cladding around the boxing of the rainwater channels.
After a another day of other commitments plus also rescuing a friend’s pergola that was nearly blown down by Storm Ciara ..
We resumed work Wednesday on putting up the battens on the outside of the house walls. Applying the PU glue and fixing them down using our stainless steel screws, we managed to get all of the “K”, “L”, “M”, “N”, “O”, “P1”, “P2” and “A” sections done before it got too dark .. and blooming cold too!!
All-battens-on-A-wall

All-battens-on-A-wall


Upon the next day, Thursday, with the heavy rain showers in the early morning fast disappearing off over the hill, we managed to get the rest of the walls done with the first set and largest bulk of battens to go up. We had to make some rearrangement of certain battens as we saw that we needed longer ones for particular walls, especially the ones that has porches sticking out. Then, we got on with sorting out the smaller pieces for above and below the windows, drilling holes into the thirty or so pieces and then dunk them into the timber preservative and having them distributed to each window around the house, ready to be installed on Saturday.
We made a simple guide tool to ensure that the small pieces under each window are aligned up to their longer siblings on either side of the window.
Aligning-battens-under-the-windows

Aligning-battens-under-the-windows


With Friday lost to external meetings again, we resumed on Saturday and finished putting up the smaller pieces of battens underneath and over above each window. The small piece under the window is so small that it needs a concrete screw to be used in place of the traditional wood screw so we had to drill a 5mm hole into the concrete blocks and then screw a 70mm long concrete screw.

The rest of the day, after lunch, was spent in the workshop (to keep out of the way of Storm Dennis!), to start designing and implementing a set of methods to allow us to assemble our Oak Window Frames in a controlled manner, to achieve exact measures and angles, namely, nice and straight and square! We tried out various screws, counter-sinking tools and methods of drilling and screwing into the oak. We also cut four pieces of our aluminium strip so we can put together our test window frame (it was our old narrow window that we have abandoned), this strip is 3mm thick by 38mm wide and we also tested what will work with aluminium as well.
It was all spent in doing lots of tests and discussions, in ways of mounting the metal strips to each piece of the Oak Framework, in what order and so on.

Parts-for-window-assembly-testing

Parts-for-window-assembly-testing


We would carry on with the aluminium strips and oak pieces if the weather is wet and horrible, but for the last part of the task of putting up the cladding support battens, these being inside the two porch sections and we will tackle that job next week, depends on what Storm Dennis brings!! Fingers Crossed!

 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 bolts and a little hook to keep the door fixed open when we are using it.

Front-door

Front-door

Front-door-and-ramp

Front-door-and-ramp



Then, we got on in making the ramp and door for the Conservatory door, which is a very similar size, except that we decided the ramp only needed to be 4feet long, hence it is steeper. We won’t be delivering much building material that way into the house. So the ramp is 1550mm wide by 1220mm slope.
The door is slightly different as we wanted the door to be flushed to the outer surface to try minimise the amount of rain water that may be flown on to the wall and door. This door doesn’t have the same protection (at the moment) compared with the Front Door and the Side Door.
So it was made of two vertical 89mm CLS timber pieces and two 63mm CLS pieces for the horizontal top and bottom edges and the same whole sheet of plywood plus a little strip to make up the total door width of 1490mm. It was the same height of 2240mm.
It was assembled all together and mounted into the frame, using our two little air bags that can be pumped up to lift each side up or down to get it positioned just right. the four hinges went on ok and then put on outside rain guard strips over the joint and discovered that the door wouldn’t close any more.
So on the following day, we put in some spacers behind the rain shield strips to loosen the grip on the door and as an extra accommodation, we also sliced off another 5mm off the width too. All is good now. We then put on two sliding bolts and a hook to secure the door and hold it open respectively. Oh yes, we also put on a rain deflector at the bottom of the door. The whole door then got two coats of a green all weather timber protection paint, to keep off the rain water and stop it absorbing into the plywood and delaminating the layers.
Conservatory-door-inside

Conservatory-door-inside

Conservatory-door-outside

Conservatory-door-outside

Conservatory-door-open

Conservatory-door-open



The next job was to install additional racking elements on the inside framework of the “I” wall where we had put in a new window. Because that corner of the building could potentially have the full force of the wind unimpeded and the new window meant that the wall is a little bit weaker so the extra racking elements were required. We put on two metal bands diagonally from the bottom right corner, going up across three legs before reaching the top plate. We also installed a stiff rigid element going diagonally in the opposite direction, from the top left down to bottom left, up to near the new window. This was a piece of wooden batten, glued and screwed into place.
Cross-bracing-on-I-wall (lot's of dust reflecting the flash)

Cross-bracing-on-I-wall (lot's of dust reflecting the flash)


Now we could remove the cement board from the window to open it up. The heavy duty outer was employed with a half inch cutter and went in the clockwise direction to slice away the excess cement boards. We now have a new window hole ready for the Oak sill (which fitted nicely) and the glass.
Window-hole-in-I-Inside

Window-hole-in-I-Inside

Window-hole-in-I-Outside

Window-hole-in-I-Outside



We cleared away all the ton bags of insulation foam pieces (two bags of those) and a further 3 ton bags of oak trimmings from our planing of our oak timber. They are all tidied up alongside the “I” section including the slicing table too.

The last job we got to start, was making the third door for the Side Door, which is only 1030mm wide by the usual 2240mm high. We used just the 63mm CLS timber pieces, laid flat around the edges and put on just two hinges (the door is much lighter) and got it mounted onto the wall frame. The last quick job was to put on a door hook to hold it open during the night and stop it swinging in the wind.
Upon the following day, Thursday, was putting on the door jams to limit the swing through the wall and then mount an electronic locking mechanism with a remote sensor to pick up the little portable badges.

Back-door

Back-door

Back-door-outside

Back-door-outside

Back-door-lock-sensor

Back-door-lock-sensor

Back-door-lock

Back-door-lock



We can now open the door easily without having to use a traditional key and even while we are carrying something! SO we now have three doors fitted and when we got the windows installed, we will have a secured building which will allows us to store more equipment in there and not worry so much about items being nicked.
The final couple of days were spent preparing for putting up the larch cladding to the walls. We needed to fix internal bracing battens to reinforce the cement board so when the external batten is installed, it got something far stronger and more secure to hold the external batten up against the wall. The inside corners, where we have the gutter’s downpipes located, need these extra battens. So we did the 7 corners around the house and screwed on 13 pieces. We had already put one up last week when we were doing the foam insulation.
Next, we calculated the length of the external battens we would need, coming down from the rafters and stopping 200mm off ground zero. But because there are three set of angles on our roof (32, 40 and 45 degrees slopes), each batten is slightly different in length. So after analysing each wall, and their windows, we had a list. we set up the chop saw and put together end-stops at each required distances, and proceeded to make 42 pieces at 2740mm long (14 of them were made from two left-over lengths), a further 20?? pieces at 2730mm long and finally 19?? pieces at 2710mm long. All these are full height battens but we need shorter ones that goes over the windows and also underneath as well. The calculations came up with a further 7 pieces at 730mm, 5 at 710mm and another 4 at 700mm long for above the windows and 19 lengths at 290mm long for underneath.
That pretty much concludes the week’s work. We can start on gluing and screwing each batten into place next week.

 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 board) to provide a firm mounting point for the external vertical batten in and around the downpipes.
We analysed the drawings plus we also measured all the downpipes outside on the house, to find the worst case, and make sure that our Oak Octagon covers will fit around the downpipes and have something secure to fix on to.

There were three specific areas to analyse, the outer corners, the inside corners (containing the downpipes) and a special case of a downpipe in the middle of the “H” wall. we drew each Oak Octagon cover and this led to providing measurements to where to put these extra support battens.

Oak corner and pipe covers

Oak corner and pipe covers


The last part of the day was to draw lines either side of each downpipes to where we need this batten and then drilled clearance holes ready for us to screw into place the internal battens (2inch by 1inch).
We screwed in the extra batten for the “D” wall ..
Extra-Batten-to-hold-the-Oak-corner-Cover-

Extra-Batten-to-hold-the-Oak-corner-Cover-


.. so we can carry on filling the wall with more insulation.
In actual fact, we did carry on with this task of putting more insulation foam boards into the walls around the Entertainment Room and by Wednesday, we got that all finished ..
Insulation-in-C-D-walls

Insulation-in-C-D-walls


And also filled the lower half of the “A” section of wall along with the “M” wall section too.
Insulation-in-the-base-of-A

Insulation-in-the-base-of-A

Insulation-in-the-base-of-M

Insulation-in-the-base-of-M



We have now used up most of the loose insulation PU boards and have only smaller pieces left to be used and dropped under the floorboards in the 400mm cavity .
Thursday was a off day doing other things so we started a new task on Friday to make a new window in the “I” wall for Bedroom 3. Now we have gained access to the internal wall (the pile of PU foams pieces was here) and after confirming the precise location (by asking the principal person for her final decision!), we proceeded to remove the middle leg, leaving behind just enough timber that goes above the window when the lintel goes in. The size of the window is 900mm wide and the height of the lintel legs are 1790mm high and a replacement leg is 2384mm tall, all made out of treated 89mm CLS timber . We just had enough left-over pieces! So we got the material ready and test fitting it into place, double checking that we got it absolutely vertical and using our oak sill to make sure it fitted (backwards as the cement board is still there!), we went ahead and glued everything into place against the cement board and put in lots of screws to make sure the cement board were squashed tight to the timber.

The last piece of timber to put in on the following day, was an 89mm by 900mm long piece of timber, sliced in half down the length to make the sill support and room for our window’s blind mechanism. This 43mm by 38mm piece was then glued and screwed into place. that concludes the framework for the new window. We will cut out the cement board when all the glue is set and hard.

Window-sub-frame-for-new-window-on-I

Window-sub-frame-for-new-window-on-I


So we got on with other tasks, like we tidied up all the mess of having sliced up our random pile of PU foam. We loaded up two ton bags of all the trimmings

Then we made a 8foot square ramp for the front door, using four long 63mm CLS timber with three short legs per struct and then laid two sheets of 18mm OSB boards across. The alignment was such that the left side of the door is the left side of the ramp as we wanted to make sure we could build the Entertainment Room without having to redesign the ramp again.

Large-ramp-for-front-door

Large-ramp-for-front-door


Finally, we started making a temporary front door to fit in the hole. The hole is 1490mm wide nearly 5 feet, and 2240mm high which is a bit over 7 feet tall. We decided that we would make a single moving door to fit the gap so we got enough 63mm CLS timber and one whole sheet of 12mm ply and a narrow 270mm wide strip off a second sheet. We screwed this lot together and after checking that its fits, we found a set of hinges and proceeded to put on the first half onto the door.
The-new-Temporary-front-door

The-new-Temporary-front-door


And that ends our week’s work. More next week!!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm