Sunday, 30 March 2014

More Preparation. Wood, Ashlar & Cutting Corners

March 30th. I've been getting ready to build in lots of areas.

The cover has come off the limecrete slab and around 20 bales of damp straw fluff removed. All looks OK underneath

I found a source of "SmartPly" OSB, reckoned to be preferable to the standard grade on account of the lower formaldehyde content (Meyer Ltd). I have 16 sheets in the dome for cutting, and 20 under cover for use as the roof deck later.

Cutting corners!

But not in the metaphorical sense. I have been very carefully cutting out square corners from SmartPly sheets to form the corners of the wall plate. Eight of these:

And quite a lot of these straight section, all 450mm wide

It's been very useful having plenty of trestles to support sheets whilst cutting. I made 6 of these from scrap wood during the winter.

Lots of wood arriving: - 

It was a day's work to get the wood up the garden near the site and under cover. Quite a big pile outside......

......and plenty more inside:

Also taking up a lot of time over the last couple of weeks has been the brickwork layout for the stem wall. My layout for the limecrete base last year was not very good, producing a not entirely rectangular base. The diagonals are out by 8cm. I have put up new corner guides for the stem wall that are rectangular, but as a result of the earlier error, they don't sit exactly over the base. I have decided that in the long run, this will be better than having the whole building out. I will have to cover up the foot of the stem wall with plants so it doesn't look too odd; it's a 2cm underhang or overhang at the corners.

I've also been doing detailed planning of the ashlar - the brick corners and pillars that are used in flint walls. 

I've built each one up with dry bricks, photographed it course by course, and produced a plan 

I felt the need to do this because it gives me one thing less to think about when I am laying the bricks.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Completing the Bale Shelter

March 15th. Today is the official start of the building season. It's still a little early for any lime-based bricklaying, but time to get on with some carpentry.

And before I do any large-scale carpentry I am going to need an outdoor store. Time to get my giant tarp out and cover the new dome.

I was going to do this job today, Saturday, but the forecast was a little breezy and I didn't fancy handling 100 sq metres of tarpaulin balanced on a ladder.  But a couple of days ago the forecast was just perfect:

Practically the whole UK was isobar-free. It was a cold night, a foggy morning and then warm sunshine without a breath of wind

The tarp measures 12m x 8m and the dome has a diameter of 7 metres and a height of 3.5m.  I've prepared the tarp with some extra eyelets along one of its long edges. So: chuck it over, and  get the mid-point of the prepared long edge lined up on the large base triangle that I have in mind for the entrance.

Lace up the edge to the struts with shock cord

Tie a couple of bricks on the opposite edge to keep the midline of the tarp under tension,

Work round the base of the dome, tucking the tarp under the bottom struts

Roll up the tarp to make it look a bit tidier; tack down some geotex fabric over the hubs to give the tarp some protection from the edges.

That's it! I've also put some ground pegs along the base, and four stakes inside with tie-downs on the hubs. It's flapping a bit in the breeze today (Saturday) so I plan to make a web or net to go over the top tomorrow, and keep the folds in place.