Saturday, 14 December 2013

Goings on...

As I lay flat in bed with a bad back ( lifting chairs the wrong way believe it or not! ) I thought it a good opportunity to get in an update on a few goings on around the traps here…

On the house front…..

After a day or so on the end of the crow bar and shovel we cleaned out the excess dirt and detritus between the rock footings. This allowed new holes to be dug for the galvanised stirrups for some new bearers. Lets see you eat galvanised iron Mr. Termite. Here they are suspended in the holes ready for concreting.

The rock footings in some sections of the laundry and kitchen was so low to the ground that putting a new bottom plate straight on to it was asking for trouble, both from a termite and dampness perspective.  So instead we boxed up on top of it and poured a concrete footing, complete with some serious half inch thick reinforcing bar.

The result was great and has given us a solid and virtually indestructible footing into which we can fix the bottom plate comprehensively. Trying to do the same on the sub standard old stone footing would have been near on impossible. The blue stuff is termite mat. It is impregnated with a 'termicide' which apparently has a 50 year life. As you're probably getting the gist now, it's all about keeping those little white menaces at bay!

With the concrete footings poured and the stone footings repaired we were then able to started building (  hooray! ). Again the thought of any further attack on the house structure pretty much forced my hand when it came to choosing the material for the frame. The only real guaranteed option for termite proof material is H3 pressure treated timber and so that is what we have chosen. It will all be completely clad both inside and out and so will never be seen.

Rather than using 90 x 35 material which seems to be the norm on most 'new builds,' I went with 90 x 45 on all the studs and noggins and 140 x 45 for the new floor joists and sub frame. It makes for a good solid frame and is also closer to the old 2" thick stud size that was there originally.

When it came to windows, although it would have been nice to have large expanses of glass, it's not in keeping with a house of this age and we had to factor in heat loss in the cold winters here. So we went with smaller openings and placed them symmetrically in the walls. I think it looks a treat.

The ceiling in the old kitchen I estimate was only put in sometime around the 1940's - 50's and was not a particularly good job either. The hanging beams ( which support ceiling joists ) were vastly undersized and attached to the old joists with a combination of old fencing wire, bits of kerosene tin and whatever else they found lying about.

So to make a good job of it, we fitted some decent Douglas Fir ( Oregon to us Aussies, but I've found that we are the only people in the world who call it that… ) beams across the room to pick up the new hanging beams and provide some support for the new ceiling joists.

I love looking at this aspect now. This is where the horrid aluminium sliding door was, but the old stone footings gave some insight that it had alway been filled in as a sort of room, so it's now re-framed as it should be.

On the Chair making front….

The matched pair of Crested Rockers are finally finished and ready for delivery. It's always an interesting time when I deliver a chair I've made. I guess when you put so much work into an object it can be hard to part with. I'm sure they will be appreciated just as much though by their new owners Lishia and Simon. ( Lifting one of the chairs while they were being shot by Ian Hill the photographer yesterday is how I put my back out. No, they're not that heavy, I just lifted the wrong way… )

On the Shop front…..

I'm really proud to announce that we are now official retailers of Gransfor Bruks Axes, adzes, froes and other tools. I'd always envisaged selling their stuff and now to have that as a reality is very exciting. They are already finding their way into a few locals Xmas stockings!
Could there be a better stocking filler?? "Oh darling a Gransfors Axe!" "Just what I've always wanted! Swedish blacksmithing excellence attached to custom Hickory handled perfection….."

I'm also excited to announce that from mid January the shop will be stocking a range of Terry Gordon's HNT Gordon hand planes and spoke shaves and Colen Clenton's marking out tools. I've mentioned them a few times before, but if you haven't seen them before then do yourself a favour and go to their site and have a good look around. Both guys make products that are the best of their kind. Full stop.


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