• More internal walls
    A couple of brutally hot days post-Christmas, with one spent cladding the plant room and pantry (with plasterboard, because these rooms are either not-required-to-be-pretty (plant room) or liberally-covered-in-cupboards (pantry), both of which lend themselves to getting the job done fast rather than mucking about with straw walls. Quite hard to get photos of the pantry, since it’s a small L-shaped room: and after another day of stuffing we had the kitchen wall and bathroom/hallway walls prepped: This kitchen wall was another hybrid mesh/villaboard wall, to…Continue Reading “More internal walls”
  • Dog fencing
    Rather warm day getting the dog fence started, to keep the muppet where he should be. I’d acquired a bunch of 2nd-hand pool fencing from a local freecycling group, and bought a bundle of pine logs, and spent a rough day with a post-holer getting everything in place and concreted. The pool fencing actually turned out to be almost perfect – worked around from the neighbour’s building on the boundary to the shed’s lower retaining wall, and it all fitted in very nicely around the…Continue Reading “Dog fencing”
  • And yet another door…
    Put together the plant room doors, just to get the hole closed up. These aren’t pretty by any means – timber frame, cement sheet cladding: ….but they’re solid enough and will get the job done. Also got some more internal wall-stuffing done, now that the plumbing and electrical is done. The 2nd bedroom is now closed up, and the laundry is basically done as well. I used a sheet of villaboard as the backing for the laundry area: to make it easier to mount cupboards…Continue Reading “And yet another door…”
  • Some more doors
    Had some extra hands today, with another potential builder offering some labour in return for picking my brain about things. We got rid of a bit of rendering, but the cement mixer decided to split its drive belt (get a spare drive belt before you need one, people!) so I took advantage of the bonus hands to install the front and laundry doors. The frames themselves were pretty simple, being more or less rectangular, but hanging the door sashes was quite entertaining. Figured it was…Continue Reading “Some more doors”
  • Solar panel installation, take 1
    The last job before I could close up and stuff the remainder of the internal walls was to install the solar panels – these were slated for the north-facing roof over the 2nd bedroom and study, and had to be cabled over to the switchboard on the south side of the house. I really want to avoid having any penetrations through the roof if I can (because penetrations always leak eventually) so I had a couple of complicated options for the installers to mull over….Continue Reading “Solar panel installation, take 1”
  • Internal plumbing
    The plumbers descended on the block today, for the first time since….I think it was when they did the sewer run down around the back of the house, which was a while ago. It’s changed a bit since then. I had a few jobs for them today, which they thought might take them more than a day: install the shed toilet & sink hook up the meter to the main supply pipe run all of the internal plumbing in the house walls, in aid of…Continue Reading “Internal plumbing”
  • Rendering: 2nd coat, inside
    I’ve also been chipping away at the inside 2nd coat – keeping on with my 5-6 mixer loads/day and getting some other stuff done along the way. The dog has been doing an excellent job of supervision: ….but not otherwise contributing much. Did this wall over a couple of sessions, because the window reveals are tedious as heck. This funny 105° corner (the “Architect’s Folly”) was interesting as well – I needed to build it out a LOT, because baling a 105° corner is almost…Continue Reading “Rendering: 2nd coat, inside”
  • Windows!
    Been installing windows, with a mate for extra hands and good ideas, over the last couple of weekends. It’s a surprisingly fiddly process – lots of checking levels, verticals and straightness in lots of different directions, and mucking about with shims to keep everything straight: Drill and countersink holes in the frame for screws Put window in wall (this is where you really need the extra person, to hold it up while you muck around) and get it straight and upright Screw lowest screw in…Continue Reading “Windows!”
  • Rendering: House, outside, second coat
    With the shed(s) dealt with and the ATU online, next on the list was a whole pile of rendering (yay!) before I put the windows in the house. Realistically I can do the windows at any point, but I figured it’d be easier if I got rid of a lot of rendering first – both because it means less mess to clean off the windows afterwards and it’s easier to get barrows of render inside the house if there isn’t pesky things like doors in…Continue Reading “Rendering: House, outside, second coat”
  • ATU online!
    In the end it got done a day early – ATU guy dropped past yesterday to run the piping, since the weather today was garbage. Council guy then rang him to reschedule, and they ended up sorting the paperwork out that afternoon. In the end I got to keep both my ruins and my little tree behind the house: so I’m pretty happy with that. Now all I need is…..everything upstream of it. 🙂
  • More shed demolition (and cleanup)
    Destroyed the rest of the framework with the recipro and then attacked the slab. The left side of the shed had a concrete floor which I was reasonably sure had been badly done – it was on a significant slope, and one part had split off and fallen further down the hill – but the first job was to work out how big a job it was going to be. Attacked it a bit with my big hammer drill and a chisel bit, but that…Continue Reading “More shed demolition (and cleanup)”
  • Shed demolition
    With the new shed locked up, I could get started on….knocking down the old shed! Because apparently you CAN have too many sheds? At least you can if you ask the council. The old shed is a bit of an abomination – a mixture of kinda-properly built, home-built, wired for power and lights with some of it done well (conduit, circuit breakers etc) and some of it with wires stapled to rafters. (it was powered from the block next door, and they cut that off….I…Continue Reading “Shed demolition”
  • Shed doors
    It’s been a few weeks, but that’s because I wanted to do this in one post rather than talking about woodwork all the time which is totally off-topic for a strawbale blog. 😉 So the original plan for the shed was to do normal boring typical roller doors because…it’s a shed. You have roller doors. *shrug* At some point along the way I thought maybe it’d be cool to build barn-style doors myself….and then a couple of days later a timber auction popped up with…Continue Reading “Shed doors”
  • More window photos
    The installers had finished the job in my absence, so there was some nice finished windows when I got there: This all looks very….wait, what’s this? FFS. This opening has been closed for like 2 days and already I’ve trapped a bloody idiot pigeon! This twit was sitting on the window winder, flapping madly at the window every so often and generally getting very confused that his little pigeon highway was closed. Thankfully he was willing to let me pick him up and show him…Continue Reading “More window photos”
  • First (house) windows
    I’d decided to get the big stacker doors, and the highlight windows, in the living room corner installed by the manufactures because…..well, basically because the thought of doing them myself was a little too daunting. I think that was the right call – installing windows is easy enough, but watching the guys do the doors was a bit eye-opening, with their leveling and straightening in all three dimensions. I’d made a mistake with the order for these sections – I was specifying everything 10mm smaller…Continue Reading “First (house) windows”
  • Making sawdust!
    For something different – finally got to use my machines! Started work on the main doors for the shed, for which I’d bought a big load of rough-sawn marri at an auction a while back. I’d been wanting to get started on this for a while, but I really needed my machines to get into it because the first step to dealing with rough timber is milling it to be straight and square….for which ‘the monster’ is perfect. Found 6 straightish lengths, milled them down…Continue Reading “Making sawdust!”
  • Window delivery
    So the living room is kinda cluttered now: Will take me a while to sort out this mess. 🙂
  • Sorting out the shed (and the container)
    After giving up on getting my sea container delivered, I hired a moving van for a day and did three trips from the container yard to the shed moving all of my timber. *cries* My main racks, which started off looking like this: …ended up looking more like this: Then I went to put my last section of rack up in the carport (cos there’s no room in the shed!) and found it was too big. So I had to unload an entire rack (the…Continue Reading “Sorting out the shed (and the container)”
  • Inside rendering!
    Finally time to start rendering the inside of the house! Knocked off a couple of sections of the living room: and the little bit over the front door, which I’d finally gotten around to meshing yesterday. I swear I’d mowed this wall a couple of times, but I probably should have mowed it again before starting, it was a little fluffy. Spent a bit more time doing dropsheets than I did on the shed, and pulled them out as part of cleanup (rather than letting…Continue Reading “Inside rendering!”
  • Yet another wet day
    ….but at least they’re getting farther apart, with some glimmerings of sunshine in between. Did some more wall-stuffing: …while the dog looked on, quite unimpressed with the whole thing:
  • Framing with lasers
    I keep finding new ways to abuse this laser, it’s the BEST toy. I wanted to put a left-over piece of LVL into a wall to mount a sliding door to (if it’s like the rest of the things I build, it’s going to be a bloody heavy door…), but I wasn’t confident of getting it level if I did my usual technique of making up the piece of wall flat on the ground and then raising it. Next-best plan was to make up the…Continue Reading “Framing with lasers”
  • Container woes
    I’ve had a 20′ sea container full of my woodworking gear and timber collection gathering dust in a container yard for the last couple of years. With the interior of the shed done it was time to finally get it delivered and start filling the shed with fun stuff. Me: Hello, please can I have my container delivered to this address?Container People: Sure, here’s an invoice.*pays*CP, day before delivery: BTW, we actually asked our truck drivers and they said no we won’t deliver it. Your…Continue Reading “Container woes”
  • Cram walling
    Trying my hand at cram-walling again – I really like the idea of having all the walls rendered, rather than a mix of render and conventional smooth gyprock. Armed with my sister and a big roll of chicken wire, got stuck into the wall between the master bedroom and the hallway/laundry. Quickly discovered an unexpected benefit of 450mm stud spacing – you can stretch chicken wire along the wall, then go along and drop single biscuits between the studs. A bit of massaging and it…Continue Reading “Cram walling”
  • Shed rendering, 2nd coat outside
    A couple more sessions with R from down the road – he decided that weekends should be spent in his own garden (and fair enough too!), but he could drop past on his way home from work and render until dark. Tried it out to great effect one afternoon and got the other half of the front of the shed done – the only downside was that with me doing high stuff and R on the ground, my ladder always seemed to be bloody inconvenient….Continue Reading “Shed rendering, 2nd coat outside”
  • Random extra window framing
    I’d had this problem rattling around in my head for a fair while – the baseplate at the bottom of the corner post, between the big windows, is much wider than the post itself. Since it sticks up about 30mm above the slab I needed some way to build the post out to be as fat as the baseplate, so the windows have something to fix into. Ended up with a combination of brackets welded to the column, a timber outer face and timber blocks…Continue Reading “Random extra window framing”
  • Shed rendering: final coat, day 3
    Onto the hard stuff – high rendering, final coat. Hard to do this any way other than solo, since I’ve only got one platform ladder tall enough to reach the top of the shed walls. J dropped around for a couple of hours as well, so I got him to finish the last of the low stuff, and then some higher stuff working off the smaller ladder, while I chugged along on the platform ladder. It’s very slow, as I expected, but maybe not as…Continue Reading “Shed rendering: final coat, day 3”
  • More shed rendering!
    …it’s almost like I’m trying to get this finished. Madness. Had R (of strawbale-house-down-the-road) fame dropping in for an afternoon rendering session, so I spent the morning finishing the second coat inside the shed – I just had the horrible annoying bit above the main doors to finish off. Decided it’d be better to work on the front wall of the shed, since the final coat inside stuff is all up ladders and I couldn’t make use of R’s expertise. R rocked up just in…Continue Reading “More shed rendering!”
  • Shed rendering: final coat day 2
    Managed to end up with a small render party for the day, with J & C joining dad and me thanks to a random confluence of holidays and days off. Carried on with our paired setup, with me slapping render on the wall and C following along behind smoothing, while J and dad worked on the window reveals. Steadily worked our way through 4-5 mixer loads, and got nearly the entire shed done to head height.
  • Shed rendering: final coat
    I’ve spent a couple of days experimenting with the final render coat on the inside of the shed – still working towards having it finished inside to get the old shed down. Started out in the wet area – if the shed is practice for the house, the shed’s wet area seems to be the practice for the shed. 🙂 I’ve never done final coat rendering before, so this was a very slow day working out what techniques worked. I’ve settled, for now, on getting…Continue Reading “Shed rendering: final coat”
  • A bit more house rendering
    Taking advantage of a rare fine day in July, I finished off most of the north wall of the living room: and the newly-emptied massive living/dining/kitchen room, with the last of the bales and my stack of framing timber moved down to the (now-sealed) bedrooms:
  • Winter strikes
    It’s extremely wet in Perth. Thankfully the house’s first coat is almost complete, so I’ve been able to dispense with the plastic wrapping – probably a good thing, since the wind was starting to tear it all to shreds anyway. Seemed like a good excuse to do some inside work – we’ve now pretty much finished the internal meshing (at last!). We also cleared out all the recessed rooms of the house – the master and 2nd bedrooms, main bathroom and 2nd toilet – and…Continue Reading “Winter strikes”
  • House roof flashings
    A couple of days’ work to get the roof flashings up on the house. As part of the big update post a few weeks ago, I mentioned the fiddly ‘official’ method of doing the bottom bargeboards to comply with BAL requirements (using two pieces of metal – one with the visible profile, and another behind it cut out to fill the ridge holes in the roof skin). For the house I worked out a way to do it with one piece and achieve the same…Continue Reading “House roof flashings”
  • Random wiring
    Some more fiddly bits – running some of the KNX wiring into the mounting plates (aka. a piece of the ubiquitous plywood) for light switches, and chasing the conduits into the bales. Just used the whipper snipper to chop out the channel up the face of the bales, then there’s another piece of conduit through the bales to the mounting plate.
  • Some more house rendering
    A few more short rendering sessions – back onto the plasterer’s sand for sanity’s sake. Did a few days where I’d work on meshing the inside of the house (and doing other fiddly bits) in the morning, then fire up the mixer for 4-5 loads in the afternoon. This seemed to work pretty well – I could get some useful stuff done, knock off a bit of rendering and not end up exhausted. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 This ended up being seven mixer…Continue Reading “Some more house rendering”
  • Random bits of ceiling
    Rainy Sunday catching up on meshing the inside of the house with a couple of helpers, and ticking off a few random fiddly bits. The main fiddly bit was the weird corner of the ceiling where the two roof planes meet – an old photo from roof installation day: Now that I’ve got interesting things like walls I had a better idea of the context of this join, and decided (with the consensus of everyone) that it would look a lot better if I could…Continue Reading “Random bits of ceiling”
  • House rendering
    Got stuck back into the house rendering – I had a couple of days of decent weather before another storm came through, so I wanted to get the south wall protected. This wall cops a lot of water from rain coming off the roof and bouncing off the retaining wall on that side. I’ve had it covered in plastic for a fair while, but my plastic is all starting to degrade and I’d rather protect it with render. Had another friend foolishly express interest in…Continue Reading “House rendering”
  • 2nd coat, shed (inside) almost complete
    Another couple of days’ worth of rendering, with some help from friends & family, and the second coat on the inside of the shed is almost complete.
  • 2nd coat, shed
    More second-coat rendering on the shed over the long weekend, with one day devoted to helping my sister plant trees, just for something different. Starting to refine my technique a bit – the first day we mostly just added a layer of render, but I’m paying more attention to adding more in the low spots and less in the high spots, and there are plenty of both in the shed walls. I doubt I’ll get them to perfectly-flat, and I don’t think I want to,…Continue Reading “2nd coat, shed”
  • Different rendering!
    Started work on the second coat of render on the shed, just for something completely different. One of my critical paths (other than “finish the damn house”) is to get the shed in a usable state. The sequence goes something like Finish* rendering the shed (* – kinda) Retrieve my sea container and all of my woodworking gear to help make the interior of the house Pull everything worth saving out of the old shed Dismantle the old shed Use the old shed’s area as…Continue Reading “Different rendering!”
  • Omnibus update 🙂
    Oops – I thought it had been 2-3 weeks since I’d posted, but it’s actually more like 6 weeks. Apologies to my legions of fans! I haven’t been idle, just doing a lot of boring fiddly stuff that doesn’t make for compelling content. Meshing Meshing, meshing and so much more meshing. I didn’t appreciate how easy the shed was with its lack of windows and doors. Extra bits of random framing, over doors etc: Big rolls of narrow strips of mesh: I made these rolls…Continue Reading “Omnibus update :)”
  • More fiddly baling
    Spent the day doing more fiddly triangular sections – the top of the western wall, and the top of the north wall of the living room (the four-column wall I baled the other day). It’s starting to look very house-shaped. The dog, however, is still bored:
  • A bit of high baling, and a stud frame…
    Baled the fiddly triangular bits at the east end of the house, which I think is my least-favourite part of baling. Lots of part bales, trimming bales down to fit in awkward corners, and all while going up and down ladders a lot. Then moved onto putting up the stud wall frames for part of the plant room – I’ve got my sparkies coming out next week to get the house sub-board started, so they need something to put the board on. Wasn’t sure how…Continue Reading “A bit of high baling, and a stud frame…”
  • Some more baling
    With the rain going away again, I could get stuck into the last wall to be baled – an 8.5m wall, 3.7m high at its tallest (fading down to 3.3m thanks to my favourite people and their fancy starts…. 🙂 ) with three tall windows to make life interesting and a funny little 105° bend at the end. The windows split the wall up into four columns, with one funny little 400mm-wide one between two windows. The two wider columns went up pretty easily, I’m…Continue Reading “Some more baling”
  • Random rainy day
    Too much rain around today to consider baling (especially on one of the most exposed walls), so we did other stuff. I hauled the remainder of the bales down to the house: …which meant that, for the first time, I could actually see the full extent of the shed. I haven’t actually seen the floor of the main room since we put the roof on, because a couple of days later all 800+ bales arrived and they’ve been there ever since. So the bales got…Continue Reading “Random rainy day”
  • House Baling, Day 3
    Slightly random day – I put a post up on FB inviting any of my friends who were interested, to drop by and see what this whole baling thing was about. So I expected lots of talking and not a huge amount of work. 🙂 Got stuck into the section of wall between the front door and the big windows – nice simple wall with one window and a corner (a 90° corner! What a luxury! *glares at architects* 🙂 ), but quite a contrast…Continue Reading “House Baling, Day 3”
  • House baling, day 2
    Another day with my two favourite workers – the weather has been very nice for the last week, but there’s apparently a cyclone on the horizon(!?) which might make life interesting. We did the same technique as before – everyone took a section and got stuck in. Seems to work really well with a small team, everyone gets to know their section and no one gets in each others’ way. So we plugged away happily and….suddenly the south wall was done all the way around…Continue Reading “House baling, day 2”
  • House: Baling day 1
    Had a couple of willing workers for the last day of the Easter LWE, so we made a start on baling the house – it was definitely worth delaying the ‘public’ baling by a week, I’m a lot more prepared than I would have been if I’d rushed it. Both of my helpers had worked on the shed, so we all picked a section and got stuck in. I’d expected to get very little done today; the shed had lots of large sections of straight…Continue Reading “House: Baling day 1”
  • Prepping for baling, and swearing at my architects…
    A couple of days working on the second half of the framing, now that I have a roof to work under. Bottom ladder went together pretty easily, albeit with some….interesting….arrangements around the 15° bend, and and the recessed section of wall at the pantry. Much muttered commentary about architects and their fancy ideas…. 😉 Very glad I’d dragged out my big drop saw for this – and conveniently the saw has a preset notch at 15° which made it much easier to flick back and…Continue Reading “Prepping for baling, and swearing at my architects…”
  • Roofing weekend
    Dragged together a group of family & friends to do the last big lifting task – getting the rest of the roof up. Hired two hoists this time – with some 11.5m panels, having two panels to control tilt, direction and stability seemed like a very good idea. Saturday I’d kinda planned this to be more of a ‘prep’ day – most of my big burly mates were lined up for Sunday, and I wasn’t confident we could do the final tilt-and-drop movement to lock…Continue Reading “Roofing weekend”
  • All the trolley things
    Have giant trolley, will repurpose to carry anything else you need to move: It’s now a haycart. 😀