• 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. 😀
  • Panel moving…
    In order to get my driveway back, I needed to move all these ridiculously long panels down to the house. Since the shorter ones were ~10m (and therefore 100kg), and the longer ones 11.5m (115kg!) I needed something more intelligent than just “get more people and make them hate me by lifting heavy things.” Cue the development of Paul’s Patended Panel Perambulator: With the help of a set of wheels and an axle from Bunnings and various bits of timber from my stash, I threw…Continue Reading “Panel moving…”
  • ….and my driveway disappears again
    Hello panels, goodbye driveway. A few mates are coming past tomorrow morning to help get these down to the house and lay them out ready for wiring.
  • Roof lifting day, from the air
    Nearmap randomly happened to be flying an update on the day we raised the first third of the house roof: The first two angled panels are up, and it looks like we’re standing around discussing how to get the third one up. 🙂
  • Ross’s house
    The random guy who came past my build and picked that I was doing strawbale on the basis of my bottom ladders, had his own strawbale house and garden on Gardening Australia over the weekend: https://iview.abc.net.au/show/gardening-australia/series/32/video/RF2005V005S00 Starting around 16:30.
  • Diggy diggy hole
    My marri slabs were finally dry and out of the kiln, so I arranged to get my favourite toy for the weekend: to lift them off the trailer at my end. (the guy with the kiln has a handy tractor-forklift, but I don’t.) A couple of hours of driving and slinging, and they were happily filling my carport: There’s three stacks here – on the right is the main trunk of the tree, which was ~800mm wide, 3600mm long. Hidden behind the slab standing up…Continue Reading “Diggy diggy hole”
  • Chopping up some timber…
    Waiting for the second half of my roof panels to come in, so I got started framing the outer walls in the half that was already roofed. First was the super exciting waterproofing layer on the upstand, in between rainy days: then putting together the bottom ladders, rolling up lots of straps and stashing them under the ladders, bolting the whole thing down. All very fun stuff. 🙂 The slightly more interesting activity was framing the windows. I wanted to make the window bucks a…Continue Reading “Chopping up some timber…”
  • Darned kids…
    ….get off my lawn!
  • House Roof, Part 1
    Day 1 Righto, time to levitate some of the panels currently taking up my entire house slab, and put them somewhere useful. Lined up a lift, an extra-tall ladder and a bunch of friends & family, and we set to work on Saturday morning. My sparkie turned up for the day as well – partly to make sure we didn’t mess up any wiring, but also just to see a panel roof get put together. First cab off the rank was the three weird-shaped panels…Continue Reading “House Roof, Part 1”
  • Windows
    Meanwhile, my shed windows arrived! The frames and glass units came separately, which I wasn’t expecting and complicated picking it all up, but turned out to be a good thing since each frame weighed about 25kg, and the glass another 20kg. Installation turned out to be quite easy – put each frame in place and wedged it, run expanding foam around the gap, wait for it to dry and…voila. The glass went in quite easily, once we worked out how to get the beads off…Continue Reading “Windows”
  • House frame – steelwork
    The last main bit of the house frame was the steel post in the corner of the living room windows, and the steel beams to support the windows. This hit a small snag when I checked one of the brackets my fabricators put together: So had to scoot up to their factory and get them to fix them up post-haste. 🙂 The ever-present hoist came out to help position the post which, unsurprisingly, was a tad heavier than the other timber ones, and had to…Continue Reading “House frame – steelwork”
  • House roof – pre-wiring
    My sparkie had some….residual unhappiness….about wiring the house roof panels – I’d avoided this in the shed by simply not having any lights mounted in the roof panels. Apparently in the past when working with SIPs he’d done the wiring as the panels were being put up, which seems…overly difficult, and would also slow down the install significantly as you muck around with each panel (all while working up ladders, of course). So out came my 3d model to work out where each light needed…Continue Reading “House roof – pre-wiring”
  • More inside rendering
    Got the first coat onto three walls of the inside of the shed over the last few days: The last few sessions I’ve been doing 4 or 5 mixer loads, rather than 8-9, and that seems to be keeping the worst of the lime burns at bay – not sure whether I get careless as I get tired, or if it’s just a gradual buildup of lime over time. One change I did make was to tweak the order of mixing each batch to put…Continue Reading “More inside rendering”
  • House roof panels
    Where did my slab go? I’m sure it was here earlier, but now there’s just piles of SIPs all over the place. I’ve arranged for the house panels to come in in two deliveries, because I simply don’t have enough room to store them all on the slab given that I have to lay a fair few of them out to be wired.
  • A door!
    Fun afternoon tweaking the door frame for the wet-area access from the east side of the shed, to fit a door I found in a salvage yard – I figured having some glass in this door would be nice, to add light to the wet area. Of course I then managed to leave the doors leaning against a post on a windy day, the wind blew them over and put a door handle through one of the panes. I’ll have to get that replaced at…Continue Reading “A door!”
  • Inside rendering
    Short, fast and tough bit of rendering, working on the inside back wall of the shed. Didn’t take us very long, but a combination of hot weather, me changing my mix ratios and getting render clumped up in the mixer, sweat and clumsiness meant I clobbered my arm a bit with lime burns. Nice to get a serious bit of internal wall done though: Meanwhile the sparkies were finishing off the switchboards ready for the meter to be moved into its final home on the…Continue Reading “Inside rendering”
  • ‘Cram’ walling
    Something I’d wanted to experiment with was cram-walling – the unofficial name for internal straw walls, with wire mesh stretched over the stud frame, the void filled with loose straw and then rendered. There’s only one internal wall on the shed, between the dusty room and the wet area, which seemed like a good excuse to try this method out. We’d put a simple stud frame up a couple of weeks ago, in between other tasks: So I stretched some small-diameter chicken wire over this…Continue Reading “‘Cram’ walling”
  • Almost done lifting things…
    The last three beams up, alongside the hallway and a small one over the study. There’s a bit of steel framing to go around the big windows on the NW corner of the living room, but the roof framing is more or less complete.
  • Lifting smaller beams
    With the big stuff done, and the genie lift returned, we did some more smaller beams by hand. This was actually pretty easy – we could just lift one end into the bracket, then hoik the other end up using a platform ladder. The main advantage of the house over the shed is that the beams are shorter, often smaller and therefore very much lighter. Of course there’s more of them…. Got the front door, entrance, kitchen wall, west wall and east wall beams in…Continue Reading “Lifting smaller beams”
  • More lifting
    Had the lift for the rest of the weekend, so hoisted up the other big beam – a 270×45, 7.5m long one that spans across the kitchen, and its companion that has the cross-bracing to hold it upright. This was the only time I’d done any lifting alone – had to slow down a LOT and do the lifts more carefully, without having someone on the lift and someone to steer the beam, but got it done with no mishaps.
  • Lifting day
    Somewhat brutal day with a genie lift, lots of bonus hands and a 37° forecast. Started with lifting and cross-bracing the angled beam in the NW corner, to hold the ridge beam post upright. Then had to bring up the two beams on the north side of the living room, because they support a short beam that butts into the side of one of them. The ridge beam then butts into that short beam. The first three went up pretty easily. The ridge beam turned…Continue Reading “Lifting day”
  • Prepping for lifting day
    Moved my stack of random-length LVLs down to the slab and arranged them kinda in the right spots. Promptly discovered a few that were the wrong length, because “Measure Once Cut Twice” is totally a thing. Managed to rectify it all, with a generous application of maths and coffee, so it’s all good. Put up the beams on the south side because, again, they’re level and I know how high they should be. Put together the main gable beam, ready to be lifted tomorrow when…Continue Reading “Prepping for lifting day”
  • Cutting day
    Sorted through my big stack of LVLs, and made them into a weirdly-shaped stack of LVLs. Go me. It was ridiculously hot again today, but tolerable under the carport roof.
  • More posts and a couple of beams
    Put together the north wall of the study/second bedroom, because I had all the bits I needed and it’s a nice level wall (which is unusual on the house). Cut a couple of beams, which slotted nicely into place, and added a small angled one because it meant I could cross-brace the frame. The little piece up the far end isn’t a beam – it’s just a piece of wood to rest the actual beam to its left on, while I lifted the other end…Continue Reading “More posts and a couple of beams”
  • Christmas presents
    My standard response to “what would you like for Christmas?” has been “a house” (in the hope that someone would magically build mine while I wasn’t looking? 🙂 ) So my sister got hold of our lego collection from when we were young, and did just that:
  • Posts, but upright
    Another early start to beat the ludicrous heat – hopefully the neighbours were already awake at 7am. 🙂 Around the slab putting the posts I’d prepped yesterday in place, and bolting them in. This should give me a bit of a base for installing the rest of them, and the beams at the same time, without anything flapping around loose. Lots more column prep to do, including the much more tedious slots for the blade supports. It’s interesting to see the roof line take shape,…Continue Reading “Posts, but upright”