Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today we started on the internal frames. Sooooo much easier not having to fit between existing posts and not as high either.

 Wall between lounge and kitchen
Wall between kitchen and larder 
 All the framing for the laundry done and dusted.

Monday, December 10, 2012


We have been framed!
Well the outer walls of the house have been. That's what we've been doing this week.
 Each section had to be measured cut, assembled, screwed and lifted into position. With this Supra frame system, there are no noggins only studs. Up to 3 studs are fitted to door openings and 2 to windows. Now lifting two studs is pretty easy as is 2 lengths of U channel. Add up to 12 studs and U channel and they become HEAVY.
4 of the openings were full of studs and a large opening for a sliding door the walls are also 3 metres high. To put them in place we had to slide them out onto the verandah and raise them to fit between the roof purlins and the end of the main beams.
We fitted all the other openings and figured that the Feral Fossils needed help with these.
Turns out that when the brawn department ain't up to it the brains have to take over.
So we propped the top of the wall on the ladder (the Transformer - thanks Olwen) and were able to lift the panels and slot them in. Took about an hour to fit them and screw them off.
Not bad for a couple a fast approaching geriatrics!  

 John came out today with some more metal and an inspection. A few adjustments, but he gave us both an elephant stamp.
Tomorrow we start on the internal walls.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Over Head at Last

Thursday morning we began the installation of the main roof.
The first sheet goes down followed by sliding the sarking underneath. The sarking is not for insulation but is a fire retardant material designed to stop embers entering the roof in the event of a bushfire.
Fortunately there was very little wind which made handling the sarking easy. It was however very hot on the roof. Despite the heat, John worked at a very steady pace with Jim and I passing up the sheets .
By late afternoon more than half the roof was covered.

 Friday we completed the roof. By this time our charmed spell of calm weather had ended and a fickle wind blew in fits and starts from several directions. A few times the build resembled 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' with lengths of silver sarking billowing in the wind.
Next Jim and I unloaded some of the steel studs while John fixed the ridge capping.
The day ended with a lesson in stud wall assembly.
The roof is not totally screwed off, but this can be done over a period of time definitely on cloudy days.
With the roof on we can now mark out the internal wall positions and bliss oh bliss work in the shade and not in the blazing sun! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Putting a Roof Over Our Heads

Yesterday it began, to define the shape of our house with the addition of the custom orb roof, which is a fancey way of saying corrugated iron!

The first of the verandah sheets go down.
There are 48 sheets to both verandahs and every one had to be cut down. The Feral Fossil A team was set to work cutting the ends and passing them up to John who only came down from his lofty perch for coffee.
By lunch time the front veranda was done. The back was completed by around 3pm.
 This morning we sat on the back verandah and had breakfast in preparation for the main roof.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A $200 Hole

Back in September our next door neighbour and our neighbour but one, organised with a local farmer to bring in his dozer and do some work. Were we interested?
You betcha!
We had a spot on the driveway earmarked so we set him to work.
 With much roaring, belching of black smoke and clanking the hole grew deeper and the banks higher. Ended up about 2.5 metres deep in the middle. Lindsay said he thought it should hold water as there was plenty of clay, but our enemy was evaporation and seepage.
In order to compact the base and walls, Jim first tried the old ute, but the long wheelbase meant it kept bottoming out. So the trusty Discovery was pressed into service. Jim drove backwards and forwards up the walls until he felt that it was compacted as well as we could manage.
As will anything involving earthmoving equipment the site was raw and rather an afront to the surrounding bush.
A layer of bark chips over the top of the bank and a few tufts of local grass helped to soften it. 
 Then we waited for rain. Our catchment area is a section of drive about 3 metres wide and 100 metres long. This should give us about 300 litres for every mil of rain that falls. First event yielded us a small puddle in the bottom and we stuck a stick at the water's edge and waited to see if it vanished, but a week later and the water level had not dropped very much.
Next rain event and the level rose higher and stayed constant.
This week we have had good rain from thunderstorms and the dam now look like this. The next lot should reach the spillway.

In my mind I see it as a limpid pool with our local blue waterlillies, rushes grasses and other small sprawling plants on the bank. It will be a work in progress for quite a while, but will be a lovely spot eventually.
Not bad for 200 bucks eh? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Nesting Material

After a gap of me being away for 2 weeks, and Jim finishing the verandah decking on his 'pat malone', the next load of materials arrived.
The roofing/cladding, guttering, ridge capping and the flooring. John gave us a lesson on installing the verandah rafters, then on to laying the flooring.
 Got 1/3 of floor laid, glued and screwed by 4pm.
Now, most constructions use 'yellow tongue', a much lighter material, This construction in keeping with the 'industrial strength' theme is in 'red tongue terminator. Much thicker, denser termite resistant, and naturally HEAVIER.
See how the Feral Fossils go tomorrow on our own . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Flooring #2

 Treated pine decking going down on the front verandah
One half of the 'Kelpie Express' on an inspection tour and Gidgee seems to love it. Jarah, on the other hand ain't so sure. Likes the idea, but not the jump.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Flooring #1

All the joist are now in place.
TRIVIA: there are 936 screws holding down the floor joists.
Jim recons that with all the drilling his right arm is beginning to resemble. . .


Sunday, September 2, 2012


Last three main frames finally went up

 And look we have roof holdie-up stuff as well
Next task is to get all the flooring sections down.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almost. . .

Today the balance of the materials for our main frames arrived.
 We had pre-assembled the pitched sections of the roof and the legs needed to be added.
One section was assembled and checked for squareness and used as a template for following frames.
With crane in position, the first lift begins.
Frame #2
Frame #3
 Then we moved to the other end of the house to install the portal frames for the sliding doors and the kitchen window.

It was then that we discovered that the bracket posts that fit into the tops of these portals were 100mm too long. 
Bugga everything comes to a halt until these are replaced.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rain, Brawn & Brains

Jim left last Thursday for another trip to the old house, this time to bring up the glass kiln.
Friday dawned grey, and the cloud became thicker by afternoon with light showers of rain. Not the usual weather we expect here for winter which is normally sunny.
Saturday I was on duty at the local Gallery and by the time I left at lunch time, the rain had started. 
We have about 10k of dirt road before the bitumen and it was graded several months ago. Problem is that there are areas where the clay has been exposed and in a typical centralised power council, distant outlying roads are not really considered that important and no gravel was put on these areas. Negotiated one patch at the top of a hill with my line just a little bit out of shape and a tendency to slide to the low side. Rest of the way in was OK. Turned into our road and slowly made my way down to where we cross a mostly dry creek bed, when away she went. Just slid across the road towards a high bank. The front wheel dropped into a deep rut and the old girl came to a dead stop. Gidgee hit the back of my seat and Jarrah slid off the passenger's seat on his back in the floor well. His pained expression was so funny I had to laugh. So here I was in a gully with no phone coverage, so selected 4wd low and she slowly dragged herself out of the ditch. Ya gotta love a Toyota and an auto, and no panel damage, just lots of mud.
Got a phone call from a neighbor about an hour later, checking to see if I was OK, they had seen my tyre tracks vanish into the gully.
Rained all night and all day Sunday and Monday and it was cold and miserable.
Jim started back Monday, only to run into the rain about the Sunshine Coast, which made the trip longer.  He arrived about 9pm and I met him and drove back in with him. He had a few slides on some of the down hill slopes because of the trailer weight but got home OK.

That takes care of the rain. Now for the brawn and the brains.

Tuesday presented these 2 Feral Fossils with a logistical exercise, namely getting about a ton and a half of kiln, which was loaded with a crane, off the trailer and
into the shed.
Now any brawn we may have had, has long since fled, like total recall and smooth unwrinkled skin, so the only thing we had was brains (and they are not as reliable as they used to be.)
Fortunately the trailer has a tilting mechanism and with the brawn supplied by the bobcat one end was dragged down the ramp onto the ground. The wheels promptly sank into the mud and the rain started again, so the unload was abandoned.
Next day we drove the trailer away and the other end of the kiln settled nicely into the mud.
To line the kiln up with the shed opening required some more bobcat brawn and the brains supplied lengths of timber to slide along, as the wheels only work in one direction. When it was lined up the steel rails were slipped under the wheels, and
With a few nudges by the brawn department, it slid neatly into the shed.
All accomplished with no back strain, barked knuckles, effing and blinding and with brain power still intact.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sky Hook

With the bearers for the main floor area finished, the only thing left to do was put up the verandah bearers. These needed notches cut so that they finished flush with the face of the verandah posts.
Fitting the bearers to the front was not really going to present a problem, however, the back was an entirely different situation as the bearers, which weighed around 40kg need to be raised over our heads. There was no way we were going to try and manhandle them up to that height as we value our aging backs and our heads.
Several cups of tea and much discussion and bing! a light bulb moment.
In the shed we had a venerable vintage endless chain workshop hoist, squirreled away just in case.
Hitched the hook over the top of the pole.
Shackled a heavy strap around the beam and lifting it was a piece of cake.  
 Used the hoist to fit the front bearers and it made the job really easy. Absolute control at all times.

The first of the rear bearers lifted in place and being checked for level.
All back bearers done and dusted by lunchtime.
More tea and lots of patting ourselves on the back.

Friday, May 18, 2012


The sub floor is now temporarily in place.
This was so we could mark all the holes to be drilled. 

Olwen took some holidays and came to help. Here she is marking out one of the beams that needed some cutting, and yes all helpers get the funny hat.
Revealing the latest boy's toy in action.
Now I'm not saying that Jim is a push over for TV tools, but I do have to veto things at times, however this boy's toy more than lives up to it's PR.
Introducing the 'doolsaw'
Cut through the steel beams no problems at all. Much better than a cutting wheel - no sparks. Nothing in steel is now safe as he is often heard to say 'I wonder how the 'doolsaw' would cut that'
OK beams all cut and in place, will finish the holes for the bolts tomorrow.
 The two back rows stay, but all the others will be removed to allow access for the next stage, the erection of the 6 main frames