Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finally, a day according to plan!

After an early night in preparation for an even earlier morning, I got stuck into the wall around 7am once it was light enough to see what I was doing.

First job was to drag King Kompressor out of the container into the cool daytime air, in order to prevent a repeat of last week’s performance (or lack thereof).

Wow, this thing is heavy!! I had to squeeze the bobcat into the space in front of the container and pop a vein manhandling it onto the bucket, in order to get it out. I really, really must put some wheels on this thing…

With that done I got stuck into mixing the first batch of the day. With the lessons of last week fresh in my mind I made up a full cubic metre and wet the mix down slightly more than I otherwise would, in order that it last a few hours without drying out too much. I fired up the compressor and started ramming around 8:15am.

A little over an hour, and one course of rammed earth later Coda went off his nut at the approaching car - last week with John helping he mentioned that another resident on the mountain, a young guy named Scotty (who I’d met last year when the creek flooded and trapped us on the hill) was interested in building and would like to see what we’re doing. I’d suggested that he’s welcome to come by, and so here he was.

Hospitality slowed things down for a little while as I explained everything which was going on, but after a coffee I got stuck back into it with Scotty having a go on the rammer.

So far, King Kompressor behaved himself :)

Around 11:30, John came trundling down the hill to lend another hand. Bloody legend, this man is!! Scotty left around midday, and then between the two of us we worked our way up the wall steadily, reaching the top of the fourth course of forms in what must be record time, by around 4pm. With one more lift of forms to go, it looked like we might even get finished in the daylight for once!

Well, almost.

We hit 2.52m just after darkness set in around 5:45pm, then spent the next hour or so stripping the forms and packing up to the light of the Hilux and (showing my improved  preparedness) a 500W floodlight :)

Aside for a light shower mid-afternoon, pretty much nothing went wrong today! The compressor ran all day without a hitch (aside from running out of fuel once, which gave me a minor coronary). We had one clamping bolt come a little loose at one stage, but we caught it fairly quickly before any damage could be done.

The result. From this:

to this, in the space of around 11 hours:

To say I’m happy with this result is a minor understatement :) This panel is easily the best so far, with very little tear-out and no serious flaws. At one stage (I think it was the second batch) the mix was a little too damp which is currently visible in the surface finish as a slightly “waxy” appearance, but as it dries I’m confident this will disappear. The too-damp mix also stuck to the forms a little bit in places, so it might pay to lightly wipe them down with oil (apparently engine oil is the go) next time as a preventative.

This is my favourite bit, however:

This is the rebate for the lintel above the doorway, which was formed by the big lump of Kauri pine that I moulded up a few weeks ago. The two-part design worked absolutely brilliantly, with the forms coming off easily and the pine coming apart and out of the wall without the slightest hint of tear-out. The edges of this rebate are so perfect.. it’s just such a shame that they’ll never be seen. Once the opposing panel is rammed and the lintel is installed, the rebate will get filled in :(

No comments:

Post a Comment