Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Nah, it won't roll"

Famous last words.

I didn't get my expected timber delivery yesterday, but when I called Bowen's to remind them that I'm waiting I was promised delivery this morning, and sure enough by about 11:00 the truck arrived carrying my last pack of framing pine, the LVL rafters for the roof and the OBHW roofing battens.

(That reminds me, I should explain the BAL-FZ roofing detail .. I'll do that in another post).

Anyway, Peter and his crew had arrived just before the truck to look at helping with the post & beam frames, or at least to lend some wisdom into how best to attack the job. As it turns out the logs I've felled are "too straight to cut up for posts" so we're going to look at using a log at a neighbours place half way down the hill, which fell in a storm last year. We'll attempt to fetch that on Friday...

But I digress.

Usually when Bowen's have delivered my timber orders they've sent them on tipper tray trucks, which makes unloading pretty straightforward - it just slides off the back. This time however, they sent a fixed tray with no crane, and although I have the bobcat here it doesn't have fork tynes nor would it be strong enough to lift whole packs of timber in any case. So that left us with the sole option of rolling the timber off the side of the truck, which actually isn't all that uncommon as it happens.

Anyway, Peter set up my brickie's trestle planks as a ramp off the side of the truck to slide the timber off, rather than just dropping it onto the slab risking damage to either the timber, the slab, or both. The driver reckoned he does this all the time, and "it'll just slide down, mate".

Famous. Last. Words.

Not only did the pack not slide off as promised, as it rolled to a rest it took my wall framing with it!

Thankfully no permanent damage was done -- in fact, aside from pushing the bottom plate off the slab, no damage was done at all; the bracing and props did their jobs admirably. Once we levered the timber back with a crowbar, we tapped the wall frames back into place with the sledgehammer and you'd never know anything happened.  Had I already fixed the frames to the slab however...

So with that little adventure behind us I set about to frame up the next wall sections. However, before I could do that I needed to move the "too straight" log as I'd parked it in the corner of the garage out of the way.. which it has been until now, except it's now decidedly in the way.

With Peter and gang having gone, I was left to move it myself. I'm sure I've said this before, but damn if there isn't a job which can't be done with a ratchet strap, I don't know about it. Using a bottle jack I lifted one end of the log up to towbar height, and strapped it up to the Hilux. Then, using a little log round under the back of the log, I just eased forward and rolled it to its new and very temporary home. Easy peasy! :)

So with the log out of the way, I could get to work on the next frame section. With all the timbers already cut yesterday, this went pretty smoothly although being at the end of a pack of timber, I tend to find that many of the lengths have twist or bow in them. The 4.8m top and bottom plates for this section were no exception, but again it's ratchet straps to the rescue.

Seriously, I'd like to meet the inventor of these things and buy him a beer!

Looping the straps over the top and bottom plates and cinching them up tight, I could nail up the frame perfectly straight.

But not quite perfectly square, as it happened.

This isn't all that uncommon - I measure the diagonals of each frame as I assemble them, and usually I need to tap it square before temporarily bracing it to hold position. On some occasions however (like this one) a tap isn't enough, and so again I turn to the ratchet straps. With a block temporarily nailed to the top and bottom plates at opposing corners I simply join two straps together, loop them over the diagonal and tighten them up until the frame is perfectly square. I don't know what I'd do without these things :)

One square frame and a lift later, and voila!

Three more wall sections to go. It looks like I'm not going to get my post & beams up this week after all, as I need to make a dash to Myrtleford (home to the Carter Holt Harvey mill ;) ) on Friday to pick up a stack of roofing ply. Which reminds me.. BAL-FZ roofing.

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