Monday, April 8, 2013


I've been thinking long and hard about how I'm ever going to be able get the Hebel panels installed up on the gable ends of the garage and dwelling roofs. The section adjoining the vaulted roof over the garage has seemed straightforward for ages, since I can just walk onto and over the roof to this part but then again, the panel sections here are larger (and heavier) than the rest. Too large and heavy for me do manage by myself.

The other gable ends however I can get close to with the bobcat and so I've been mulling over a plan to build a platform I can lift with the forks, which will get me close and high enough to fix the panels into place myself. I tested this theory last weekend and discovered that yes, I can get the forks that high and even at the east side of the dwelling where the site cuts into the hill, I can still get the bobcat close enough (although whether or not it will be stable enough there I'm not yet sure).

So with a rough plan in mind, on Friday morning I set about throwing together a rough pallet of sorts which I can lift up to the gable ends, and a scaffold which I can prop underneath to ensure that the weight of the Hebel and I at full reach don't threaten to overbalance the bobcat.  That, and the hydraulics on the machine do leak a little so the lift arm does sink slowly over time.

So this is what I've come up with:

Access to the platform is pretty straightforward - I can easily climb up the back of the bobcat, over the engine and onto the roof and then up onto the platform. It's surprisingly stable and solid too - without the props in place it definitely felt a little hairy, but propped I can jump up and down quite heavily and it doesn't flinch. It should easily take my weight and that of the Hebel quite safely.

The best part is that with this system I can reach the most troublesome gable end at the east end of the dwelling. I really didn't know how I was going to get up there with 60kg of Hebel, but this solution makes it pretty easy. I don't have to lift anything! :)

(I do have to make sure the handbrake works in the bobcat, though...)

So with that little problem solved, I set about measuring and cutting the Hebel to size. With the roof pitched at a perfect 15ยบ I've mercifully been able to take one measurement (the distance from the peak of the gable to 10mm above the lower panels to allow for a control joint) and extrapolate out from there to each side. This has meant that I've been able to take four measurements in total, and cut all 52 gable panels in advance.

Wow. I hadn't counted them up until just then - 52 panel sections! No wonder it took nearly two full days...!

That probably explains why I'm thoroughly sick of working with the stuff, too...

Anyway, with all my Hebel cut (which was all I had really planned to get done this weekend in any case) I agreed to take a look at my neighbour Craig's track with a view to hauling the bobcat over there to clean it up enough that our Hiluxes could traverse it. Sadly when the DSE pushed the track down to the creek during the recent fires they made a return visit to "return it to nature" so-to-speak and they've effectively destroyed it, so much so that I wouldn't even be able to get the bobcat close, let alone clean it up. Craig's going to have to subcontract a dozer driver with a big machine, methinks.

While I was there though I did lend a hand to help construct a landing platform for a flying fox (or zip line, in American) which Craig is installing for his kids. A 60 metre flying fox, mind you - with brakes. Craig doesn't do things by halves! :)

(As an aside - while we were there, Ewan had a go on the kids' trail bikes and is now bitten by the bug, rather badly. I had a go too and I have to admit, it's great fun and so I can see a slightly-expensive new hobby in the making...)

But I digress.

In return for my help with the landing platform, Craig lent me a hand with my Hebel and in an hour or so on Sunday we managed to get the heaviest of the gable panels installed above the garage roof.

So that's the most difficult of the remaining Hebel all done! Thanks Craig!!

With that bonus, I can see myself actually getting the rest of the gables done next weekend!

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