Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Weeks 1 & 2 - The weeks of 'ish'and 'smidge'

It's early week 3 and I'm reminiscing about weeks 1 & 2. Things are looking pretty on top! Apart from Pentiddy sitting in a soggy cloud at present, we look on schedule and the prospect of the frame being raised in the next 5 weeks is pretty hopeful. 
So the build started on the Spring Equinox. Hopefully an evening celebration with camp fire and a tipple of home brewed wine, as well as a change in breakfast routine – from hot porridge to raw breakfast – went some way to gleaning a wee bit of crafty luck for the coming months. 

The framing bed
Daniel using the jumping jack

Measuring out & laying the foundation pads on sharp sand

With the framing bed already set up on site, work began by checking measurements and laying out the granite stone pads for the frame to sit on. A jumping jack was hired to compact the ground where the pads would be placed. A whole array of site surveying tools were used to try and ascertain whether the pads were placed properly. This included a recycled laser level Anthony had taken from a discarded tool and restored, and a Cowly site level. Neither provided the accuracy required and we eventually hired an optical site level which, fingers crossed, worked a treat. We'll find out on raising day.

Duncan using the laser spirit level to produce a straight line across the roundwood timber to create a horizontal line for the chissel lines

Discussion and contemplation was pretty heavy and we were reliant on some rarely used mental arithmetic. Luckily Oz set us up with an on-site child's blackboard and calculator for the second week - a back-up for the after lunch brain fog that sometimes kicks in after too much fresh baked bread and jam! 

The site chalk board
Checking the 'smidge' measurement

I think the measurements 'smidge' and 'ish' formally entered the Pentiddy dictionary. Due to the amount of times they've already been used on site is set to infiltrate Collin's by the time the build is out. The exact definition is yet to be formulated, but by all accounts smidge is somewhere around 1/8th of an inch, but can vary depending on the relative measured item. 'Ish' is geared more towards use in times of hardship, when things don't quite add up, but you have a GOOD FEELING about it! It's probably fair to say that these measurements have been born of the construction of a building that involves no straight lines and no regularities. It's been a challenge to try to relive ourselves of those typical English traits of rigidity and being pedantic about everything, and give ourselves over to curves and flexibility. We haven't, however, given up those other recognisable English traits of constant sarcasm, the use of the classic cup of tea to nurse any woes and, of course, talking about the weather!
The shelter is up and ready to take any weather that comes it's way

On that note, the weather was pretty amazing in the first week and we got a bit too confident that it would remain sunny for the rest of the build (also pretty English) and decided against putting up a shelter. It was no wonder that heavy rain set in during week two when the first cruck frame was taking shape and so a decent shelter was erected. It did have a few teething problems but has now been reinforced in order to withstand some heavy duty weather, just in case!

Becky & Anthony working on the tie beam on frame 5
Above view of frame four top, the only frame without a cruck joint


Adeon and Elowen, the children of Pentiddy, took to filming the build and did their first couple of interviews. Ele, the master chef, has been keeping everyone in good shape with all the great food she cooks, whilst home-schooling the kids and maintaining the garden. She's amazing. And to add to the news, the first lamb of the spring was born and was named furry by Adeon.
A nice tight fit on the butterpat - few!
Butterpat joint chiselled

Constructing the first cruck frame did present a few problems but nothing that couldn't be overcome after a week of head scratching over the pad laying. Attention was on the butter-pat joint (see Ben Law's book – Roundwood Timer Framing Building Naturally Using Local Resources) and many different attempts were made to measure horizontal and perpendicular lines on the poles to create precise markings for the joints. In the end it was decided that a self-levelling cross hair laser would be purchased to speed things up in the future. Scribing proved a bit difficult at times but when the tie beams were raised slightly with car jacks, to allow for better manoeuvring with the scribe, things looked more rosy. By the end of the week even the non-professionals had given it a go and the team could celebrate their first finished cruck frame. All we needed to do was move it onto site ready for the raising day. We thought we'd leave that to week three and celebrate the end of the week on a high.

Beth Morgan

1 comment:

  1. wahay! great blog. can we see a few more pics please? Sorry to be so demanding - we'll send you some of our mid week 1 photos:)

    Sara and Gavin


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.