A mammoth effort to build and install the first stud frame.
It's Monday morning now and I am absolutely shattered from the effort over the weekend.
I took most of Friday off to ferry materials and tools out to site and I will probably need to take today off to recover.
At this stage I seem to be involved in an insane dance where I take a utility load of timber backwards and forwards to site.
I need it at home so I can paint it, count it and measure it.
I need it out on site so that I can ask Tony M to sort the grade and tell me how to dock it; also as stock for noggings.
Hopefully I will eventually come up with a more sensible system.
On Friday, after taking the materials out to site, I started the task of dropping some of the ceiling panels in the bathroom / kitchen to access the edge of the street level floor for fixing studs down.
This was very fiddly work in the bathroom as since the gyprock was installed I have built in the toilet pan and the shower cubicle.
I had the foresight to not glue gyprock sheeting down one edge but it was still a tricky process on my own.
Somehow the time reached 4.00 pm and I remembered that I needed to meet Tony M in Koongamia at 5.00 pm to pick up some special carpentry stools he had made for me.
Initially I had planned to transport these on the trailer but the quarry dust area of the site has become boggy after Ross has been cutting in to it.
Instead I decided to load the stools over the top of the cab of the utility.
This made for a rather precarious load that we had to spend considerable time tying down securely.
Saturday morning, in the dark, I had to partially untie this to squeeze in the air compressor.
I was out on site by 7.00 and worked furiously up until Tony's arrival at 12.00 noon in order to prepare for construction.
While still fresh, I lifted the bathroom ceiling panel completely out of the way and then went on to remove another panel in the kitchen.
All the insulation batts needed to be removed temporarily and carried outside (never a pleasant task).
Then up on to the roof before the day heated up.
I had to remove about six sheets of the temporary roof, roll back the insulation and lift up the small timber frames.
Next I unloaded the carpentry stools off the utility and brought all the stud frame timber around to the construction zone.
I picked the best stud out of the pack and clamped this in parallel to the column with the welded on bolts.
I used a marker pen to mark up the position of the bolt against the stud.
At this point Tony M turned up and we stopped for some lunch and a coffee.
When we eventually emerged on to the roof to start work it was very hot.
While Tony set up the alignment of the stools, plates and studs I worked on rigging some shelter from the sun (35 degrees in March plus radiation from the temporary tin roof).
This entailed tying a tarpaulin to some of the nearby pine trees, running long ropes to the opposite site and thrusting it up using a 3 metre umbrella.
Conditions on top of the roof were very harsh and draining.
We had to keep stopping every half hour to seek shade and take in liquids.
This was the first time I had built a timber stud frame. Although I had done a lot of reading there is nothing like actual hands on experience and Tony's guidance was essential.
By 6.00 pm we had nailed the frame together (using a framing nail gun) and cut and inserted the noggings.
We still needed to add the cross bracing straps.
Although exhausted I needed to spend the next half hour bringing all the tools inside including the carpentry stools.
Lifting the frame off the stools was a very heavy job and not good for our backs. I decided then and there that we would not do any more strenuous lifting like that again.
We agreed to meet up again at 12.00 noon the next day.
We also discussed how we could move the frame around on the corrugated iron of the temporary roof.
Using two trolleys clamped to the frame, with pneumatic tyres seems like an ideal solution.
I woke up at 4.00 am and realised that with another hot day upon us.
a) We would not have enough time to add the bracing straps and install the frame.
b) We would just about kill ourselves working in the hot sun on the temporary tin roof.
I decided to head out early and reach site by 7.00 am.
Using a combination of two P trolleys and the winch up trollery I was able to move the frame around on the roof on my own without any exertion or strain.
I placed the frame up on carpentry horses, squared it, added cyclone straps at 4 positions and installed the diagonal strapping and tensioners.
At this point Linda arrived unexpectedly with some moral support and take away coffees and hot cross buns.
After a brief chat I headed topside to install the tarpaulin in a new location - immediately above the installation site.
In my mind I had changed my strategy for lifting the frame in to place.
What I realised we needed to do was to completely clear the roof space so that it could be laid flat ready for lifting.
This meant that all the small wooden frames of the temporary roof in that area needed to be unscrewed.
Also we had built the frame the wrong way up requiring it to be flipped before raising.
This would have been a very dangerous manoeuvre.
Instead I decided to use the chain block on to the existing end steel structure to raise one end of the frame and Tony and I could use brute force to move the other end.
Tony M turned up just after I had finished rigging the tarpaulin.
We had lunch then went up on the roof.
By now the heat was oppressive.
While I dropped the frame off the stools on to the trolleys, Tony unfastened some more of the small roof frames and then I moved on to taking up more of the sheeting.
Using the two trolleys the frame rolled effortlessly in to position on the deck.
I attached the chain block and started hoisting at one end.
Tony and I used a variety of ropes, timber legs and the winch up trolley to move the other end until eventually the frame was standing vertically.
We then threaded it on to the bolts off the steel column and fastened it.
Most of this work was 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off with copious quantities of water drunk to combat the heat.
Without the shade of the tarpaulin overhead the situation would have been even more draining.
Eventually by 4.00 pm we were ready to fasten the frame to the deck and this is where two sets of hands became essential.
Tony drilled the pilot hole from above while I sighted up the position it emerged from below.
After drilling the hole out to 12 mm Tony inserted threaded rod from above while I placed the nut and washers from below.
We were finished by 5.00 pm but I needed to spend another half hour putting everything away.
I was too exhausted to replace the temporary roof sheeting so I will have to hope that there is no rain until I can get back next Saturday and take care of it.
A difficult introduction but I have thought of a number of ways to streamline the process.