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2016-Oct-29 - Wooroloo - General Grounds Maintenance
Most days after work I have popped out to site at around 5.30 pm and done about an hour and a half of work.

Two days went on painting up the temporary staircase with some mistinted exterior paint.

It's going to be there for a few years so I might as well protect it from degradation in the weather.

Also the wild oats, everywhere in the hills, came on very suddenly.

After the wet weather and with a few days of sunshine it shot up to a metre in height in just a week.

Sandy, a nearby neighbour in Wooroloo, keeps an eye on it for me and gives it a mow whenever it needs it.

However, this time it got away from her very quickly and I decided I had better get in there and knock it over quickly before I started attracting compaints.

This took me two evenings, brush cutting in the twilight until I could not see what I was doing.

It's a pretty good job with just a little bit more to do on Ian's side.


This started off in a rather frustrating way.

I was out of bed an hour later than usual - partly because I turned in at midnight the previous night, and partly because it was dark and overcast.

Once out on site my work was constantly interrupted by showers and I had to keep bringing equipment in out of the rain.

Today I had set myself the task of levelling off all the purlins. Because I had used a mixture of old and new materials there is a difference of 2 mm between some of the joists.

This occurs within a distance of 400mm - so a bit too abrupt to ignore.

In other places there might be a broad sweep where the levels gradually dip a few millimetres over a couple of metres and these are ok.

The remedy is to unbolt the purlin from its bracket, elevate it to its correct height and then elongate its mounting hole so that it can be rebolted in its new position.

Initially I had purchased a pneumatic die grinder tool to drive a grinder bit but I found my air compressor was not really up to the job.

More recently I had purchased a good Makita electical driver tool off Ross but not used it yet.

I was full of eager anticipation to use this tool for the first time - I was sure that it would make my job easy and satisfying.

I went to install my grinder burr but found that it would not fit in to the collet.

I rang Toolmart, where it had originally been purchased, to see if I could purchase a burr with a smaller shank diameter.

It turns out that a quarter inch was already the smallest size - so all I can assume is that the collet has some debris caught inside it that is jamming it partly shut.

This will have to be sorted out another day.

For now, I had to use an electric drill.

I had an idea that this could damage the front bearing of the drill because they are not intended to take a lateral load - so I selected my oldest and smallest electric drill.

This allowed me to work on the side nearest Ross and I adjusted the position of 10 purlins.

Up to this point I had been working off a scaffold plank slung between two ladders.

Next I had to move up on to the loft floor structure. I laid out a network of scaffolding planks so that I could move around and access the ends of all purlins at their mounting points.

I also changed the way I tested for level. Initially I used a new straight piece fo 90 x 45 structural pine and clamped it down hard over any purlins that had flared up at the ends. (There must be some instrinsic tension in the purlins - when you cut them the edges spring up out of square.)

By clamping all the flares down I could eliminate any false level errors.

Eventually I realised that my straight piece of pine still had a few millimetres of bow in it and this was making levels look worse that they were.

I changed across to a long length of unused metal framing stud.

This is very straight but too fragile to clamp across - so I clamped the flares directly on the purlins.

Also in the middle of the loft floor I did not have sufficient room to swing even my small drill.

Reluctantly I decided to use my angle drill.

This is my newest and most cherished purchase at the moment so I hope that I do not damage it.

At this point some good luck kicked in.

For some reason, and I don't understand why, this drill and the burr work as a perfect team.

The burr cuts very quickly and does not jump around as it does when using a small line powered drill.

In fact I believe I am using very little lateral force - I just push the leading point of the burr in to the restricted mounting and hole, and because the burr is 12 mm it eventually cuts the purlin metal back out to the correct mounting oval.

I worked my way through the mounting points of the hallway achieving very good results and gradually building up a smooth working rhythm.

By now, I only had the mounting points on the left hand edge of the building to deal with.

There is an existing scaffold area here, at street level, but this is too narrow to take two ladders to sling a scaffolding plank.

I am getting reluctant to work off ladders for any extended period as this is causing a slight numbness in the soles of my feet.

Eventually I hit upon a scheme to extend the existing scaffolding to a height to allow me to place some planks that I could work off.

Fortunately I have plenty of couplings and a variety of pipe lengths and I was able to set this up in just twenty minutes.

Darkness closed in before I could work the entire length of this side - I guess that I have about another two hours work to do on my next visit.

After this I need to install the criss cross bracing and then I can start laying floorboards.

Elongating the purlin mounting holes